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The "Cambridge Comprehensive Bible Dictionary™"

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(See Also The Cambridge Concise Bible Dictionary™)



    Naama. — Ammonite woman, wife of Solomon and mother of Roboam.

    Naaman. — General of the army of Benadad, king of Syria ; was healed from leprosy, in bathing himself in the river Jordan, by order of Eliseus.

    Naas. — King of the Ammonites who, having besieged Jabes, was conquered and killed in the combat by Saul, who came to assist the Jabeans.

    Nabal. — A rich, but churlish man of the tribe of Juda, and race of Caleb, who dwelt in the south of Juda, and who had a very numerous flock on Carmel, but re- fused to give David and his followers, in their distress, any provisions, though modestly requested to do so. David, resenting this harsh treatment, so contrary to the eastern hospitality, armed 400 of his people and resolved to put Nabal and his family to the sword. From this, how- ever, he was dissuaded, by the address of Abigail, Nabal's wife; but Nabal, on learning this, was so struck with terror and astonishment, that he died ten days after. David afterwards married Abigail,

    Nabataneans. — An Arab people dwell- ing in ancient times on the east and south- east of Palestine, descended from Nabak or Nabaieth, son of Ismael. Victoriously resisted to Jonathas Nacehabe and CElius Gallus. Petra was their capital. Later on they took the name of Saracens.

    Nabopolassar. — King of Babylon (626- 605 B. c), conqueror of Ninive, and, from this fact, the founder of the new Assyrio- Babylonian empire. He ruled, it seems, first over Babylonia as viceroy of Assyria.

    Naboth. — Inhabitant of Jezrael, Judea; refused to sell his vineyard to King Achab. Queen Jezabel, irritated on this account caused him to be stoned, on a false accusa- tion of having blasphemed against God and against the king. (899 b. c.)

    Nabuchodonosor I. — King of Ninive (667-647 B. c), conquered and killed with his own hand (655) Phraorte, king of the Medes, and, wishing to subdue all the neighboring nations, sent against Judea, his general Holofernes. He himself per- ished, in defending Ninive against Cy- axares and against Nabopolassar.

    Nabuchodonosor II. — Surnamed the " Great." King of Babylon and of Ninive (605-562 B. c), son and successor of Na- bopolassar, and one of the most famous princes of Chaldea; took Jerusalem twice, led away its inhabitants into captivity to Babylon (597 and 586 b. c), took Tyre after a siege of thirteen years (573), con- quered Egypt, and carried his arms into Spain. Proud of his success, he wished to be adored as a god ; was struck with insanity, believed himself changed into an ox and lived during seven years on herbs from the fields. Queen Nitocris governed the kingdom during his aberra- tion. Nabuchodonosor recovered his rea- son one year before his death, and had for his successor his son Evil-Merodach.

    Nadab. — King of Israel (943-941 b. c), son and successor of Jeroboam ; imitated the impiety of his father, and was assas- sinated by Baasa, who usurped the king- dom. Scripture says Nadab did evil in the eyes of the Lord (III. Ki. xv. 25-36).




    Nahum. — The seventh of the twelve minor Prophets, lived in the time of King Ezechias (eighth century b. c). His proph- ecy, in three chapters, forms one sole dis- course, wherein he announces the second destruction of Ninive by Cyaxares and Nabopolassar.

    Nairn (the modern Nain) . — Town of an- cient Palestine ; in the tribe of Issachar, in Galilee, south of and near Mount Thabor and the stream Cison. Here our Saviour raised to life again the only son of a widow.

    Nantes {Edict of). — An edict issued by Henry IV. of France, April 15th, 1598. It ended the religious wars of the country. The Huguenots were put on an equality with the Catholics in political rights.

    Nathan. — Israelitish prophet of the elev- enth century B.C. He declared to David that his son would build the Temple, reproached him for the crime of which he had rendered himself guilty by killing Uri, in order to possess his wife, Bethsabee, and advised him to acknowledge Solomon for his suc- cessor. The Paralipomena teach us that Gad and Nathan had written a history of David and regulated the order and dispo- sition of the ministers of the temple, and that Nathan and Abias of Silo had written the history of Solomon.

    Nathinites. — Given or consecrated, i.e., servants dedicated to the service of the tabernacle and temple, to perform the most laborious offices ; as carrying wood and water. At first the Gabaonites were des- tined to this station ; afterwards the Cha- naanites who surrendered themselves, and whose lives were spared. We read in I. Esdras viii. 20, that the Nathinites were slaves devoted by David, and other princes, to the service of the temple ; and in I. Esdras ii. 58, that they were servants given by Solomon. The Nathinites were carried into captivity with the tribe of Juda, and great numbers were placed not far from the Caspian sea, whence Esdras brought 220 of them into Judea (viii. 17).

