THE INTERCESSOR PRAYERS

A man prays by the Stone of the Anointing at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.Growing movement of organisations in Jerusalem are offering the intercession proxy prayer services to Christians and Jews willing to sponsor pay for their divine requests delivered in the Holy City of God. For a millennia, pilgrims longing to connect with God on Middle Eastern hills sacred to Christians and Jews. Businesses and fundraising charities tap into a global market among those who are unable to visit the ancient walled city but want to hire a surrogate to pray in their stead. A website, Holy Land Prayer, provides a tiered set of services, ranging from $15 to $40 (£11 to £30), for a priest to read out prayer in Church of Holy Sepulchre, Jesus is believed to be crucified, buried and resurrected. “We want to help the people experience the power of prayer in their lives, when they feel like they cannot pray for themselves,” site says. The top-end option includes lighting a candle and the placing of individual’s photo next to it, with video footage sent by email. Holy Land Prayer in email to Guardian hundreds of prayer processed monthly, with most money donated to the Church considered the holiest site in ChristianitySalvation Garden, a startup company, runs a sophisticated website operating in four languages, people fill out form for bespoke prayer requests. A customers chooses pre-written prayers, like “Our Father” or suggested prayers on healing, but they can write their own and select a priest they need to deliver prayer Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant. The basic prayer service is free, paid-for extras include video of the prayer being carried out or a printed certificate to be sent by post. Salvation Garden told the Guardian it believes Holy Land should be accessible to all, including those who cannot make it to Jerusalem. It said a lot of requests came via Facebook, and the company is to release a smartphone app soon. For Jews, holiest site for prayer is the Western Wall. Revered as one of the last remnants of Temple Mount, people place slips of paper containing written prayers into the cracks of the limestone wall. Now, several Jewish groups offer to print and place prayers sent to them by email, often for free. One “Western Wall prayer delivery service” offers to deliver prayers within 30 days for $29, or an “express” 24-hour delivery for $79 (discounted from $99). Another Jewish charity raises funds, asks for donations, starting from $2 day for “prayer agents” often rabbis or Torah scholars praying at the wall on behalf of the donor for 40 consecutive days. The most elaborate service’s minimum donation of $3,600 offers 10 people praying daily plus extra includes reading entire Book of Psalms.Jews praying by the Western Wall.Jews praying by Western Wall. Western Wall Prayers was set up by Batya Burd-Oved says most common prayer request is in relation to marriage, followed by healing. “But, I’ll tell you, we’re praying right now for someone to pass their bar exam, or for the kids to get a job, or for custody of children,” she said. “People will pray for anything. Anything they do not have control over.” Burd-Oved, a devout Jew, set up the foundation after meeting her former husband just days after he finished 40 days of prayers at the ancient stones. He had been praying for a wife following a string of failed dating attempts. Convinced by strength of practice, Burd-Oved started offering to pray for friends at the site and said 80% got their wishes. During the past 13 years, the charity has grown to employ close to 40 rabbinical scholars who have little income. A large part of donation goes to them and communities. Clients are expected to conduct own prayers at home for entire period for agreement in prayer. Burd Oved said that most people chose the $2 a day option but the $3,600 package got picked occasionally. “It’s a lot of money huge ordeal not everybody has so much money to spend.” Prayer is answered freely by God in Jesus Name through Holy Spirit. GOD requires all to sponsor HIS resource centres, venues to cover costs of running the premises for prayer. Maintenance and bills are paid as God commands that HIS servants eat shrew bread and receive offerings. God and Jesus work through chosen human beings on HIS Behalf ministering to HIS people. So she said she believed in her work. “You’re going to laugh, but even though I live in Old City probably hire people for myself seven or eight times a year because sees how powerful it is.” King Solomon also prayed that when people come to pray in the City of David, God should have mercy, hear and answer prayers. Some people for health reasons or pregnant cannot pray effectively and some young children. Prayer of agreement is strong prayer because one defeats a thousand and two defeat 10,000 as the Bible says. At times situations in life is difficult to pray but groanings through Holy Spirit is heard by Jesus our HEAVENLY INTERCESSOR who prays to Father God on our behalf in Jesus Name. This year ends tonight so be encouraged to pray if possible or join in agreement as there is no distance in prayer. Thank Father God for seeing you through this year, sustaining you to be alive today. Commit family, friends, colleagues, nations, leaders into God’s Hands covered by blood of Jesus include enemies to be saved in Jesus Name. And Have a Happy New Year Thank Jesus and Give GLORY to God. Stay blessed forever and ever.

SUPERNATURAL MIRACLE TESTIMONY 

God is indeed Wonderful as miracles of Muslim man in Egypt killed wife shows. Because she was reading the Bible and then buried her with their infant baby and an 8 year old daughter.

حيث ان الفتيات دفنوا و هم أحياء ! و قام بتبليغ الشرطة بالحادثة متهما العم بجريمته . و بعد 15 يوما يموت أحد أفراد العائلة . و عندما أرادوا دفنه , وجدوا تحت الرمل الفتاتان الصغيرتان على قيد الحياة .

The girls were buried alive! then He reported to the police an uncle killed the kids. 15 days later, another family member died. When they went to bury him, they found the 2 little girls under the sand – ALIVE! 1546266743226-1598804135.jpg
هذه الحادثة أغضبت الناس و حكم على الرجل بالإعدام

The country is outraged over incident, and the man will be executed.
وقد سؤلت الفتات الكبرى عن كيفيت بقائها على قيد الحياة , فقالت : ‘ كان يجيء إلينا كل يوم رجل , كان هذا الرجل يلبس ثياب مشعّة و كان له جروح نازفة في يديه , كان يأتي و يطعمنا . و قد أيقظ أمي و بتالي فقد أستطاعت أن ترضع أختي. ‘قالت الفتات هذا الكلام في مقابلة على التلفزيون المصرية الوطنية , و أفادة امراة مسلمة عبرأخبار مؤكدة. قالت فيها على التلفزيون الشعبي : ‘ كان هذا بلا شك السيد المسيح , لأن لا أحد غيره يستطيع فعل مثل هكذا أشياء! ‘

The older girl was asked how she had survived and she says ‘A man wearing shiny clothes, with bleeding wounds in his hands, came every day to feed us. He woke my mom so she could nurse my sister,’ she said. She was interviewed on Egyptian National TV, availed Muslim woman news anchor. She said on public TV, ‘This was none other than JESUS, because nobody does things like this!’

المسلمون يؤمنون بأن السيد المسيح يستطيع فعل هذا , ولكن الجراح تشير إلى أن السيد المسح حقا قد صلب , وأيضا من الواضح أنه على قيد الحياة ! , وأيضا من الواضح أن الطفلة لا تستطيع أن تخترع قصة مثل تلك , و أساس فإن من المستحيل بقاء الطفلتان على قيد الحياة بدون معجزة حقيقية ,

Muslims believe Isa (JESUS) would do this, but the wounds mean He really was crucified, and it’s clear also that He is alive! But, it’s also clear that the child could not make up a story like this, and there is no way these children could have survived without a true miracle. Muslim leaders are going to have a hard time to figure out what to do with this, and the popularity of the Passion movie doesn’t help! With Egypt at the centre of the media and education in the Middle East so be sure this true story spreads.

السيد المس يح ما زال يقلب العالم رأسا على عقب! رجاء دع هذه القصة تنتشر بين الناس. يقول الله : ‘أنا سأبارك الشخص الذي يضع ثقته فيّ.’ أرميا 17.

Christ is still turning the world upside down! Please let this story be shared. The Lord says, ‘I will bless the person who puts his trust in me.’ Jeremiah 17.

رجاء أرسل هذه الرسالة إلى كل قائمتك والله سيكافئك بوفرة! ! ! !

Please forward to all on your list GOD will reward you abundantly!!! Please finish reading before you do not anything else right now. Read this to the end. God says, I know you will give your time for me. I love you and always bless you. I am always with you. I need you to spend 30 minutes of your time with me today to pray and Just praise. Today I want this message across world before midnight. Will you help? Please do not cut it and I’ll help you with something you are in need of. A blessing is coming your way. Please drop everything pass it on. Tomorrow will be Best Day of your Life. Send this to friends Trust God.”

#received and forwarded #

*Forwarded as received 👆*

THE TEACHERS CELEBRATED

IMG-20181231-WA0000.jpgTeaching is challenging with attacks on teachers, they deserve such an award. A teacher learnt basics of the languages spoken in her London school to reach marginalised pupils, received an MBE for her services to education. Andria Zafirakou, London art teacher this year won $1 million Global Teacher Prize, is one of 32 people with links to schools named in the 2019 new year’s honours list. Zafirakou, associate deputy head at Alperton Community School in Brent, is “thrilled and in shock but grateful” to receive MBE. Her Global Teacher Prize won funds Artists in Residence charity links artists with schools38-year-old Zafirakou teaches in north London one of the most ethnically diverse places in U.K., with 130 languages spoken in the schools. Zafirakou learned to greet her students in 35 languages, since a large percentage of children attending school have difficulty speaking English. Among languages learnt are Portuguese, Hindi, Tamil, Arabic, Romanian, Polish, Italian.1546256644456-1598804135.jpgA wonderful privilege to see teachers celebrated, accepts honour on behalf of all hardworking teachers up and down this country, she said. Most importantly, delighted teaching profession is getting recognised and celebrated, had amazing year since awarded the Global Teacher Prize winner in March.” 32 people were recognised for work in English schools this year, five academy trust CEOs, executive head five current or former headteachers or principals, five school governors. Two deputy headteachers, classroom teacher on list recognised, four people for work in local, national government, with two academics, sixth form college principal and seven, from business community. Miskin, received the OBE in 2011, of three school-related CBE this year and Duncan Jacques, chief executive Exceed Academies Trust, Ian Thomas, Rotherham Council’s former director of children’s services. RM Literacy produce school resources training teachers via Ruth Miskin Training, last year received a slice of the government’s £75 million teaching and leadership innovation fund contracted helps improve teaching in government’s 12 social mobility opportunity areas.Lorraine Heath, a chief executive of the Uffculme Multi-Academy Trust, Patricia Kane, executive headteacher, Education and Leadership Trust and Dr Josephine Valentine, executive head of the Danes Educational Trust, are among those who will receive the OBE for their work in schools. Valentine said she was “thrilled deeply” to receive honour, recognised is thankful for significant support I have received from family, colleagues and friends,” she said. “Teaching young people is exciting and fulfilling a source of constant joy to me. Leading a school has been a privilege  and, probably, the best job in the world. The Headteachers Brengan Heneghan, of William Henry Smith School in West Yorkshire, Mary Isherwood of Camberwell Park School in Manchester, Gary Smith, of Market Field School in Essex, will all receive the OBE for their work with children with special educational needs. Among those receiving the MBE is Elizabeth Booth, of London Borough of Lewisham’s longest-serving headteachers. She led Dalmain School in Forest Hill, 18 years, retiring in August this year.“In course of my 18-years as Dalmain’s headteacher, I saw eleven education secretaries come and go,” she said. “Too often, they have been more concerned with the furthering of political agendas than they have with improving Britain’s schools. “At Dalmain, stood firm in the face of political pressure, providing an arts-based curriculum that reflects our belief that education is about more than ticking boxes. “This award is testament to Dalmain’s determination to give all of our children best possible experience, whether they are at the school for one day, or for seven years.” Teaching is to be highly honoured because it is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit from God. A teacher reaches out to teach people who in turn build up and bring fruits of their resourceful talents into communities to bless the whole world. If you educate a man you educate individuals but when you EDUCATE WOMAN YOU EDUCATE FAMILIES AND NATIONS AS GLOBAL AWARDS REVEALS IMPACTS ON ALL.

