Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, December 21, 2019

MVNews this week:  Page 8


Mountain Views-News Saturday, December 7, 2019 


Alverno Heights Academy

200 N. Michillinda Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024

(626) 355-3463 Head of School: Julia V. Fanara

E-mail address:

Arcadia High School

180 Campus Drive Arcadia, CA 91007

Phone: (626) 821-8370, Principal: Brent Forsee

Arroyo Pacific Academy

41 W. Santa Clara St. Arcadia, Ca, 

(626) 294-0661 Principal: Phil Clarke

E-mail address:

Barnhart School

240 W. Colorado Blvd Arcadia, Ca. 91007

(626) 446-5588 

Head of School: Ethan Williamson

Kindergarten - 8th grade


Bethany Christian School

93 N. Baldwin Ave. Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024

(626) 355-3527 

Preschool-TK-8th Grade

Principal: Dr. William Walner

website: www.

Clairbourn School

8400 Huntington Drive

San Gabriel, CA 91775

Phone: 626-286-3108 ext. 172

FAX: 626-286-1528


Foothill Oaks Academy

822 E. Bradbourne Ave., Duarte, CA 91010

(626) 301-9809

Principal: Nancy Lopez

Frostig School

971 N. Altadena Drive Pasadena, CA 91107

(626) 791-1255

Head of School: Jenny Janetzke


The Gooden School

192 N. Baldwin Ave. Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024

(626) 355-2410 

Head of School, Jo-Anne Woolner


High Point Academy

1720 Kinneloa Canyon Road 

Pasadena, Ca. 91107 

Head of School: Gary Stern 626-798-8989


La Salle College Preparatory

3880 E. Sierra Madre Blvd. Pasadena, Ca. 

(626) 351-8951 website:

Principal Mrs. Courtney Kassakhian

Monrovia High School

325 East Huntington Drive, Monrovia, CA 91016 

(626) 471-2800 Principal Darvin Jackson


Odyssey Charter School

725 W. Altadena Dr. Altadena, Ca. 91001

(626) 229-0993 Head of School: Lauren O’Neill


Pasadena High School

2925 E. Sierra Madre Blvd. Pasadena, Ca. 

(626) 396-5880 Principal: Roberto Hernandez


St. Rita Catholic School

322 N. Baldwin Ave. Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024

Principal Joan Harabedian (626) 355-9028 


Sierra Madre Elementary School

141 W. Highland Ave, Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024

(626) 355-1428 Principal: Lindsay Lewis

E-mail address:

Sierra Madre Middle School 

160 N. Canon Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024

(626) 836-2947 Principal: Garrett Newsom

E-mail address:

Walden School

74 S San Gabriel Blvd

Pasadena, CA 91107 (626) 792-6166

Weizmann Day School

1434 N. Altadena Dr. Pasadena, Ca. 91107

(626) 797-0204

Lisa Feldman: Head of School

Wilson Middle School

300 S. Madre St. Pasadena, Ca. 91107

(626) 449-7390 Principal: Ruth Esseln

E-mail address:

Pasadena Unified School District

351 S. Hudson Ave., Pasadena, Ca. 91109

(626) 396-3600 Website:

Arcadia Unified School District

234 Campus Dr., Arcadia, Ca. 91007

(626) 821-8300 Website:

Monrovia Unified School District

325 E. Huntington Dr., Monrovia, Ca. 91016

(626) 471-2000 


Duarte Unified School District

1620 Huntington Dr., Duarte, Ca. 91010



Arcadia Christian School

1900 S. Santa Anita Avenue Arcadia, CA 91006

Preschool - and TK - 8th Grade



Principal: Cindy Harmon




[Nyerges is an author / lecturer / educator who has 
written such books as “Extreme Simplicity,” “How 
to Survive Anywhere,” “Guide to Wild Foods,” and 
other books. Information about his books and 
classes is available at www.SchoolofSelf-Reliance, 
or Box 41834, Eagle Rock,CA 90041]

Recently, while doing some painting on an outside wall of my 
home, I had the radio on just to listen to people call in and talk 
with the host. One man called and complained that people pay 
more attention to Santa Claus during the Christmas season than 
to the birth of Jesus. He argued that this was proof that “we” have 
allowed secularism – and maybe even paganism – to creep into 
the Christmas tradition. The host just politely listened, thanked 
the caller, and then went on to the next call. Really?, I thought.

Who, anyway, is this Santa Claus? Isn’t he just a fictitious jolly 
man to make us feel happy during the dark of December? In fact, 
Santa Claus is not a myth and he wasn’t a pagan. There actually is 
an historical figure upon which “Santa Claus” is based.

Nikolas of Myra was an historical 4th century Bishop in the 
Catholic church of Asia Minor. He was born on March 15, 270, 
in Pataya, Lycia, in Asia Minor, what is now modern Turkey. At 
that time, however, the area was culturally Greek, and was politically 
a part of the Roman diocese of Asia. He was the only child 
of wealthy Greek parents, who both died in an epidemic when 
Nicholas was young. Nicholas inherited much from his parents, 
and was then raised by his uncle (also named Nicholas), who 
was a Bishop of Patara, and who trained young Nicholas into 

Nicholas was said to be deeply religious even at an early age, and 
he always fasted on Wednesdays and Fridays. Because of his 
outspoken beliefs, he was persecuted by the Romans and was imprisoned 
during the persecution of Diocletian.