    Nativity (birth-day) . — A term which is especially employed in speaking of our Lord, of the Blessed Virgin, and of some saints. The Nativity of our Lord, that of the Blessed Virgin and that of St. John the Baptist are the only ones that are celebrated in the Church. The feast of the Nativity of Jesus Christ is cele- brated by the Church .on December 25th.

    See Christmas. The feast of the Na- tivity of the Blessed Virgin is celebrated on September 8th. This festival was ap- pointed by Pope Innocent XL, that the Faithful may be called upon in a particular manner to recommend to God, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, the necessities of His Church, and to return Him thanks for His gracious protection and numberless mercies. What gave oc- casion to the institution of this feast was a solemn thanksgiving for the relief of Vienna when it was besieged by the Turks in 1683. The Nativity of St. John the Baptist is celebrated on June 24th.

    Nazarenes. — Heretics of the first cen- tury of the Church. They held to the law of Moses, but did not insist on its observance as essential to salvation. They believed in the divinity of Christ, His Incarnation, and supernatural birth of the Virgin Mary, and also recognized St. Paul as the Apostle of the Gentiles. The Nazarenes disap- peared from history about the middle of the fifth century.

    Nazareth (the modern En-Nasira). — A town of Palestine, in Galilee. It is cele- brated as the dwelling-place of our Saviour during His childhood and early manhood. The Church of the Annunciation was founded here by the Empress Helena, but ruined in the Middle Ages, and rebuilt later. It is well proportioned and while much of the architecture is new, it pre- serves interesting memorials of the past. In the crypt is the traditional place of the Annunciation. Population 6,000 to 10,000.

    Nazarites. — Among the ancient He- brews, religious devotees, set apart to the Lord by a special vow the terms of which are carefully described in Num. vi. They included entire abstinence from wine and other intoxicating liquors, from all cutting of the hair, and from all approach to a dead body. The vow might be taken either for a limited period or for life. They first appear in the time of the Philis- tine oppression.

    Neale (Leonard) (1743-1817).— Amer- ican prelate; born at Port Tobacco, in Maryland, was educated at St. Omer's, France, and joined the Society of Jesus. After the suppression of said Society he came to America, and in 1783 he took charge of the mission of Port Tobacco. President of Georgetown College in 1798 ;




    coadjutor of Bishop Carroll in 1800 and on the latter's death he succeeded to the met- ropolitan see of Baltimore in 1815.

    Neapolis (the modern Naplus). — A mar- itime city of Macedonia, near the borders of Thrace, whither St. Paul came from the isle of Samothracia. From Neapolis he went to Philippi (Acts xvi. 10-12).

    Nebo. — The name of a city, mountain, and idol. i. A city of Ruben (Num. xxxii. 38) taken by the Moabites, who held it in the time of Jeremias (Jer. xlviii. 1). 2. A high mountain east of the Jordan, seven miles northeast of the Dead Sea, whence Moseshada viewof the Promised Land, and where he died. It is a summit (2,242 feet in height) of the range Abarim, or Pisgah, over against Jericho. 3. An idol of the Babylonians (Is. xlvi. i). In the astrolog- ical mythology of the Babylonians, this idol probably represented the planet Mer- cury. He was regarded as the scribe of the heavens, who records the succession of celestial and terrestrial events, and was re- lated to the Egyptian Hermes and Anubis. The extensive prevalence of this worship, among the Chaldeans and Assyrians, is evident from the many compound proper names occurring in the Scriptures, of which this word forms part; as Nebuchadnezzar , Nebuzaradan, Nebushasban; and also in the classics, as Nabonid^ Nabonassar, Na- bofolassar, etc. He is mentioned with Bel («. e., Beel-Merodach) in Ps. xlvi. i.

    Nechao. — King of Egypt, carried his arms to the Euphrates, where he conquered the city of Carchemish. He is known not only in Scripture, but in Herodotus, who says that he was a son of Psammetichus, king of Egypt, and that, having succeeded him in the kingdom, he raised great armies, and sent out great fleets on the Mediter- ranean as well as on the Red Sea. Josias, king of Juda, being tributary to the king of Babylon, opposed Nechao, and gave him battle at Mageddo, where he received the wound from which he died; and Nechao passed forward, without making any long stay in Judea. On his return, he halted at Reblah, in Syria, and sending for Joachaz, king of the Jews, he deposed him, loaded him with chains, and sent him into Egypt. Then coming to Jerusalem, he set up Eli- achim or Joakim, in his place, and exacted the payment of one hundred talents of silver and one talent of gold. Jeremias tells us (xlvi.2), that Carchemish was re-

    taken by Nabopolassar, king of Babylon, in the fourth year of Joakim, king of Juda ; so that Nechao did not retain his conquest above four years.

    Necrology. See Diptychs.

