St. Nick

St. Nicholas of Myra statue in the Basilica of St. Nicholas in Myra (now Demre), Turkey

I can’t let the sun set on this First Sunday of Advent without a nod in the direction of the saint of today, who is not celebrated this year because December 6 falls on Sunday. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and today is his day.

Between now and Christmas, while our world is saturated with secular Santas and contentious controversies over how we greet one another, it might be good to spend some time, especially with children, learning about who “Santa” really is, his fascinating history, and how St. Nicholas came to be the jolly bearded guy. The St. Nicholas Center is a good place to start, and may provide all you need.

Also a few interesting videos. One by the Turkish Tourism Department:

Here is a brief documentary about his life and the history of his veneration, made by the Coptic Orthodox Church:

Finally, here’s Benjamin Britten’s wonderful oratorio, St. Nicholas, which tells the whole story. A rewarding 45-or-so minutes.

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Author: tomwelbers

I have been a Catholic priest for nearly fifty years, most of that time serving in parish and college campus ministry. I also have professional degrees in theology and liturgy, as well as institutional management, and continue avidly to explore pastoral theology, Scripture, liturgy, ecumenical and interfaith relations, and spiritual direction. I have a passion for sharing insight into our Christian heritage through teaching, writing, and leading pilgrimages, especially to Early Christian World sites in Turkey. Now actively retired from parish ministry, I live at Nazareth House in Los Angeles.

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