About St Nicholas of Myra Image
About St Nicholas of Myra

St Nicholas was a bishop at Myra (Turkey) in the fourth century, renowned for combating the Arian heresy and for giving gifts to children and families in need. He is the model from which Santa Claus is derived.

Read the full St Nicholas novena on the novena page. You can also learn more about novenas here.

What is the real story of Saint Nicholas?

St Nicholas was a bishop at Myra (Turkey) in the fourth century, renowned for combating the Arian heresy and for giving gifts to children and families in need. He is the model from which Santa Claus is derived.

Nicholas was born the only child to devout parents, who died when he was a young man. He went into the care of his uncle, who was Bishop of Patara.

His uncle ultimately ordained him to the priesthood, and Nicholas began his famous works of charity.

A man in Patara had lost his money, and unable to support his three daughters, gave them over to prostitution.

Nicholas heard of this travesty and, one-by-one, thre gold bags into an open window of the man’s house.

Each bag provided the dowry for each of the three daughters, who were soon married.

St Nicholas visited Myra, and when the priests and people discovered it, they elected him as their new bishop.

Nicholas was persecuted for the Faith by the Romans, who tortured and imprisoned him. Once Constantine rose to power, Nicholas was released from jail and was able to resume his episcopal duties in Myra.

Traditions say that Nicholas was at the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, delivering a punch to Arius the heretic. He was stripped of his episcopal insignia and put into prison for it, but Christ and Our Lady appeared to him and restored these to him, along with his freedom.

Dutch Protestants diluted the strongly Catholic St Nicholas into the idea of Santa Claus and brought it to America.

St Nicholas is the patron saint of bakers, children, coopers, sailors, fishermen, merchants, broadcasters, the falsely accused, repentant thieves, brewers, pharmacists, archers, pawnbrokers, Russia, Greece, Moscow, and Amsterdam.