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Saint Nicholas
Jaroslav Čermák (1831 - 1878) - Sv. Mikuláš.jpg
Full-length icon of Saint Nicholas by Jaroslav Čermák, showing him with a halo, dressed in clerical garb, and holding a book of the scriptures in his left hand while making the hand gesture for the sign of the cross with his right.
Defender of Orthodoxy, Wonderworker, Holy Hierarch, Bishop of Myra
Born Traditionally 15 March 270
Patara, Roman Empire
Died Traditionally 6 December 342(342-12-06) (aged 72)
Myra, Byzantine Empire
Venerated in All Christian denominations which venerate saints
Major shrine Basilica di San Nicola, Bari, Italy
Feast 5/6 December in Western Christianity; 19 December in Eastern Christianity (main feast day – Saint Nicholas Day)
22 May [O.S. 9 May] (translation of relics)
Attributes Vested as a Bishop. In Eastern Christianity, wearing an omophorion and holding a Gospel Book. Sometimes shown with Jesus Christ over one shoulder, holding a Gospel Book, and with the Theotokos over the other shoulder, holding an omophorion
Patronage Children, coopers, sailors, fishermen, merchants, broadcasters, the falsely accused, repentant thieves, brewers, pharmacists, archers, pawnbrokers, Aberdeen, Galway, Russia, Greece, Hellenic Navy, Liverpool, Bari, Siggiewi, Moscow, Amsterdam, Lorraine, Royal School of Church Music and Duchy of Lorraine, students in various cities and countries around Europe

Saint Nicholas (270–6 December 343), or Nikolaos of Myra, was the Bishop of Myra.

He was born in the Greek colony of Patara, in Asia Minor. Myra is near Antalya, in modern-day Turkey.

In the 11th century, his remains were taken to Bari, Italy, to save them from Turkish (Muslim) invaders.

He is the patron saint of very many groups, including thieves and murderers. So far as is known, what he did in that respect was to protect the falsely accused.

He is venerated in both Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches.


Ilja Jefimowitsch Repin - Saint Nicholas of Myra saves three innocents from death
Saint Nicholas saves three innocents from death is a painting by Ilya Yefimovich Repin, done in 1888

His parents were relatively well-off. Nicholas is said to have distributed his fortune among the poor. This is relatively well documented. Less documented deeds of his include saving children from drowning. He helped seamen in a storm and saved a child that was abducted.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Saint Nicholas of Myra is a very prominent figure. Very often, the third large icon on the Iconostasis in Orthodox churches is devoted to him. The other two are usually devoted to Jesus, and to Mary with the child.

The Cantata by Benjamin Britten

The modern composer Benjamin Britten composed a cantata for orchestra and choir about the life of St. Nicholas. It is very popular and often performed.

In modern times

He is the Saint behind Santa Claus. He is the patron Saint of Children, of Seafarers and merchants. The Hanseatic League chose him as their patron saint. Over 400 churches and several thousands all over the world are named after Nicholas of Myra. He is also the patron saint of both Amsterdam, capital of Netherlands and Moscow, capital of Russia.

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Le Père Fouettard

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