American Minute with Bill Federer
Greek Orthodox history tells of Nicholas being born to a wealthy,
elderly couple in what is now Turkey in the year 280 AD.
When his parents died, he generously gave to the poor.
Upon hearing of a merchant who went bankrupt and that creditors were
about to take his daughters, Nicholas threw money in the window at
night to provide a dowry for the daughters to get married, thus
saving them from a life of prostitution.
When the father discovered who gave the money, Nicholas made him
promise not to tell, inspiring the custom of secret gift-giving on
the anniversary of Nicholas' death, which was DECEMBER 6, 343 AD.
Nicholas became Bishop of Myra, was imprisoned under Emperor
Diocletian's persecution and was freed by Constantine. He attended
the Council of Nicaea, helped write the Nicene Creed and preached
against the fertility goddess "Diana" at Ephesus, resulting in her
temple being torn down.
In the 12th century, Muslims Seljuks invaded, killed Christians,
turned churches into mosques and desecrated graves of Christian
The bones of Saints Nicholas were shipped to the city of Bari in
southern Italy for protection, thus introducing the traditions of
Saint Nicholas to Western Europe.
The Dutch, who settled New York, pronounced Saint Nicholas "Sant