    Necromancy.— The pretended art of call- ing forth the dead to obtain knowledge of the future or of hidden things. Necromancy was practiced among the ancient Jews, in spite of the defense of Moses : the Pytho- ness of Endor evoked before Saul the shadow of Samuel. This custom passed from the Orient into Greece : in Homer, Ulysses calls up the shadow of Tiresias. There existed in Greece temples destined for the evocation of the dead ; such was the temple of Thesprotes. The Thessalians were looked upon as skillful necromancers. The necromancers played a great role in the Middle Ages; at Toledo, they kept a school. However, condemned at first to exile, put to death under Constantine, they were later on sent to the funeral pile.

    Nectarius. — Born at Tarsus. Senator, then patriarch of Constantinople from 381 to 397, successor of Gregory Nazianzen. He presided over the Council wherein they bestowed upon the bishop of Constan- tinople the official title of head of the Eastern Church (381), and took part in the persecutions of the Arians.

    Nehemias. — Chief of the people of Israel, born at Babylon, during the cap- tivity, died in 432 b. c. Cupbearer of Artaxerxes Longimanus, he obtained from this prince the permission to return into Judea and to rebuild the temple and city of Jerusalem, an undertaking which ended in 454 B. c. He governed the Hebrews until his death.

    Nemesius. — Greek philosopher and theologian from whom we have a valuable philosophical treatise. He lived about the end of the fifth century and was bishop of Emesa in Phoenicia.

    Neophjrtes. — Name given in the early Church to the pagans who had shortly be- fore embraced Christianity, and to those who had only recently entered ecclesiastical orders.

    Nephtali. — One of the twelve tribes of Israel, thus called from Nephtali, sixth son of Jacob. Situated in Lower and Upper Galilee, It was bounded, on the north by the Libanon, on the east by the Jordan and




    Lake Genesareth, on the south by the tribe Issachar, and on the west by those of Za- bulon and Aser. Principal cities : Cades, Asor, Hebron, Capharnaum, etc.

    Nepomuk (John of). See John of Nepomuk.

    Nergel. — One of the gods of those heathen who were transplanted into Pales- tine (IV. Ki. xvii. 30). This idol probably represented the planet Mars, which was ever the emblem of bloodshed. Mars is named by the Zabians and Arabians, " ill- luck," " misfortune." He was repre- sented as grasping in one hand a drawn sword, and in the other, by the hair, a hu- man head just cut off; his garments were blood red, as the light of the planet is also reddish. His temple among the Arabs was painted red ; and they offered to him garments sprinkled with blood, and also a warrior, probably a prisoner, who was cast into a pool.

    Neri (St. Philip) (1513-1595)- — Founder of the Congregation of the Ora- tory, born at Florence, died in Rome. Established (1548) the Confraternity of the Most Holy Trinity, destined to take care of foreign pilgrims. Having been ordained priest (1551), he devoted himself to the education of children, and, for this work, associated with himself other eccle- siastics, who were called Oratorians. He soon formed a congregation of these asso- ciates whose statutes were approved by Gregory XIII. in 1575. F. May 16th. See Oratorians.

    Nero. See Persecutions.

    Nestorianism (heresy of the followers of Nestorius). — Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople (428), a vain orator with- out depth of thought or piety, objected to the title of *' Mother of God " as applied to the Blessed Virgin. He maintained that the Blessed Virgin had given birth to the man Jesus, in whom the Son of God dwelt as in a temple; that there are two persons in Christ really distinct, the man Jesus and the Son of God, and that between them there exists only an external union. This doctrine destroys the whole economy of redemption, for neither of the two persons could have saved us. The chief adversary of Nestorius was Cyril, Bishop of Alex- andria. He defended the Catholic truth against Nestorianism and "in accordance with an ancient ecclesiastical custom " ap-

    pealed to the Pope, who condemned the errors and expelled their author from the Church. The sentence of condemnation was reiterated by 198 bishops assembled in the Third Ecumenical Council of Ephesus, in 431. Nestorius died in exile. He still has followers in Persia.

    Netherlands {Protestantism in the). — For the evangelization of the Netherlands see Belgium. To avert from the Nether- lands the evils which accompanied the Reformation in Germany, Charles V., himself a native of that country, resolved to adopt a severe policy of repression. He had the Edict of Worms against Luther strictly enforced, and ordered the magis- trates to carry out the existing laws against heretics. Henry Vaes and John Esch, in 1523, were burned for heresy. But in spite of this rigor, the Netherlands soon became the scene of commotions and insur- rections excited by the men of the '* new learning." On the accession of Philip II., the Reformation had already made con- siderable progress in the Netherlands. The nobility, who coveted the possessions of the Church, supported the movement. An insurrection of the Protestants broke out in 1566, during which great ravages were committed on churches and monas- teries. The excesses of the Dutch Calvin- ists rivaled in atrocity those of the Huguenots in France. The ambitious Prince William of Orange placed himself at the head of the reforming faction, and the obstinate contest which followed ended in the loss of the seven northern provinces to the Spanish crown. England, under Elizabeth, assisted the Dutch Protestants, against their sovereign, and sent them both money and troops. Neither the severity of the duke of Alva, nor the abilities of Don John of Austria, the hero of Lepanto, nor the heroic qualities of Alexander Farnese, duke of Parma, could re-establish Spanish rule in the revolted provinces. Spain, in 1648, was obliged to acknowledge the independence of the "Republic of the United Provinces." William of Orange published edicts sus- pending Catholic worship in the General States, as they were called ; Catholics, especially priests and religious, were treated by the Dutch Calvinists with un- exampled cruelty. Two of his officers, Sonoy and Van der Marck, slew all the priests and religious on whom they could lay hands. In 1572, nineteen priests of




