St. Nicholas is the patron of the American Romanian Orthodox Youth, and of our own chapter, Ak-ROY.
Our worldly culture remembers St. Nicholas only in the grossly commercialized version of Santa Claus. His memory has been so distorted that even certain Christians have forgotten who he really is — a zealous defender of the Faith, to whom we owe much of our understanding about Christ, as well as a kindly and generous father of his flock.
Nicholas, the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia is famed as a great saint pleasing unto God. He was born in the city of Patara in the region of Lycia (on the south coast of the Asia Minor peninsula), and was the only son of pious parents Theophanes and Nonna, who had vowed to dedicate him to God.
Despite his great gentleness of spirit and purity of heart, St Nicholas was a zealous and ardent warrior of the Church of Christ. Fighting evil spirits, the saint made the rounds of the pagan temples and shrines in the city of Myra and its surroundings, shattering the idols and turning the temples to dust.
St. Nicholas was a member of the First Ecumenical Council, held in 325 AD. St Nicholas, fired with zeal for the Lord, assailed the heretic Arius with his words, and also struck him upon the face. For this reason, he was deprived of the emblems of his episcopal rank and placed under guard. But several of the holy Fathers had the same vision, seeing the Lord Himself and the Mother of God returning to him the Gospel and omophorion. The Fathers of the Council agreed that the audacity of the saint was pleasing to God, and restored the saint to the office of bishop.
St Nicholas is the patron of travelers, sailors and children, and we pray to him for deliverance from floods, poverty, or any misfortunes. He has promised to help those who remember his parents, Theophanes and Nonna.