Saint Nicholas Becomes a Myth

First of all, Saint Nicholas was dead. On December 6, 343, to be precise, in Myra, in present-day Turkey. But, as is the case with saints, death was no hindrance to miracles. Actually it was an accelerator. Myrrh started flowing from his tomb from the moment of his funeral. solving problems, giving gifts; This is what he did. It is said that he once saved three daughters of a poor man from prostitution by throwing gold from his windows at night to give them as dowry.

The 11th century was particularly fruitful. In a span of 60 years, 50 places of worship were dedicated to him in France and Germany alone. In 1087, Nicholas's remains were stolen from Myra and brought to Bari in Norman Apulia, a stopping-off point for pilgrims to the Holy Land. Even before the arrival of Nicholas's bones, there were five churches dedicated to Nicholas in Bari. A raiding party of 62 people – merchants, sailors, priests – set out for Myra, then in the Seljuk Empire, to effect a defence.

Is it possible that Nicholas never lived? Pope Paul VI thought so. In 1969 Paul canceled his feast day due to a similar technicality. But of course that makes Nicholas' strange lifestyle as Santa Claus all the more miraculous. A gift if you like.

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