Important Facts About Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myrna, AKA Santa Claus
St. Nick was a real man who gave to children during Christmas.
For many centuries, children around the world have believed that a fat man in a red suit comes down their chimney on Christmas Eve and brings them gifts. Hundreds of cartoons and movies have been produced that depict the jolly old elf in various forms. Decades ago, at a certain age, children were told they were old enough to know the truth, that Santa Claus is not real, but actually he was a living breathing person. There are many myths and legends about Santa Claus that have sprung from the imagination of men and women everywhere. Some stories even seem to contradict others, but guess what? There actually is a man who lived and died upon whom all the myths and legends are based on.
Santa Claus was real
Bishop Nicholas of Myra, also known as Nicholas Bari is the individual upon whom, the model of Santa Claus or Sinkta Klaus was modeled. He was born sometime in March of 270 in Asia Minor in the area that is modern day Turkey. He became the patron saint of pawnbrokers, thieves, children, brewers, sailors, and merchants. A day in his honor is celebrated on the sixth of December which is the day he died.
He was imprisoned for his faith
During the rule of the Roman dictator Diocletian , St. Nick was imprisoned and tortured for seven years because of his faith. His cellmates were Christian Bishops, Deacons and Priests. The prisons were so full of the religious leaders that there was no room for real criminals. Diocletian so hated Christianity that he preferred to have the church leaders locked up rather than thieves and murderers.
St. Nicholas was born to wealthy parents
Legend has it that Nicholas,(which means victor of the people) was born to wealthy parents who passed away shortly after his birth, His mother and father helped the poor and those who were ill. Unfortunately they both contracted the sickness of those they were caring for and died. Their son inherited their fortune, but took seriously the words of Jesus to help the poor. Nicholas Bari gave away his entire fortune to the needy. There are many stories about the manner in which this was done, but historians agree that he was a humanitarian and he looked out for the least among us.
He gave to disadvantaged children
One tale that has withstood the test of time, suggests that Bishop Nicholas placed gold coins in three bags for three sisters whose impoverished father was about to sell them into slavery. St. Nick is suppose to have thrown one bag off gold coins through a window for three nights in a row. Legend also said that on Christmas Eve he left coins on the window sills of homes with poor children. Other stories indicate that he put gold coins or fruit in the stockings that impoverished children hung on the fireplace mantle the night before Christmas.
After Saint Nicholas died, it is said that nuns continued his good deeds. They would help the poor anonymously on a regular basis which caused people to wonder where the blessings were coming from. Those who were the recipients of the unknown benefactors began to say that it must have been Saint Nick and this is how Santa Claus first came into being.
Controversy surrounds St. Nick
Some people say that Santa Claus is a false god because children are taught to pray to him for miracles and told that he sees them at all times. Others have even gone so far as to suggest that Saint Nicholas was a pedophile, but there is no collaborating evidence. It is often difficult to separate fact from fiction but three things about this controversial Catholic bishop. He lived, he died, and much that has to do with Christmas is related to the image the world has of him.