Life and History of Saint Nicholas (Agios Nikolaos)
Agios Nikolaos lived at Myra in Asia Minor from 270 – 6th December 343. He is revered and commemorated amongst Orthodox, Anglican, Catholic and Lutheran Christians and is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker. This is because of the many miracles he is known for such as ill treatments, restorations of the poor and the release of the three commanders.
From a young age Nicholas became an orphan and air to a fortune as he was from a wealthy family. Had been raised by his uncle who was the bishop of Patara he was from a young age dedicated to the divine. He first became a priest, then abbot and finally archbishop of Myra. From the latter, he managed to help a lot of poor and needy by founding hospitals and charities and was a great influence to the people during the persecutions of the Romans.
Patron Saint of sailors
Agios Nikolaos is the patron saint of sailors as many of his miracles are related to the sea. As he was travelling to the Holy Land of Jerusalem to pray a huge storm erupted and one of the sailors fell from the mast and died. Legend says that the Saint prayed to God, the sea calmed and the sailor was resurrected.
This therefore is the reason for building the little chapel next to the fishing harbour of Protaras as locals believe that he is protecting the boats and their crew.
Saint Nicholas (Agios Nikolaos) and Santa Claus
Agios Nikolaos had a reputation for gift giving with many references of this such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him. His actions towards the poor resulted in becoming the model of the modern day Santa Claus. The name actually comes from the Dutch “Sinterklaas” which itself comes from the transliteration of “Saint Nikolaos”.