Would the Real St. Nick Please Stand Up?


St. Nicholas of Myra

Santa Claus










St. Nicholas has become quite the celebrity since being associated with Santa Claus but who he really was still remains somewhat of a mystery to most. Santa and St. Nick are actually pretty different from each other besides an association with children and a beard. St. Nicholas was Greek, born in modern day Turkey during the Roman Empire. He is also the patron saint of many things including, sailors, fishermen, harbors, ship makers, children, pawnbrokers, weavers, those who want to be married, those who are wrongfully imprisoned, shopkeepers and merchants. As you can tell he is a much more comprehensive figure than Santa Claus.

St. Nicholas day is usually celebrated on December 6th in a number of European countries. In France he is commemorated for saving three young boys from being sold as meat by an butcher. Legend has it that the evil butcher led the three boys into his house where he killed them and was preparing to sell them as ham. St. Nicholas resurrected them through his prayers.  Another story has St. Nicholas helping poor women get married. Three sisters came from a poor family and did not have enough funds for dowries to attract potential husbands. Without husbands, they would probably become prostitutes. St. Nicholas saved them from this unsavory future by clandestinely throwing three pouches of gold through their window during the night.

St. Nicholas is also credited with performing many miracles during his life. One miracle that he performed was providing wheat during a famine for the town of Myra. St. Nicholas learned that there were ships in the port of Myra that had wheat going to the emperor Constantine. He convinced the sailors to give some of the wheat to the people of the town even though it was going to be measured when they reached the emperor, and they would get in trouble if all the wheat was not accounted for. When the sailors got to Constantinople and the wheat was measured it was as though they had never given any away. The wheat  that the sailors had given away lasted for two years and was enough so that the people of Myra could use it to plant new crops.

Throughout Greece and Italy, St. Nicholas is revered by sailors and is the patron saint of many port cities. He is even the patron saint of the Greek navy.

So who is St. Nick really? Is he a jolly fellow that drops gifts down chimneys, does he save children from malicious butchers, help women out financially so they can get married or is he a miracle worker? Write your own piece taking one part of St. Nicholas’s legacy as your inspiration.