The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus
The True Life and Trials of Nicholas of Myra
Publication Year: 2012
With his rosy cheeks and matching red suit—and ever-present elf and reindeer companions—Santa Claus may be the most identifiable of fantastical characters. But what do we really know of jolly old Saint Nicholas,"patron saint"of Christmastime? Ask about the human behind the suit, and the tale we know so well quickly fades into myth and folklore.
In The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus, religious historian Adam English tells the true and compelling tale of Saint Nicholas, bishop of Myra. Around the fourth century in what is now Turkey, a boy of humble circumstance became a man revered for his many virtues. Chief among them was dealing generously with his possessions, once lifting an entire family out of poverty with a single—and secret—gift of gold, so legend tells. Yet he was much more than virtuous. As English reveals, Saint Nicholas was of integral influence in events that would significantly impact the history and development of the Christian church, including the Council of Nicaea, the destruction of the temple to Artemis in Myra, and a miraculous rescue of three falsely accused military officers. And Nicholas became the patron saint of children and sailors, merchants and thieves, as well as France, Russia, Greece, and myriad others.
Weaving together the best historical and archaeological evidence available with the folklore and legends handed down through generations, English creates a stunning image of this much venerated Christian saint. With prose as enjoyable as it is informative, he shows why the life—and death—of Nicholas of Myra so radically influenced the formation of Western history and Christian thought, and did so in ways many have never realized.
For more, including photos, author interviews, news, and author appearances, visit SaintWhoWouldBeSanta.com.
Published by: Baylor University Press
Download PDF (6.1 MB)
Half Title Page, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
Download PDF (67.4 KB)
Download PDF (40.2 KB)
List of Illustrations
Download PDF (39.4 KB)
Download PDF (18.0 KB)
Some things can be written in solitude with little more than access to a good library. This is not one of those things. I am in this project and helped it see the light of day: Gerardo Ciof-fari for providing a place to start; Carol Myers for sharing her sources; the Centro Studi Nicolaiani for its resources; the vigi-...
1. Finding St. Nicholas
Download PDF (382.9 KB)
The image of Santa Claus appears on dolls, cookie cut-ters, ornaments, stamps, stickers, and T-shirts that read, “Beware of fat men bearing gifts.” Coffee mugs feature the big printed, or pasted onto magnets, aprons, tote bags, lawn chairs, erasers, Pez dispensers, night lights, kick balls, piñatas, and hosts the world’s oldest children’s parade in honor of Santa ...
2. Out of a Dying World Comes a Light
Download PDF (698.9 KB)
In 1863 the British Museum funded an architectural archae-ologist, John Turtle Wood, to search for a site in the ancient the first day of the dig. They lacked even a basic sense of where to begin digging. Six years later, having suffered a stabbing, a and fully dressed statues of the goddess and her associates, and its sanctuaries and altars were decorated with vivid tapestries ...
3. Three Gifts and One Election
Download PDF (346.0 KB)
The boy Nicholas, now about eighteen, grieved for his dead parents. He had received from them love and the bless-gift: all their worldly wealth. In their will they had left their great wealth in gold and property.”1 It was his to do with as he pleased. Like the prodigal son, he could squander it on trifles. Like the slave given a talent by his master, he could bury it in ...
4. The Work of Victory
Download PDF (223.7 KB)
Within months of liberating the eastern provinces from Licinius and outlawing the persecution of Christians, ops assemble at the emperor’s personal residence in Nicaea in May of 325, he obeyed the emperor’s summons, packed his bags, ops to conduct their business freely or try to seize control of church affairs. The Christian religion, as anyone could observe, ...
5. Riots, Beheadings, and Other Near Misfortunes
Download PDF (466.3 KB)
Between the years 330 and 332, bad weather forced a convoy of military ships to land at Andriake, the port of Myra. in soldier’s clothing in order to stir up trouble by looting and pilfering. The imposters were arrested, but the local citizens, and for stealing, though the criminal charges are not specified in the text. Nicholas set off at a brisk pace for the Praetorium, ...
6. Death Is Only the Beginning
Download PDF (617.5 KB)
...“After living for some time in the city of Myra and per-fuming all with the sweetly fragrant and piously scented conduct of his life and pastoral duties, he left his mortal life to who enter, so Nicholas’ life touched everyone in Myra and bet-tered the lives of all. Michael adds that “his precious body, with the fragrant odor of virtue, was buried in his church.”2 Even ...
Download PDF (176.0 KB)
Download PDF (32.3 KB)
The two most important twentieth-century contributions to the story of St. Nicholas came from Gustav Anrich and Kirche (Leipzig: Teubner, 1913, 1917) is an indispensable aid to Nicholas’ life. For a short, English-language summary of Ciof-fari’s findings, see his Saint Nicholas: His Life, Miracles and (Mainz: Pädagogischer Verlag Schwann Düsseldorf, 1931, 1981); ...
Download PDF (40.6 KB)
Page Count: 246
Illustrations: 12 b/w images
Publication Year: 2012