St. Nicholas’ Day

Today is the feast of St. Nicholas of Myra, known as St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. Most everyone has heard that the tradition of Santa Claus evolved from St. Nicholas, and in many European nations, children receive gifts on St. Nicholas' Day rather than Christmas.

St. Nick

There is little known historically about the life of St. Nicholas. Over the years, a strong devotion to him has developed in both the Eastern and Western Churches. In fact, nearly every Orthodox church has a shrine or prominent icon of the saint.

He is also known as St. Nicholas of Bari, a city on the heel of the Italian "boot." In 1037, the city of Myra, where he had served as bishop and his relics were enshrined, was conquered by the Saracen Muslims. A raiding party of 72 Catholic sailors, including 3 priests, raided Myra in 1087 and made off with the saint's bones. They took them to Bari, and St. Nicholas' fame increased throughout Italy and Europe.

The St. Nicholas Center is a beautiful online resource dedicated to promoting knowledge of the saint and celebration of his feast day.

On a side note, the newest St. Nicholas in the Orthodox Church is Tsar Nicholas II, the last Emperor of Russia, who was executed with his family by the Communists during the Bolshevik Revolution. He was well-known for his devotion and piety, and abdicated the throne in the hope that it would spare Russia further violence. He, his wife Alexandria, and their five children were canonized as holy martyrs by the Russian Orthodox Church in 2000.


Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • Guest

    Saint Nicholas – patron, too, of Santa’s helpers, acolytes to the saint himself –

    He is one busy patron as the list goes – children to murderers, newlyweds to sailors. His work among purposefully aborted babies has to make him as well a powerful foe of the abortion industry. With saved sailors and even murderous men at his back, he would lead one very formidable army of divisions for the Pope’s armies.

    All this, and a lovable icon of all innocence and charity – what a guy, this Saint Nick! I think I need to ask him for his comforting presence over my Christmas and Advent seasons.

    I remain your obedient servant, but God’s first,

    Pristinus Sapienter

    (wljewell or …

  • Guest

    He just got edged out from being┬áthe new patron saint of e-mail — he lost to St. Francis of CC:

    Okay, I made that up….

  • Guest

    God loves you .

    What is Christianity without the occasional chuckle and even hearty laugh?

    It mightn’t be a bad idea for the Church to place at the very end of Mass something called ‘God’s laugh’, right after our pastor’s commission to ‘go in peace and in love’. He can share such little thoughts that let us know that our God is named Joy as well as Love.

    Think, too, the book: Compendium of our God’s Laughter‘. With some subtle apologetics behind some of the narratives, it would be a best-seller Godsend.

    Remember, I love you, too .

    In our delighted glory in our Infant King,

    Pristinus Sapienter

    (wljewell or …