No, thanks
Stories & Legends
donate Books CDs HOME updates search contact

How Nicholas Became Famous for His Miracles

Jacobus de Voragine
The name "Nicholas" is said to come from nicos, which means "victory," and laos, "people." Hence, Nicholas is as the "victory of the people," i.e., victory over the sins that are among the people. Or it means the victory of the people in the sense that, by his life and his teachings, he taught many peoples how to conquer vices and sins.

Nicholas , a citizen of the town of Patras in Greece, was born to rich and pious parents. His father was Epiphanes, and his mother Joanna. He was conceived in the first flower of their youth, and thereafter they led a life of continence.

chosen bishop

The Bishops waited to see who would be
the first man to enter the Church

On the first day as he was being bathed, he stood up in the basin. He would accept the breast only once on Wednesday and on Friday.

When he was young, avoiding the wantonness of the others, he visited churches and remembered all the selections from Holy Scripture that he was able to understand there. After his parents died, he began to consider how to distribute his wealth, not to gain the praise of men, but for the glory of God.

When the Bishop of Myra died, the Bishops convened to select a new bishop. There came one among them, a bishop of great authority, on whose opinion the views of all depended. After he had admonished them all to fast and pray, he heard a voice in the night, which said that in the morning he should observe the door of the church, and that he should consecrate as bishop the first to enter by the name of Nicholas.

Miraculously, early in the morning, as though sent by God, Nicholas came before the others, and the Bishop approached him and said: "What is your name?"

As full of simplicity as a dove, and with his head slightly bowed, he replied, "Nicholas, the servant of Your Holiness."

And they led him into the church and seated him in the throne, though he resisted. And he acted in all things with the same humility and gravity of manner as he had shown before. He prayed through the night, mortified his body, and avoided the company of women. He was humble in respecting others; he was effective in speech, animated in giving advice, severe in correcting errors. He also became renowned for his many miracles.

The miracle at sea

One day, as a ship with mariners were perishing on the sea, they set up prayers to Bishop Nicholas, servant of God, saying:" If those things that we have heard of thee said be true, prove them now."

And anon a man appeared in the likeness of Nicholas, and said:" Lo! see ye me not? Ye called me, and I am here." Then he began to help them in their exploit on the sea, and anon the tempest ceased.

And when they were returned to land and came to his church, they recognized Bishop Nicholas without any man to show him to them, and yet they had never seen him. And then they thanked God and him for heir deliverance. And Nicholas bade them to attribute it to the mercy of God and to their belief, and nothing to his merits.

Nicholas & the great famine

miracle of the wheat

The sailors measure out wheat for St. Nicholas, who works a miracle & multiplies it

At a certain time all the province of S. Nicholas was suffering great famine, in such wise that victuals failed. And then, this holy man heard say that certain ships laden with wheat were arrived in the haven.

Anon he went thither and prayed the mariners that they would succor his starving people, at least with an hundred muyes of wheat from every ship. And they said: "Father we dare not, for it is meted and measured, and we must give reckoning thereof in the garners of the Emperor in Alexandria."

And the holy man said to them: "Do this that I have said to you, and I promise, in the truth of God, that the amount of wheat shall not be lessened or diminished when ye shall come to the garners."

And when they had delivered so much out of every ship, they came into Alexandria and delivered the measure that they had received. And then they recounted the miracle to the ministers of the Emperor, and they all worshipped and praised strongly God and his servant Nicholas.

Then this holy man distributed the wheat to every man that had need, in such wise that it sufficed for two years, not only enough to sell, but also to sow.

Adapted from The Golden Legend: St. Nicholas, Compiled by Jacobus de Voragine,
Princeton Un Press, 1993, vol. 1, pp.21-24
Posted January 2, 2021


St Nicholas, a popular figure in Catholic Europe

H000_chanticleer.jpg - 26098 Bytes