In case you never heard of the “persecution of Diocletian” (I 
hadn’t), it was the most severe of the persecutions against Christians, 
simply because they were Christians during the Roman Empire. 
It was also known as the “Great Persecution.” In 303, four 
emperors issued a series of dictatorial laws which essentially did 
away with any legal rights of Christians. The edicts demanded 
that the Christians comply with traditional Roman “religious” 
practices, meaning, giving sacrifices to the various so-called Roman 
gods. This persecution was severe, and was weakest in the 
British colonies where the Empire had the least sway. It was the 
most severe in the Eastern provinces, where Nicholas lived. 

Since Nicholas refused to worship the Roman gods, he was imprisoned, 
and suffered hardship, hunger, and cold for about 5 
years. With the rise of Constantine to power, the persecutions 
came to an end in 313. Nicholas was soon released. Constantine 
is known for pragmatically “Christianizing” the Roman Empire, 
and re-naming all the Mythraic and so-called “pagan” holidays so 
they could all now be regarded as Christian holidays.

Shortly after his return to his homeland in 317 A.D., Nicholas became 
the Bishop of Myra. 

He was later invited to attend the First Council of Nicaea in 325, 
the famous council where much of the modern dogma of the 
Catholic church was determined. Nicholas of Myra was one 
of many bishops to participate in the Council at Constantine’s 
request. He is listed as the 151st attendee at the Council. There, 
Nicholas was a staunch anti-Arian. Arius, from Alexandria, 
held that the Son of God did not always exist, but was created 
by the Father. Nicholas disagreed with Arius, and defended the 
developing orthodox Christian viewpoint. According to stories 
told, Nicholas got so angry at Arius that he began to duke it out 
with Arius, punching him in the face! Really? Proto-Santa Claus 
punches a fellow man of the cloth? It must have been an amazing 
thing to witness.

Back in his homeland, Nicholas became known as a very generous 
bishop. Remember, he inherited wealth from his parents, and he 
would sometimes give gold and other valuables to those that he 
heard was in need. I like to think that Nicholas was someone who 
truly embodied the tenets of original Christianity, someone for 
whom the church should be most proud. 

In one case, it is said that Nicholas tossed a bag of gold coins into 
a needy family’s yard, anonymously. He was apparently humble, 
and didn’t want to be seen giving money to people, so he did it 
secretly. He was so famous for wanting to give such gifts in private 
when he traveled the countryside, children were told to go 
to sleep quickly or Nicholas would not come with gifts. This, 
apparently, is the origin of telling children to go to sleep or that 
Santa will not come.

In one story, he apparently snuck into the home of a family where 
the three daughters of a poor man were about to get married. 
Nicholas put some gold into the stockings which the girls left by 
the fire to dry. This, apparently, is the origin of hanging up stockings 
on Christmas eve.

He was also well known for the gifts that he gave to newly married 
couples during the already established Christmas season. 
(Remember, the “Christmas season” predates Christianity by several 
millenia – Christianity simply re-defined the Winter Solstice 
commemorations of the so-called “pagans.”)

And so it goes. Nicholas was a complex man, part of the new 
Catholic tradition which celebrated the birth of Jesus on the already-
observed winter solstice. (Early Judeo-Christians did not 
celebrate the birth of Jesus, a date that has been lost to history, but 
was definitely not December 25).

Nicholas died on December 6, 343, which is to this day known as 
“Saint Nicholas Day.” Upon his death, he was buried in the cathedral 
of Myra. He is revered as a saint in most versions of Christianity 
and is especially honored in Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

By the year 450, churches in Greece and Asia Minor were being 
named in honor of Nicholas. He was officially honored as a saint 
by the Eastern Catholic Church in 800. December 6 began to be 
celebrated as Bishop Nicholas Day in France by the 1200s. 

As time went on, when ever someone received a mysterious gift, it 
would be attributed to Saint Nicholas! 

The Dutch called Saint Nicholas “Sinterklass,” which is the most 
likely manner in which the name Saint Nicholas gradually evolved 
into “Santa Claus.” Along the way, Saint Nicholas was given 
some of the attributes of Odin, the Norse God, who could travel 
through the sky and who had a secret home somewhere around 
the north pole. Come to think of it, even the Superman story 
also borrowed from Odin. Remember how Superman sometimes 
goes to a secret cavern in the Northern coldlands and converses 
with his ancestors via ice crystals? 

The image continued to morph over the years, with the Coco Cola 
company giving the world a somewhat sanitized and plumper 
Saint Nicholas-Santa Claus with their early 20th century advertisements. 
There we began to see the fatter bearded man in the 
red suit. 

Today, the man you see in the mall is the modern condensation of 
fact and myth, embodying the generosity of one Catholic Bishop, 
the good will of all – including parents -- who give gifts in his 
stead, and bits of the mythology of Odin. 

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: