Saint Nicholas was born in Patara of Lycia about the middle of the third century, of devout and wealthy parents who provided him with a Christian upbringing and education. He was orphaned at an early age.
Later he was ordained a priest, and when the bishop of his district died, he was made Bishop of Myra of Lycia.
Saint Nicholas is distinguished for his great faith, for his struggle in the name of Orthodoxy and especially for his charity.
His faith was so great, that with his prayer he calmed a stormy sea while on a trip to the Holy Lands. For this reason sailors pay homage to him as their protector.
He fought for the predominance of Orthodoxy and took part in the First Ecumenical Synod of Nicea.
Especially well known is his charity and his love for children. He used his great wealth to relieve all who were in need: poor families, widows, and especially orphans and poor children. For this same purpose he founded, as Bishop, a poorhouse, hostelries, and a hospital.
He was the personification of Christian love and affection. As such he is honored by all the Christian world, both the Eastern and the Western.
In the West especially he is considered as the great patron Saint of children and the cheerful giver of gifts under the name Santa Claus.
For all of us Saint Nicholas is a "Canon of faith and an image of goodness and kindness."
TROPARION OF ST. NICHOLAS
An example of the Faith and a life of humility, as a
teacher of abstinence you did inspire and lead your
flock and through your truthfulness of your deeds
were exalted by greatness through your humility
uplifting all and by poverty gaining wealth. Father and
hierarch Nicholas intercede with Christ our God that
our souls be saved.