You can read the full list of those honoured for services to education related to schools here.

DAYNURSERY LOVES MARRY

Laura and Matt in preschool 20 years ago, a 3-year-old Matt Grodsky stood up in front of his entire preschool class, declaring he would one day marry classmate Laura Scheel. On a December 30th of 2016, he did. The two, now 23 years old, met in preschool in Phoenix, Arizona, and Grodsky was immediately drawn to Scheel. “I don’t remember the first time I saw her, but she was always a girl who let me follow her around,” Grodsky recalled, “Always impresses her reciting lines from movies like ‘The Lion King’ and stuff like that.” Grodsky often tried to impress Scheel by quoting “The Lion King.” Matt played with Laura Scheel always in the nursery. Grodsky’s and Scheel’s earliest memories about each other on play dates and trips to the movies with parent chaperones for the two little lovebirds. Grodsky, infatuated and Scheel felt the same way. “When you like someone, you just kind of stand up and say it,” he said, which is exactly what he did. He declared his love for Scheel before his 3 and 4 year old peers who burst into laughter. And Grodsky’s response was, “Just you wait.”Laura and MattGrodsky knew early on he would marry Scheel one day. Matt Grodsky and Laura Scheel were always together in nursery. So after announcing his love ended up taking quite a bit of waiting. The young couple went to two different elementary schools and lost touch, only watching each other grow up through the annual Christmas cards the two families would send to one another. Then in the fall of their freshman year of high school, once again at two different schools, Scheel was looking through a friend’s phone and saw Grodsky’s name. It turns out Scheel’s friend went into middle school with Grodsky and when a friend found out that they had been quite the item in preschool she offered to reconnect them “I was a freshman in high school so I was like, ‘I don’t think so!'” Scheel said. “But then she ended up giving him my number and he texted me and we hit it off ever since.” Two weeks later, Scheel and Grodsky were dating. Four years and 15 school dances (their high school dances combined) later, it was time for college – again at two separate schools, but this time in two separate states.Laura and Matt at the poolGrodsky and Scheel had play dates all the time in preschool. Matt Grodsky and Laura Scheel. “Right after we graduated from high school were hesitant. Were like, ‘Do we stay together? Do we try to make it work?'” Scheel explained. They made it work. Scheel went to Northern Arizona University, while Grodsky went to Columbia College Chicago, more than 1,600 miles away. It was not easy, but after some trial and error freshman year, they got a system down, figuring out a schedule for when they would visit each other and watching “Friends” on Netflix together when apart. Grodsky didn’t wait until they finished college to pop the question. On May 23, 2015, as the couple prepared to start their senior year, he brought her back to the place where it all began: their preschool.Laura and Matt get engagedScheel did not see it coming as Grodsky got down on one knee.Courtesy of Matt Grodsky and Laura Scheel. Grodsky had bought an engagement ring two months before this day and so already received her dad’s blessing. He had stationed his brother at the school before arrival so he could position himself in the perfect location to capture a photo of moment. On the way there, Grodsky repeatedly checked his pockets for the ring. When they arrived, he got down on one knee. I was like, Oh my gosh is this happening?Scheel said. “I saw the ring and was like, This is gorgeous I’m so happy with ring so the answer was resounding yes! And Grodsky’s brother brought out a picnic basket the very same one that Grodsky’s dad used when he proposed to his mom full of bridal magazines and sparkling cider, bowed out to give newly engaged couple a private picnic to celebrate.Matt and Laura get marriedAfter 20 years, the couple said “I do.” On December 30, 2016 these two preschool sweethearts said “I do.” Grodsky’s uncle, who officiated the marriage, put it best during their ceremony: “For most kids in preschool, its finding your snacks and your sleeping mats, but for them it was about finding their soulmates.” This shows that some three year old toddlers understand true love and romance from an early age. This wonderful testimony is an encounter of God’s LOVE between two innocent children who love each other without bias or any prejudices. It is encouraging the adults or the parents involved honoured them to support the love between them. Congratulations and happy wedding anniversary, enjoy your married lives together forever in Jesus Name.

CATHOLIC CHURCH SOLD KID

IMG-20181230-WA0003.jpgInterestingly the Catholic Church sold the toddler Michael Anthony Hess pictured with Reagan above shrouded in secrecy to rich clients. And forced their birth mothers to sign off their rights to access them. Worst of all they lied to the children they were abandoned so not allowed to trace their birth mothers. Blackmailed the mothers to forfeit their right to see their children if the children look for them. Anthony Lees’ name changed to Michael Hess by his adoptive parents. It was a web of lies to separate mothers from their children snatched away by such force without any goodbyes. The business was very lucrative they even sold the children for pardons. Philomena’s case was one of the worst cases because Anthony, her son, was prominent American lawyer in government and travelled three times to Ireland in search of his mother lied to by the nuns. The nuns deceived him yet buried him at convent nunnery without telling his mother who lived locally. 1546175028191-1598804135.jpgAll was later revealed after Anthony’s mother Philomena travelled to America to look for Anthony her son before the details of scandal was exposed. Through chance encounter at a New Year’s party in 2004 a message for journalist a friend to help solve a family mystery. Agreed to meeting embarked on five-year quest for Anthony once had chance encounter with in the white house but unaware in the photo they met before. The woman’s friend called Jane from St Albans was in her late 30s and through an emotional experience. Before Christmas, Jane’s mother, Philomena, was tipsy on festive sherry so revealed a secret she kept for 50 years that she had a son she never mentioned to anyone. Jane said her lost brother would be in his early 50s and probably living in America. The reason for the secrecy was he was born outside marriage in Ireland at a time when such things were considered shameful. A film documentary played by the Dame Judi Dench as Philomena brought story back to life to expose injustices to children. IMG-20181230-WA0002.jpgPhilomena herself met Martin Sixsmith the journalist who researched the story. She had given birth in country convent at Roscrea in County Tipperary on 5 July 1952. She was 18 and met a young man who bought her toffee apple on a warm autumn evening at a county fair. “I had just left convent school,” she said with an air of wistful regret. I went in there when my mother died, when I was six and a half, and I left at 18 not knowing a thing about the facts of life. I didn’t know where babies came from… When her pregnancy became obvious, her family put Philomena “away” with the nuns. After her baby, Anthony, was born, the mother superior threatened Philomena with damnation if ever she breathed word about her ‘guilty secret.’1546174725882503274586.jpgTerrified, she kept quiet for more than half a century. “All my life I couldn’t tell anyone. We were so brow beaten, it was such a sin. It was an awful thing to have a baby out-of-wedlock … Over the years would say I will tell them I will tell them but ingrained deep down in my heart that I mustn’t tell anybody, that I never did.” Was intrigued to know why the nuns were so insistent on importance of silence and secrecy. However, answers certainly were in what happened next. Philomena was one of the thousands of Irish women sent to convents in the 1950s and 60s, taken away from their homes and families because Catholic church said single mothers were moral degenerates who could not be allowed to keep their children. And they were harshly treated and rejected by families for disgracing their family having child without wedlock. 1546174546473-491591996.jpgOverwhelmingly such was the power of a church and Archbishop John Charles McQuaid, state bowed before demands, ceding responsibility for the mothers and babies to the nuns. It was not only a matter of sin or morality but of pounds, shillings and pence. At the time young Anthony Lee was born I discovered that Irish government was paying Catholic church pound a week for every woman in care and two shillings and sixpence for every baby. That was not all. After giving birth, the girls were allowed to leave the convent only if they or their family could pay the nuns £100. It was a substantial sum, and those who couldn’t afford it the vast majority were kept in the convent for three years, working in kitchens, greenhouses and laundries or making rosary beads, religious artefacts while the church kept the profits from their labour. 1546174814547-1455942262.jpgCrueller than their work was fact that mothers had to care for their children, developing maternal ties and affection torn asunder at the end of the three-year sentence. Like all the other girls, Philomena Lee was made to sign their renunciation document agreeing to give up her three-year-old son and swearing on oath: “I relinquish full claim forever to child to surrendering him to a Sister Barbara Superioress of that Sean Ross Abbey. The purpose enables the Sister Barbara to make her child available for adoption to any person considered fit and proper, inside or outside a state. I further undertake never to attempt to see, interfere with or make any claim to the said child at any future time.” The blackmail of mothers prevented future interaction with adoptive parents or an awkward encounters between them. So selling the babies meant their mothers no longer had any rights to the children wrenched from them. Makes it easier and more convenient to cover up their trails and prevent exposure of the scale of the scandalous treatment by church.1546174092791-1598804135.jpgPhilomena says that she fought against the signing their terrible undertaking. “Oh God, my heart. I didn’t want him to go. I just craved and begged them to please let me keep him. None of us wanted to give our babies up, none of us. But what else could we do? They just said, ‘You have to sign these papers.’ “I remember it was a Sunday evening … I’m so sorry, I’m crying when I think about it … ” Philomena cried as Anthony was taken from her Christmas 1955. She was not told he was going or allowed to say goodbye, but she spotted him being bundled into back of a black car. When she shouted to him, the noise of engine drowned out her voice, but as the car pulled away she is convinced he stood up and peered through the rear windscreen looking for her. 1546174252389503274586.jpgAfterwards, her father didn’t take her back because of the shame told friends, neighbours and Philomena’s sisters that she had gone away and no one knew where she was. So in the end the church dispatched her to work at one of homes for the delinquent boys in Liverpool. So Philomena trained later as a nurse, got married in 1959 had two more children. She longed to tell them about their lost brother but could not. She had kept her secret but never forgot her son. “Oh he was gorgeous,” she told me. “He was a lovely, gentle, quiet lad. All my life I have never forgotten him. I will often say, ‘I wonder what he is doing? Has he gone to Vietnam? Is he on skid row?’ I didn’t know what happened to him… 1546174179019-491591996.jpgAnd without telling anyone, Philomena embarked on lonely, desperate search to find him. She went back to convent in Roscrea several times between 1956 and 1989 and asked the nuns to help her but each time they refused brandishing that she had sworn an undertaking she will “never attempt to see” her child. When I agreed to help look for Anthony in 2004 we had little to go on. We knew his date and his place of birth but then his name certainly changed by adoptive parents. Philomena had been told her son would be taken to the US, but little else. Early in the search I realised the Irish Catholic hierarchy had been engaged in what amounted to an illicit baby trade. From end of second world war until 1970s, it considered thousands of souls born in its care to be the church’s own property. 1546174438605-1598804135.jpgWith or without agreement of mothers, sold them to highest bidder. Every year, hundreds were shipped off to American couples who paid “donations” in reality, fees to the nuns. Few if any checks were made on the suitability of the adopting families. The only condition laid down by Archbishop McQuaid was that they should be practising Catholics. When rumours of the church’s role began to emerge decades later all incriminating paperwork disappeared in unexplained circumstances. Even today the church guards its adoption archives fiercely. It took painstaking trawl through passport records and piecing together of fleeting references in old newspaper articles to discover what become of Anthony Lee. Doc and Marge Hess, St Louis, Missouri fulfilled McQuaid criteria good Catholic, a professional couple in their 40s, and Marge’s brother was a bishop. Hesses had three sons but wanted a daughter. Course of research came in possession of Marge Hess’s diaries and traced her innermost thoughts when she flew to Ireland August 1955 to scour church’s mother and baby homes for little girl. I read impressions of shy three-year-old, Mary McDonald, offered to her by the mother superior of the Roscrea convent.1546175028191-1598804135.jpg Discovered a twist of fate led her adopt Anthony Lee. As Marge leaned down to pick up daughter in convent nursery, was charmed to see Mary’s best friend, a little boy in baggy trousers running to give her a kiss. She fell for him at once, called her husband in St Louis to ask if its OK to bring two children instead of one. Anthony’s spontaneous show of his affection for Marge changed his life. By end of 1955 he and Mary transported from rural Ireland to a new existence and new identities. He was renamed Michael Hess and grew up to be an A student. He was physically attractive and gifted, ran cross-country and sang in school musical productions. Haunted by half-remembered visions of his first three years in Ireland and by a lifelong yearning to find his mother. Separated by fate, mother and child spent decades looking for each other, thwarted by the refusal of nuns to reveal information, each of them unaware the other was yearning and searching. 1546174546473-491591996.jpgMichael was a successful lawyer, rising star of Republican National Committee, masterminded party’s electoral strategy, brokering redistricting gerrymandering reforms that kept them in power more than a decade. George Bush Sr became president and so made Mike chief legal counsel. Michael Hess was gay. He was obliged to conceal his sexuality in party rabidly homophobic. He was tormented by double life forced to lead and by the fact his work entrenched in a power of a party that victimized his friends and lovers. Tormented by absence of mother and by orphan’s sense of helplessness: didn’t know where he came from, didn’t know who he was or how to live. He felt unloved by adoptive father or brothers he felt guilt over his sexuality and had a series of stormy relationships. IMG-20181230-WA0003.jpgDisappointed spurned lover then burnt himself to death because Mike rejected him. Loved by his adoptive mother and by the little girl plucked with him from Roscrea convent who became lifelong friend and sister. Wonderering if raised as child couples will he stop being gay if his first love was not his sister so felt let down? He found happiness in long-term relationship with caring, loving partner. But never be at peace went to Roscrea, first in 1977 and again in 1993 to plead with nuns to tell him how to find his mother, turned away. On his return to the US, he plunged into alcohol, drugs and unbridled sexual indulgence. His behaviour brought with it terrible fear exposure would destroy him as senior Republican official but he could not stop himself. On one of lost weekend became infected with HIV. He and Pete his long-term partner agonised over their future. Pete stood by him, but Michael’s health began to deteriorate. 1546174725882503274586.jpgFearing the worst, they flew to Roscrea in 1993 to make an emotional appeal to the nuns … but still they refused to tell him where he could find his mother, indeed her sisters and brother, his aunts and uncle living just a few miles down road. In desperation, Mike asked mother superior if he could at least be buried in convent if he died to put information on his gravestone to help his mother find out about his life “if ever she comes looking for me.” We know now but Mike did not, Philomena was looking for him returned to Roscrea seeking traces of her son… Obituaries in US newspapers after Michael’s death in August 1995 provided vital clues in my search for him. The hunt for Michael took me through state and the church archives, adoption agencies, American university records and the Republican party sources before it led to end of the trail and story’s poignant, unexpected conclusion. It threw up Hardyesque tale of coincidences and missed connections, and powerful indictment of historical eras, 1950s Ireland and 1980s America.1546174179019-491591996.jpgMike and Philomena’s quest, discovered thousands of other lost ‘orphans’ whose lives were changed forever by the greed and hypocrisy of church and state. Like Michael, many of them are still looking for their parents and, through them, for their identity. Now in her 70s, and five years after visiting her son’s grave for the first time, Philomena is remarkably devoid of bitterness. She started to go to mass again but she blames herself for everything, for giving her son away and for not speaking out about him earlier, when things could have been different: “If only, if only, I tell myself every time I think of it. If only I’d mentioned it all those years ago, maybe he wouldn’t … Oh Lord, it makes my heart ache! I’m sure there are lots of women to this day, they’re same haven’t said anything. 1546174092791-1598804135.jpg“It is the biggest regret of life and I have to bear that. It is my own fault and now it is my woe.” Some gays or lesbian nuns in those days will be killed or jailed for their sexual orientation. The best way to avoid exposure was hide behind God in Catholic church as an undercover priest accessing people taken advantage of by power of authority. Without pressure to marry as a priest is convenient to abuse children. So not all Catholic priests were genuinely called to serve God but used it as hiding place to serve themselves to stop arrest or being killed. Sadly this tarnished the Catholic Church with the bad apples. The lesson for all readers is, no matter how others perceive you, still you are highly valued by God your creator. Mankind can label you and shame you but God ALMIGHTY LOVES YOU REGARDLESS of what nasty things people say to you. Do not live your life through sad comments or bad opinions of people. Live by TRUTH Jesus Christ Loves you whether from a single home or not. The truth you KNOW SETS YOU FREE IN JESUS NAME put your trust and CONFIDENCE IN GOD IN CHRIST. Above remember Jesus prayed forgive them all for they know what they were doing. Forgive all to release you from the toxic pain that poisons your life if you refuse to let go of hatred, anger and bitterness to put it at feet of Jesus on the Cross. Jesus said if do not forgive others you will not be FORGIVEN by God. Don’t abuse yourself by holding onto abuse of wicked people hurting others in the NAME OF GOD. Let God deal with them all, GOD SEES ALL secrets if nobody believes you. So focus on your life and forgive yourself and heal emotionally. 