    Gorcum were cruelly martyred by the soldiery of Orange. The persecution of the Catholics was not confined to Holland ; it extended itself to all the Dutch colonies in the New World. The Catholic mission- aries were special objects of hatred. See Holland.

    Netherlands ( Worship in). — There is no State's religion in the Netherlands or Hol- land. All the religions are free. Catholic Holland is divided since 1853 into five dioceses. Utrecht is the archiepiscopal see of the "Old Catholics" or Jansenists. There are several Walloonish and Presby- terian Churches. According to the census of 1879, there are about 2,469,884 Protes- tants; 1,439,137 Catholics; 6,000 Jansenists; 81,603 Jews, and 16,049 professing no re- ligion or belonging to other denomina- tions.

    Neumann (John Nkpomucene) (1811- 1860). — American prelate; was born at Prachatitz, Bohemia ; died in Philadelphia. Came to America in 1836, was ordained in New York and sent to Williamsville, in the western part of the state. With the consent of Bishop Hughes, he joined the Redemptorists in 1840. Bishop of Phila- delphia in 1852 ; encouraged the erection of churches and the establishment of paro- chial schools. On the 5th of January i860, he set out to attend to some business, but was stricken suddenly ill in the street, and sinking down on the nearest steps he ex- pired. Steps are made at present for his beatification.

    Newman (John Henry) Cardinal. — A leader of the Oxford Tractarian movement of 1833 in the Church of England; was born in London, Feb. 21st, 1801. He took his degree at Oxford in 1820, when he was only 19 years old. In 182 1 he wrote, jointly with a friend, two cantos of a po^m on St. Bartholomew's Eve. In 1822 he was elected to a fellowship in Oriel College, and it was here that he formed his close intimacy with Dr. Pusey, and subsequently with Hurrell Froude, brother of the historian, who had a great share in originating the Tractarian movement. Here, also, he formed cordial relations with Dr. Hawkins, afterwards the provost of the college, and Whately, sub- sequently archbishop of Dublin. Both of them exercised great influence over him by teaching him to define his thoughts clearly. Newman's first book was that on ihe Arians of the Fourth Century. It was

    a scholarly production, intended to show that the Arian heresy was not of Alexan- drian origin, but was one of the Judaizing heresies which sprang up in Antioch. In 1832, Newman, then in delicate health, ac- companied Hurrell Froude on a Mediter- ranean tour, and it was then that the fire was kindled which was to bear fruit in the Anglican movement of 1833, the aim of which was to seek a basis for clerical au- thority independent of the State, with per- haps a vision of restoring the Church of England to Catholicity. Most of New- man's smaller poems were written on this voyage, and were published in Lyra Apos- tolica, a volume of verse, the object of which was to reassert for the Church of England her spiritual authority and mis- sion. It was on this tour that Newman met Cardinal Wiseman, and told him in reply, to the expression of a courteous wish that Hurrell Froude and he might visit Rome, " We have a work to do in England." At Rome, Newman parted from his friends to go alone to Sicily, where he fell ill of malarial fever. His mind was deeply possessed during his ill- ness by spiritual things. Becalmed in the straits of Bonifacio, he wrote the best known of all his poems, Lead, Kindly Light. From Marseilles, he proceeded to England, reaching home in time to be present at Keble's Oxford assize sermon on *' National Apostasy," which he always regarded as the date on which the Tracta- rian movement began. Into the series of Tracts for the Times Newman threw him- self with great energy, actuated by a Cath- olic theory of the English Church which had taken root in his mind. In 1837, in a course of lectures, he made an attempt to disguise the Anglican via media from the doctrines of the Church of Rome.

    The famous Tract 90, which came from Newman's pen, brought on an explosion which was the end of the Tractarian move- ment, and hastened many conversions to Rome. Newman struggled for two years longer to think his position tenable, but in 1843 resigned the vicarage of St. Mary's, and withdrew from the English Church. In October, I845, he was received into the Catholic Church, and then went to Rome for a year and a half. On his re- turn in 1848, he published Loss and Gain, the story of an Oxford conversion very different from his own, but full of happy and delicate sketches of Oxford life and n.anners. Shortly after he produced Cal-

    New Mexico Missions



    lista^ the story of a martyr in Africa of the third century.

