Did you know that St. Nicholas was consecrated a bishop at 30, leading to his nickname of “boy bishop”?
Or that he is a reported attendee of the Council of Nicaea?
Yes! There is so much more to the life of this powerful saint than what is commonly known!
While we recognize St. Nicholas as the source behind the legendary Santa Claus, we may not know the many fascinating facts of his life. St. Nicholas was not a mythical figure, but a man who served the Church, risked his mortal life for the poor and persecuted, and whose charity made him a saint!
St. Nicholas (270-343) was the bishop of Myra in what is now Turkey. He was beloved during his life for his quiet generosity, always attuned to the needs of the poor and suffering. Many miracles were attributed to St. Nicholas’s intercession. Strong devotion to the saint known as the “gift-giver” grew rapidly until he was revered worldwide as Santa Claus.
But it was not just gift-giving and service that defined St. Nicholas—he endured great suffering for Christ as well. Under the rule of Emperor Diocletian, Nicholas spent seven long, hard years tortured and imprisoned for his faith in Christ. In 313 A.D., the first Christian emperor, Constantine, issued the Edict of Milan, giving religious liberty to all Christians and freeing St. Nicholas.
Alongside 317 other bishops, St. Nicholas participated in the Council of Nicaea, the first council of the Church, in 325 A.D. The main purpose was to resolve confusion—caused by the Arian heresy—over the nature of the Son in His relationship to the Father. The Council of Nicaea formulated the Nicene Creed—the Creed we pray at Sunday Mass to this day—which outlines the basic Christian belief that the Son is “consubstantial” with the Father. In this way, the greatest gift St. Nicholas helped give us is our Creed!
Inspired by St. Nicholas, may we remember that we are never too young or too old to be called by Christ! This “boy bishop” lived his life with striking charity and Christian witness, reminding us that the greatest legacy we can leave behind is one of love.
This Christmas, allow St. Nicholas to give you one more gift: the gift of the true meaning of Christmas! This beautiful Fontanini Kneeling Santa Figure, which shows Santa adoring the Christ Child, is the perfect way to demonstrate the reality of Christmas and how Santa participates in it. Order today from The Catholic Company and get your own Kneeling Santa in time for Christmas!