The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith book is published by Macmillan, £12.99. To order a copy for £11.99 with free UK p&p, go to the guardian.com/bookshop or call 0330 333 6846

JESUS SETS PRISONERS FREE

1545841447211-1598804135.jpgPaul preached in jails and synagogues, and market places among others. And during trials of Jesus, a Passover crowd was given the right of choice to release a pardoned prisoner. In Matthew 27:17 the crowd assembled and Pilate asked “Which prisoner do you want me to set free do you want Jesus or Barabbas free so the people preferred to set Barabbas free. Before Jesus went on the Cross He set took the place of Barabbas instead to redeem him. While on the Cross, Jesus promised to take the robber crucified to paradise with Him because he repented, asked for mercy and forgiveness. So he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom in Luke 23:39-43. That criminal hanged with Jesus on that day recognised Him as Lord, Saviour so asked to come to Jesus’ kingdom. Jesus said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today, you will be with me in Paradise. A clear pattern emerges of the condemned men punished for their sins set free by God through Jesus Christ’s forgiveness. Jesus prayed on Cross Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing. 1545840333189-1598804135.jpgPrayer includes people who betrayed Him and all those whose sins caused them to stray away from God. In Luke 23:34 a man hanged with Jesus heard this prayer, accepted forgiveness too. Prayer by Jesus is “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing so lack understanding of Jesus’ Ministry, chose to crucify Him. Includes rulers, priests, crowds, soldiers who divided His clothes by casting lots. Some rulers, priests, soldiers and crowd repented to accept Jesus as Son of God and Lord after watching miracles of His death and Resurrection with signs and wonders. The Temple veil rent opened direct access to God through BLOOD of Jesus. The dead resurrected went back alive to their families and friends. The Church of Pentecost increased greatly so in Acts 2:47 they met praising God, ate together, shared food, goods and having favour with all the people. The Lord added to the church daily so saved many, 5000 in one day. In early Church many priests believed Jesus is Messiah in Acts 6:7. Spirit of the LORD is Upon Jesus because God Anointed Jesus to preach Gospel to the poor and heal the brokenhearted and preach deliverance to set all captives free, recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those bruised. To preach acceptable year of the LORD in Luke 4:18 so that Spirit of the LORD brings Good News, proclaims freedom to all in bondage, release all captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of comfort and the Lord’s favour.”1545840501091-1598804135.jpgMany situations changed and the rulers believed also in John 7:13, 48 so Jewish leaders, such as Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, did become disciples of Jesus but kept their Jewish positions of office. The mendacious fiction was framed by the chief priests and elders of the people. Not all the priestly circle were parties to it however. Among the secret disciples of Jesus before His death not afraid to openly ally themselves with Church through evidence of Lord Jesus’ resurrection became thoroughly converted. We read together with them a few months later “a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith. In John 12:42 among the chief rulers many believed in Jesus but because Pharisees did not accept Jesus they did not confess Him publicly lest they should be put out of the synagogue. Jesus and His disciples were thrown of the Temple, met in the houses of the disciples. A jailer’s family saved received Holy Spirit so speaking in tongues through Peter in Acts 10:11-30 Cornelius is saved. Acts 4-6 says Peter and John spoke boldly before the people in the Sanhedrin so became cornerstone of Church despite threats or challenges and persecutions. Empowered by fire power of Holy Ghost did signs, wonders and miracles. Despite threats faced and persecutions the Church of the LORD marches on in Victory in the Name of Jesus because God causes HIS Children to TRIUMPH always. Citizens of heaven know the things of this world shall pass away but Word of God stands forever. All kingdoms come and go but the Kingdom of Jesus is ETERNAL so is not controlled by makind.  1545840107552-1598804135.jpgAccusers put many in jail so many times for Gospel preaching, teaching healing, delivering people in the Name of Jesus. In Acts 16:25-34 at midnight,  Paul and Silas prayed, sang praises unto God and other prisoners heard them. So God breaks chains and sets all free from jail. Seeing the prison doors open, jailer drew out his sword to kill himself afraid for fear prisoners might escape on his watch. Paul and Silas in jail at midnight pray singing praises to God so prisoners heard them. 26. Suddenly there is great earthquake so the foundations of the prison shaken. Immediately all the doors were opened, so everyone’s bands were loosed. Jesus came to redeem the lost and set captives free in Jesus Name. Salvation is found in Jesus but they arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail because they feared their religious customers would abandon them to follow Jesus. And this is why they arrested Jesus and tried to find fault to stop His Ministry in vain. It is that same spirit that fights people to try to prevent them from being saved. A whole series of life experiences takes place in a person’s life to try to ruin and disgrace them to separate them from the LOVE of God. The devil derogates people to try to stop redemption to cut off connection blessings of God. Romans 8 says nothing separates a person from God’s LOVE in Christ in God. The devil is puppet masterliar coward hides behind scenes misleads people doing dirty jobs. GOD SEES BEYOND the person used by deception so REDEEMS their lives from destructions to destroy works of devil in their lives. The devil manipulate people unaware used but God SEES all secret things, exonerated, vindicated and sets captives free in Jesus Name to GLORIFY God. Behind visual actions of people evil forces operate by envy, greed, hatred, jealousy capacity to destroy empowered by satan to ruin lives. Behind the scenes deeper insight reveal evil machinations of people who sold their souls to devil. 1545841578540-491591996.jpgSome due to lack of knowledge of Word of God yield to satan’s lies to Jesus, bow to be rich. How can the patent owner of resources on earth bow to satan, broke and penniless to become rich. Many are lured and deceived get entangled in the system so incarcerated unjustly. This is made worse by the usurper’s laws that make it impossible for poor to defend themselves. Locked up for years Jesus is reason for prison evangelism to set the people. Bible talks about prison issue at the top of Jesus agenda. Jesus prioritized people in prison so said, “when I was in prison you visited Me in Matthew 25:37. In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus commands to meet needs of hungry, sick, imprisoned, because we are ministering Directly to Jesus who based reward of Godly works on service to God to enter as His Sheep into heaven. Many are put away for the sake of Gospel suffering for God’s Name Sake. Willingly endure and pay price of wickedness of evil people’s hatred that they suffer. No matter situation call on Jesus to send angels to save, deliver and restore the years cankerworm, palmer worms, locusts ate to release from jail of cages of enemies in Jesus Name. Jesus is owner of all people ACCOUNTABLE to God and evil people will face God in HIS judgement for evil deeds. A punishment does not cease in hell, no material status hierarchy, class or wealth can buy God. They may buy people to condone all evil but Jesus will take over all the resources again and RULE. The Good News Gospel says it’s not too late so repent now to be saved because God will deal with all the puppet masters under His Feet in Jesus Name. Revelation 19:15-18  says out of JESUS Mouth goes sharp sword to smite the nations and He shall rule them with a rod of iron and tread the winepress of fierceness of wrath of Almighty God. On His vesture and thigh a NAME is written as King Of kings, Lord Of lords…And an angel standing in the Sun cried with a loud voice saying to all fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, come and gather yourselves together to the supper of the great God. To eat the flesh of kings, and flesh of captains and the flesh of mighty men and flesh of horses, flesh of those that sit on them and the flesh of all men free, bond, small or great. Endtime signs of disasters, earthquakes, volcanoes, hailstones, tsunami, drought, famines, wildfires etc. show birthpangs of Jesus’ predictions of His Coming in the clouds day or night but ONLY GOD knows time. Important to be saved in God’s Kingdom than gain the whole world but lose your soul and perish in hell. LOVING Caring FATHER God does not want anyone to perish in Jesus Name.  

