Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The good Bishop of Myra, aka: Santa Claus

Bishop Saint Nicholas of Myra, circa 346 A.D.

and now for real...the one Catholic Saint admired by all Christians everywhere...

From the Patron Saint Index:

Also known as
Klaus; Mikulas; Nicholas of Bari; Nicolaas; Nicolas; Niklas; Santa Claus

6 December

Priest. Abbot. Bishop of Myra, Lycia (modern Turkey). Generous to the poor, and special protector of the innocent and wronged. Many stories grew up around him prior to his becoming Santa Claus. Some examples:

  • Upon hearing that a local man had fallen on such hard times that he was planning to sell his daughters into prostitution, Nicholas went by night to the house and threw three bags of gold in through the window, saving the girls from an evil life. These three bags, gold generously given in time of trouble, became the three golden balls that indicate a pawn broker's shop.

  • He raised to life three young boys who had been murdered and pickled in a barrel of brine to hide the crime. These stories led to his patronage of children in general, and of barrel-makers besides.

  • Induced some thieves to return their plunder. This explains his protection against theft and robbery, and his patronage of them - he's not helping them steal, but to repent and change. In the past, thieves have been known as Saint Nicholas' clerks or Knights of Saint Nicholas
  • .

  • During a voyage to the Holy Lands, a fierce storm blew up, threatening the ship. He prayed over it, and the storm calmed - hence the patronage of sailors and those like dockworkers who work on the sea.

c.346 at Myra; relics believed to be at Bari, Italy

Visit the Saint Nicholas Center to perhaps learn something new.
(But continue enjoying the Santa Claus we know and love today.)

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"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton