Bishop Nicholas of Myra in Lycea (in an area of Turkey now) was a
bishop of the early Christian Church in the early 4th century. He
died on December 6th somewhere between the years 342 and 352 (though the
exact year is not known), which is why we celebrate St. Nicholas's day
in early December. To the right is shown a picture of St. Nicholas as he
would have appeared in the 4th century. Note that St. Nicholas is
holding the Gospels, and is depicted with Christ and Mary, Jesus's
It is easy to see how with the corruption of the Spanish name for
this saint, Santa Nicholas, as well as the Dutch name, Sinterklaas,
his celebration by the church in December, and the coming day of
Christmas could have been confused into the current Santa Claus of
The Western St. Nicholas
painting from a German Christian card, Nicholas is shown, again with his
Bishop's stole and Gospels, but also with a staff and in more Roman
Mass marketing hype has now turned a man, beloved by many for his
continued devotion to Christ, his unwavering support of unaltered
Christian doctrine (as handed to the early church by the Apostles), his
piety and love for others into an inflatable glowing "Lawn
You can see why we feel that honoring the "Real St.
Nicholas" is worth doing with an annual festival. For us, this
celebration helps kick off the period leading up to Christmas, and what
a great way to start!
Our "St. Nicholas"
...is our parish priest, The Very Reverend Father Thomas Moore, of Holy
Apostles Orthodox Church, with the blessing of our bishop.
As you can see, Father Thomas gives us a chance to "see"
St. Nicholas on this day, dressed much as he would have been when he was
at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. (when the Nicean Creed was formed,
and the basic list of the books of the Bible were established).
Though our St. Nicholas doesn't take requests for presents, he gives
a "golden coin" (chocolate) to each child, reminiscent of a
famous story of his generosity.