Our father among the saints, Nicholas, archbishop of Myra in Lycea, the wonderworker.
There is probably more folklore surrounding St Nicholas than any other saint on the calendar, though actual biographical facts are few. He was bishop in Myra, in what is now Turkey, during the first part of the fourth century. He probably attended the first ecumenical council in Nicea.
Within two centuries of his death, his renown was such that the Emperor Justinian built a church in his honor in Constantinople. In the eleventh century his relics were stolen and taken to Bari in southern Italy, where they remain to this day. A portion, however, was presented to the Greek Church in North America in 1972.
Nicholas was the model pastor: he was a father to orphans and a protector of the oppressed; his openness and generosity to children reflect the gospel image of Christ; and finally his concern for travelers and intervention in the cause of justice are facets of divine love. In the eyes of the Church, every bishop should be an icon of this love. (NS)