Tag Archives: Myra

The REAL Saint Nicholas! December 6

On December 6 the feast of Saint Nicholas is celebrated and so I thought I would bring back this oldie but goodie.

On the outskirts of the Turkish town of Demre is a church that is associated with Saint Nicholas—Father Christmas, a.k.a. in northern Europe as Santa Claus!

Saint Nicholas StatueSt. Nicholas was born in nearby Patara about A.D. 300 and served as the bishop of Myra later in his life.  A number of miracles are attributed to this revered bishop, including his providing a dowry to the three daughters of a local baker.  Thus he is associated with “gift giving!”  He was also the patron saint of sailors and was prayed to for protection at sea—note that Myra is very near the Mediterranean Sea.  He died about A.D. 345.

It is said that he was buried in this church, but that his relics (bones) were taken to Bari, Italy, about A.D. 1088, although other claims are made that the Venetians took them.

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View looking down at the altar area from the top of the synthronon
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Every 6 December, the feast day of St. Nicholas, Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant Christians celebrate the Divine Liturgy here.

To view (or download) additional images of the Church of Saint Nicholas Click Here.

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Paul Visited the “home city” of Santa Claus

185_MyraMap031009Myra is the ancient Lycian name of an important city located near the Mediterranean coast of Turkey.  Today the city is called “Demre,” or more recently “Kale.”

The apostle Paul visited Myra in A.D. 60—as a prisoner!  Paul, and possibly Luke and others (note the “we” section here), passed through Myra on their way to Rome after Paul had appealed to have his case tried before Caesar.

Acts 27:5–6 describes this portion of the trip from Caesarea to Rome in this way:

“… when we had sailed across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia.  There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy and put us on board.”

Much of this must have transpired in Andriace, the port of Myra.

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Tombs from the Fourth Century B.C. at Myra
These were already 400 years old by the time Paul stopped at Myra
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