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Saint Nick -- History, Overview, and the Connection To Santa Claus

Updated on December 4, 2012

Jolly Old Saint Nick

Here you'll find information on Saint Nick, St Nick, Saint Nicholas, St Nick pictures and much more. We'll also discuss who is St Nicholas, Saint Nick and Santa Claus, St Nick's connection with Christmas, Saint Nick wallpapers and much more about the loveable jolly old elf also known as Santa Claus!

Merry Christmas to all!

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Saint Nick
Saint Nick

Who Is Saint Nicholas

Saint Nick history, Saint Nick origin

Saint Nicholas, also called Nikolaos of Myra, was an historic 4th-century saint and Greek Bishop of Myra. Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker; while in the Russian Orthodox Church the name is translated "St. Nikolai The Miracle Creator". 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 reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints. In 1087, his relics were furtively translated to Bari, in southeastern Italy; for this reason, he is also known as Nikolaos of Bari. His feastday is 6 December.

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.

To read the rest of the Wikipedia article, click here.

St Nick
St Nick

The Life of Saint Nicholas

Saint Nick's background, Saint Nick's childhood

Nicholas was Greek-born in Asia Minor in the Greek city of Patara during the third century. At the time, the culture of the region was Greek in nature. Nick was a very religious man from an early age and he was said to have fervently observed the canonical fasts of Wednesdays and Fridays. Nicholas was the sole son of well to do Christian parents by the name of Epiphanus and Johanna according to some folklore while other sources refer to his parents as Theophanes and Nonna.

Unfortunately, Nicholas' parents passed away while he was young and he was primarily raised by his uncle, also named Nicholas, who was the bishop of Patara. Uncle Nicholas taught young Nick the importance of reading and later helped him enter the priesthood. Nicholas also spent time at a monastery founded by his uncle by the name of Holy Sion.

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Santa Claus
Santa Claus

Saint Nick as Santa Claus

Saint Nick becomes Santa

Our modern version of Santa Claus is a mix of many different mythologies, legends and folklore. Saint Nicholas is the primary inspiration for the Christian figure Sinterklaas. Saint Nicholas and Sinterklaas gradually merged with the British character Father Christmas to create the character known across the world today as Santa Claus.

In the British colonies of North America and later the United States, British and Dutch versions of the gift giving Santa merged even further. For example, in Washington Irving's book "History of New York" published in 1809, Sinterklaas was Americanized into "Santa Claus," a name first used in the American press in 1773. They dropped the bishop's outfit and he was pictured as a thick-bellied Dutch sailor with a pipe in a green winter coat. Irving’s book was a lampoon of the Dutch culture of New York, and much of this portrait is his joking invention.

As time passed, several other influences came into play that eventually became the red and white, plump figure of Santa Claus that we've all come to know and love today.

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Comments - What do think of Santa Claus? Learn anything new about ol' St Nick?

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    • MinaMirage profile image

      MinaMirage 5 years ago

      Interesting history about St Nick!

    • GeekGirl1 profile image

      GeekGirl1 6 years ago

      What a lovely lens for Christmas, so nicely done.

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Well I'd say you made ole Saint Nick proud with this tribute, Santa Claus too! Well done!