Saint Nicholas

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Related to Nicholas of Myra: Sankt Nikolaus, St. Nicholas of Myra

Nicholas, Saint,

patron of children and sailors, of Greece, Sicily, and Russia, and of many other places and persons. Little is known of him, but he is traditionally identified as a 4th-century bishop of Myra in Asia Minor. His relics were stolen from Myra in the Middle Ages and taken to Bari, Italy. St. Nicholas is the subject of many legends. He is credited with restoring to life three boys who had been chopped up and pickled in salt by a butcher. Another famous story concerns his giving three bags of gold to the daughters of a poor man and thus saving them from lives of prostitution. Later tradition transformed the bags into three gold balls, which became the symbol of pawnbrokers. In the Netherlands and elsewhere St. Nicholas's feast (Dec. 6) is a children's holiday, appropriate for gifts. The English in colonial New York adopted from the Dutch the now unrecognizable saint, calling him Santa Claus (a contraction of the Dutch Sint Nikolaas). They moved his feast day to the English gift holiday, Christmas. The career and qualities attributed to Santa Claus are all recently acquired.


See biography by C. W. Jones (1978, repr. 1988).

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References in periodicals archive ?
This story stems from the legend that Nicholas of Myra gave dowries for three maidens wanting to marry and dropped them down the chimney so that they would not know that it was he that had done the charitable act.
Scores of armed officers and uniformed gardai patrolling the south inner city as the remains of Byrne - shot dead at the Regency Hotel attack - were brought to St Nicholas of Myra church in Dublin.
Amid massive security outside St Nicholas of Myra church, Fr Coghlan said: "A hero must come forward and put their head above the parapet." He called on all those involved in the long-running turf war to end the cycle of violence which left the father of two dead and sparked the revenge killing of Eddie Hutch Snr just days later.
The unprecedented level of security in the Irish capital - the highest in Dublin since the arrival of Queen Elizabeth in 2011 - will focus around St Nicholas of Myra Church on Francis Street and Mount Jerome Cemetery in Harold's Cross.
Historians believe St Nicholas of Myra, the Christian saint who inspired the legend of Santa, is buried in an ancient graveyard of a crumbling church near Thomastown, Co Kilkenny.
His body will be removed to St Nicholas of Myra church on Francis Street this evening.
St Nicholas of Myra, the 4th-century Bishop of Lycia in modern-day Turkey, was renowned for his extraordinary generosity and was venerated as a living saint.
ATMOSPHERIC The 800-year-old ruins of Jerpoint Abbey RESTING PLACE Historian Philip Lynch by the Jerpoint grave GIFTS TO THE POOR St Nicholas of Myra
They believe the body of St Nicholas of Myra - who was the inspiration for Father Christmas - was brought here by the early crusaders and interred at Jerpoint Abbey, Co Kilkenny, in 1200.
Immigrants to the New World blended him with the 4th century St Nicholas of Myra (see S for Stockings, below) and by the time New Yorker Clement Clarke Moore wrote his famous poem A Visit From St Nicholas in 1823, Santa Claus had come into being.