    In 1849 Newman established a branch of the Congregation of St, Philip Neri in England, and retired to a suburb of Bir- mingham, where he performed a great deal of hard work, devoting himself with the ut- most zeal to the sufferers from cholera in 1849. The lectures on Anglican Difficulties, intended to show that the Tractarian princi- ples could only issue in the submission to Rome, was his first book which drew pub- lic attention to Newman's great power of irony and the singulur delicacy of his lit- erary style. These lectures were followed by the lectures on Catholicism in England , which gave occasion to Dr. Achilli's ac- tion for libel against him. In 1864 a casual remark by Canon Kingsley led to a corre- spondence which resulted in the publica- tion of the remarkable Apologia pro Vita Sua, the most fresh and effective religious autobiography of the nineteenth century, and perhaps the most fascinating of his many works, as it is the most personal. In 1865 he wrote Tke Dream, of Gerontius, a poem of marvelous subtlety and pathos. In 1870 he published his Grammar of As- sent, a book on the philosophy of faith. His other writings, besides a work on the Development of Christian Doctrines, are chiefly a voluminous series of sermons which are full of the charm of his sweet disposition. In 1852, he was appointed rector of the Catholic University of Dub- lin, and, in 1879, he was made cardinal by Pope Leo XIII. For the last eleven years of his life Cardinal Newman, who now lived at his Edgebaston Oratory, seldom broke silence. He was a man " of the highest moral and spiritual aspirations, of rare intellectual gifts, of fine sensibilities, and of exquisite culture." He died at Edge- baston, near Birmingham, Aug. nth, 1890.

    New Mexico Missions. See Missions.

    New Zealand {The Church in). See Australia.

    Nicanor. — One of the first seven deacons, who were chosen and appointed at Jerusa- lem soon after the descent of the Holy Ghost, on the occasion of a division among the Faithful, into those who spoke Greek, and those who spoke Hebrew, or Syriac (Acts vi. 5) Nothing particular is known of him.

    Nice {Councils of). — Two general coun- cils were held at Nice, a city in Bithynia. 3a

    That of 325, the First Ecumenical Council of the Church, drew up against Arius a symbol of faith known under the name of "Symbol of Nice," and which still forms to-day a part of the liturgy of the Church. Also tlie Easter question was disposed of by the Council in fixing the celebration of that feast on the Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox ; and if the full moon happens on a Sunday, then Easter day is to be celebrated on the suc- ceeding Sunday. It, moreover, devised the means for the healing of the Meletian schism, and for the readmission into the Church of the Novatians and Paulinian- ists. The Second General Council of Nice, the Seventh Ecumenical Council of the Church, took place in the year 787. We find in its acts, besides the decrees against the Iconoclasts, twenty canons of disci- pline.

    Nicephorus (St.) (758-828). — Patriarch of Constantinople, Byzantine historian ; born at Constantinople. Secretary of the Emperor Constantin VI., raised to the pa- triarchal see in 806, defended the venera- tion of images against the Emperor Leo the Armenian, and was exiled by him to a convent of Propontides, where he died.

    Nicholas (name of five Popes). — Nicholas I. ( St. ) .— Pope from 858 to 867. A highly gifted and energetic Pope. His inflexible firmness in maintaining the rights of the Holy See against arrogant metropolitans ; his championship of oppressed innocence against royal tyranny; and his heroic char- acter and magnanimity in times of peril and affliction, won Nicholas the surname of " Great." Three important events signalized his Pontificate : the outbreak of the Greek schism ; the prohibition of di- vorce of King Lothaire from Queen Theut- berga; and the successful assertion of papal supremacy over presumptuous prel- ates. Nicholas II. — Pope from 1059 to 1061. A man of great learning and ability. His brief, but useful Pontificate is marked by two events of great importance : the decree for the election of the Pope b}- the cardinals, and the alliance with the Nor- mans, destroying the influence of the no- bility of Rome. Nicholas III. — Cardinal Cajetan Orsini. Pope from 1277 to 1280. He was a man of great ability and pru- dence, but favored his relatives somewhat too much by raising members of the Orsini family to positions of honor and influence. He forced King Charles of Naples to




    resign the title of Roman Senator, and his pretended claims to Tuscany. Nicholas TV. — Pope from 128S to 1292. Under his Pontificate occurred the fall of Ptolemais (Acre), the last stronghold of the Chris- tians in the East. His efforts to organize a new crusade for the recovery of the lost position, were unsuccessful. Nicholas V. — Pope from 1447 to 1455. This Pope's first care was to give union to the Church and aid to the tottering empire of the East. The schism of Basle was happily brought to a close and a new treaty — the "Concordat of Vienna," concluded with the Emperor Frederick III., in 1448, — regulated the appointments to ecclesias- tical dignities in Germany, and, in many points, modified the "Concordat of the Princes," which Pope Eugenius had been constrained to sign. In 1450, Nicholas celebrated the General Jubilee, and, in 1452, bestowed the imperial crown on Frederick III. of Germany, the last "Ro- man Emperor" who received the crown from the hands of the Pope at Rome.

