Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Good Saint Nicholas aka Santa Claus

Saint Nicholas was born in Asia Minor sometime after 250 AD. He eventually became Bishop of Myra, the capital of Lycia under the Byzantine Empire. He is greatly revered by the Orthodox Church and is Patron Saint of both Russia and Greece. How he morphed into Santa Claus is a long story.

After his death in 343 AD, a number of churches were built in his honour in Myra. The last church was built about the 8th century and was renovated some 300 years later after it was destroyed by war or earthquakes. The structure is undergoing extensive reconstruction though it is used for church services every Dec 6th on St Nicholas’ Day. The base of the church is about 7 meters below today’s ground level.

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