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St. Nicholas

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Saint Nicholas

Bishop & Confessor

Born in the city of Patara in Asia Minor, in the third century, Nicholas was so pious that even as an infant he observed the fasts of the Church, refusing to nurse on Wednesdays and Fridays. As an adult he became abbot of a monastery, and one day he discovered that three young women who lived nearby were in danger of falling into a sinful trade because their father was too poor to give a satisfactory dowry for their marriage. On three nights in a row, the holy abbot slipped sufficient funds through their windows, allowing the girls to happily marry, and giving rise to the saint’s patronage of gift-giving. Nicholas was eventually made Archbishop of Myra, where he worked many miracles. He attended the Council of Nicaea, where he zealously supported the dogma of the Trinity, and apparently struck the heretic Arius across the face in righteous anger, for which Nicholas humbly did penance afterwards. The holy archbishop died at Myra, most likely in the year 342. He is universally one of the most popular saints since the Apostles, and many legends have arisen regarding his life. His feast is still celebrated with gift-giving in many places, though in the West this custom has mostly been transferred to Christmas.


Traditional Roman Martyrology for December 6th

AT Myra, the metropolis of Lycia, the birthday of St. Nicholas, bishop and confessor, of whom it is related, among other miracles, that, while at a great distance from the emperor Constantine, he appeared to him in a vision and moved him to mercy so as to deter him from putting to death some persons who had implored his assistance.

In Africa, in the persecution of the Vandals, and under the Arian king Hunneric, the saintly women Dionysia, Dativa, Leontia, a religious man named Tertius, Emilian, a physician, and Boniface, with three others, who were subjected to numberless most painful torments for the Catholic faith, and thus merited to rank among the confessors of Christ.

In the same country, St. Majoricus, son of St. Dionysia, who, being quite young and dreading the torments, was strengthened by the looks and words of his mother, and becoming stronger than the rest, expired in torments. His mother took him in her arms, and having buried him in her own house, was wont to pray assiduously at his sepulchre.

The same day St. Polychronius, priest, who, in the time of the emperor Constantius, was attacked by the Arians and put to death while at the altar saying Mass.

At Granada, in Spain, the passion of blessed Peter Paschasius, martyr, of the Order of Mercedarians, and bishop of Jaen, whose festival is celebrated on the 23d of October, by order of pope Clement X.

At Home, St. Asella, virgin, who, according to the words of St. Jerome, being blessed from her mother’s womb, lived to old age in fasting and prayer.

℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

℟. Thanks be to God.

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