NICHOLAS was born toward the end of the third century. He was ordained a priest, and appointed abbot of a monastery.
Nicholas was very generous to the poor. He showed himself the special protector of the innocent and the wronged. Once he heard that a man who had become very poor intended to abandon his three daughters to a life of sin. He went out by night, flung a bag of gold into the window of the sleeping father, and hurried away. Later the father fell at his feet and said, "Nicholas, you are my helper. You have delivered my soul and my daughters from hell."
St. Nicholas is regarded as the special patron of children; the word Santa Claus comes from his name. He died at Myra in the year 342.
The Emperor Justinian built a church in his honor at Constantinople about the year 540. In 1807 his relics were brought to Ban, Italy. He has always been venerated in the Latin and Greek Churches. But the Russian Church seems to honor him more than any other saint. He is the patron saint of Russia.