Saint Nicholas

Saint Nicholas (c. 270 - 6 December 346)

(The icon of St. Nicholas at Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), USA)

Saint Nicholas (270 - 6 December 346) is the common name for Nicholas of Myra, a saint and Bishop of Myra (Demre, in Lycia, part of modern-day Turkey). Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nicholas the Wonderworker. He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for Santa Claus, whose English name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas. In 1087, his relics were furtively translated to Bari, in southeastern Italy; for this reason, he is also known as, Nicholas of Bari.

The historical Saint Nicholas is remembered and revered among Orthodox and Catholic Christians. He is also honoured by various Anglican and Lutheran churches. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, and children, and students in Greece, Belgium, Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Russia, the Republic of Macedonia, Slovakia, Serbia and Montenegro. He is also the patron saint of Barranquilla, Bari, Amsterdam, Beit Jala, Siggiewi and Liverpool. In 1809, the New-York Historical Society convened and retroactively named Sancte Claus the patron saint of Nieuw Amsterdam, the Dutch name for New York City.

(The original Tomb of St. Nicholas at Myra) (The tomb of St. Nicholas in Bari as it is seen today)

Basilica di San Nicola in Bari, Italy where the relics of St. Nicholas are kept today

Christmas Stamp, Ukraine, 2006



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