Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of St Nicholas, Patron Saint of Bakers, Children & Travelers

Saint NicholasSaint Nicholas (270-343)

(Franciscan Media) The absence of ‘hard facts’ of history is not necessarily an obstacle to the popularity of Saints, as the devotion to Saint Nicholas shows–both the Eastern and Westerns Churches honor him and it is claimed that after the Blessed Virgin, he is the Saint most pictured by Christian artists and yet historically, we can pinpoint only the fact that Nicholas, was the 4th Century Bishop of Myra a City in Lycia a Province of Asia Minor–geographic region in the South Western part of Asia composing what is present day Turkey.

As with many of the Saints, we are able to capture the relationship that Nicholas had with God through the admiration which Christians have with Him–an admiration expressed in the colorful stories which have been told and retold down through the centuries.

Perhaps the best known story of Nicholas concerns his charity towards a poor man who was unable to provide dowries for his three daughters of marriageable age. Rather than see them forced into prostitution, Nicholas secretly tossed a bag of gold through the poor man’s window on three separate occasions, thus enabling the daughters to be married.

Over the centuries this particular legend evolved into the custom of gift-giving on the Saint’s feast.

In the English speaking countries, St Nicholas became by the twist of the tongue ‘Santa Claus’ further expanding the example of generosity portrayed by this Holy Bishop.

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