Who was Saint Nicholas?

Nicholas was born in Patara, a city of Licia in Asia Minor (part of modern day Turkey), around 255-257 A.D.

Little is know about his background, except that he came from an affluent family. When he was still a young man, Nicholas heard of an honorable family who had fallen into poverty. The father had three young daughters, who were unable to marry because their father was too poor to offer a dowry. In desperation, the father resolved to deliver his daughters to a brothel.

When Nicholas heard of their plight, he came up with a scheme to assist this family. According to legend, the young Nicholas tossed three packets of money through their window one night. This money was sufficient to pay for the dowry of the three daughters. The tradition of giving gifts on Christmas morning stems from Nicholas' act of charity.

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Updated: 17 November 2007, BAS
Comments to: IUPUI Max Kade German-American Center, mkgac@iupui.edu
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