Christian bishop of the ancient Greek maritime city of Myra in Asia Minor during the time of the Roman Empire. Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nicholas the Wonder worker.

St. Nicholas Church, Demre / Image: zmyasa.com

Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, prostitutes, children, brewers, pawnbrokers, and students in various cities and countries around Europe.

Fewer than 200 years after Nicholas’s death, the St. Nicholas Church was built in Myra under the orders of Theodosius II over the site of the church, where he had served as bishop and Nicholas’s remains were moved to a sarcophagus in that church.

The desecrated sarcophagus in the St. Nicholas Church, Demre, where Saint Nicholas’s bones were kept before they were removed and taken to Bari in 1087 / Image: Wikipedia

In 1087, while the Greek Christian inhabitants of the region were subjugated by the newly arrived Muslim Seljuk Turks, and soon after their church was declared to be in schism by the Catholic church, a group of merchants from the Italian city of Bari removed the major bones of Nicholas’s skeleton from his sarcophagus in the church without authorization and brought them to their hometown, where they are now enshrined in the Basilica di San Nicola.


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