    Nicholas (St.). — Bishop and confessor, born at Patara, Bishop of Myra, in Lycia, died in 324. Was persecuted under Lici- nius and restored to his see by Constantine the Great. His veneration is widely spread in the East. He is the patron saint of scholars of Russia. F. Dec. 6th.

    Nicholas of Clemanges. — Scholastic the- ologian and philosopher, born at Cle- manges, France, about 1360, died about 1440. Rector of the University in 1393, he was charged to present to Charles VI., who wished to refuse obedience to the an- tipope Benedict XIII. (Peter de Luna), a statement on the means of stopping the schism. The king was displeased with his conclusions. Clemanges was sent into ex- ile ; after having served as secretary to Benedict XIII., he withdrew to the Abbey of Vallombrosa at Tuscany, where he wrote his principal works.

    Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464). — German cardinal and philosopher, born in the dio- cese of Treves. Son of a poor fisher, he became doctor and lawyer. Received holy orders ; dean at Cologne and archdeacon at Liege. Sent to the Council of Basle in 1431, he remained attached to the religious unity and to the cause of the sovereign Pontiff. Cardinal in 1454, bishop of Bri- xen in 1459. Learned, pious, and simple, he had a certain inclination to mysticism.

    In 1436, he proposed to the Council of Basle the reform of the Calendar; was the forerunner of Copernicus and of Galileo in maintaining the immobility of the sun as the center of the planetary system.

    Nicodemus. — A disciple of Jesus, of Jew- ish nationality, and member of the sect of the Pharisees. He was one of the senators of the Sanhedrin and at first concealed his belief in the divine character of our Lord. Afterwards, however, he avowed himself a believer, when he came with Joseph of Arimathea to pay the last duties to the body of Christ, which they took down from the cross, embalmed, and laid in the sepulchre (John xix. 39). We have an apocryphal gospel bearing his name.

    Nicolaitans. — Heretics of the apostolic times. This sect was remarkable for their licentious principles. They held that the eating of meats sacrificed to idols, adultery, and lewdness were not sinful. Nicholas, one of the seven deacons, is falsely claimed by them as their founder. The sect existed at Ephesus, and other cities of Asia Minor.

    Nicopolis. — The city where St. Paul determined to pass the winter (Tit. iii. 12). Many cities bore this name, but the one Paul meant was in Epirus, built by Augus- tus in honor of his victory over Antony at Actium. Its extensive ruins attest its former magnificence.

    Nilus (St.). — Priest and monk of the fifth century. The dates of his birth and death are unknown. He sprang from a wealthy family of Ancyra in Galatia. He became governor of Constantinople, mar- ried and had two sons, but resolved to re- nounce the world. With the consent of his wife he retired towards the close of the fourth century to the hermits of Mount Si- nai, where he devoted himself to a strictly ascetic life, in the company of his son Theodulus. Here he displayed great activity, writing letters of admonition and warning to persons of all ranks, whether clerical or lay, aijd combating the errors of heathen. Gnostics, Manicheans, and Arians. With noble freedom, also, he pleaded with the Emperor Arcadius for the banished St. John Chrysostom. By the incursion of theArabs, in 410, he and his son were driven from their solitude. His son having been taken captive and sold, came ultimately into the hands of the Bishop of Eleusa in Palestine, from whom




    both father and son received holy orders, and then returned once more to Mount Sinai, where Nilus died in 450. His writ- ings are contained in Migne, Pat. gr. LXXIX.

    Nimbus. — In art and Christian archaeol- ogy, a halo or disk of light with which painters encircle the heads of saints. The Nimbus of God the Father is represented in a triangular form with rays diverging from it on all sides; that of Christ con- tains a cross more or less enriched ; that of the Blessed Virgin is a plain circle, or occasionally a circlet of small stars, and that of the angels and saints a circle of small rays. See Aureola Sanctorum.

    Ninian (St.). — The first apostle of the Lowland Scots, or Picts, as they were termed from the custom of painting their bodies, was St. Ninian, the son of a Chris- tian prince and a native of Britain. Dur- ing the Pontificate of Damasus, he visited Rome, where he remained some years, devoting himself to study. He was conse- crated bishop by Pope Siricius and re- ceived from him a mission to Scotland about the year 394. By his preaching all the southern Picts, inhabiting the country south of the Grampian hills, embraced the true faith. He built a great monastery and church at Witerna, now Whithern, in Gal- loway; here he also established his epis- copal see, which from the white stone of his cathedral bore the name of " Can- dida Casa." After nearly forty years of apostolic labor, St. Ninian died in 432.

