St. Nicholas or Nick (270/286 / - December 6, 326/345, 351 /) - Bishop of Myra (Lycia, modern Demre, Antalya, Turkey), Christian saint, known as Nicholas. Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic Christians remember him and honor, as a historical person and a great saint. In Ukraine and in other countries, this saint became the prototype of the mythical figure of Santa Claus (Santa Claus). St. Nicholas is also known by the names: Mikolaj, Miklash, Yolupuki, St. Nikolaus, Santaklos, Fader Krismas, Pere Noel, Sinter Klaas.
St. Nicholas is counted among the saints: as such takes care of soldiers, drivers and travelers, helps the poor in need, is considered the patron saint of children and students, sailors, merchants, and archers. Recognized patronage of Amsterdam (Netherlands), Bari (Italy), Bar (Ukraine), Barranquilla (Colombia).
Biographical information Sarcophagus in peace, which, according to tradition, was buried St. Nicholas The evidence about the life of St. Nicholas remained small. One of the sources is the tradition of St. Andrew Krytiyskoho (VII cent.) And John Studite monk from Constantinople (V c.). According to various legends Nicholas was born 270-286 years in the Greek city-colony of Patara in the province of Lycia (Asia Minor), at the time it was ellinystychnyy region.
According to various legends Nicholas was born 270-286 years in the Greek city-colony of Patara in the province of Lycia (Asia Minor), at the time it was ellinystychnyy region. According to legend, his parents were rich and deeply religious Christians who christened his son immediately after his birth, which was rare at the time. Since childhood Nicholas was very religious, and decided to devote his life to worship. It is known that as a scientist boy, Nicholas moved to the worlds, where he continued teaching, and his uncle, Bishop Nicholas was ordained as a young priest.
As St. Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, there is a version that he was also a sailor or fisherman, but is more likely that his family had some relevance to the fishery. On the death of his parents son is a big inheritance, he decides rozdaruvaty property needy and carries this idea for a long time. Such cases philanthropy exactly known and confirmed historical facts concerning other bishops IV.: St. Ambrose and St. Basil the Great.
Years earlier pastoral activity Nicholas come to a joint board of two Roman emperors Diocletian (r. 284-305) and Maximian (r. 286-305), which allows a rough estimate of the age of Nicholas. In 303, Diocletian delivers right to the persecution of Christians. After the abdication of both imeratoriv May 1 305 policy toward Christians in the two parts of the empire was different. While in the western emperor Constantius Chlorine (r. 305-306) does not allow to bloody persecution of Christians in the eastern emperor Galerius (r. 305-311) continues the policy of Diocletian until the end of his reign, and reversed that decision just dying. This time from 303 to 311 years was the longest period of persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire.
After the death of his successor Galerius and simultaneous with him ruler Licinius (r. 307-324) was tolerant of Christianity. As a result, a growing number of followers of the Christian faith, and with it the number of bishops who led the community of believers, had considerable social and political influence and wealth. Often they headed respective city. Probably at this time Saint Nicholas bishop took office Myriyskoho. For this purpose, according to the then tradition, it had to respect and love of the area, which is usually the result of charity. As with the other bishops of the time, the popularity of Nicholas was the key to his position and influence. He is also credited with the destruction of pagan temples, including the temple of Artemis (Diana). Some authors attribute the celebration of St. Nicholas with a desire to replace this pagan day of celebration of the birth of Artemis.
He is also credited with the destruction of pagan temples, including the temple of Artemis (Diana). Some authors attribute the celebration of St. Nicholas with a desire to replace this pagan day of celebration of the birth of Artemis. Years St. Nicholas was a bishop in peace. The above St. Andrew Krytiyskyy and monk John of Studite monastery (Constantinople) claim that he participated in the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea 325 AD, during which hit on the cheek of his opponent Arius. After he was arrested, but released before the end of the cathedral and justified. Among the signatures "creed" of his name does not appear, but the list is not completely saved. Bishop Theognis of Nicaea refers to persons whose participation in the cathedral historically validated. According to the St. Andrew Krytiyskym, he persuaded Nicholas in the Orthodox worldview. He died about 345 year. Day of the death of St. Nicholas celebrated as St. Nicholas Day, or just Nicholas every year on December 6, Old Style (churches that use the Gregorian calendar) and December 19 on a new identity (20 - 21 century) (churches that use the Julian calendar)
Miracles • About three sisters • On the small Nicholas • On calm storm • About three killed • About three generals • On the return of his son • On multiplying grain • On overcoming Diana
In Ukrainian culture "Snow, snow and ledamy, Gay, distance is in our land, Comes with a gift ... gifts." Rizdv'yana postage stamp on the occasion of St. Nicholas - December 19 Feast of St. Nicholas in Ukraine is particularly desirable children's holiday. According to tradition, on the night of 18 to 19 December St. Nicholas brings children presents and put them under the pillow. Among children in western Ukraine established a tradition of St. Nicholas to write a letter in which the child indicates that good and bad she did during the year and ask for gifts.
