Saint Nicholas was born in Patara Lycia in the third century. His parents, Theophanes & Nonna were wealthy and had promised to dedicate him to God. Through his childhood, his Christian parents taught him the virtues of a Christian. Nicholas was educated at a young age (Myers). Nicholas performed some miracles as a young child. Catholic Online reports that Nicholas’ parents raised him extremely well and he followed them in their footsteps. Nicholas regularly attended his teacher’s classes as he grew up.
While he walked to the classroom with his instructor, one day he passed a lady with a withered finger. In a moment of inspiration, he stopped, approached her and prayed for God before making the sign. The hand was miraculously restored to its original state. The first miracle to be attributed Saint Nicholas was this one. Nicholas’s young life was marked by another miracle he performed. Nicholas walked in Jesus’ footsteps. He walked in the footsteps of Jesus to gain a deeper understanding of Jesus’s life, passion, death, and resurrection. The ship was in danger of being sunk by a mighty sea storm as they returned. Nicholas prayed calmly. The sailors, who were terrified by the sudden calm of the sea and wind, were amazed. St. Nicholas has become the patron saint for sailors and travellers (Myers). Nicholas’s parents died from an epidemic in his youth. Nicholas’s uncle, Bishop Patara was able to raise him well after leaving his parents. Nicholas was committed to using the inheritance he received to do good works. His mentor, Bishop Patara, mentored Nicholas. He ordained Nicholas later (Catholic Online).
Nicholas was ordained as a Priest by his uncle. He used the inheritance he received to do good. Nicholas was told by a Patara native that his father had lost everything and needed money to support three daughters. Nicholas, knowing that the father would consider turning his daughters into prostitutes, threw gold in the house of this man. Nicholas repeated the act for the two other daughters at intervals. The father, who had been keeping watch all night, recognized the man that was throwing gold bags in the house.
Catholic Online says, “The father thanked Nicholas for the kindness he showed.” ” (Catholic Online). God revealed to Saint Nicholas that he was the right man to be chosen by the clergy of Myra and the people of the Province to become a Bishop. Nicholas was made Bishop of Myra in the midst of a brutal persecution of Christians by Diocletian. This occurred at the beginning of 4th Century. In the prisons there were too many bishops, deacons and priests. They had no room for criminals who committed crimes such as murderers, robbers, or thieves (Myers). Later they were freed under Constantine the Great’s rule. (The Encyclopaedia Britannica Editors). Bishop Nicholas gained a reputation throughout the country as a generous man who cared for those in trouble, loved children, and was concerned about sailors (Myers). Nicholas was freed and went to the Council of Nicaea A.D. 325.
The Council of Nicaea or First Ecumenical Council was established in 325 A.D. to maintain unity of the Christian church, which had been threatened by rival claims on the nature of Jesus Christ. Several resources state that St. Nicholas’s death is believed to be on 6th December, 343 according to Biography. com). After Saint Nicholas’s death, his miracles were told in other parts of world. He became associated with giving gifts and protecting children. Saint Nicholas also is known as the Patron Saint of Children, Merchants, Russia, Sailors, Women, Unmarried and the Unmarried (Llewe). Myers said that Nicholas’ sainthood was acknowledged long before the 10th-century canonization process and the Great Schism (1054), which separated the churches of Rome from Constantinople. Nicholas’ era, saints are declared through acclamation. This is the consent of all the people. He was also a saint popular in Europe for many years after his death. However, the Reformation took place in the 1500s and led to the Protestantism movement, which discouraged the honoring of Saints. St. Nicholas remained a prominent figure in Holland, though. (Biography. com)
The Dutch continue to celebrate St. Nicholas Day, which is celebrated on 6 December. In the Netherlands, children would put out their footwear before going to bed. The next morning, the children would find the gifts St. Nicholas left for them. Dutch immigrants brought St. Nicholas legend to America, which they called Sint Nikolaas. com).
St. Nicholas has undergone many changes in America. Sinterklaas is now Santa Claus. He no longer gives gifts on December 6 but instead takes part in the Christmas celebration. Clement Clarke Moore describes St. Nicholas in “AnAccount Of A Visit From St. Nicholas”, an 1820 poem. He is described as being a heavy and jolly man driving a sleigh with flying reindeer. Thomas Nast’s 1881 illustration of Santa Claus wearing a white fur-trimmed red suit added to the legend. Saint Nicholas used to be a kind and generous bishop. Today, he is the Santa Claus you know (Biography). com). Saint Nicholas of Myra (also called Nikolaos) was a man who knew from his very beginning that he wanted God to be the center of his life. He did not expect anything from God, even though he lost his parents when he grew up. Nicholas gave all the inheritance he received to those who were in need and suffering.
It’s because he was a great saint that Christians celebrate his Feast Day on the 6th of December. Through the ages, Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants continue to honor and venerate Saint Nicholas. St. Nicholas is a role model of compassion because he has shown generosity towards those in need. This includes children. I chose St. Nicholas because he always gave, and gave without any expectation of return.