St. Nicholas was born in Patara, Lycia, around the year 260 and died in Myra in 345. Bishop of Myra in Lycia (Turkey), he is renowned for his charity and his faith.
Extract from the Matins of the feast of St. Nicholas (sixth lesson):
He never ceased to help widows and orphans with his alms, his advice and his services; he worked so ardently to relieve the oppressed that three tribunes, condemned by the Emperor Constantine because of a calumny, encouraged by the stories of the Saint’s miracles, recommended themselves to his prayers, and despite the distance and although still alive, Nicholas appeared to the emperor with a menacing air and delivered them.
As he was preaching the truth of the Christian Faith in Myra regardless of the edict of Diocletian and Maximian, he was arrested by the imperial servants, carried away and thrown into prison. He remained there until Constantine became emperor and ordered him to be released. He returned to Myra, then attended the Council of Nicaea where, along with the three hundred and eighteen Fathers of this assembly, he condemned the Arian heresy.
From Nicaea, he returned to his episcopal city, where soon after he felt his end drawing nigh; raising his eyes to Heaven, he saw the Angels coming for him and began the Psalm: “In thee, O Lord, I have hoped.” When he came to the verse: “Into Thy hands I commend my spirit,” his soul departed for the heavenly homeland. His body was taken to Bari in Puglia, where he is honored by many pilgrims and with the deepest veneration.