    Ninive. — The metropolis of the Assyrian empire, called by the Greeks and Romans "Ninus." Most writers have located it upon the eastern bank of the Tigris, above Babylon, while some represent it as hav- ing stood on the western bank. It may very probably have occupied both. The city was of great extent and very splendid. Diodorus Siculus says it was 150 stadia in length, 90 stadia in breadth, and 480 stadia in circumference; that is about 21 miles long, 9 miles broad, and 54 miles round. Its walls were 100 feet high, and so broad, that three chariots could drive abreast upon them. Its towers, of which there were 1,500, were each 200 feet high. At the time of Jonas's mission, it was reckoned to contain more than 120,000 persons " who could not distinguish their right hand from the left." By a computation founded on this basis, there ought to have been

    then in Ninive more than 600,000 persons. Ninive, which had long been mistress of the East, was first taken by Arbaces and Belesis, under the reign of Sardanapalus, in the time of Achaz, king of Juda, about the time of the foundation of Rome, b. c. 753. It was taken a second time by Cy- axares and Nabopolassar, about b. c. 632, after which it never recovered its former splendor. It was entirely ruined in the time of Lucian of Samosata, who lived under the Emperor Hadrian. It was re- built under the Persians, but was destroyed by the Saracens about the seventh century.

    Nisan. — The seventh month of the civil year of the Hebrews and the first of their sacred year. See Abib.

    No. — In the Old Testament the city of Thebes in Egypt. In the five places men- tioned it is always called, in the Latin Vulgate, Alexandria (Jer. xlvi. 25; Ezech. XXX. 14, 15, 16; Nah. iii. 8). It lay on both sides of the Nile, 500 miles from its mouth.

    Nobili (Robert de) (1577-1656). — Mis- sionary and Jesuit. Born at Montepul- ciano. He resolved to devote his life to the conversion of the Brahmins. In 1606, he went to Madura, and imitating the example of St. Paul, who became " all things to all men to win all to Christ," he separated from his brethren and assumed the habits and customs of a Brahmin. His austerities and manner of life attracting universal attention, many of the chief and most learned of the Brahmins soon asked to become his disciples. During the forty years of his apostolate in Madura, de Nobili is said to have converted more than one hundred thousand idolaters, nearly all of whom belonged to the caste of Brah- mins.

    Nocturn. See Breviary,

    Nod. — Hebrew word which we read in Genesis and which has been explained in various ways : the Chaldaic and Vulgate take it in its literal sense of vagabond, fugitive, and thus interpret the passage of Genesis: Habitavit in terra Nod. He (Cain) lived upon earth as a fugitive. The Septuagint, Josephus, and others have taken it for a proper noun of a place and read Naid. Some locate this country in Hyrcania.

    Noe. — The name of the celebrated patriarch, who with his family, was pre-




    served by the Lord by means of the ark, through the Deluge, and thus became the second founder of the human race. The history of Noe and the Deluge is contained in Gen. vi., vii., viii., and ix. See Deluge.

    Noetni. — Wife of Elimelech, of the tribe of Benjamin. Her two sons, Chelion and Mahalon, married Orpha and Ruth.

    Noetius. — Heresiarch of the third cen- tury, born at Smyrna .or at Ephesus, teacher of Sabellius. He openly declared : "The same Divine Person, when con- sidered in different relations, is called Father and Son, begotten and unbegotten, visible and invisible. In Christ the Father was born, suffered and died." The disciples of Noetius, Epigonus, and Cleom- enes, disseminated the heresy of their master at Rome, where the latter became the head of the Patripassian party.

    Nominalism. — One of the principal doctrines by which the scholastic philoso- phy was divided, and according to which the universals, that is, the terms which ex- press general ideas, are mere denomina- tions, corresponding to no reality. Nominalism was founded about the end of the eleventh century by Roscelin of Com- piegne and condemned by the Church in the Council of Soissons.

    Nomocanon. — Collection of canons or imperial laws which bear a relation to them or which are conformable to them. The most ancient nomocanon is that com- piled in the year 554 or 564 by John of An- tioch or the Scholastic. Photius published another in 885. The most celebrated com- mentary is that of Balsamon (1180). No- mocanon is the name also applied to a collection of the canons of the Apostles, Councils, and Fathers, which have no re- lation with imperial constitutions. The Greeks call nomocanon certain penitential books, such as the Penitentials of John the Faster.

    Nonconformists was the term applied to those ministers in England who refused to subscribe to the Act of Uniformity passed in 1672 demanding "assent and consent" to everything contained in the Book of Common Prayer. The meaning of the term has been extended to include all w^ho refuse to conform to the order and liturgy of the Church of England. See Dissent- ers.

    None. See Breviary.

