Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Church of Saint Nicholas

December 22nd, 2010, Promulgated by Bernie

*”The Church of St. Nicholas in ancient Myra (modern Kale or Demre) is a ruined Byzantine church containing the tomb of St. Nicholas of Myra (a.k.a. Santa Claus), as well as many fine mosaics and murals.

fig. 1 View of the apse, altar and clergy 'bleachers'

fig. 2 View from the apse wall over the clergy seats, the altar and into the nave of the church. The columns once held up the ciborium that covered the altar.

fig. 3 Close-up view of altar and clergy bleachers from just in front of altar. Altars were still free-standing and square in the eight century.

“St. Nicholas was born in Patara around 300, became bishop of Myra, and died around 350. The saint was buried in Myra upon his death, and a church may have been built over his tomb soon after. If so, it would have been badly damaged in the earthquake of 529 and repaired along with Myra’s other buildings later in the 6th century under Emperor Justinian. Damaged in the Arab raids of the 7th century, the Church of St. Nicholas of Myra was rebuilt in the 8th century; it is this structure that largely survives today.

“The church suffered another Arab attack in 1034 and was restored in 1043 by Emperor Constantine IX, at which time a walled monastery was added nearby. In 1087, a group of Italian merchants pushed past the monks and broke open the saint’s sarcophagus. They stole the relics and took them to Bari, Italy, where they were placed in a shrine in the cathedral.” They were just recently returned.




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5 Responses to “Church of Saint Nicholas”

  1. Diane Elizabeth says:

    House Churches earliest Churches where we “Broke Bread” a term for Eucharist.

    “Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes” (Acts 2:46a). Chapter Two of Acts of the Apostles offers a brief yet curious insight into the lives of the earliest Christians—those who either knew Jesus personally or who were convinced by Peter’s preaching at Pentecost and afterwards. The verse quoted above suggests that the first Christians met in various homes to “break bread” (the oldest term for celebrating the Eucharist) and to deepen their faith.

    “When he [Peter] realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who is called Mark, where there were many people gathered in prayer” (Acts 12:12).

    “Greet Prisca and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus…greet also the church at their house” (Romans 16:3,5).

    “Give greetings to the brothers in Laodicea and to Nympha and to the church in her house” (Colossians 4:15).

    “Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon, our beloved and our co-worker, to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church at your house” (Philemon verses 1-2).

    Love our faith keep the spirit of House Churches Alive!

  2. Bernie says:

    Hi Diane Elizabeth.
    I’m not entirely sure why you posted this comment.
    At any rate, the topic of the ‘house churches’ is very interesting, but very frustrating in that there is little physical evidence to study. What I have learned:
    1. The earliest Christians in Jerusalem continued to frequent the Temple in Jerusalem -nearly up to the year 77.
    2. Christians continued to attend the local synagogues even if they were ‘Greeks’ (Gentiles). First, participating alongside the non-Christian Jews, then in separate ‘services’ held in the same synagogue, and finally in separate buildings sometimes even attached to the synagogue.
    3. At about the year 100, Christians (Jewish and Gentile) were, for the most part, totally separated from the synagogues
    4. Initially the ‘breaking of bread’ was held in private homes as, obviously, it could not take place in the Temple or synagogues. As the ritual was undeveloped it took place in the context of the Jewish friendship meal.
    5. Because of abuses the agape meal was eventually dropped from the blessing and breaking of the bread.
    6. As the congregations grew, private homes continued to be used but differed in that they were often donated by wealthier Christians –and so were larger– and used exclusively for worship and as centers for teaching and distribution of charity. It is this type of ‘church’ that we see in the ruins of the church at Dura-Europos. In most Roman cities and towns –and Dura-Europos (ca. 230) was a frontier garrison town– private homes used for religious purposes had to be licensed and had to display a plaque on the wall by the front door to indicate it was authorized to operate. The church at Dura-Europos has such a plaque.
    7. We know that at some point Christians began constructing separate church buildings –probably at least between 240 and 300 (during the Peace of the Church)– because they are referred to by both imperial sources and Christian writers. A church basilica, in fact, existed within sight of Diocletian’s palace in Spit (ca. 300).
    8. There are existing ruins of ‘house’ churches in Rome. The oldest was actually a converted fabric dying establishment.
    9. The tituli churches of Rome were homes of the wealthy that had been transformed into buildings for worship, teaching, and coordination of charity. There is some thinking that a few buildings were reserved for worship while others served a more community center function. Archpriests had responsibility for the tituli churches.
    I’m not sure if any of this addresses your comment or is helpful. Keep in mind that Holy Scripture is one part of Sacred Tradition. In fact, once Scripture began to be formalized it was viewed as verifying unwritten Tradition –the liturgical practices, teachings and prayers as well as theologians’ comments about the same. Scripture in the earliest centuries was not viewed as separate from Tradition (the term ‘tradition’ was not yet used, however) but rather a part of Tradition; it was all of one piece.

  3. Bernie says:

    “…up to the year 77”
    Sorry, that should read “70”, not 77.

  4. Diane Elizabeth says:

    Bernie: I post comments to illuminate, educate, debate…and you why do you post?
    John Paul II, Mulieris dignitatem 27

    In the history of the Church, even from earliest times, there were side-by-side with men a number of women, for whom the response of the Bride to the Bridegroom’s redemptive love acquired full expressive force. First we see those women who had personally encountered Christ and followed him. After his departure, together with the Apostles, they “devoted themselves to prayer” in the Upper Room in Jerusalem until the day of Pentecost. On that day the Holy Spirit spoke through “the sons and daughters” of the People of God, thus fulfilling the words of the prophet Joel (cf. Acts 2:17). These women, and others afterwards, played an active and important role in the life of the early Church, in building up from its foundations the first Christian community–and subsequent communities–through their own charisms and their varied service. The apostolic writings note their names, such as Phoebe, “a deaconess of the Church at Cenchreae” (cf. Rom 16:1), Prisca with her husband Aquila (cf. 2 Tim 4:19), Euodia and Syntyche (cf. Phil 4:2), Mary, Tryphaena, Persis, and Tryphosa (cf. Rom 16:6, 12). St. Paul speaks of their “hard work” for Christ, and this hard work indicates the various fields of the Church’s apostolic service, beginning with the “domestic Church.” For in the latter, “sincere faith” passes from the mother to her children and grandchildren, as was the case in the house of Timothy (cf. 2 Tim 1:5).

    “Domestic Church” = House Church

  5. Bernie says:

    Diane Elizabeth,
    I have no idea what your comments have to do with the post.

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