Saint Nicholas of Myra, the "Wonder-worker," was in some ways the Padre Pio of the fourth century. If people of some distant century were to read of the extraordinary miracles of Saint Pio, they would surely think them to be legendary, except that so many of his healings are documented. Saint Nicholas did not have the advantage of modern medical science to affirm the healings worked by God through him, but he has the devotion of the Church of the East and the West, and has long been venerated as patron of children, mariners, prisoners, miners and brides. He is the patron saint of brides because he gave dowries to poor girls. As Catherine Delors remarks in her wonderful post about St. Nicholas:
Why was it considered so important then to give poor girls dowries? Simply because they were among the most vulnerable of the paupers, likely to sink into prostitution. Securing dowries for them was the best way of helping them avoid that grim fate.
So Nicholas became the patron saint of children, of mariners, of young people wishing to marry, of newlyweds, of prisoners (whether fairly or unjustly accused) and yes, of lawyers. The veneration for his memory was such that his bones were stolen by adventurous sailors from his original tomb in the Church of Myra in 1087 and brought to Bari, in Italy, where they rest to this day in the Basilica that bears his name. His popularity extends well beyond Italy, to Eastern France, to Brittany, to Germany, to the Netherlands, to Russia...
The picture above by Russian artist Ilya Repin shows St. Nicholas delivering an innocent man from execution.More from Vultus Christi. Share