A few days ago I was reading a very cool little book called Christmas in My Soul (Vol 1) by Joe Wheeler and in the book was a little history of how St. Nicholas became Santa Claus. Well, that captivated me because one of the things I read in this book was that St. Nicholas was a persecuted Christian! So of course, I thought ...this is great for this blog.
Upon further research I actually found confirmation of what Joe Wheeler wrote in his book concerning the persecution of St. Nicholas. Here's a great website about Saint Nicholas that describes what persecution he suffered.
"Under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. The prisons were so full of bishops, priests, and deacons, there was no room for the real criminals—murderers, thieves and robbers. After his release, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church, where a unique relic, called manna, formed in his grave. This liquid substance, said to have healing powers, fostered the growth of devotion to Nicholas. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day."
Joe Wheeler writes in his account concerning St. Nicholas' persecution the following:
When Diocletian decreed that Christian churches be destroyed, their books burned, and all civil liberties taken away in the year 303, Nicholas was imprisoned because of his faith and tortured.
Amazing isn't it? And yet how many of us associate Christmas with Christian persecution?