In the Church's history We have a couple of men to thank for being faithful to God and keeping the Church from falling completely to the Arian heresy and successfully defending the Trinitarian doctrines taught in the Bible. No, Constantine is not one of them. As a matter of fact, he was heavily influenced by Arian ministers and actually persecuted those who defended the Trinity after the council of Nicea. When Constantine was finally baptized near the end of his life, it was an Arian minister who performed the baptism.
Athanasius who was discipled by St. Anthony (the father of the Monastic movement) stood almost singly at times against the Church world in defending the Trinity. His teachings would hold on until another man called Basil the Great finally removed Arianism from the heart of the Church. (modern Arianist movements would include the Jehova's Witnesses, and the Nestorian Christians in Iraq) Basil and two other men made up what became known as the Great Capedocians, named after a region in Turkey called Capedocia.
You probably thought I was going to write about their successful defense of the Trinity. Well, not tonight, and not in this section of the forum :-D . This is just the introduction of Basil, the bishop of Caesarea, Turkey. The timeline is about midway through the 300's (fourth century). The Roman Empire has ..um.. seen the light so to speak and has made Christianity the official religion of the empire.
There was a tradition in Roman families when children were born. If the father accepted the child he would take the child and "raise" him up over his head and claim him as his. Ever heard of the term, raising children? Now you know where it comes from. However, if the father did not accept the child, the mother had to get rid of it. There were shrines set up where children could be offered to the pagan gods. They were abandoned there by their families and left to die. Girls, being less valuable than boys, met this fate more often.
A small industry (if you could call it that) started up around these shrines. People would wait until the mothers had left and would move in and take the babies. Girls were a prize. As they grew older they were forced to become prostitutes. There was an even worse industry than that. Most of the babies were killed and their body parts sent to Egypt to make makeup. Basil the Great organized a movement against the shrines. He began preaching a series on the sanctity of life. Being that he was a Bishop of a major city, he held much sway over other bishops who joined in with him. He organized protests, and even burned shrines that were dedicated to abandoning babies. Christians formed "life watches" in which they would wait secretly until the mother had left and then move in and take the baby and raise it themselves. (Many great christian leaders came from the ranks of these babies that had been saved.) This was the Church's first pro-life movement. In 374 a law was passed making the abandoning of babies illegal.
Now I told you all that to tell you this. Basil was the bishop of Caesarea, Turkey, but the title is The Bishop Of Myra. Well, the Bishop of Myra was a strong supporter of Basil. You could say he loved children and fought hard to help end such an insidious practice. Nicholaus of Myra had a great ministry to children that would later be recognized by the Catholic Church when they cannonized him as a saint. He is known to us today as Saint Nicholaus.
Yes Virginia...Santa Claus is pro-life.