New Catholic Dictionary – Saint Nicholas of Myra

detail of a stained glass window of Saint Nicholas of Bari; by James Powell and Sons, 1904; chapel of Saint Nicholas, cathedral of Saint David, Wales; photographed on 21 July 2011 by Wolfgang Sauber; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Also Saint Nicholas of Bari. Confessor, Bishop of Myra; born Patara, Lycia, Asia Minor; died Myra, c.352. Although he is popular in the Greek as well as the Latin Church, nothing is historically certain about him except that he was Bishop of Myra in the 4th century. In his youth he is supposed to have made a pilgrimage to Egypt and Palestine; shortly after his return he became bishop. During the persecution of Diocletian he was imprisoned, but released after the accession of Constantine, and attended the Council of Nicaea. He was buried in the cathedral at Myra, but in 1087 Italian merchants stole his body and carried it to Bari, Italy. The numerous miracles Saint Nicholas is said to have wrought before and after his death are outgrowths of a long tradition. His representations in art are as various as his miracles. In Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands it is the custom to make him the secret purveyor of gifts to children on 6 December; in the United States and some other countries Saint Nicholas has become identified with the popular Santa Claus. Patron of Greece, Russia, Naples, Sicily, Apulia, Lorraine, Limerick, etc., of mariners, merchants, coopers, pawnbrokers, travellers, bakers, brewers. Emblems: children, mitre, vessel. Relics in the crypt of Saint Nicholas at Bari. Feast, Roman Calendar, 6 December.

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Nicholas of Myra”. People of the Faith. CatholicSaints.Info. 13 October 2010. Web. 22 September 2021. <>