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Saint Nicholas

Dimensions 0.0 × 5.5 × 6.0 cm
SKU: 49521502 Category:

Saint Nicholas

Russian metal icon with enamel
Saint Nikolaos (Greek: Άγιος Νικόλαος , Agios [“saint”] Nikolaos [“victory of the people”]) (270 – 6 December 346) is the canonical and most popular name for Nikolaos of Myra, a saint and Greek[3] Bishop of Myra (Demre, in Lycia, part of modern-day Turkey). Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker. 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 English name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas. His reputation evolved among the faithful, as is common for early Christian saints.[4] In 1087, his relics were furtively translated to Bari, in southeastern Italy; for this reason, he is also known as Nikolaos of Bari.

The historical Saint Nikolaos is remembered and revered among Catholic and Orthodox Christians. He is also honoured by various Anglican and Lutheran churches. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, thieves, and children, and students in Greece, Belgium, 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, Huguenots, Liverpool and Siggiewi. In 1809, the New-York Historical Society convened and retroactively named Santa Claus the patron saint of Nieuw Amsterdam, the historical name for New York City.[5] He was also a patron of the Varangian Guard of the Byzantine emperors, who protected his relics in Bari.

A nearly identical story is attributed by Greek folklore to Basil of Caesarea. Basil’s feast day on 1 January is considered the time of exchanging gifts in Greece.