THE ST. NICHOLAS OF MYRA

Saint Nicholas of Myra[a] born on 15 March 270 to 6 December 343 ,[3][4][b]  known as Nicholas of Bari, was an early Christian bishop of ancient Greek city of Myra in Asia Minor (modern-day Demre, Turkey) during time of Roman Empire.[7] He is revered by Christians as a saint.[8] Because of many miracles attributed to his intercession is known as Nicholas the Wonderworker.[c] Saint Nicholas is patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, children, brewers, pawnbrokers, and students in various cities and countries around Europe. His reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints, and his legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to traditional model of Santa Claus (“Saint Nick”) through Sinterklaas.

Saint Nicholas
Jaroslav Čermák (1831 - 1878) - Sv. Mikuláš.jpg

Full-length icon of Saint Nicholas by Jaroslav Čermák, showing him with a halo, dressed in clerical garb, and holding a book of the scriptures in his left hand while making the hand gesture for the sign of the cross with his right.
Defender of Orthodoxy, Wonderworker, Holy Hierarch, Bishop of Myra
Born Traditionally 15 March 270[1]
Patara, Roman Empire
Died Traditionally 6 December 343(aged 73)
Myra, Roman Empire
Venerated in Anglicanism, Baptist,Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy,Lutheranism,Methodism, Reformed
Major shrine Basilica di San Nicola,Bari, Italy
Feast 5/6 December inWestern Christianity; 19 December inEastern Christianity(main feast day –Saint Nicholas Day)
22 May [O.S. 9 May] (translation of relics)[2]
Attributes Vested as a Bishop. InEastern Christianity, wearing anomophorion and holding a Gospel Book. Sometimes shown with Jesus Christ over one shoulder, holding a Gospel Book, and with the Theotokos over the other shoulder, holding an omophorion
Patronage Children, coopers, sailors, fishermen, merchants, broadcasters, the falsely accused, repentant thieves, brewers, pharmacists,archers, pawnbrokers,Aberdeen, Galway,Russia, Greece,Hellenic Navy,Liverpool, Bari,Siggiewi, Moscow,Amsterdam, Lorraineand Duchy of Lorraine

Very little is known about the historical Saint Nicholas. The earliest accounts of his life were written centuries after his death and contain many legendary elaborations. He is said to have been born in Patara, Lycia in Asia Minor to wealthy Christian parents. In one of the earliest attested and most famous incidents from his life, he is said to have rescued three girls from being forced into prostitution by dropping a sack of gold coins through the window of their house each night for three nights so their father could pay adowry for each of them. Other early stories tell of him calming a storm at sea, saving three innocent soldiers from wrongful execution, and chopping down a tree possessed by a demon. In his youth, he is said to have made a pilgrimage to Egypt and the Palestine area. Shortly after his return, he became Bishop of Myra. He was later cast into prison during thepersecution of Diocletian, but was released after the accession of Constantine. An early list makes him an attendee at the First Council of Nicaea in 325, but he is never mentioned in any writings by people at the council. Late, unsubstantiated legends claim he was temporarily defrocked and imprisoned during Council for slapping the heretic Arius. Another famous late legend tells how he resurrected three children, who had been murdered and pickledin brine by a butcher planning to sell them as pork during a famine. Fewer than 200 years after Nicholas’s death, the St. Nicholas Church was built in Myra under the orders of Theodosius II over the site of the church, where he had served as bishop and Nicholas’s remains were moved to a sarcophagus in that church. In 1087, after theByzantine Empire lost control of the region to the Seljuk Turks, a group of merchants from Italian city of Bariremoved the major bones of Nicholas’s skeleton from his sarcophagus without authorization and brought them to their hometown, where they are now enshrined in the Basilica di San Nicola. The remaining bone fragments from the sarcophagus were later removed by Venetian sailors and taken to Venice during the First Crusade. His relics in Bari are said to exude a miraculous watery substance known as “manna” or “myrrh“, which some members of the faithful regard as possessing supernatural powers.

Biographical sourcesEdit

Very little at all is known about Saint Nicholas’s historical life.[9][10] Any writings Nicholas himself may have produced have been lost[11] and he is not mentioned by any contemporary chroniclers.[11] This is not surprising,[12] since Nicholas lived during a turbulent time in Roman history.[12]Furthermore, all written records kept on papyrus or parchment, which were less durable than modern paper,[13] texts needed to be periodically recopied by hand onto new material in order to be preserved.[13] Earliest mentions of Saint Nicholas indicate that, by the sixth century, his cult was already well-established.[14] Less than two hundred years after Saint Nicholas’s probable death, the Eastern Emperor Theodosius II(ruled 401 – 450) ordered the building of theChurch of Saint Nicholas in Myra, which thereby preserves an early mention of his name.[15] Byzantine historian Procopius also mentions that the Emperor Justinian I(ruled 527 – 565) renovated churches inConstantinople dedicated to Saint Nicholas and Saint Priscus,[16][15] which may have originally been built as early as c. 490.[16] Nicholas’s name also occurs as “Nicholas of Myra of Lycia” on the tenth line of a list of attendees at the Council of Nicaea recorded by the historian Theodoret in the Historiae Ecclesiasticae Tripartitae Epitome, written sometime between 510 and 515.[15][14] A single, offhand mention of Nicholas of Myra occurs in biography of another saint, Saint Nicholas of Sion,[10] who apparently took the name “Nicholas” to honor him.[10][17] The Life of Saint Nicholas of Sion, written around 250 years after Nicholas of Myra’s death, briefly mentions Nicholas of Sion visiting Nicholas’s tomb to pay homage to him.[10][17][14] According to Jeremy Seal, the fact that Nicholas had a tomb that could be visited serves as the almost solitary definitive proof that he was a real historical figure.[18][17]

In his treatise De statu animarum post mortem(written c. 583), the theologian Eustratius of Constantinople cites Saint Nicholas of Myra’s miracle of the three counts as evidence that souls may work independent from the body.[16] Eustratius credits a lost Life of Saint Nicholas as his source.[16] Nearly all the sources Eustratius references date from the late fourth century to early fifth century,[16]indicating the Life of Saint Nicholas to which he refers was probably written during this time period, shortly after Nicholas’s death.[16]The earliest complete account of Nicholas’s life that has survived to the present is a Life of Saint Nicholas, written in the early ninth century by Michael the Archimandrite (814–842), for 500 years after Nicholas’s probable death.[19] Despite its extremely late date, Michael the Archimandrite’s Life of Saint Nicholas is believed to rely on older written sources and oral traditions.[20][21] The identity and reliability of these sources, however, remains uncertain.[21] Catholic historian D. L. Cann and medievalist Charles W. Jones both consider Michael the Archimandrite’s Life the only account of Saint Nicholas that is likely to contain any historical truth.[19] Jona Lendering, a Dutch historian of classical antiquity, notes that Michael the Archimandrite’s Life does not contain a “conversion narrative“, which was unusual for saints’ lives of the period when it was written.[21] He argues it is possible Michael the Archimandrite relying on a source written before conversion narratives became popular, a positive indication of that source’s reliability.[21] He notes stories recount Michael the Archimandrite resemble stories told about the first-century AD Neopythagorean philosopher Apollonius of Tyana in the Life of Apollonius of Tyana, an eight-volume written in the early third century by the Greek writer Philostratus.[21]Christian storytellers were known to adapt older pagan legends and attribute them to Christian saints.[21] Apollonius’s hometown of Tyana was not far from Myra, it is highly probable that many popular stories about him became attached to Saint Nicholas.[21]

Life and Family Edit

Accounts of Saint Nicholas’s life agree on the essence of his story,[22] but modern historians disagree regarding how much of this story is rooted in historical fact.[22] Nicholas was born in the city ofPatara (Lycia et Pamphylia), a port on theMediterranean Sea,[23] in Asia Minor in the Roman Empire, to a wealthy family of GreekChristians.[22][24][25][26][27][23] Some accounts say parents were named Epiphanius (Ἐπιφάνιος, Epiphánios) and Johanna (Ἰωάννα, Iōánna),[28] but, according to others, they were named Theophanes (Θεοφάνης, Theophánēs) and Nonna (Νόννα,Nónna).[23] In some accounts, Nicholas’s uncle was bishop of the city of Myra, also in Lycia.[29] Recognizing his nephew’s calling, Nicholas’s uncle ordained him as a priest.[29]

Generosity and travelsEdit

The dowry for the three virgins (Gentile da Fabriano, c. 1425,Pinacoteca Vaticana, Rome) After his parents died, Nicholas is said to have distributed their wealth to the poor.[21][29] In his most famous exploit,[30] which is first attested in Michael the Archimandrite’s Life of Saint Nicholas, Nicholas heard of a devout man who once had been wealthy, but had lost all his money due to the “plotting and envy ofSatan.”[21][31] The man had three daughters, but could not afford a proper dowry for them.[31][21][29][d] This meant that they would remain unmarried and probably, in absence of any other possible employment, be forced to become prostitutes.[21][29][31] Hearing of the girls’ plight, Nicholas decided to help them, but, being too modest to help the family in public (or to save them the humiliation of accepting charity), he went to the house under the cover of night and threw a purse filled with gold coins through the window opening into the house.[21][29] He did the same thing the next two nights,[21][29][33] giving the man a total of three bags of gold, one for each of his three daughters.[21][29][33]

