#Russian Iconic Portrayal of Nicholas of Myra
Who was the real Catholic and Orthodox saint called Nicholas?
Here are some answers from a Catholic monsignor priest:
The Real St. Nicholas – Not Fat and Not Very Jolly Either.
(Dec 6) is the Feast of St. Nicholas. The real St. Nicholas was nothing close to the St. Nick (Santa Claus) of the modern age. He was a thin curmudgeonly man with a zeal for the Lord that caused flairs of anger. Compromise was unknown to him. The slow transformation of him into “Jolly ole’ Saint Nicholas is a remarkable recasting of him centuries in the making…
Enjoy this excerpt on the real St. Nicholas of Myra (aka Santa):
He approaches Arius, fist raised menacingly. There are gasps. Would he dare? He would. Fist strikes face. Arius goes down. He will have a shiner. Nick, meanwhile, is set upon by holy men. His robes are torn off. He is thrown into a dungeon…
Saint Nicholas. Paintings show a thin man. He was spare of frame, flinty of eye, pugnacious of spirit. In the Middle Ages, he was known as a brawling saint. He had no particular sense of humor that we know of. He could be vengeful, wrathful, an embittered ex- con….No doubt, Saint Nick was a good man. A noble man. But a hard man.
Nicholas was born in Patara, a small town on the Mediterranean coast, 280 years after the birth of Christ. He became bishop of a small town in Asia Minor called Myra. Beyond that, details of his life are more legend than fact….He became a priest at 19, and bishop in his twenties…Nicholas of Myra might not seem like the kind of person who relates to kids, and few acts attributed to him involve children.
St. Nicholas of Myra morphed into Santa Claus. (Pope C, Msgr. The Real St. Nicholas – Not Fat and Not Very Jolly Either.)
So, Nicholas was a violent and hard man according to a senior Catholic priest.
Here are two more articles about him, with a Germanic focus:
Though they have similar outfits, Nikolaus is not to be confused with Santa Claus, who Germans call the Weihnachtsmann, or Father Christmas…
Each year on December 6, Germans remember the death of Nicholas of Myra (now the Anatolia region of modern Turkey), who died on that day in 346. He was a Greek Christian bishop known for miracles and giving gifts secretly, and is now the patron saint of little children, sailors, merchants and students. Known as Nicholas the Wonderworker for his miracles, he is also identified with Santa Claus. Beliefs and traditions about Nikolaus were probably combined with German mythology, particularly regarding stories about the bearded pagan god Odin, who also had a beard and a bag to capture naughty children…
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