First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…

Nicholas (Nicolas), of illustrious parentage, was a citizen of the city of Panthera (Patere), in the country of Lycia (Licie). While still a child and nursed by his mother, he only suckled from his mother's breasts twice a week, on Wednesday and Friday. Now when he was a young man, after he had lost both his parents, among other acts of virtue he performed the following memorable acts. His neighbor, an upright man, was, because of his poverty, about to give up his three daughters of marriageable age to prostitution. When this came to the notice of this holy man, he, out of sympathy, at night secretly threw a small quantity of gold through the window of the poor man's house. And with this he married off his first daughter. He did likewise with the others. Afterwards he was elected bishop of Myra. He was humble, kind in admonition, earnest in punishment, and circumspect in his speech to women. At length he began to appear in miracles, so that those who invoked his name were helped—particularly mariners. Full of days, he died in blessedness, and many sick people were healed by the oil that flowed out of his grave. We celebrate his feast day on the eighth day of the Ides of December.[Nicholas was born at Panthera, a city of the province of Lycia, Asia Minor. On account of his popularity, more legends surround him than perhaps any other saint of this time. His parents were Christians. After they had been married many years, a son was granted them in recompense of the prayers and tears and the alms that they had offered up continually. He no sooner knew what it was to feed than he knew what it was to fast, and every Wednesday and Friday he would take the breast but once. His parents, seeing him full of holy thoughts, dedicated him to the service of God. After he was ordained a priest, he became still more remarkable for sobriety and humility, more modest in countenance, grave in speech, and rigorous in self-denial. While still a youth, his parents died of the plague, and he became sole heir to their vast riches. He gave liberally to the needy. There dwelt in the city a nobleman who had three daughters. He became so poor that there remained no means of obtaining food for his daughters except by sacrificing them to a life of prostitution. Meanwhile the maidens wept continually, not knowing what to do. Hearing of their plight, Nicholas, one night when the maidens were asleep and their father sat watching and weeping, took a handful of gold, tied it in a handkerchief, and threw it into an open window, and it fell at the feet of the father. With this he dowered his eldest daughter. And so Nicholas did on a second and a third occasion. After some years he took a voyage to the Holy Land. A terrible storm came up, and the sailors begged him to save them. He rebuked the storm, and it ceased. Returning from Palestine he journeyed to Myra, where he lived in obscurity and humility for some time. But one day the bishop of the city died, and Nicholas was chosen his successor. As such he practiced every saintly virtue, particularly charity, and later performed many miracles. Nicholas was, after Jesus and the Virgin Mary, perhaps the most popular Christian religious figure in the Middle Ages. Indeed, Saint Nicholas eventually metamorphizes via political cartoonist Thomas Nast's drawings, a nineteenth-century poem ("'Twas the Night Before Christmas'"), and an early 20th-century advertising campaign by the Coca-Cola company) into the modern Santa Claus, a figure who has in some ways (at least in the United States) eclipsed Mary and Jesus—at least during the month of December.]

Donatus, a heretic from Africa['Africa' in Latin usually refers to North Africa, specifically the lands of Libya and Tunisia.], wrote much against the Christians at this time, and with his poisoned teachings he misled almost all Africa and Judea. He erred, saying the Son was less than the Father, and the Holy Spirit less than the Son. Finally, in great distress, he was driven out of Carthage. He wrote many things, especially a book on the Holy Spirit containing the Arian doctrine.[Donatus, bishop of Casa Nigra, Numidia, originated the Donatist movement in the fourth century CE. The predisposing causes of the Donatist schism were the belief that the validity of all sacerdotal acts depended upon the personal character of the agent and the question, arising out of that belief, as to the eligibility for sacerdotal office of the traditores, or those who had delivered up their copies of the Scriptures under the compulsion of the Diocletian persecution; the exciting cause was the election of a successor to Mensurius, bishop of Carthage, who died in 311. He had held moderate views as to the treatment of the traditores, and a strong fanatical party, supported by Secundus, primate of Numidia, had formed in Carthage in opposition to him and secured the election of Caecilian, the archdeacon before the other party was ready for action. This election was confirmed by the Synod of Arles in 314 and at Milan by the emperor two years later. The Donatist position was that the church is a society of holy persons. The Catholic standpoint was that holiness is not destroyed by the presence of unworthy members. After varying fortunes the severest punishments were pronounced against the Donatists by Emperor Honorius should they fail to return to the Catholic faith. They were denied all civil rights and the holding of assemblies was forbidden them on pain of death. But they lived on, suffering with their orthodox brethren in the Vandal invasions of the fifth century, and like them, finally disappearing before the Muslim onslaught two centuries later.]