According to Michael the Archimandrite’s version, on the third night, the father of the three girls stayed up and caught Saint Nicholas in the act of the charity.[21][29][34] The father fell on his knees, thanking him.[21][29][34]Nicholas ordered him not to tell anyone about the gift.[21][29][34] The scene of Nicholas’s secret gift-giving is one of the most popular scenes in Christian devotional art, appearing in icons and frescoes from across Europe.[35]Although depictions vary depending on time and place,[35] Nicholas is often shown wearing a cowl while the daughters are typically shown in bed, dressed in their nightclothes.[35]Many renderings contain a cypress tree or a cross-shaped cupola.[35] History of  incident is disputed.[21]Adam C. English argues for a historical kernel to the legend, noting the story’s early attestation as well as the fact that no similar stories were told about any other Christian saints.[36] Jona Lendering, argues story’s authenticity, notes that a similar story is told in Philostratus’s Life of Apollonius of Tyana, in which Apollonius gives money to an impoverished father,[21] but states that Michael the Archimandrite’s account is markedly different.[21] Philostratus never mentions the fate of the daughters and, in his story, Apollonius’s generosity is purely motivated out of sympathy for the father;[21] in Michael the Archimandrite’s account, however, Saint Nicholas is instead expressly stated to be motivated by a desire to save the daughters from being sold into prostitution.[21] He argues that this desire to help women is most characteristic of fourth-century Christianity, due to the prominent role women played in the early Christian movement,[21] rather than Greco-Roman paganism or the Christianity of Michael the Archimandrite’s time in the ninth century, by which point the position of women had drastically declined.[21] Nicholas is said to have visited the Holy Land.[29] The ship he was on was nearly destroyed by a terrible storm,[29]but he rebuked the waves, causing the storm to subside.[29] Because of this miracle, Nicholas became venerated as the patron saint of sailors.[29]

Bishop of MyraEdit

Saint Nicholas Saves Three Innocents from Death (1888) by Ilya Repin

After visiting the Holy Land, Nicholas returned to Myra.[29] The bishop of Myra, who had succeeded Nicholas’s uncle, had recently died[29] and the priests in the city had decided that the first priest to enter the church that morning would be made bishop.[29] Nicholas went to the church to pray[29] and was therefore proclaimed the new bishop.[22][29][37]He is said to have been imprisoned and tortured during the Great Persecution under the Emperor Diocletian (ruled 284–305),[38][39]but was released under the orders of the Emperor Constantine the Great (ruled 306–337).[14] This story sounds plausible, but is not attested in the earliest sources and is therefore unlikely to be historical.[40] One of the earliest attested stories of Saint Nicholas is one in which he saves three innocent men from execution.[32][41]According to Michael the Archimandrite, three innocent men were condemned to death by the governor Eustathius. As they were about to be executed, Nicholas appeared, pushed the executioner’s sword to the ground, released them from their chains, and angrily chastised a juror who had accepted a bribe.[41] According to Jona Lendering, this story directly parallels an earlier story in Philostratus’s Life of Apollonius of Tyana, in which Apollonius prevents the execution of a man falsely condemned of banditry.[21]Michael the Archimandrite also tells another story in which the consul Ablabius accepted a bribe to put three famous generals to death, in spite of their actual innocence.[42] Saint Nicholas appeared to Constantine and Ablabius in dreams, informing Constantine of the truth and frightening Ablabius into releasing the generals, for fear of Hell.[42]

Later versions of the story are more elaborate, interweaving the two stories together.[32]According to one version, Emperor Constantine sent three of his most trusted generals, named Ursos, Nepotianos, and Herpylion, to put down a rebellion inPhrygia,[32] but a storm forced them to take refuge in Myra.[32] Unbeknownst to the generals, who were in the harbor, their soldiers further inland were fighting with local merchants and engaging in looting and destruction.[32] Nicholas confronted the generals for allowing their soldiers to misbehave[32] and the generals brought an end to the looting.[43] Immediately after the soldiers had returned to their ships, Nicholas heard word of the three innocent men about to be executed and the three generals aided him in stopping the execution.[44] Eustathius attempted to flee on his horse,[44] but Nicholas stopped his horse and chastised him for his corruption.[45] Eustathius, under the threat of being reported directly to the Emperor, repented of his corrupt ways.[46]Afterward, the generals succeeded in ending the rebellion and were promoted by Constantine to even higher status.[46] The generals’ enemies, however, slandered them to the consul Ablabius, telling him that they had not really put down the revolt, but instead encouraged their own soldiers to join it.[46]The generals’ enemies also bribed Ablabius and he had the three generals imprisoned.[46]Nicholas then made his dream appearances and the three generals were set free.[47]

Council of NicaeaEdit

Detail of a late medieval Greek Orthodox icon showing Saint Nicholas slapping Arius at the First Council of Nicaea, a famous incident whose historicity is disputed[48][21]

In 325, Nicholas is said to have attended theFirst Council of Nicaea,[14][21][49] where he is said to have been a staunch opponent ofArianism and devoted supporter ofTrinitarianism,[50] and one of the bishops who signed the Nicene Creed.[51] Nicholas’s attendance at the Council of Nicaea is attested early by Theodore the Lector’s list of attendees, which records him as the 151st attendee.[14][15] However, he is conspicuously never mentioned by Athanasius of Alexandria, the foremost defender of Trinitarianism at the Council, who knew all the notable bishops of the period,[52] nor is he mentioned by the historian Eusebius, who was also present at the council.[11] Adam C. English notes that lists of the attendees at Nicaea vary considerably, with shorter lists only including roughly 200 names, but longer lists including around 300.[36] Saint Nicholas’s name only appears on the longer lists, not the shorter ones.[36] Nicholas’s name appears on a total of three early lists, one of which, Theodore the Lector’s, is generally considered to be the most accurate.[21] According to Jona Lendering, there are two main possibilities:

  1. Nicholas did not attend the Council of Nicaea, but someone at an early date was baffled that his name was not listed and so added him to the list.[21] Many scholars tend to favor this explanation.[53][48]
  2. Nicholas did attend the Council of Nicaea, but, at an early date, someone decided to remove his name from the list, apparently deciding that it was better if no one remembered he had been there.[21]

A later legend, first attested in the fourteenth century, over 1,000 years after Nicholas’s death, holds that, during the Council of Nicaea, Nicholas lost his temper and slapped “a certain Arian” across the face.[48] On account of this, Constantine revoked Nicholas’s miter and pallium.[48] Stephen D. Greydanus concludes that, because of the story’s late attestation, it “has no historical value.”[48] Jona Lendering defends the historicity of the incident, arguing that, because it was embarrassing and reflects poorly on Nicholas’s reputation, it is inexplicable why later hagiographers would have made it up.[21] Later versions of the legend embellish it,[48] making the hereticArius himself[48][54] and having Nicholas punch him rather than merely slapping him with his open hand.[48] In these versions of the story, Nicholas is also imprisoned,[48][54] but Christ and the Virgin Mary appear to him in his cell.[48][54] He tells them he is imprisoned “for loving you”[48] and they free him from his chains and restore his vestments.[48][54] The scene of Nicholas slapping Arius is celebrated in Eastern Orthodox icons[48] and episodes of Saint Nichola at Nicaea are shown in a series of paintings from the 1660s in the Basilica di San Nicola in Bari.[53]

Other reputed miraclesEdit

Illustration of Saint Nicholas resurrecting the three butchered children from the Grandes Heures d’Anne de Bretagne (created between 1503 and 1508)One story tells how during a terrible famine, a malicious butcher lured three little children into his house, where he killed them, placing their remains in a barrel to cure, planning to sell them off as ham.[29][55] Nicholas, visiting the region to care for the hungry, saw through the butcher’s lies[29][56] and resurrected the pickled children by making the Sign of the Cross.[29][56] Adam C. English notes that the story of the resurrection of the pickled children is a late medieval addition to the legendary biography of Saint Nicholas[36] and that it is not found in any of his earliestLives.[36] Jona Lendering states that the story is “without any historical value.”[40]

Though this story seems bizarre and horrifying to modern audiences,[56] it was tremendously popular throughout the late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period and widely beloved by ordinary folk.[56][29][40] It is depicted in stained glass windows, wood panel paintings, tapestries, and frescoes.[56]Eventually, the scene became so widely reproduced that, rather than showing the whole scene, artists began to merely depict Saint Nicholas with three naked children and a wooden barrel at his feet.[56] According to English, eventually, people who had forgotten or never learned the story began misinterpreting representations of it.[57] The fact that Saint Nicholas was shown with children led people to conclude he was the patron saint of children;[57] meanwhile, the fact that he was shown with a barrel led people to conclude that he was the patron saint of brewers.[58]Another story, during a great famine that Myra experienced in 311–312, a ship was in the port at anchor, loaded with wheat for the Emperor in Constantinople. Nicholas invited the sailors to unload a part of the wheat to help in the time of need. The sailors at first disliked the request, because the wheat had to be weighed accurately and delivered to the Emperor. Only when Nicholas promised them that they would not suffer any loss for their consideration, the sailors agreed. When they arrived later in the capital, they made a surprising find: the weight of the load had not changed, although the wheat removed in Myra was enough for two full years and could even be used for sowing.[59]

RelicsEdit

GemileEdit

Ruins of the fourth-century church on the island of Gemile where some scholars believe Saint Nicholas was originally entombed[60]It is assumed Saint Nicholas originally buried in his home town of Myra, where his relics are later known to have been kept,[40][60] but some recent archaeological evidence indicates that Saint Nicholas may have originally been entombed in a rock-cut church located at the highest point on the small Turkish island ofGemile, only twenty miles away from his birthplace of Patara.[60] Nicholas’s name is painted on part of the ruined building.[60] In antiquity, the island was known as “Saint Nicholas Island”[60] and today it is known in Turkish as Gemile Adasi, meaning “Island of Sailors”, in reference to Saint Nicholas’s traditional role as the patron saint of seafarers.[60] The church was built in the fourth century, around the time of Nicholas’s death,[60] and is typical of saints’ shrines from that time period.[60] Nicholas was the only major saint associated with that part of Turkey.[60] The church where historians believe he was originally entombed at the western end of the great processional way.[60]

MyraEdit

The desecrated sarcophagus in the St. Nicholas Church, Demre, where Saint Nicholas’s bones were kept before they were removed and taken to Bari in 1087[61]In the mid-600s, Gemile was vulnerable to attack by Arab fleets, so Nicholas’s remains appear to have been moved from the island to the city of Myra, where Nicholas had served as bishop for most of his life.[60] Myra is located roughly forty kilometers, or twenty-five miles, east of Gemile[60] and its location further inland made it safer from seafaring Arab forces.[60] It is said that, in Myra, the relics of Saint Nicholas each year exuded a clear watery liquid which smelled like rose water, called manna, or myrrh, which was believed by the faithful to possess miraculouspowers.[62][63] Because it was widely known that all Nicholas’s relics were at Myra in their sealed sarcophagus, it was rare during this period for forgers of relics to claim to possess those belonging to Saint Nicholas.[64]A solemn bronze statue of the saint by Russian sculptor Gregory Pototsky was donated by the Russian government in 2000, and was given a prominent place in the square fronting the medieval Church of St. Nicholas. In 2005, mayor Süleyman Topçu had the statue replaced by a red-suited plastic Santa Claus statue, because he wanted an image more recognisable to foreign visitors. Protests from the Russian government against this were successful, and the bronze statue was returned (albeit without its original high pedestal) to a corner nearer the church.[65]On 28 December 2009, the Turkish government announced that it would be formally requesting the return of Saint Nicholas’s skeletal remains to Turkey from the Italian government.[66][67] Turkish authorities have asserted that Saint Nicholas himself desired to be buried at his episcopal town, and that his remains were illegally removed from his homeland. In 2017, an archaeological survey at St. Nicholas Church, Demre was reported to have found a temple below the modern church, with excavation work to be done that will allow researchers to determine whether it still holds Nicholas’s body.[68]

