Saint of the Day December 06: St. Nicholas of Bari
St. Nicholas of Bari: History, Legends and Traditions of the Patron Saint of Children
St. Nicholas of Bari
3rd century , Pàtara, Turkey
4th century, Lycia, Turkey
Glorious St. Nicholas, my special Protector, from that seat of light in which you enjoy the Divine presence, turn mercifully towards me your eyes and impart to me from the Lord the graces and aids appropriate to my present spiritual and temporal needs, and precisely the grace … should it benefit my eternal health. Grant you still, O glorious Holy Bishop, the Supreme Pontiff, the Holy Church and this devout City. Lead back to the right path sinners, unbelievers, heretics, and the afflicted, succor the needy, defend the oppressed, heal the sick, and cause all to experience the effects of Your valiant Patronage with the supreme Dator of all good. So may it be.
Patron Saint Of
Puglia, Napoli, Bari, Sassari, Lecco, Mira, Merano, Argenta, San Nicola la Strada, Mentana
Children, anyone in unfavorable circumstances, sailors
St. Nicholas, bishop of Myra in Lycia in present-day Turkey, celebrated for his holiness and intercession at the throne of divine grace.
The Saint and Mission
St. Nicholas of Bari, also known as St. Nicholas of Myra, is an emblematic figure in the history of Christianity who exceptionally exemplifies the Christian mission through his life of service and generosity. A bishop in the fourth century, St. Nicholas is best remembered for his deep compassion and commitment to living the Gospel in concrete actions.
St. Nicholas’ mission is distinguished by his concern for the needy and marginalized. Numerous stories and legends surrounding his life illustrate his unwavering commitment to helping those in difficult situations. One of the most famous anecdotes concerns his secret help to three poor young sisters, providing them with a dowry to prevent them from falling into desperate situations. This act not only reflects great generosity, but also underscores his dedication to actively intervene in situations of social injustice.
In addition to his generosity, St. Nicholas’ mission was characterized by his defense of the faith and active participation in Church councils. He stood firm against heresies and defended Orthodox doctrine, showing that the Christian mission also includes guarding and transmitting the truth of the faith.
St. Nicholas is also revered as the protector of sailors, a role that reflects his concern for the safety and well-being of others, especially those facing danger and uncertainty. His intercession for sailors in distress has become an integral part of his spiritual heritage, demonstrating that the Christian mission extends its care and protection beyond the confines of one’s immediate community.
The life of St. Nicholas of Bari is a clear example of how Christian mission can be lived out through an unwavering commitment to generosity, justice and advocacy of the faith. His legacy continues to inspire the faithful to live a life of active service and love of neighbor, following the model of this saint who so eloquently embodied the core values of Christianity.
The Saint and Mercy
St. Nicholas of Bari, also known as St. Nicholas of Myra, is a historical and legendary figure in Christianity who deeply embodies the concept of mercy. His life, steeped in acts of generosity and help to the less fortunate, offers a shining example of how mercy can be lived out in the daily practice of faith.
One of the best-known episodes in St. Nicholas’ life concerns his secret help to a poor family, to whom he provided dowries for their daughters, saving them from an adverse fate. This act, besides being an example of generosity, reflects the core of Christian mercy: acting to alleviate the suffering of others, often without seeking recognition or reward.
St. Nicholas’ mercy also extended to his role as bishop. He was known for his dedication to caring for his community, particularly toward the most vulnerable and needy. His leadership was characterized not only by his defense of the faith, but also by his commitment to living the Gospel in concrete ways through works of charity and justice.
In addition, St. Nicholas is revered as the patron saint of children, sailors and many other categories of people, a role that testifies to his broadness of heart and his ability to intercede for a wide range of needs and situations. This dimension of his holiness underscores that mercy is not limited to single acts of kindness, but is an inclusive and sympathetic approach to human suffering.
The life of St. Nicholas of Bari reminds us that mercy is an essential component of the Christian life, inviting us to follow his example in offering love, support and protection to those who need it most. His legacy is a constant reminder that actions motivated by mercy can have a lasting and profound impact, both in people’s lives and in the history of the Church.
St. Nicholas was one of the most distinguished saints who flourished in the Eastern Church in the fourth century. A native of Patara in Lycia, he showed from childhood that he was predestined for great things. Very early on he fell in love with religious life, and retired to a monastery in the vicinity of Myra.
Miraculous there were his outbursts of love for the Lord and daily progress in virtue. He practiced material charity and…