Rites By tradition, the owners of the village elders were going on holiday to cook wheat beer. Arranged a feast, after which all the fun with the songs went on rides around the village. In Kharkiv was the custom to celebrate the three-day Mykolyni Christmastide, which are boiled and stewed fruit kutyu to next year to ensure the harvest of corn and fruit. On the territory of Ukraine staged zazdravni dinners in honor of Saint Nicholas with preparing ritual beer and honey. At the tail of the day waiting for "polaznyka" - the man who first enters the house, which foreshadowed wealth and happiness throughout the year. But before the court was to go through the master, give the cattle eat and greet her: "May God grant good day schobys hudibonka was healthy and I am with you still with his wife!". At Kievschine boss came that day from church, took a bowl of holy water, loaf lump of salt, tag with different herbs, sprinkle went house, cattle and corn, saying: "St. Nicholas, mercy and forbid us from all evil!".
St. Nicholas Day (also Feast of St. Nicholas, the people - Nicholas Day, Nicholas Winter) - a day of celebration and commemoration of St. Nicholas the Catholics and the Orthodox. Those churches that follow the Julian calendar, celebrate on December 19 the new style (in 20-21 centuries), and those who follow the Gregorian calendar - December 6. In Ukraine, according to tradition, on this day parents put children at night gifts under the pillow, keeping secret his involvement in gifts to kids believe in miracle zvershuvane St. Nicholas and learned compassion saint. In memory of Charity of St. Nicholas, this day is celebrated as International Day for the poor.
The tradition of giving gifts St. Nicholas Day. Painting Dutch artist Jan Stan. Between the years 1665-1668 St. Nicholas was a wealthy man and cared about poor people of those times. Most likely, the tradition of gift came from a famous case where one impoverished people could not provide their three daughters dowry. Over there the customs, they could not marry, and if they could not find a job, it would have become prostitutes. Nicholas, while not yet a bishop, learning about it, decides to use the father's inheritance to rectify the trouble. For three nights he made his way to the squalid huts and each threw through the window into the room where slept sisters hunk of gold - a dowry for each of the daughters. In addition, St. Nicholas wished that the three daughters did not know who they threw it gold.
For this example parents began secretly put gifts to your children, who believed it - gifts from St. Nicholas. Probably, this tradition came from medieval Germany, where eve parents presenting children new winter clothes. Eventually it started doing secretly, at night, the children believe in the miracles of the saint. Later also started giving goodies: nuts, dried fruit and special sweet bread with dried pears, school supplies, toys that were placed in new or polished and poremontavani old shoes, which placed near fireplaces, or in a stocking that hung on the fireplace. Children believe that the saint with a fireplace in the house throws gifts. Naughty kids put a bunch of rods. It was believed that the names of those who are worthy or not worthy of the gift recorded in the Golden Book, which had St. Nicholas. Children also often believed that Nicholas came with a donkey who helps him. So they put next to his shoes for him carrots. It was believed that the ass is the sort of the donkey on which Jesus rode into Jerusalem festive eve of the Crucifixion.
In some countries, Nicholas has also other satellites. In Austria, on the eve of the holy city runs hell, which subsequently accelerates St. Nicholas, going to hand out gifts. In the Czech Republic believe that accompany the holy devil and angel each has a book where zanotovuyutsya good and bad deeds of the child, based on which the holy decides whether worthy baby gifts. In Holland, children believed that St. annually arrives in Rotterdam by ship from Spain, who represented the "warm country". Nicholas rode into town on horseback, accompanied by a "black pits" - assistant nehrenyat - in red oblachanni Catholic bishop and with crosier, and riding country bestowing gifts. Today, on the basis of this legend occur annually theatrical performance.
Over time, the children began to write letters to the saint, which numbered works, and asked forgiveness for the bad and wrote that just want to get a gift.