Bishop (d. 342)
+ Nicholas is thought to have been born in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey).
+ After living as a monk in the monastery of Holy Zion near Myra, he was appointed bishop of that city.
+ Renowned for his piety and zeal, he was imprisoned for his faith in Christ during the persecutions of Diocletian.
+ Nicholas participated in the Council of Nicea in 325 and was among those who embraced the teachings now known as the Nicene Creed. He was known for his strong opposition to the teachings of Arius, who denied the divinity of Jesus.
+ Saint Nicholas died in Myra in 342.
+ In 1087, the relics of Saint Nicholas were moved from Muslim-controlled Turkey to Bari, Italy. He remains an important saint in both the East and the West and is honored as the patron of dozens of professions and causes, but he is especially revered as a patron saint of the poor.
In the most famous story of his life, Nicholas came to the aid of three young women, daughters of a poor man who could not afford the dowries that would allow them to marry. In order to save the girls from a life of poverty (or worse), Nicholas went to the poor man’s home and tossed three purses filled with gold (one for each daughter) through the window of the house, giving the daughters the dowry they would need to help secure a respectable marriage.
Today, in addition to be honored as the patron of the poor, Nicholas is also the patron saint of pawnbrokers, whose traditional symbol is three gold spheres, recalling the three bags of gold Nicholas gave to the young women.
“The Lord chose him to be his servant,
a shepherd of his own Israel.
God revealed to him his glory.”—Psalm 78:70-71
We humbly implore your mercy, Lord:
protect us in all dangers
through the prayers of the Bishop Saint Nicholas,
that the way of salvation may lie open before us.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Prayer from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.Access our archives of daily saint biographies here