Family Tree Tuesday – Saint Nicholas

Posted December 21, 2010 by Geni | No Comment

This week Christians all over the world will be celebrating Christmas,  the holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus. However, most children will simply be anticipating the arrival of Santa Claus. Did you know that Santa Claus, or Saint Nick, is based a a real person?

St. Nicholas was born in Lycia, Asia Minor, and died as Bishop of Myra in 352. He performed many miracles and exercised a special power over flames. When he heard that a father who had fallen into poverty was about to expose his three daughters to a life of sin, Nicholas took a bag of gold and secretly flung it through the window into the room of the sleeping father. In this way, the three girls were dowered and saved from mortal sin and hell.

The story of Saint Nicholas came to America in distorted fashion. The Dutch Protestants carried a popularized version of the saint’s life to New Amsterdam, portraying Nicholas as nothing more than a Nordic magician and wonder-worker. Our present-day conception of Santa Claus has grown from this version. Catholics should think of Nicholas as a saint, a confessor of the faith and the bishop of Myra — not merely as a jolly man from the North Pole who brings happiness to small children. Many countries and locations honor St. Nicholas as patron: Greece, Russia, the Kingdom of Naples, Sicily, Lorraine, and many cities in Italy, Germany, Austria, and Belgium.

Source: Most of this information comes from St. Nicholas Center.

His profile is included in the Saints project on Geni.