BariEdit

Basilica di San Nicola in Bari, Italy where most of the relics of Saint Nicholas are kept today[69]

After the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, the Byzantine Empire temporarily lost control over most of Asia Minor to the invading Seljuk Turks.[61] Myra, a popular place of pilgrimage because of Nicholas’s tomb, was overtaken by the Turks.[61][70] Because of the many wars and attacks in the region, some Christians were concerned that access to the tomb might become difficult.[61] Taking advantage of the confusion, in the spring of 1087, sailors from Bari in Apulia seized part of the remains of the saint from his burial church in Myra, over the objections of the Greek Orthodoxmonks.[61][71][72][73]Adam C. English describes the removal of the relics from Myra as “essentially a holy robbery”[74] and notes that the thieves were not only afraid of being caught or chased after by the locals, but also the power of Saint Nicholas himself.[74] Returning to Bari, they brought the remains with them and cared for them.[61] The remains arrived on 9 May 1087.[61][40] Two years later, Pope Urban IIinaugurated a new church, the Basilica di San Nicola, to Saint Nicholas in Bari.[40] The Pope himself personally placed Nicholas’s relics into the tomb beneath the altar of the new church.[40] The removal of Saint Nicholas’s relics from Myra and their arrival in Bari is reliably recorded by multiple chroniclers, including Orderic Vitalis[75][40] and 9 May continued to be celebrated every year by western Christians as the day of Nicholas’s “translation”.[40] Eastern Orthodox Christians and the Turks have both long regarded the unauthorized removal of the relics from Myra as a blatant theft,[61][76] but the people of Bari have instead maintained that it was a rescue mission to save the bones from the Turkish invaders.[61][77] A legend, shown on the ceiling of the Basilica di San Nicola, holds that Nicholas once visited Bari while he was alive and predicted that his bones would one day rest there.[76]Prior to the translation of Nicholas’s relics to Bari, his cult had been known in western Europe, but it had not been extremely popular.[40] In autumn of 1096, Norman andFrankish soldiers mustered in Bari in preparation for the First Crusade.[78] Although the Crusaders generally favored warrior saints, which Saint Nicholas was not, the presence of his relics in Bari made him materially accessible.[79] Nicholas’s associations with aiding travelers and seafarers also made him a popular choice for veneration.[80] Nicholas’s veneration by Crusaders helped promote his cult throughout western Europe.[81]After the relics were brought to Bari, they continued to produce “myrrh”, much to the joy of their new owners. Vials of myrrh from his relics have been taken all over the world for centuries, and can still be obtained from his church in Bari. Even up to the present day, a flask of manna is extracted from the tomb of Saint Nicholas every year on 6 December (the Saint’s feast day) by the clergy of the basilica. The myrrh is collected from a sarcophagus which is located in the basilica vault and could be obtained in the shop nearby. The liquid gradually seeps out of the tomb, but it is unclear whether it originates from the body within the tomb, or from the marble itself; since the town of Bari is a harbour, and the tomb is below sea level, there have been several natural explanations proposed for the manna fluid, including the transfer ofseawater to the tomb by capillary action.

In 1966, a vault in the crypt underneath the Basilica di San Nicola was dedicated as an Orthodox chapel with an iconostasis in commemoration of the recent lifting of the anathemas the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches had issued against each other during the Great Schism in 1054.[82] In May 2017, following talks between Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, a portion of the relics of St. Nicholas in Bari were sent on loan to Moscow. The relic was on display for veneration at Christ the Savior Cathedral before being taken to St. Petersburg in mid-June prior to returning to Bari.[83] More than a million people lined up in Moscow for a momentary glimpse of the gilded ark holding one of the saint’s ribs.[84]

VeniceEdit

The church of San Nicolò al Lido in Venice claims to hold roughly 500 bone fragments from Nicholas’s skeleton,[85][69] which scientific examinations have confirmed are anatomically compatible with the bones in the Basilica di San Nicola in Bari.[85][74]

The sailors from Bari only took the main bones of Nicholas’s skeleton, leaving all the minor fragments in the grave.[86] The city of Venice had interest in obtaining the remaining fragments of his skeleton[87] and, in 1044, they dedicated the San Nicolò al Lidomonastery basilica to him on the north end of the Lido di Venezia.[88] According to a single chronicle written by an anonymous monk at this monastery, in 1100, a fleet of Venetian ships accompanied by Bishop Henri sailed past Myra on their way to Palestine for theFirst Crusade.[89] Bishop Henri insisted for the fleet to turn back and set anchor in Myra.[89]The Venetians took the remaining bones of Saint Nicholas, as well as those of several other bishops of Myra, from the church there, which was only guarded by four Orthodox monks, and brought them to Venice, where they deposited them in the San Nicolò al Lido.[90] This tradition was lent credence in two scientific investigations of the relics in Bari and Venice, which confirmed that the relics in the two cities are anatomically compatible and may belong to the same person.[91][92][85] It is said that someone dies every time the bones of Saint Nicholas in Venice are disturbed.[75] The last time the bones were examined was in July 1992.[75]

Other locationsEdit

Tomb of Saint Nicholas near Thomastown, Ireland

Because of Nicholas’s skeleton’s long confinement in Myra, after it was brought to Bari, the demand for pieces of it rose.[63]Small bones quickly began to disperse across western Europe.[93] The sailors who had transported the bones gave one tooth and two fragments chipped from Nicholas’s sarcophagus to the Norman knight William Pantulf.[86] Pantulf took these relics to his hometown of Noron in Normandy, where they were placed in the local Church of St. Peter in June 1092.[86] In 1096, the duke of Apuliagave several bones of Saint Nicholas to the count of Flanders, which he then enshrined in the Abbey of Watten.[86] According to legend, in 1101, Saint Nicholas appeared in a vision to a French clerk visiting the shrine at Bari and told him to take one of his bones with him to his hometown of Port, near Nancy.[94] The clerk took a finger bone back with him to Port, where a chapel was built to Saint Nicholas.[94]Port became an important center of devotion in the Nicholas cult[94][40] and, in the fifteenth century, a church known as the Basilique Saint-Nicolas was built there dedicated to him.[94] The town itself is now known as “Saint Nicolas de Port” in honor of Nicholas.[40]

The clergy at Bari strategically gave away samples of Nicholas’s bones to promote the cult and enhance its prestige.[94] Many of these bones were initially kept inConstantinople,[94] but, after the Sack of Constantinople in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade, these fragments were scattered across western Europe.[94] A hand claimed to belong to Saint Nicholas was kept in the San Nicola in Carcere in Rome.[94] This church, whose name means “Saint Nicholas in Chains”, was built on the site of a former municipal prison.[58] Stories quickly developed about Nicholas himself having been held in that prison.[58] Mothers would come to the church to pray to Saint Nicholas for their jailed sons to be released[58] and repentant criminals would place votive offerings in the church.[58] As a result of this, Nicholas became the patron saint of prisoners and those falsely accused of crimes.[58] An index finger claimed to belong to Saint Nicholas was kept in a chapel along the Ostian Way in Rome.[94] Another finger was held inVentimiglia in Liguria.[94] Today, many churches in Europe, Russia, and the United States claim to possess small relics, such as a tooth or a finger bone.[95][69]

An Irish tradition states that the relics of Saint Nicholas are also reputed to have been stolen from Myra by local Norman crusading knights in the twelfth century and buried nearThomastown, County Kilkenny, where a stone slab marks the site locally believed to be his grave.[96] According to the Irish antiquarianJohn Hunt, the tomb probably actually belongs to a local priest from Jerpoint Abbey.[97]

Scientific analysisEdit

Saint Nicholas, Russian iconfrom first quarter of the 18th century (Kizhi monastery,Karelia)

Whereas the devotional importance of relicsand the economics associated with pilgrimages caused the remains of most saints to be divided up and spread over numerous churches in several countries, Saint Nicholas is unusual in that most of his bones have been preserved in one spot: his grave crypt in Bari. Even with the allegedly continuing miracle of the manna, thearchdiocese of Bari has allowed for one scientific survey of the bones.[98] In the late 1950s, while the crypt was undergoing much-needed restoration, the bones were removed from it for the first time since their internment in 1089.[39] A special Pontiffical Commission permitted Luigi Martino, a professor of human anatomy at the University of Bari, to examine the bones under the Commission’s supervision.[39] Martino took thousands of measurements, detailed scientific drawings, photographs, and x-rays.[39] These examinations revealed the saint to have died at over seventy years of age[39] and to have been of average height and slender-to-average build.[39] He also suffered from severe chronic arthritis in his spine and pelvis.[39]

In 2004, at the University of Manchester, researchers Caroline Wilkinson and Fraco Introna reconstructed the saint’s face based on Martino’s examination.[39] The review of the data revealed that the historical Saint Nicholas was 5’6″ in height and had a broken nose, which had partially healed, revealing that the injury had been suffered ante mortem.[99][100] The broken nose appeared to conform with hagiographical reports that Saint Nicholas had been beaten and tortured during the Diocletianic Persecution.[39] The facial reconstruction was produced by Dr. Caroline Wilkinson at the University of Manchester and was shown on a BBC2 TV program The Real Face of Santa.[99][100] In 2014, the Face Lab at Liverpool John Moores University produced an updated reconstruction of Saint Nicholas’s face.[39]

In 2017, two researchers from Oxford University, Professor Tom Higham and Doctor Georges Kazan, radiocarbon dated a fragment of a pelvis claimed to belong to Saint Nicholas.[85][101][69] The fragment originally came from a church in Lyons, France[85][101][69]and, at the time of testing, was in the possession of Father Dennis O’Neill, a priest from St Martha of Bethany Church in Illinois.[85][101][69] The results of the radiocarbon dating confirmed that the pelvis dates to the fourth century AD, around the same time that Saint Nicholas would have died, and is not a medieval forgery.[85][101][69]The bone was one of the oldest the Oxford team had ever examined.[85] According to Professor Higham, most of the relics the team has examined turn out to be too young to have actually belonged to the saint to whom they are attributed,[85] but he states, “This bone fragment, in contrast, suggests that we could possibly be looking at remains from St Nicholas himself.”[85] Doctor Kazan believes the pelvis fragment may come from the same individual as the skeleton divided between the churches in Bari and Venice,[85][101][69] since the bone they tested comes from the leftpubis,[85] and the only pelvis bone in the collection at Bari is the left ilium.[85] In the absence of DNA testing, however, it is not yet possible to know for certain whether the pelvis is from the same man.[101][69]

