Originally Published on: December 1, 2000
Used with permission from the author.
Nicholas a wizard, a miracle worker with a special patronage
He is all of these things and more in legend, having lived in
the fourth century, serving as a bishop of Myra in Turkey. Perhaps
it is the kind countenance of this Saint in his flowing white
beard and robes, always pictured bending with his staff towards
children that adds to the mystery of his life on earth. He is
like many other Saints where little is known of their personal
lives as men and women, known instead for miraculous cures,
or personal sacrifices wrought by their devotion and love for
God. It is interesting that a cult has spanned through hundreds
of generations and grown around this kindly Saint. Perhaps people
have a deep need for this kind of benevolence so sorely lacking
in the societies of today?
We find this goodwill and charitable acts most abundantly during
the days of Christmas when the benevolence of good St. Nick
flourishes in cities and towns crossing the mountains and parting
the seas of time all over the globe. For Christmas is a time
when the whole world seems to stand still under the stars of
our skies, in an act of reverence and awe of a Holy event where
St. Nick, celebrated spokesperson of Christmas seems to have
found his destiny.
how did this come about? Well, in stages, as everything else
in life, one kind act of this holy Saint building upon another
until everyone in the world is whispering his name in quiet
expectation of his coming on Christmas Eve night. And why so
quietly the whispers of these longing hearts? Everyone knows
the real meaning of Christmas in their hearts and souls, and
how easy to forget the main event under a pile of bright red
bows and shiny snowflake wrap. That is why St. Nick reminds
us through his charity, that we must never forget the real meaning
of Christmas, which is goodwill and peace towards all.
that is what St. Nick seems to be, a promoter of peace and plenty,
and for those who don't have much, less is more when seen through
the eyes of St. Nick. He valued life over death, health, and
the nurturing of children in their innocence as Christ was born
as an infant to bring the peace of heaven to earth.
Nick is said to have healed children, and considering that in
the days he lived children were baptized in large wooden vats
of water, it certainly could be true that he rescued more than
one child from drowning. According to more than one source he
brought two boys back to life, and provided dowries for young
girls to become happily married rescuing them from lives of
prostitution. His compassion and kindness towards the young
is what brings us the different traditions of Christmas and
giving gifts to children on Christmas Eve.
The religious icons in the links
provided below will give you a better idea of the sanctity of
St. Nicholas and the reverence bestowed upon him in numerous
churches and altars throughout the world. Like the rest of the
Saints he had his times of persecution, but as his cult is spread
far and wide as "Father Christmas" perhaps he'd rather
we remember him that way with his floating beard and sturdy
cane bearing true gifts of hope, peace and joy!
©Sheila M. Coyle, 2000
Permission is granted to use this article for non-commercial
A few of these links and commentaries were also provided y
of the Saints
This article from Father Alban Butler's Lives of the Saints
relates details about St. Nicholas, his virtue and helper of
those in distress
This article about St. Nicholas from "Lives of Saints"
by John J. Crawley notes the popularity of this Saint in Russia
of Myra - article in the 1908 Catholic Encyclopedia.
St. Nicholas of Myra
- this article by Fr. Pat Umberger, Arcadia, WI U.S.A provides
a brief biogrpahical background and a fascinating story on this
Nicholas of Myra - Yet another biogrpahical sketch of Saint
Nicholas with an Icon.
Nicholas of Myra - EWTN library - taken from "Lives
of Saints", Published by John J. Crawley & Co., Inc.
- Another biographical sketch.
Nicholas the Wonderworker Page - Icons - An Orthodox site
with a large number of links to other sites containing icons
of Saint Nicholas of Myra.