St. Nicholas was born during the third century in the village of Patara in Asia Minor. At the time, the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him as 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 young. Bishop Nicholas became known 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, St. Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. He died on December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church, where a unique relic, called manna, formed in his grave. This liquid substance, said to have healing powers, fostered the growth of devotion to Nicholas. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day, December 6 (December 19 on the Julian Calendar).
The truth of thy deeds hath revealed thee to thy flock as a canon of faith, an icon of meekness, and a teacher of abstinence;for this cause thou hast achieved the heights by humility, riches by poverty, O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, intercede with Christ God that our souls may be saved.Troparion to St. Nicholas