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The Legend of Saint Nicholas

The traditional elements of the legend of Saint Nicholas include his becoming an orphan at a very young age. Though his family had been rich, Saint Nicholas decided to distribute all of his possessions to the poor and to dedicate himself to serving Christ. It is said that he would toss little pouches of coins through the windows of the poor, and that sometimes the pouches would land in stockings that had been washed and were hung on the windowsill to dry. Once, finding all the windows in a house shut, Saint Nicholas tossed the pouch up to the roof, where it went down the chimney.

Saint Nicholas is said to have made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land as a young man, traveling by sea. When a storm arose, the sailors thought that they were doomed, but through Saint Nicholas's prayers, the waters were calmed. Returning to Myra, Saint Nicholas found that news of the miracle had already reached the city, and the bishops of Asia Minor chose him to replace the recently deceased bishop of Myra.

As bishop, Saint Nicholas remembered his own past as an orphan and held a special place in his heart for orphans (and all young children). He continued to give them small gifts and money (especially to the poor), and he provided dowries to three young women who could not afford to marry (and who were in danger, therefore, of entering into a life of prostitution).

After Saint Nicholas's death, his fame continued to spread in both Eastern and Western Europe. Throughout Europe, there are many churches and even towns named after Saint Nicholas. By the late Middle Ages, Catholics in Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands had begun to celebrate his feast day by giving small gifts to young children. On December 5, the children would leave their shoes by the fireplace, and the next morning, they would find small toys and coins in them.

In the East, after the celebration of the Divine Liturgy on his feast day, a member of the congregation dressed as Saint Nicholas would enter the church to bring children small gifts and to instruct them in the Faith. (In some areas in the West, this visit occurred on the evening of December 5, at the homes of children.)


In recent years in the United States, these customs (especially the placing of the shoes by the fireplace) have been revived. Such practices are a very good way of reminding our children of the life of this beloved saint, and encouraging them to imitate his charity, as Christmas  approaches.


I will seek knowledge to be well versed in the mysteries

of bringing Christmas cheer and good will to all the people

that I encounter in my journeys and travels.

I shall be dedicated to hearing the secret dreams of both

children and adults. I understand that the true and only

gift I can give, as Santa, is me. I acknowledge that some

of the requests I will hear will be difficult and sad.

I know in these difficulties there lays an opportunity to

bring a spirit of warmth, understanding and compassion.

I know the "real reason for the season" and know that I

am blessed to be able to be a part of it.

I realize that I belong to a brotherhood and will be

supportive, honest and show fellowship to my peers.

I promise to use "my" powers to create happiness, spread

love and make fantasies come to life in the true and

sincere tradition of the Santa Claus Legend.

I pledge myself to these principles as a descendent of

St. Nicholas the gift giver of Myra.

Santa Phillip L. Wentz

The contents, words and descriptions of the Santa Claus Oath are copyrighted under an attachment with Arcadia Publishing 2008 by Phillip L. Wenz. ISBN # 978-0-7385-4149-5 LCCC†# 2007925452 The Santa Claus Oath is also protected and registered with Creative Commons License 2008 by Phillip L. Wenz