Veneration and celebrationsEdit

Among the Greeks and Italians he is a favorite of sailors, fishermen, ships and sailing. As such he has become over time the patron saint of several cities maintaining harbours. In centuries of Greek folklore, Nicholas was seen as “The Lord of the Sea”, often described by modern Greek scholars as a kind of Christianized version of Poseidon. In modern Greece, he is still easily among the most recognizable saints and 6 December finds many cities celebrating their patron saint. He is also the patron saint of all of Greece and particularly of the Hellenic Navy.[102]

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Saint Nicholas’s memory is celebrated on almost every Thursday of the year (together with theApostles) with special hymns to him which are found in the liturgical book known as theOctoechos. Soon after the transfer of Saint Nicholas’s relics from Myra to Bari, a Russian version of his Life and an account of the transfer of his relics were written by a contemporary to this event.[103] Devotionalakathists and canons have been composed in his honour, and are frequently chanted by the faithful as they ask for his intercession. He is mentioned in the Liturgy of Preparation during the Divine Liturgy (Eastern OrthodoxEucharist) and during the All-Night Vigil. Many Orthodox churches will have his icon, even if they are not named after him. In Oriental Orthodoxy, the Coptic Church observes the Departure of St. Nicholas on 10 Kiahk, or 10 Taḫśaś in Ethiopia, which corresponds to the Julian Calendar’s 6 December and Gregorian Calendar’s 19 December.[104][105]

Saint Nicholas depicted in a 14th-century English book of hours

Nicholas had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, a practice celebrated on his feast day, 6 December. For those who still observe the Julian calendarthe celebration will currently take place thirteen days later than it happens in theGregorian calendar and Revised Julian calendar.[106]

In late medieval England, on Saint Nicholas Day parishes held Yuletideboy bishop” celebrations. As part of this celebration, youths performed the functions of priests and bishops, and exercised rule over their elders. Today, Saint Nicholas is still celebrated as a great gift-giver in several Western European and Central European countries. According to one source, in medieval times nuns used the night of 6 December to deposit baskets of food and clothes anonymously at the doorsteps of the needy. According to another source, on 6 December every sailor or ex-sailor of the Low Countries (which at that time was virtually all of the male population) would descend to the harbour towns to participate in a church celebration for their patron saint. On the way back they would stop at one of the various Nicholas fairs to buy some hard-to-come-by goods, gifts for their loved ones and invariably some little presents for their children. While the real gifts would only be presented at Christmas, the little presents for the children were given right away, courtesy of Saint Nicholas. This and his miracle of him resurrecting the three butchered children made Saint Nicholas a patron saint of children and later students as well.[107]

Santa Claus evolved from Dutch traditions regarding Saint Nicholas (Sinterklaas). When the Dutch established the colony of New Amsterdam, they brought the legend and traditions of Sinterklaas with them.[108]Howard G. Hageman, of New Brunswick Theological Seminary, maintains that the tradition of celebrating Sinterklaas in New York existed in the early settlements of theHudson Valley, although by the early nineteenth century had fallen by the way.[109]St. Nicholas Park, located at the intersection of St. Nicholas Avenue and 127th Street, in an area originally settled by Dutch farmers, is named for St. Nicholas of Myra.[110]

In Albania, the bones of Albania’s greatest hero, George Kastrioti, were interred in the Church of Saint Nicholas in Lezha, Albania, upon his death.[111]

IconographyEdit

Russian Orthodox statue of Saint Nicolas, now in a corner near the church in Demre

Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of Russian merchants. Fresco byDionisius from the Ferapontov Monastery.

Saint Nicholas is a popular subject portrayed on countless Eastern Orthodox icons, particularly Russian and Serbian ones. He is depicted as an Orthodox bishop, wearing theomophorion and holding a Gospel Book. Sometimes he is depicted wearing the Eastern Orthodox mitre, sometimes he is bareheaded. Iconographically, Nicholas is depicted as an elderly man with a short, full, white, fluffy beard and balding head. In commemoration of the miracle attributed to him by tradition at the Council of Nicea, he is sometimes depicted with Christ over his left shoulder holding out a Gospel Book to him and the Theotokos over his right shoulder holding the omophorion. Because of his patronage of mariners, occasionally Saint Nicholas will be shown standing in a boat or rescuing drowning sailors; Medieval Chants and Polyphony, image on the cover of the Book of Hours of Duke of Berry, 1410 [112]

“Icon of Saint Nikola the Wonderworker”, Moscow Governorate

In depictions of Saint Nicholas from Bari, he is usually shown as dark-skinned, probably to emphasize his foreign origin.[113] The emphasis on his foreignness may have been intended to enhance Bari’s reputation by displaying that it had attracted the patronage of a saint from a far-off country.[113] In Roman Catholic iconography, Saint Nicholas is depicted as a bishop, wearing the insignia of this dignity: a bishop’s vestments, a mitre and a crozier. The episode with the three dowries is commemorated by showing him holding in his hand either three purses, three coins or three balls of gold. Depending on whether he is depicted as patron saint of children or sailors, his images will be completed by a background showing ships, children or three figures climbing out of a wooden barrel (the three slaughtered children he resurrected).[114]

In a strange twist, the three gold balls referring to the dowry affair are sometimes metaphorically interpreted as being oranges or other fruits. As in the Low Countries in medieval times oranges most frequently came from Spain, this led to the belief that the Saint lives in Spain and comes to visit every winter bringing them oranges, other ‘wintry’ fruits and tales of magical creatures.[114]

MusicEdit

In 1948, Benjamin Britten completed acantata, Saint Nicolas on a text by Eric Crozierwhich covers the saint’s legendary life in a dramatic sequence of events. A tenor soloist appears as Saint Nicolas, with a mixed choir, boys singers, strings, piano duet, organ and percussion.[115]

 