    Nonjurors or Inasserment6s were styled those ecclesiastics in France who, in the epoch of the " Civil Constitution of the Clergy" (1790), had refused to take the oath to said constitution, in opposition to the "Jurors " or " Assermentes." They were also called " Refractaires."

    Norbert ( St.). See Premonstraten-


    North-American Missions.


    See Mis-

    Norway i^The Church tn). See Den- mark.

    Notker. — German monk, surnamed the " Stammerer," was born about 840, near Thur, Switzerland ; died at St. Gall, April 6th, 912. Was the author of a Martyro- logium, and a number of poems called Sequences.

    Notre Dame (" Our Lady"). — Name of several religious congregations. See Sis- ters.

    Novatian. — Antipope and schismatic of the third century. Novatian, opposing the election of Cornelius, whom he charged with being a " libellaticus " and as holding religious communion with apostates, set himself up as a rival bishop of Rome. In a council which Pope Cornelius held at Rome, Novatian was excommunicated, whereupon many of his adherents returned to communion with the lawful Pontiff. To avert further desertions, Novatian made his followers swear on the Holy Eucharist that they would not desert him to side with Cornelius. His writings that remain to us are On the Trinity and On the Jevjtsh Meats. The Epistle of the Roman Clergy to Cyprian, is also from his pen. They held : i. That persons who had committed the more grievous sins, especially those who had denied their faith in the persecutions, could not be re- ceived again into the Church. 2. That the Church having compromised itself by re- ceiving such sinners, had ceased to be the pure spouse of Christ and the true Church of God. 3. They denied the validity of Catholic baptism and rebaptized all com- ing over to them. 4. They condemned second marriages. Affecting a greater strictness of discipline, they termed them- selves "Cathari" {Pure). Novatian communities existed at Carthage, Alex- andria in Phrygia, Pontus, Gaul, Spain,




    and in other places, as well as in Rome. The sect continued as late as the sixth century, when it disappeared.

    Novatians. — Heretics of the third cen- tury, who were founded by a certain Nova- tus, priest of Carthage. He robbed the widows and orphans, squandered the revenues of the Church, and opposed St. Cyprian, under the pretext that he was not sufficiently indulgent toward those who had fallen into idolatry during the perse- cutions. In 251, he went to Rome, where he became the principal coadjutor of No- vatian in the schism which the latter for- mulated against Pope Cornelius. Return- ing into Africa he revived Montanism. St. Cyprian combated him, and the Churches, both of the East and West, unanimously condemned him and his followers.

    Novena. — Space of nine consecutive days during which the suppliant delivers him- self to the practice of devotion in honor of a saint, for the purpose of obtaining, through the intercession of the saint, some special favor. The Church approves of Novenas, provided we have a sincere and enlightened faith, free from all super- stition.

    Novice. — A monk or nun who has newly taken the religious habit in a convent to pass therein a time of probation before making profession.

    Numbers ( Book of) . — The fourth book of the Pentateuch. It contains the history of the thirty-eight or thirty-nine years which the Israelites passed in the desert after the promulgation of the Decalogue. It is called Numbers, because the three first chapters contain the enumeration of the different tribes of the people. The chapters following contain, also, a great number of laws which Moses then passed, and an account of the wars which the Israelites were compelled to sustain against the Amorites and Madianites. The Book

    of Numbers is written in the form of a day-book.

    Nun. — A member of a religious order of women. The name nun is given in general to the sisters of all religious con- gregations of females who live in retire- ment, and are bound by rule ; but it is primitively and properly applicable only to sisters of the religious orders strictly so called, who have consecrated themselves to God by the three vows of poverty, chas- tity, and obedience, and bound themselves to live in a convent under a certain rule. See Orders {Regulars).

    Nunc Dimittis. — The name given to the Canticle of Simeon (Luke ii. 29-32), which forms part of the Compline office of the Breviary.

    Nuncio (representative of the Pope). — Before the Council of Trent, the nun- cios took knowledge in the first instance of causes which are of ecclesiastical juris- diction; since this Council, they can be only judges of appeal from the judgments rendered by the ordinaries of the places subject to the discipline of the decretals, and of the Council of Trent. In the king- doms that are not subject to these decretals and Council of Trent, the nuncios have no authority nor jurisdiction, and they are looked upon as simple ambassadors. In an answer to the bishops of Germany (1789), Pius VI. shows that the Holy See has the right to send everywhere, where it is deemed proper, either ordinary or extra- ordinary nuncios, enjoying a firm juris- diction; that no one ever refused to the Pope the right to send nuncios in ex- traordinary cases ; that the right to send ordinary nuncios enjoying a firm jurisdic- tion is founded upon the primacy of the Holy See ; that the Popes have always ex- ercised this right from the beginning of the Church to the present day, and that this right has been acknowledged by the councils, bishops, and even civil powers. See Legate.


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