By S.R. Llewelyn

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Extra resources for New Documents Illustrating Early Christianity: Inscriptions and Papyri First Published in 1980-81 Vol 6

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As the edifice began to take shape brick by brick, the belly of Euphorsyna began to bulge. Their prayers had been answered—Euphorsyna was pregnant. The chapel was completed, and Apollonius, the local bishop, dedicated it to Nicholas. The relic taken from Myra was affectionately placed inside. A son was born to the happy couple exactly one year to the day after Nicholas died. ”78 So the little family enjoyed contentment and prosperity. Seven years later, however, as grand preparations were being made by Cethron and Euphorsyna to celebrate St.

Water was ladled onto his head not once but three times, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Words of blessing and covenant were spoken over him. Although historians are uncertain as to exactly when and how the practice of infant baptism started, it was most certainly common by the time of Nicholas. Origen (185–254) casually mentions infant baptism as the customary procedure of his day, the early 200s,25 suggesting that the practice was widespread before Origen. However, it was not a consistent or universally followed rule—although Rufinus of Aquileia and Jerome were both reared in Christian homes, for instance, they were not baptized as babies but 31 The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus 32 instead submitted to the rite as adults.

Gaius and Aristarchus were released unharmed. Although Demetrius and the good citizens of Ephesus could not have known it that day, the winds of change were already stirring. In the year 262, Gothic invaders would descend from the Black Sea in swarms, with their coarse hair tied back in Suebian knots as they swung double-edged swords in circles over their heads. The settled, urban populations could only run in terror from this plague. The Gothic-born historian Jordanes relates in passing that the “leaders of the Goths took ship and sailed across the strait of the Hellespont to Asia.

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