Saints & Martyrs

Saint Nicholas

Nicholas (d. ca. 345-352), bishop of Myra in Asia Minor, whose body was exhumed and relocated to the Italian city of Bari in 1087. In the modern era, Saint Nicholas has been popularized as Santa Claus. But in Christian tradition, he is most celebrated for his miracles and secret gift giving. Holy oil said to have healing properties seeped from his remains and drew many medieval pilgrims to his shrine at Bari.

Excerpt from The Golden Legend

Nicholas, citizen of the city of Patras, was born of rich and holy kin, and his father was Epiphanes and his mother Johane. ...

And when his father and mother were departed out of this life, he began to think how he might distribute his riches, and not to the praising of the world but to the honor and glory of God. And it was so that one, his neighbor, had then three daughters, virgins, and he was a nobleman: but for the poverty of them together, they were constrained, and in very purpose to abandon them to the sin of lechery, so that by the gain and winning of their infamy they might be sustained. And when the holy man Nicholas [heard of this] he had great horror of this villainy, and threw by night secretly into the house of the man a mass of gold wrapped in a cloth. And when the man arose in the morning, he found this mass of gold, and rendered to God ... great [thanks], and therewith he married [off] his oldest daughter.

And a little while after this holy servant of God threw in another mass of gold, which the man found, and thanked God, and purposed to [lay in wait], for to know him that so had aided him in his poverty. And after a few days Nicholas doubled the mass of gold, and cast it into the house of this man. He awoke by the sound of the gold, and followed Nicholas, which fled from him, and he said to him, "Sir, flee not away so but that I may see and know thee." Then he ran after him more hastily, and knew that it was Nicholas; and anon he kneeled down, and would have kissed his feet, but the holy man would not, but required him not to tell nor discover this thing as long as he lived.

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