See alsoEdit

Notes

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Book of Martyrs. Catholic Book Publishing. 1948.
  2. ^ “Serbia”. Saint Nicholas Center. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  3. ^ “Who is St. Nicholas?”. St. Nicholas Center. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
  4. ^ “St. Nicholas”. Orthodox America. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
  5. ^ a b Seal 2005, p. 2.
  6. ^ Seal 2005, pp. 2–3.
  7. ^ Lloyd, John; Mitchinson, John (December 2008). The book of general ignorance (Noticeably stouter edition). Faber and Faber. p. 318. ISBN 978-0-571-24692-2.
  8. ^ Cunningham, Lawrence (2005). A brief history of saints. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 33.ISBN 978-1-4051-1402-8. The fourth-century Saint Nikolaos of Myra, Greek Anatolia (in present-day Turkey) spread to Europe through the port city of Bari in southern Italy… Devotion to the saint in the Low countries became blended with Nordic folktales, transforming this early Greek OrthodoxBishop into that Christmas icon, Santa Claus.
  9. ^ Wheeler 2010, pp. vii–x.
  10. ^ a b c d Seal 2005, pp. 14–15.
  11. ^ a b c Seal 2005, p. 14.
  12. ^ a b Wheeler 2010, pp. vii–viii.
  13. ^ a b Wheeler 2010, p. viii.
  14. ^ a b c d e f Blacker, Burgess & Ogden 2013, p. 250.
  15. ^ a b c d Wheeler 2010, p. ix.
  16. ^ a b c d e f Blacker, Burgess & Ogden 2013, p. 251.
  17. ^ a b c Wheeler 2010, p. x.
  18. ^ Seal 2005, p. 15.
  19. ^ a b Wheeler 2010, p. xi.
  20. ^ Introduction to Michael the Archimandrite’s Life of Saint Nicholas
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa abac ad ae af Lendering 2006, p. Nicholas of Myra.
  22. ^ a b c d Blacker, Burgess & Ogden 2013, p. 249.
  23. ^ a b c Collins, Ace (2009). Stories Behind Men of Faith. Zondervan. p. 121.ISBN 9780310564560. Nicholas was born in the Greek city of Patara around 270 AD. The son of a businessman named Theophanes and his wife, Nonna, the child’s earliest years were spent in Myra… As a port on the Mediterranean Sea, in the middle of the sea lanes that linked Egypt, Greece and Rome, Myra was a destination for traders, fishermen, and merchant sailors. Spawned by the spirit of both the city’s Greek heritage and the ruling Roman government, cultural endeavours such as art, drama, and music were mainstays of everyday life.
  24. ^ Domenico, Roy Palmer (2002). The regions of Italy: a reference guide to history and culture. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 21. ISBN 0-313-30733-4. Saint Nicholas (Bishop of Myra) replaced Sabino as the patron saint of the city… A Greek from what is now Turkey, he lived in the early fourth century.
  25. ^ Burman, Edward (1991). Emperor to emperor: Italy before the Renaissance. Constable. p. 126. ISBN 0-09-469490-7. For although he is the patron saint of Russia, and the model for a northern invention such as Santa Claus, Nicholas of Myra was a Greek.
  26. ^ Ingram, W. Scott; Ingram, Asher, Scott; Robert (2004). Greek Immigrants. Infobase Publishing. p. 24. ISBN 9780816056897. The original Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, was a Greek born in Asia Minor (now modern Turkey) in the fourth century. He was very religious from an early age and devoted his life to Christianity.
  27. ^ Lanzi, Gioia (2004). Saints and their symbols: recognizing saints in art and in popular images. Liturgical Press. p. 111.ISBN 0-8146-2970-9. Nicholas was born around 270 AD in Patara on the coast of what is now western Turkey.
  28. ^ Lanzi, Gioia (2004). Saints and their symbols: recognizing saints in art and in popular images. Liturgical Press. p. 111.ISBN 0-8146-2970-9. Nicholas was born around 270 AD in Patara on the coast of what is now western Turkey; his parents were Epiphanius and Joanna.
  29. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w xFerguson 1976, p. 136.
  30. ^ Bennett, William J. (2009). The True Saint Nicholas: Why He Matters to Christmas. Howard Books. pp. 14–17. ISBN 978-1-4165-6746-2.
  31. ^ a b c Michael the Archimandrite, Life of Saint Nicholas Chapters 10–11
  32. ^ a b c d e f g Wheeler 2010, p. 38.
  33. ^ a b Michael the Archimandrite, Life of Saint Nicholas Chapters 12–18
  34. ^ a b c Michael the Archimandrite, Life of Saint Nicholas Chapters 16–18
  35. ^ a b c d Seal 2005, p. 1.
  36. ^ a b c d e English & Crumm 2012.
  37. ^ Faber, Paul (2006). Sinterklaas overseas: the adventures of a globetrotting saint. KIT Publishers. p. 7. ISBN 9789068324372. The historical figure that served as model for the Dutch Sinterklaas was born around 270 AD in the port of Patara in the Greek province of Lycia in Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). His Greek name Nikolaos means something along the lines of “victor of the people”.
  38. ^ Blacker, Burgess & Ogden 2013, pp. 249–250.
  39. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Wilkinson 2018, p. 163.
  40. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Lendering 2006, p. Medieval Saint.
  41. ^ a b Michael the Archimandrite, Life of Saint Nicholas Chapter 31
  42. ^ a b Michael the Archimandrite, Life of Saint Nicholas Chapter 33
  43. ^ Wheeler 2010, pp. 38–39.
  44. ^ a b Wheeler 2010, p. 39.
  45. ^ Wheeler 2010, pp. 39–40.
  46. ^ a b c d Wheeler 2010, p. 40.
  47. ^ Wheeler 2010, p. 41.
  48. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Greydanus 2016.
  49. ^ Wheeler & Rosenthal, “St Nicholas: A Closer Look at Christmas”, (Chapter 1), Nelson Reference & Electronic, 2005
  50. ^ Federer, William J. (2002). There Really Is a Santa Claus – History of St. Nicholas & Christmas Holiday Traditions. Amerisearch, Inc. p. 26. ISBN 978-0965355742.
  51. ^ Davis, Leo Donald (1990). The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325–787) Their History and Theology. Liturgical Press. p. 58.ISBN 0-8146-5616-1.
  52. ^ Wheeler 2010, p. xii.
  53. ^ a b Seal 2005, p. 93.
  54. ^ a b c d Wheeler 2010, p. 35.
  55. ^ “St. Nicholas Center ::: Saint Nicolas”.http://www.stnicholascenter.org.
  56. ^ a b c d e f English 2016, p. 132.
  57. ^ a b English 2016, pp. 132–133.
  58. ^ a b c d e f English 2016, p. 133.
  59. ^ Le Saux, Françoise Hazel Marie (2005).A companion to Wace. D.S.Brewer. ISBN 978-1-84384-043-5.
  60. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Keys 1993.
  61. ^ a b c d e f g h i Jones 1978, pp. 176–193.
  62. ^ de Ceglia, Francesco Paolo: “The science of Santa Claus : discussions on the Manna of Nicholas of Myra in the modern age”. InNuncius – 27 (2012) 2, p. 241-269
  63. ^ a b Seal 2005, pp. 135–136.
  64. ^ Seal 2005, p. 135.
  65. ^ “Saint Nicholas”. St. John Cantius Parish. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  66. ^ “Turks want Santa’s bones returned”.BBC News. 28 December 2009. Retrieved23 May 2010.
  67. ^ “Santa Claus’s bones must be brought back to Turkey from Italy”.Todayszaman.com. 28 December 2009. Archived from the original on 11 December 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  68. ^ “Tomb of St Nicholas may have been discovered in Turkey”. ir.ishtimes.com. 4 October 2017. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  69. ^ a b c d e f g h i Cullen 2017.
  70. ^ Seal 2005, p. 101.
  71. ^ Ott, Michael (1907). “Nicholas of Myra”.The Catholic Encyclopedia. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  72. ^ Butler, Albin (1860). Lives of the Saints.2.
  73. ^ Wheeler, Joe L.; Rosenthal, Jim (2005). “Chapter 1”. St. Nicholas: A Closer Look at Christmas. Thomas Nelson.ISBN 9781418504076.
  74. ^ a b c Medrano 2017.
  75. ^ a b c Seal 2005, p. 131.
  76. ^ a b Seal 2005, pp. 93–94.
  77. ^ Seal 2005, pp. 100–102.
  78. ^ Seal 2005, pp. 114–115.
  79. ^ Seal 2005, p. 115.
  80. ^ Seal 2005, pp. 115–116.
  81. ^ Seal 2005, pp. 114–116.
  82. ^ Seal 2005, p. 117.
  83. ^ “Major relics of St Nicholas visit Russia”, Vatican Radio, May 21, 2017
  84. ^ Filipov, David. “Why more than a million Russians have lined up to see a piece of the rib of Saint Nicholas”, The Washington Post, June 29, 2017
  85. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m University of Oxford 2017.
  86. ^ a b c d Seal 2005, p. 136.
  87. ^ Seal 2005, pp. 125–127.
  88. ^ Seal 2005, pp. 125–126.
  89. ^ a b Seal 2005, p. 127.
  90. ^ Seal 2005, pp. 127–136.
  91. ^ “Ci sono ossa di san Nicola anche a Venezia?” [There are also bones of St. Nicholas in Venice?]. enec.it (in Italian). Europe – Near East Center. Archived from the original on 9 December 2012. Retrieved2 March 2017.
  92. ^ “Ma le ossa sono tutte a Bari?” [Are all the bones in Bari?]. enec.it (in Italian). Europe – Near East Center. Archived from the originalon 8 December 2012. Retrieved 2 March2017.
  93. ^ Seal 2005, pp. 136–137.
  94. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Seal 2005, p. 137.
  95. ^ “Relics of St. Nicholas – Where are They?”. Saint Nicholas Center. Retrieved11 February 2014.
  96. ^ “Heritage Conservation Plan: Newtown Jerpoint County Kilkenny” (PDF). An Chomhairle Oidhreachta/The Heritage Council. 2007. p. 81. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 October 2016. Retrieved2 March 2017.
  97. ^ Hunt 1974.
  98. ^ “Anatomical Examination of the Bari Relics”. Saint Nicholas Center. Retrieved6 December 2013.
  99. ^ a b “The Real Face of St. Nicholas”. St. Nicholas Center. St. Nicholas Center. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  100. ^ a b “The Real Face of Santa”. (navigate to 4th of 4 pictures)
  101. ^ a b c d e f Coughlan 2017.
  102. ^ “Greece”. St. Nicholas Center. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  103. ^ “Feasts and Saints, Commemorated on May 9”. Orthodox Church in America. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  104. ^ “St. Nicholas the Wonderworker”.Synaxarium (Lives of Saints). Coptic Orthodox Church Network. Retrieved 13 December2013.
  105. ^ “Commemorations for Kiahk 10”. Coptic Orthodox Church Network. Retrieved13 December 2013.
  106. ^ Carus, Louise (1 October 2002). The Real St. Nicholas. Quest Books. p. 2.ISBN 9780835608138. In Myra, the traditional St. Nicholas Feast Day is still celebrated on December 6, which many believe to be the anniversary of St. Nicholas’s death. This day is honored throughout Western Christendom, in lands comprising both Catholic and Protestant communities (in the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Saint’s feast date is December 19). On December 5, the eve of St. Nicholas Day, some American boys and girls put their shoes outside their bedroom door and leave a small gift in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon will be there.
  107. ^ McKnight, George H. (1917). St. Nicholas: His Legend and His Role in the Christmas Celebration and Other Popular Customs. New York: Putnam’s. pp. 37–52.ISBN 978-1115125055. Retrieved 25 August2016.
  108. ^ Joe Wheeler & Jim Rosenthal, “St. Nicholas A Closer Look at Christmas”, (Chapter 8), Nelson Reference & Electronic, 2005.
  109. ^ Hageman, Howard G., 1979. “Review ofSaint Nicholas of Myra, Bari, and Manhattan: Biography of a Legend”, Theology Today, Princeton. Princeton Theological Seminary. vol. 36, issue 3 Archived 7 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  110. ^ “St. Nicholas Park”, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation
  111. ^ Elsie, Robert. “Scanderbeg and Ballaban”. AlbanianLiterature.net. Retrieved25 August 2016.
  112. ^ Wheeler, Rosenthal, “St Nicholas: A Closer Look at Christmas”, (Page 96), Nelson Reference & Electronic, 2005.
  113. ^ a b Seal 2005, p. 111.
  114. ^ a b “St. Nicholas”. St. John Cantius Parish.
  115. ^ “Saint Nicolas / Op. 42. Cantata for tenor solo, chorus (SATB), semi-chorus (SA), four boy singers and string orchestra, piano duet, percussion and organ. (1948)”. Britten-Pears Foundation. Retrieved 5 December2018.

BibliographyEdit

A CHRISTMAS FOR BEREAVED

IMG-20181223-WA0002.jpgChristmas is very difficult during the course of bereavement but is part of natural feelings of grief. Intensity and painful complexity of emotions means a feelings of their loss is so overwhelming with changes of sadness like storms of the century equivalent to emotional tsunami. The tides of emotions, buffets memories surrounding the lives of the bereaved. Emotionally pulled apart not wanting to celebrate Christmas and to shut down all things to grieve. Being with loved ones has the double edge so interacting around people joyous and happy is stark reminder of own loss.  Doing something lovely with friends or family can generate powerful feelings of emptiness and sadness though the intention is exactly opposite. During such times family relationship is most challenging so not surprising profound feeling of loss or is vulnerable spending time with family members at Christmas. It may trigger some complex emotional responses by unexpected little things surprising people like going shopping and noticing loved one’s favourite items biscuits bought at Christmas, receiving a Christmas card from those who didn’t know. Sometimes being with friends and family feels like pressure but desperately don’t want to be alone. May put brave face on things when with others is real struggle to be fully present so tries harder to be happy. IMG-20181223-WA0003.jpgRemember whatever stage one grieves the process, life goes on. At times, finds forgetful of things lacking concentration all these things are completely natural. However organized at Christmas may not find it easy in a first year but that’s okaySometimes remembering the good times had with someone is almost too hard to bear in the face of their absence as loss feels too great. It’s important to remember intensity of one’s feeling will always be relative to quality of depth of a relationship had with someone. The experiences of intense pain, sadness or loss of someone is testimony to quality of relationship. Is testimony of the love and deep regard one had for them. Loss experienced is not only the loss of person but also a whole bunch of what I would call secondary losses as well. A good way to picture this is to see deeper layers all around the inside and outside of loads of other things lost alongside a person. Not only the things done with them but things associated with them or loss of future possibilities. Christmas is a big reminder of past or present. Christmas time of joy brings guilt feeling due to bereavement. Feeling sad to enjoy with family and friends for being happy and guilt to the person lost for having a good time. Sometimes guilt is feeling OK as though it must not be so. Being OK even for a moment seems disrespectful to the person lost or feeling guilty if starting to relax and momentarily forget them. 1545612581011-1598804135.jpgMechanised coping distracts the mind from thinking about them. Yet just one second somehow feels as if forgetting them forever. Such thoughts, feelings, pain completely natural though many are intense and contradictory against practical life experiences. And one is careful not to be seen too happy after bereavement so is sad to show feeling grief. Being careful too much affects a healing process so needs time of natural vulnerability balanced. If recently lost any person, first Christmas without them is managed by doing following:

  • Take time out whenever you need it and ask others to respect this.
  • Share as little or as much as you wish with people, grief is a private affair and deeply personal. We have the right to our dignity.
  • Make a specific time to remember them and put a time boundary around it.
  • Dedicate your thoughts to them during this time and do something to mark their passing. Write them a card or a letter, or go for a walk, whatever feels most appropriate, and honor the time that you had together.
  • Give your feelings your full attention. Acknowledge and validate the way that you feel and however distressing remember that the way that you feel is testimony to the love that you had for them.
  • At the end of the time that you have allowed for this in your day, light a candle and then go and have as good a time as you can. Because this is what they would have wanted for you.
  • No matter how raw the pain of loss is remember you will heal, recover and be happy again after death of a loved one. The living don’t marry dead person so death do you part.
  • Be grateful for the family you have and Thank God for HIS GIFT of your life given you. Jesus still Truly LOVES you from His Deepest part of His HEART.
  • You will see loved ones in future.

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Jenny Florence enjoys conversation with readers. Log on to her website, a-z-of-emotionalhealth.com to listen to Audio Talks about all aspects of Emotional Health. Her new audio book, Emotional Health, the Voice of Our Soul, available on Amazon and available in Kindle.