St Nicholas, the patron saint of our church, lived about seventeen hundred years ago in the Mediterranean city of Myra, in the province of Lycia (situated in modern-day Turkey). He is still known and revered today as “Nicholas the Wonderworker” because of the many miracles attributed to him.
He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for Santa Claus, whose modern name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas. His feast day is December 6, and in Romania, children typically leave their boots on the windowsill on the evening of December 5. By next morning St. Nicholas leaves candy and gifts if they have been good, or a rod if they've been naughty.
St Nicholas originally was laid to rest in the cathedral of the City of Myra around AD 345. During the time of the Crusades, his remains were transported to the Italian city of Bari, where he remains to this day. His place of rest is visited and venerated by millions around the world.
The historical Saint Nicholas is remembered and revered among Catholic and Orthodox Christians. He is also honored by various Anglican and Lutheran churches. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, thieves, children, and students in Greece, Belgium, France, Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Albania, Russia, the Republic of Macedonia, Slovakia, Serbia, and Montenegro. He is also the patron saint of Aberdeen, Amsterdam, Barranquilla, Bari, Beit Jala, Fribourg, Huguenots, Kozani, Liverpool, Paternopoli, Sassari, Siggiewi, and Lorraine. He was also a patron of the Varangian Guard of the Byzantine emperors, who protected his relics in Bari.
His wonder-working miracles have been recounted by millions all over the world for centuries, and St. Nicholas is still honored and revered today – not as a Christmas character, but as a true saint who worked the will of our Lord, Jesus Christ, during his time on earth.