St. Nicholas and his Association with Orthodoxy

St. Nicholas and his Association with OrthodoxySt. Nicholas is commonly associated with the Russian Orthodox Church as they have for many centuries considered him to be the representative of all the saints.

Beloved as the protector of Russia and that of the weak from the strong, the poor from the wealthy and the oppressed from the oppressor, he was considered to be the greatest of all the Saints and the ultimate champion of the disadvantaged.

The image of St. Nicholas is so revered in the traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church that his image is often placed alongside both Jesus and Virgin Mary. The image of St. Nicholas is the only Saint ever shown in three dimensional statuary in the entire Russian Orthodox Church.

The belief that he is the protector of all Russians has led to many followers carrying relics of him wherever they go, and in whatever occupations they hold.

Truck drivers and ship captains all carry his image when they go on the road or the high seas to protect them and to keep them safe. He is considered to be the Patron Saint of Travel as well.

Most North Americans and many others throughout the world only recognize him as the person that Santa Claus was based on. Born and raised in Lycia in Asia Minor in the 4th century, his reputation for giving gifts and assistance to those in need became legendary.

Very little is known of his life other than the fact that he became Archbishop of Myra and was persecuted and imprisoned for his beliefs under Diocletian.

Over time, his name became less synonymous as the Saintly Bishop that he had become and was replaced by the fame he garnered by giving gifts to children, usually around December 6th. The name St. Nicholas was then changed by the Nordic and Germanic immigrants to “Sinterklaas” which over time evolved into what we now know as Santa Claus.