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Was St. Nicholas a real person?

NICHOLAS

Чурин Дмитрий-(CC BY-SA 4.0)

Philip Kosloski - published on 12/05/22

Some historians don't believe in the existence of a person named St. Nicholas.

While many children are questioned about their belief in the existence of Santa Claus, some historians don’t even believe in the existence of the person Santa Claus is based on.

The problem with St. Nicholas is that there are zero contemporary written documents that prove his existence. Everything we know about St. Nicholas comes through legends that were created after his death.

According to the St. Nicholas Center, “The first hagiography of the bishop of Myra, written by an otherwise unknown Michael the Archimandrite, can be dated to c.700, about three and a half centuries after the end of the saint’s earthly existence.”

This fact alone makes some historians state that St. Nicholas was only a legend.

However, this is the same amount of time that “separates Alexander the Great from his main biographers.

Oral history was a common way of passing on the life of an individual, as can be clearly seen by the Bible itself, which was written down decades and even centuries after the events it describes took place.

Much work has been done in archaeology in recent years to confirm the essential facts of the life of St. Nicholas.

While many of the legends of St. Nicholas may include extraordinary events and miracles, this does not mean that the man himself did not exist. Early Christians commonly used stories to relate spiritual truths and to better explain the life of a saint.

Furthermore, the devotional cult of St. Nicholas was firmly established only a few centuries after his death, which points to a long history of seeking his intercession.

The Catholic Church today continues to believe in St. Nicholas’ existence and affirms his presence in Heaven interceding for us on a daily basis.

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