Nicasius of Dijon

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Fresco depicting the First Council of Nicaea.

Nicasius of Die (4th century) was a 4th-century bishop from Gaul, present-day France. As Bishop of Die[1] he is notable to history as one of only five Catholic bishops from the Western part of the Roman Empire who attended the First Council of Nicaea in 325.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

Sainthood[edit]

Bishop Nicaise of Die is also considered a Saint in the Roman Catholic Church with a feast day celebrated on 20 March and in the Orthodox Church, is celebrated on the "Sunday of the Fathers of the first Council" .[8]

Bishopric[edit]

Nicaise was the earliest attested Bishop of Bishop of Die, Drôme.[9] although the largely discredited 17th century historian Polycarpe of the River says he was the successor to St Mars of Die bishop c.220AD, and then St Higer. These prior bishops are not known from other sources.

The same Polycarpe of the River claims to have found in a life of St Marcel de Die, a letter from the Council of Nicaea for Nicaise to give to the bishops of Gaules. In this, no trace has ever been found of this letter.[10]

Attendance at Nicaea[edit]

At first glance Nicaise was an unlikely attendee at the Council of Nicaea. The Latin churches were represented by only four delegations, Die, of Rome, of Carthage and that of Cordoba (whose bishop Hosius, was the adviser of the emperor Constantine). We see that these four seats were not random, they represent the four regions of the West: Italy, Africa, Spain (Iberia) and Gaul. It should have been expect that Gauls' Bishops send their primate the archbishop of Lyon, Maxime (or Tetrad). Instead they sent the bishop of a small and obscure bishopric. It has been conjectured that[11] the primate was unavailable due to health or age and Nicaise, having Greek parents was chosen for his knowledge of greek language.[12]

Burial[edit]

According Lenain Tillemont, in the eleventh century Die Cathedral would have housed the relics of Nicaise.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Duchesne, L., Fastes Episcopaux d'Ancienne Gaule tome I - Provinces du Sud-est
  2. ^ Dean Dudley, The History of the First Council of Nice: A Worlds Christian Convention, A. D. 325 with a Life of Constantine (Cosimo, Inc., 2007) Page 49
  3. ^ Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume 3 (Library of Alexandria, 1966) online
  4. ^ Robert Payne, The Holy Fire: The Story of the Fathers of the Eastern Church (St Vladimir's Seminary Press 1980) page 79
  5. ^ W. A. Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers: Pre-Nicene and Nicene eras. (Liturgical Press, 1970) page 280
  6. ^ The First Council of Nicaea at the Catholic Encyclopedia
  7. ^ He is sometimes confused with the Martyr and Saint Nicasius of Rheims who died eighty years later in nearby Rheims.
  8. ^ "Les petits Bollandistes, vol 17 (1876), p 448,
  9. ^ par J. Nadal, Histoire hagiologique, ou Vies des Saints et des Bienheureux du Diocèse de Valence", ( 1855), p. 56.
  10. ^ "Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire ecclésiastique des six premiers siècles", par Lenain de Tillemont, Tome 6, troisième partie, p. 687,
  11. ^ "D'où était évêque Nicaise, l'unique représentant des Gaules au Concile de Nicée ?" par G. Morin, in Revue Bénédictine vol XVI, 1899, p. 72.
  12. ^ par Lenain de Tillemont, "Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire ecclésiastique des six premiers siècles", Vol 6, (troisième partie, 1709) p. 687.