Tag Archives: Santa Claus

Saint Nicholas’s dreams

27 Dec

Away for Christmas week-plus, I’ve been reading a 1954 book, All About Christmas, by Maymie R. Krythe.
“Good Saint Nick” was a real person in the early centuries A.D., quite different in original form from his permutations in various countries in later periods. And the book tells two stories in which dream were important to Nicholas’s real-life development as a saint.
The only child of Christian parents, the book says, Nicholas was born around 280 at Patara, a port in the province of Lycia in Asia Minor. Both his parents died in an epidemic; he inherited their wealth—and was anonymously generous in using it to help others.
According to Krythe, a dream helped elevate Nicholas in the church:

Young Nicholas dedicated his life to God’s service and moved to Myra, chief city of his province. There, after the death of their bishop, members of the Council balloted unsuccessfully, for some time, trying to choose a successor. Finally, in a dream, the oldest official was told to stand next day at the cathedral door and select as the new bishop the first man named Nicholas who entered.
When the young Christian went to the church as usual for morning prayers, he was asked his name; and soon afterward he was selected by the Council  and consecrated to high office.

The second dream the book tells is that Nicholas, on his way to the Council of Nicaea, stopped at an inn where the innkeeper had robbed and dismembered two rich young men. (Such hospitality!) A dream informed Nicholas of the crime. “He forced the wicked man to confess; then Nicholas made the sign of the cross over the casks, prayed earnestly to God, and immediately the three boys were restored to life. Therefore, it is not surprising that the good saint became the patron of children.”