Discovery of the greatest Legends of Saint Nicholas

Before being one of children's favorite story subjects, Saint-Nicolas was a Christian bishop known for his charity, his benevolence and his constant help to the poor and needy.

There are many legends about this great saint, each more fabulous than the last... and some undoubtedly having a greater element of truth than you might think.

Patron of children, schoolchildren, but also sailors and many cities and regions around the world...

Friend of the whipping father, chimney sweep distributing treats to good children when his friend offers coal and lashes to disobedient children...

The great Saint Nicholas is truly intriguing.

Contents :

A first legend…

…and another !

Who was Saint Nicholas really?

For further

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Small figurine of Saint Nicholas under the snow, with a large red hat.

A first legend…

A long time ago, there lived a man alone with his three daughters.

The small family was so poor that they could not raise enough money to form a dowry. Concretely, this meant a simple thing at the time: the poor guy's daughters would not be able to marry.

In the city where our story takes place, however, some very astonishing things have been happening for some time. Residents regularly found gifts in front of their fireplaces (some speak of presents left in shoes). Money for the needy, food for the hungry and tools for poor artisans: no one knew where it all came from, but everyone was happy with it.

In short, on the morning of the eldest of our family's birthday, right at the age when she was supposed to get married, what was their surprise when they discovered a bag full of coins in the middle of their living room. Even if they did not know his name, they could not help but be indebted to this mysterious benefactor.

A few years later, when the poor man's second daughter became an adult, the same thing happened again: thanks to the money that appeared as if by magic, she too was able to find a husband.

You must suspect: the same thing was being prepared for the third. This idea also crossed the mind of the father, who was much happier than a few years ago.

So the day before his youngest daughter's birthday, he decided to hide under the window to try to see who, or what, could give her such gifts. Without much surprise, he then discovered Nicolas, the bishop of his city, a bag of gold in his hands.

Despite the holy man's insistence not to spread the news, word quickly spread throughout the region that Bishop Nicholas was the famous secret benefactor. After all, he was not doing this for glory but out of pure Christian charity!

(For information, this legend is much more widespread in Asia Minor than in the West, where the tales of the Arabian Nights wanted to convey an additional message to this Christian effigy).

Depiction of Saint Nicholas, a well-known Christian bishop, carrying a child on his shoulder.

…and another !

The second legend is placed in a somewhat more wintery context.

While the cold had been hitting their village for several months now, three hungry children decided to go out and glean something to eat. It was then that a snowstorm hit, and caused the little ones to deviate and lose their way.

After long hours of walking, they saw a light shining in the distance: great, they had found a house and, knowing the inhabitants of the region, probably also a home to warm up. The house actually happened to be a butcher's shop and, as they walked inside, the owner of the shop welcomed them with open arms, even offering them a nice hot meal and a bed to sleep in.

In the middle of the night, while the three children were sound asleep, the man entered their room and slit their throats. He then cut them up to put them in barrels filled with salt. There, in the horrible monster's salt room, the children had found their tomb.

A few years passed, seven years to be exact, and the horrible story of the three young people reached the ears of Saint Nicholas.

Despite his awareness of being faced with evil incarnate, he decided to pay a quick visit to the butcher. When he was in front of the barrels, the great saint placed his hand on them, invoked God and opened it: the children came out, fresh as if nothing had happened, and left, thanking the butcher for the shelter and the cover.

The terrible murderer disappeared, and no one ever heard from him again.

(Let us clarify, it is mainly this second legend which is told in the countryside of the North and West of France. Lorraines, Alsatians or Normans... but also Belgians and Dutch have known it for centuries.)

The Jerusalem cross, a statue of Christ and a Templar amulet

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Who was Saint Nicholas really?

Before being a legendary character, Saint-Nicolas was a very real man, whose life is recounted by numerous Christian authors of the Middle Ages and late Antiquity.

Born around the year 280 in Lycia, a region of present-day Turkey, Nicholas (his baptismal name) was the only heir of fairly wealthy parents. By his birth, this true father of neglected children was therefore a member of Byzantium and the Eastern Roman Empire.

Although he could have chosen to live in luxury and opulence, he instead devoted his time and fortune to helping the sick, the weak, and those poorer than himself. It is moreover this characteristic element which gave birth to the first legend which we spoke about together.

Through his interest in Christian doctrine, he quickly became a priest, finding a true path in God. Through his exemplary lifestyle and his great devotion, he was quickly named bishop of the city of Myra, the largest city in the region of his birth. Unlike other saints of the Catholic Church, he did not experience any particular persecution.

Throughout his life, Saint Nicholas will be known for the numerous miracles that followed him, particularly in contexts of unexpected healings. From this we can see an inspiration to the second legend, the one where our Saint resurrected the three little children.

In short, most historians agree that Saint Nicholas died on December 6, 343. Over the years, stories of his miracles and his hard work for the poor spread throughout most Christian countries.. From the Orthodox communities of Russia to the Catholics of Western Europe, all recognize Saint Nicholas as a being with an exemplary life.

In any case, one thing is certain: this image of the great Saint with the white beard, accompanied by his donkey is undoubtedly a myth. That of the bishop wearing the crosier and the miter, managing his diocese and distributing gifts to the most deprived, is on the other hand surely true!

Saint Nicholas is definitely different from Santa Claus, and the different festivities that present him to us (Christmas market, procession or distribution of gifts) therefore have more folklore than historical facts.

For further

The Patron Saint of good children offers them candy, chocolate and gingerbread. Today you will have discovered: this character is much deeper than what nursery rhymes teach us. Speculoos and gingerbread are part of his image, but the fables only present us with part of the truth.

To go further, here are some additional resources related to Saint Nicholas, his life and his legends:

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author picture(Cyril Gendarme)

Discover the author: Cyril Gendarme

Cyril Gendarme is a writer whose website "The Lucky Door" ("La Porte Du Bonheur" in French, his native language) has become a reference in the field of esotericism. Born in Belgium, Cyril has been attracted to the mysteries of the world since he was a child. When his interest in occultism was awakened, a particular subject caught his attention: lucky charms.

After years of study and in-depth research on esoteric traditions from around the world, Cyril decided to share his knowledge with the public through the internet. In 2019, he launched "The Lucky Door," a website dedicated to exploring lucky charms, magical symbols, and esoteric arts.

The Lucky Door is much more than just a showcase for those curious about magic, divination, or tradition. It is the result of Cyril's passion for researching and understanding the mysteries of the universe. Every piece of information available on the site testifies to his dedication to sharing his knowledge of the most hidden symbols and their unique powers.

In addition to his online work, Cyril regularly organizes workshops and conferences in different countries. His presence on social media is also highly appreciated, where he offers personalized advice and happily answers questions from his community.