27 August 2008

Saint Nicholas Center

San Nicola di Bari

Several months ago I was contacted by a website that promotes the truth of Saint Nicholas, know in Italy as San Nicola di Bari. This real 3rd century bishop is the basis of much of the American Christmas lore surrounding Santa Claus. This site, Saint Nicholas Center, is a wealth of information on this unique man.

Nicola was from present day Turkey and is the patron saint of sailors, brides to be and of course children. He is buried in Bari, along the southern Adriatic coast of Italy. Through the centuries St. Nicholas has continued to be venerated by Catholics and Orthodox and honored by Protestants. By his example of generosity to those in need, especially children, St. Nicholas continues to be a model for the compassionate life.

I have a photo on my blog showing a church named for this saint and they contacted me for permission to use my photos on their site which shows churches from around the world dedicated to Saint Nic. I was pleased to oblige and since then I have looked for other churches both in our area and places where we travel that are dedicated to San Nicola.

This is not always an easy task as in Italy he goes by different variations of his name: San Nicolo’, San Nicola and San Nicola di Bari. It is more confusing as there are historical religious personages in our area with similar names, including the only pope to come from Ascoli Piceno.

The symbols associated with this saint are three gold balls on a Bible, a sail boat, maidens and also a group of three children, sometimes in a wood tub.

So be sure to check out this interesting website and perhaps you too can help them spread the word of San Nicola di Bari.


Barbara said...

Thanks Bryan! I sent this to my daughter and her son, who is of course, named Nicholas!

liz said...

hi! just wanted to say that i found your blog as i was googling "processing times for italian visas". i read your post that popped up, about your troubles with the LA consulate, the consulate i am currently dealing with. it's been a nightmare for me as well, as i'm supposed to be leaving for a tirocinio/teaching job in 3 weeks and still no visa. i studied in italy from 06-07 but that was a cakewalk compared to the ridiculousness of this woman at the consualte!

but i see you guys ultimately made it out there and have made a life for yourselves there, and i think that is so wonderful. gives me a little hope as well. ciao!

Anonymous said...


I was in Belgium about 10 years ago during the first week of December. The children were getting ready to celebrate St. Nicholas by leaving their shoes outside the front door awaiting gifts that were left in the middle of the night. Christmas day was not the day for gifts, it was St. Nicholas's day.

Brother Martin

Bryan said...

Liz - good luck on the move, dealing with LA is practice for dealing with the govt processes here.

Nicholas is a unique historical figure. Martin, 6 Dec is the feast day for St Nicholas, interesting how different places have different customs.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bryan, love the Saint Nicholas note!

Safeco misses you! Looks like things are good and your living a dream. Take care.

Shawn Conway

Bryan said...

Shawn, Glad to see you stopped by, tell everyone I said hello but I imagine things will get VERY busy with Gustav arriving.