American Minute with Bill Federer
Greek Orthodox history tells of Nicholas being born to a wealthy, elderly couple in what is now Turkey in the year 280 AD. When his parents died, he generously gave to the poor.
Upon hearing a merchant had gone bankrupt and that creditors were planning on taking the merchant’s daughters, Nicholas threw some money in the window at night to provide a dowry for the daughters to marry, thus saving them from a life of forced prostitution. When the father discovered who gave the money, Nicholas made him promise not to tell as he wanted the glory to go to God, thus inspiring the tradition of secret gift-giving on the anniversary of Nicholas’ death, which was DECEMBER 6, 343 AD.
Nicholas became the Bishop of Myra, was imprisoned during Emperor Diocletian’s persecution of Christians, and was freed by Emperor Constantine.
When the Arian Heresy began, splitting the Church and the Roman Empire, Constantine requested that all bishops attend the Council of Nicaea, where they wrote the Nicene Creed. Tradition has it Nicholas was so upset at Arius for starting the heresy that he slapped him.
Nicholas preached against a sex-fertility cult centered at the enormous Temple of Diana in Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, resulting in her local shrine in Myra being torn down.
In the year 1087 AD, Muslim Seljuk Turks invaded. They killed Christians, turned churches into mosques and desecrated graves. Christians shipped the bones of Nicholas to Italy for protection, thus introducing the gift-giving traditions of Saint Nicholas to Western Europe and eventually America.
The Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.