St. Nicholas is celebrated by the Orthodox and Catholic Churches every year on the 6th of December. St Nicholas resurrected a young sailor who had fallen from the mast and drowned. Also, in Alexandria, St Nicholas cured many sick and demonized people.
St Nicholas is the patron saint of children, sailors, and bakers. Unmarried women and the unjustly accused. It is also said that St Nicholas saved some sailors from shipwreck through prayer, and they have worshipped him ever since.
He died around 345 in the town of Myra (today, Kocademre, Turkey). He was ordained to be honored on 6 December because on that day, he appeared in a dream to the Holy Emperor Constantine the Great, asking him to forgive three innocent young men who were to be killed the next day.
Read also: Who Are The Saints In The Catholic Church?
Old Saint Nick
He was born around 260 in Asia Minor, in the town of Patara, in the province of Myra Lycia, to wealthy and pious parents Theophanes and Nona. From his childhood, he showed himself to be a chosen one of God; being a suckling infant, he was not allowed to be suckled on fast days, Wednesdays and Fridays. Growing up, he avoided childish games, spending hours and even days in meditation and prayer.
Nicholas, also known as “Old Saint Nick,” is one of the Church’s greatest and most popular saints. Saint Nicholas, called the Second Forerunner, Friend and Praise of the Apostles (Akathist), the Primate of the Hierarchs, enjoys excellent love and honor from the faithful, perhaps immediately after the Mother of God, along with John the Baptist and the greatest of the Apostles – Saints Peter and Paul.
He received a good education, gifted by God with an enlightened and comprehensive mind, but, understanding the vanity and limitations of secular science and wisdom, he turned to the arena of spiritual perfection – monastic life. Studying and meditating deeply on the texts of the Holy Scriptures in general and the Holy Gospels in particular, he understood the meaning of life, the vocation, and the call of man to live in the right faith, right relationship, and wise love, with God and with men.
Read also: Why God chose Noah?
St Nicholas Day
The legend of Saint Nicks’s Day tells us that St Nicholas was Bishop of Myra, recognized as a saint from the 16th century. He was born around 280 into a wealthy family in the village of Patara in the province of Lycia in the Asian part of present-day Turkey.
On Sunday, 6 December, St Nicholas’ Day is celebrated, also known as Saint Nicks Day. It is the day that marks the beginning of the winter holidays and the season of presents.
The saint is said to have saved three impoverished sisters from prostitution. The father had already thought of pushing them into debauchery when St Nicholas leaped to their aid—throwing money bags into the girls’ rooms. They would marry shortly after receiving the gifts from Santa Claus.
Read also: What Is St William The Patron Saint Of?
Basilica of St Nicholas
St Nicholas was a famous bishop of 4th century Myra, born in Patara between 260 and 280 and known primarily for his miracles and gentleness. His parents died of illness, leaving the young Nicholas with a large fortune. St Nicholas is said to have been imprisoned by Byzantine Emperor Diocletian. Probably also attending the Council of Nicaea. St. Nicholas also pleaded with Emperor Constantine for a reduction of taxes in the town of Myra, which the Emperor granted.
The Basilica of St. Nicholas of Myra is located 2 kilometers from the town of Demre in the Turkish province of Antalya. The first church built in honor of St. Nicholas in the city of Myra was founded in the 6th century. The church’s location was chosen according to the tomb of St. Nicholas (above him) – a fact supported by most researchers.
The present church dates mainly from the 8th century. It was restored in 1042, under the patronage of Emperor Constantine X, a monastery being added to it at the same time or shortly afterward. The monastery was built after Arab attacks in the 11th century.
Read also: What Is St Maurice The Patron Saint Of?
Where was Saint Nicholas born?
Orphaned early, his uncle raised Saint Nicholas, also called Nicholas and Bishop of Myre. When he died in 300, the future Saint Nicholas took over the episcopal office. The saint then performed miracles that built his aura, his legend, and his many patronages. For example, he secured his faithful’s respect despite Christians’ imprisonment in Myra. And even obtained a tax rebate from Emperor Constantine. He was pleading for the cause of the Myra residents of Constantinople.
Nicholas of Myre, better known as Saint Nicholas, was a bishop born at Patara in Lycia around 270 and died on 6 December 335 in the city of Myre. Venerated by most Christian traditions, he is celebrated on 6 December (the day of his repose). And also 9 May (the day of translating his relics).
Saint Nicholas is buried until 1087 in the church of Saint-Nicolas de Myre. His relics have the particularity of producing an oil considered miraculous, “the manna of Saint Nicholas,” still harvested today. This post-mortem miracle contributed to the spread of the legend and cult of Saint Nicholas in the Orthodox religion.
Read also: Orthodox Christmas | Christmas For Orthodox
The Legend of St. Nicholas
One autumn morning, as winter was approaching, three children went to harvest in the fields of Lorraine and got lost on the way. Attracted by the light of a house, they came and knocked on the door. The place’s owner was none other than the mouth of Pierre Lenoir, also called Peter Schwartz. He agreed to let them in, killed them, then cut them into small pieces to put in a giant salt tub and make salt pork.
St. Nicholas, on his donkey, knocked on the door one by one. The man, unable to turn away a bishop, invited him to dinner. St. Nicholas asked for salted pork. Thinking he was trapped, the butcher confessed his crime. St. Nicholas then put three fingers on the tub of salt and resuscitated the children.
To punish the butcher, Saint Nicholas chained him to his donkey. At this point in the story, he becomes the bogeyman, a stupid and violent character who scolds naughty children. Just the opposite of St Nicholas, who in some countries became St Nicholas, then Santa Claus, and finally Santa Claus as we know him today.
You might also want to know…
The relics of Saint Nicholas
According to tradition, the bishop of this diocese mixes this liquid with water, blesses it, and distributes it to the faithful.
The bones of St Nicholas were taken to Bari and placed in the Basilica di San Nicola. The relics of St Nicholas are kept in the Cathedral of Bari, Italy, in a crypt from which a colorless liquid, called “Santa Mana,” flows.
St. Nicholas is also known for his charitable work and his work in helping the poor. There are accounts of him leaving bags of coins to poor girls who could not have a wedding and were on the verge of poverty.
Read also: What is Saint Alexis patron of?
- Therefore, having made himself perfect in the word of teaching. He was also excellent in life’s work; from vain friendships and idle talk, he turned away altogether. And from talking with women or seeking with his eyes the female face, he greatly shunned. For in fleeing, he turned away from the company of women.
- Several legends based on his kindness and love led to the appearance of Santa Claus. As Saint Nicholas is considered.
- He is also the patron saint of major cities such as Amsterdam and Moscow.
Read also: What is Saint Pius X The Patron Saint of?
Saint Nick’s Day is celebrated on the 6th of December. From the tradition, it has remained that Santa Claus does not bring gifts in booties to the disobedient, but a little apple branch ring. After his death, many miracles are attributed to him. He is said to have saved sailors, children, merchants, and even lawyers. It is said that from his head springs a fountain of oil and from his feet a spray of water. From all his limbs, holy ointment comes forth, healing many people.