St Nicholas of Myra

St Nicholas is one of the most beloved of the Saints in the church calendar.  He was the Bishop of Myra, c. 342.  His feast day is December 6 and his symbol is sometimes three bags of gold, the dowry he is supposed to have given to three girls to save them from degradation.

From the book Holy Women, Holy Men, it is written:

Very little is known about the life of Nicholas, except that he suffered torture and imprisonment during the persecution under the Emperor Diocletian.  It is possible that he was one of the bishops attending the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325.  He was honored as a saint in Constantinople in the sixth century by the Emperor Justinian.  His veneration became immensely popular in the West after the supposed removal of his body to Bari, Italy, in the late eleventh century.  In England almost 400 churches were dedicated to him.

Nicholas is famed as the traditional patron of seafarers and sailors, and, more especially, of children.  As a bearer of gifts to children, his name was brought to America by the Dutch colonists in New York, from whom he is popularly known as Santa Claus.

For more information and activities regarding St Nicholas, please visit http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/home/.

Photo - statue of St Nicholas of Myra

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