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Friday, 6 December 2013

St. Nicholas -- A True Christian






St. Nicholas  

Feast Day --December 6



Born: March 15, 270 AD, Patara, Turkey  

Died: December 6, 343 AD, Myra, Turkey

(Greek: Ἅγιος Νικόλαος, Hagios Nikólaos, Latin: Sanctus Nicolaus, 
Bulgarian: Св. Николай);
Also Known as Nikolaos of Myra and  Nikolaos the Wonderworker.

In 270AD, Nicholas was born in a city named Patara in Greece, now presently on the southern coast of Turkey.  His parents died when he was still young from an epidemic after raising him as a devout Christian.  He inherited great wealth in which he used to help the poor, needy, sick and suffering.  While still young he dedicated his whole life to God.

He was appointed Bishop of Myra, through a sign given to a wise bishop, who, being part of a group of bishops, was given the task of replacing the deceased Bishop of Myra.  So you can say it was a divine appointment. 


St. Nicholas was a great saint who walked the path of Christ in his life by helping the poor and those in need.  His selflessness is still honored today by his Feast Day and traditions that have grown around his legend.  He is considered the Patron Saint of many, from children, sailors, pawn brokers, brides, maidens etc. (see the list at  http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/people/).

There are many stories and legends about the Saint’s many miracles and undertakings.  He is known to have secretly given sacks of gold through a window of a poor man, who had three daughters, to pay their dowries.  Without the dowries these girls would have been sold into slavery.  This has been said to have started the tradition of Christmas stockings.


There is much to learn about this great saint that would fill many pages.  In my research I have discovered a treasure trove of information from reliable sites… He is much more than the giver of toys at Christmas.  I think it to be very beneficial to learn more about St. Nicholas who gives us an excellent example on how to live a truly Christian life. 

Here are a few stories from a few of these sites:

“Children around the world know and love St. Nicholas—for he brings gifts and treats in December.  He is known by different names—and even looks different from place to place.  But, it is the same St. Nicholas who delights with small surprises and good things to eat.   Nicholas gave in secret, alert to others' needs, and expecting nothing for himself in return.

   It is this selfless generosity 
which seeks only 
the good of the other 
that made Nicholas' 
gifts the gifts of a saint.


In the West the saint's image changed between the eleventh and twelfth centuries from a rather severe figure to the compassionate children's friend, giving gifts on St. Nicholas Day.   As early as 1163 it was observed in Utrecht, the Netherlands.   During the same time span, the 12th century, French nuns began leaving candy and gifts outside the doors of children in need.   


The St. Nicholas Day children's gift-giving custom spread through the Low Countries, Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland and England.   It took root across most of northern and central Europe, as far east as Romania.    

Henry Machyn described the 1550s London feast day processions, led by people dressed as St. Nicholas, that "went abroad in most parts of London singing after the old fashion," and were "received among good people into their houses, and had much good cheere as ever they had in many places."1  

15th century Swiss writer Hospinian wrote: It was the custom for parents, on the vigil of St Nicholas, to convey secretly presents of various kinds to their little sons and daughters who were taught to believe that they owed them to the kindness of St Nicholas and his train, who, going up and down among the towns and villages, came in at the windows, though they were shut, and distributed them…”  

“…Nicholas' mode of entry shifted from windows to chimneys.   There were no chimney's in Lycia when Nicholas lived—they simply did not exist and most cooking took place outdoors.   Chimneys, as we know them, appeared in colder Europe during the 13th century.   Art from that time begins to show Nicholas' charity being delivered via chimney, rather than window…” 

Who is St. Nicholas?

Nicholas As a Gift Giver:

General information about St. Nicholas:

Ever wonder what St. Nicholas really looked like?? Check out this page…

Relics of the Saint:

St. Nicholas in Art: