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Nicholas, Saint

western popular appears episodes

One of the most popular and frequently represented *saints in both western medieval and Byzantine art, Nicholas (d. c.342) was the bishop of Myra in Asia Minor. Very few facts are known about his life although many episodes involving his legendary deeds and *miracles are illustrated in frescoes, mosaics, *icons, sculpture, manuscript illustration, stained glass, and minor arts media through the Middle Ages. His cult, which appears to have begun in Byzantium, became popular in the west by the ninth century. The translation of his *relics to Bari in 1087 and the construction of a basilica created a popular *pilgrimage site (notable for the sweet-smelling myrrh or oil emitted by his relics). Episodes of his legend frequently illustrated in art include his birth (he stood up and prayed to *God immediately, or in his bath); his refusal of his mother’s breast on fast days; his gift of gold (symbolized by bags of coins or golden balls) to the three daughters of a poor man to provide their dowries and prevent their becoming prostitutes; his miraculous restoration to life of little children whom an innkeeper had cut up, salted, and placed in a tub to serve as meat during a famine; and his posthumous appearance to rescue sailors lost in a storm at sea. These subjects appear especially often as narrative vignettes in cycles on Byzantine icons and on western baptismal fonts, as well as in other media. Nicholas often appears dressed as a bishop with mitre and crozier or holding a book, *cross, three golden balls, or an anchor. In western folklore, Saint Nicholas gradually became Santa Claus .
Nickelback - Rock group, Career, Sidelights, Selected discography [next] [back] Nicholas, Denise (1946–)

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