Saint Nicholas

Greek: Αγιος Νικολαος
Who: Saint Nicholas was a 4th-century Christian saint and Greek Bishop of Myra.
Born: 270
Died: 343 (73 years old)
Lived: Myra, Lycia (modern day Turkey)
Name Day: December 6

St. Nicholas, 1294 from Lipnya Church of St. Nicholas in Novgorod, Aleksa.

St. Nicholas, 1294 from Lipnya Church
of St. Nicholas in Novgorod, Aleksa.

Saint Nicholas was a Greek Bishop of Myra, Lycia and is the patron saint of all of Greece, now associated with the festival of Christmas. Thousands of churches are dedicated to him throughout the World and he iscelebrated around the Christian World. Little is known about the life of Saint Nicholas. What we do know is that he was known as a kind man and for the miracles he performed for the poor and unhappy.

His most popular act of kindness took place in Patara, Lycia. A poor father, unable to afford a dowry for his three daughters, was ready to sell his daughters off to prostitution. A dowry was something of value that a father had to offer to a prospective husband. At night time, on three different occasions, Saint Nicholas threw a bag of gold through the windows of their house to pay for the dowries. These bags of gold were said to have landed in stockings and shoes left before the fireplace to dry. This would form the foundations for what would become our present day gift-giving, and hanging of the stockingson Christmas.

After Saint Nicholas death in 343 A.D. he was buried in his church at Myra. There he would stay, becoming a place of pilgrimage for Christians, until in 1087 Italian sailors stole his remains and moved them to Bari, Italy. To this day his remains have become enshrined in its’ original 11th-centur basilica. In 2009, the Turkish government officially announced a request to the Italian government for the return of his remainsciting that they were illegal removed and that Saint Nicholas himself would have wanted to be buried in his home town.

Today the spirit of Saint Nicholas lives on through Christmas. In the 17th century, Dutch coloniststook the tradition of Saint Nicholas to New York City (at the time called New Amsterdam). Known as ‘Sinterklaas’ in Dutch he was adopted by the English-speaking population of the American colonies as Santa Claus. The legend of Saint Nicholas has lived on to this day and has turned him into a pop culture icon.

Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus), Bishop of Myra:

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