1 Religious Icon, Luca Signorelli’s Saint Nicholas of Bari saving three knights, with footnotes #11
The reign of Constantine The Great was not always stable. Borders had to be protected, laws enforced and if unrest broke out or even a sniff of conspiracy surfaced, Constantine also dealt with these matters seriously and harshly. Often though he left law enforcement in regional centres to be carried out by governors and local authorities.
In the story of the three condemned innocents, the corrupt prefect Eustathios had accepted bribes to bring about the deaths of three men. As word had spread of the planned execution of these three innocent men, Nicholas made it his business to save them and headed for where a great crowd had gathered to watch the executioner about to swing his sword across the neck of the first man. Arriving on the scene, he was disgusted to see the three men kneeling, heads bowed and their hands tied behind their back. Nicholas then stepped in front of the executioner and grabbed the sword from him and threw it to the ground. The courageous bishop was not one to be intimidated by the power of others, especially the power of the corrupt. Nicholas then stormed into the prefect’s office and demanded that the charges against the three men be dropped. Nicholas also threatened to inform the Emperor of the prefect’s involvement in the crime against the innocent men. Frightened, Eustathios begged Nicholas for forgiveness and quickly pardoned the three condemned innocents. More on Saint Nicholas of Bari saving three knights from execution
Saint Nicholas (15 March 270–6 December 343), also called Nikolaos of Myra, was a historic 4th-century Christian saint and Greek Bishop of Myra, in Asia Minor. Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker. His reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints, and his legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus through Sinterklaas.
The historical Saint Nicholas, as known from strict history: He was born at Patara, Lycia in Asia Minor. In his youth he made a pilgrimage to Egypt and the Palestine area. Shortly after his return he became Bishop of Myra and was later cast into prison during the persecution of Diocletian. He was released after the accession of Constantine and was present at the Council of Nicaea.
He was buried in his church at Myra, and by the 6th century his shrine there had become well-known. In 1087 Italian sailors or merchants stole his alleged remains from Myra and took them to Bari, Italy; this removal greatly increased the saint’s popularity in Europe, and Bari became one of the most crowded of all pilgrimage centres. Nicholas’s relics remain enshrined in the 11th-century basilica of San Nicola at Bari. More of Saint Nicholas
Luca Signorelli (c. 1445–16 October 1523) was an Italian Renaissance painter who was noted in particular for his ability as a draughtsman and his use of foreshortening. His massive frescoes of the Last Judgment (1499–1503) in Orvieto Cathedral are considered his masterpiece. More on Luca Signorelli
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