Who was St. Nicholas?
St. Nicholas of Myra was born in Lycia, Asia Minor, (lived c. 270 - 345/352) and was a 4th century bishop. His feast day is December 6th, presumably the date of his death. He is also known as the "Wonderworker". Several acts of kindness and miracles are attributed to him.
The origin of Santa Claus is in St. Nicholas. He was born in Asia Minor at Patara in the province of Lycia, at a time when the region was entirely Greek in origin. The region lost its Greek presence only recently during the forced expulsion of millions of Greeks and the murder of hundreds of thousands at the hands of the Turks during the mostly unknown Asia Minor disaster of the early 20th century. In Lycia, St. Nicholas was the bishop of Myra during the 4th century. He was very religious from an early age and devoted his life entirely to Christianity. He is said to have been born to relatively affluent Christian parents in Patara, Lycia, Asia Minor, Roman Empire where he also received his early schooling. He came to Myra to continue his studies. A paternal uncle of his introduced him to the local bishop. The latter is said to have seen potential to the youth and took Nicholas under his patronage. Nicholas received his ordination as a priest at an early age. When his parents died Nicholas still received his inheritance but is said to have given it away in charity.