紀念日 / Memorial date
Saint Nicholas, Bishop
Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara in Asia Minor. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus’ words to “sell what you own and give the money to the poor,” Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.
Under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. After his release, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in AD 325 where he signed the document affirming the divinity of Christ. He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra.
St. Nicholas is known for his generosity to those in need, especially the poor, children and the innocent. One of the oldest story tells of a poor man with three daughters of marriageable age. The family was poor, and the young girls were in danger of being sold into slavery because their father could not afford to offer a dowry. Nicholas went by night to their house and threw three bags of gold in through the window, saving the girls from an evil life.
Through the centuries St. Nicholas has continued to be venerated by Catholics and Orthodox and honored by Protestants.
St. Nicholas is the patron of sailors, children and prisoners. His patronage of the young gave rise to the tradition of giving gifts on the Eve of his feast: children would leave socks or shoes on a chair, or next to the fireplace, and go to sleep trusting that the following morning they would be filled with gifts. The true story of Santa Claus in fact, begins with St. Nicholas.
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.
English text: Daily Roman Missal, 2011