Eunomius, another heretic of this time, was a leper in body and soul and not otherwise within nor without. He was afflicted with the royal disease[The 'royal disease' here is jaundice.]. He at first was an adherent of the Arian faithlessness, but then added and disseminated another false belief. He was affirming that the Son was unlike the Father in all things and that the Holy Spirit had nothing in common with either the Son or the Father.[Eunomius was born at Dacora, in Cappadocia, early in the fourth century. He studied at Alexandria and held ecclesiastical office at various places. His sect held that Christ was created by God and was a wholly subordinate being. The Eunomian heresy was condemned by the Council of Constantinople in 381.]

Macedonius (whom our people, before he erred, made a bishop at Constantinople) was driven out by the Arian heretics because he acknowledged the Son equal to the Father. He blasphemed the Holy Spirit and thus stirred up many controversies by those who were called Macedonian heretics.[Macedonius, bishop of Constantinople, in succession to Eusebius of Nicomedia, was elected by the Arian bishops in 341, while the orthodox party elected one Paul. In 342 Macedonius was recognized as patriarch and Paul was banished. The distinctive tenet of the Macedonians was that the Holy Spirit is but a being similar to the angels, subordinate to and in the service of the Father and the Son, the relation between whom did not admit of a third. Macedonius was expelled from his see by the Council of Constantinople in 360.]

Donatus, a master of rhetoric, oratory and philosophy, was the teacher of the holy Jerome, and was held in great esteem at Rome. And, among other things, he wrote a commentary on Terence. And, as they say, this Donatus is the author of a little book that up to the present is read in schools by boys learning the first elements of grammar.[ Donatus was a celebrated grammarian. He taught at Rome in the middle of the fourth century and was the teacher of Jerome. His most famous work is a system of Latin grammar that has formed the groundwork of most elementary treatises upon the subject from his own time to the present.]

Julian (Julianus), the emperor, was vainly addicted to the black arts. To the distress of the Christians, he rebuilt the Temple at Jerusalem for the Jews, saying he did not care to worship elsewhere. For that reason the Jews were so inflated with vanity that they contributed more to the work than usual. But before long the Temple was destroyed by an earthquake and many Jews were crushed. On the second day fire came down from above and consumed the building's ironwork. Through fright caused by this miracle, many Jews turned to the Christian faith. Some write that Julian was shot through with an arrow, but no one knows from where; and that with upraised hands he cried to heaven, You have conquered, Galilean, you have conquered! for he called Christ a Galilean and a carpenter's son.[Julian, see Folio CXXXII recto, and note.]

John and Paul, brothers, were very Christian men and very famous Romans. When Julian (Julianus) heard that they supported the poor from their estates they were taken prisoner; and at Rome, upon the command of Julian, they were beheaded on the 26th day of June after receiving numerous scourgings.[John and Paul were officers in the service of Constantia, whom the old legends persist in representing as a most virtuous Christian (though she was probably otherwise) and were put to death by Julian the Apostate.]

Gordian (Gordianus) and Epimachus, highly renowned men, were crowned with martyrdom at Rome in the disturbances of these times. The first, because he acknowledged the Christian faith, was beaten with leaden scourges, and finally beheaded on the 10th day of May; and his corpse was thrown to the dogs. His body was buried at night by the members of his household.[Gordian and Epimachus. Gordian was a magistrate (vicarius) of Julian the Apostate, and was sent by the emperor to visit a Christian priest, named Janisarius, who was imprisoned for his faith, and to endeavor to make him abjure Christ. But the result of the interview was the conversion of Gordian, who was now degraded from office and cruelly martyred. His body was buried by a servant in the same tomb as Epimachus, a martyr of Alexandria, who had been brought to Rome in the previous reign.]

Juliana and Demetria, the virgins, also attained the crown of martyrdom by order of Julian (Julianus), the tyrant in this persecution.

Cyriacus (Quiriacus), also called Judas, a bishop of Jerusalem, at this time, together with his mother, Anna, suffered martyrdom with fortitude for the Christian faith. This is the man who showed St. Helena the place where the cross lay buried; and because of the miracles that took place at the discovery of the cross, he determined to proclaim everywhere the glory and honor of the same. For that he was taken prisoner by the pagans, and was nailed to a cross. And therefore (as many say), the order of the Crusaders had its origin with him.[Cyriacus (also spelled Quiriacus, Quiricus, and Kyriakos) also called Judas (and most commonly Judas Cyriacus), was, according to Eusebius, the fifteenth bishop of Jerusalem. This Judas is venerated on April 10th, but is supposed to be the same person also called Quiriacus by the martyrologists commemorated on this day. That he was the true discoverer of the wood of the true cross is hardly possible; and the claim that he was a martyr in the reign of Julian is unsupported. He is said to have been a Jew, the nephew of Stephen the first martyr, and grandson of Zacharias. He is also said to have revealed to Helena the place where the cross of Christ was hidden, to have been converted by the miracles wrought on its discovery, and to have been baptized under the name of Quiriacus or Cyriacus, and to have become bishop of Jerusalem. But there was no patriarch of the name of Cyriacus, and Judas died in 133. Helena did not visit Jerusalem until 326.]