When you hear Saint Nicholas you can’t avoid thinking about Bari. Only a few cities around the world have such a deep bond with their patron saint like that ties together Bari and Saint Nicholas. A figure that from many centuries moulds perople from Bari’s soul, defines their identity, history and traditions. There are many miracles and legends liked to the Saint. Saint Nicholas is venerated by catholics and orthodoxes all around the world, despite their geographic or religious provenance.

According to the most accredited reconstructions, Saint Nicholas was born around 261 and 280 a.C. In Pàtara of Lycia, in the place now known as the province of Antalaya in Turkey. His parents were members of a christian welthy family, in a time when practicing the word of Christ was extremely dangerous.

Welthy orphan close to the needy, elected bishop od Myra

The plague made of the future Saint and orphan when he was still very young. The death of his parents marked an important point in his life, forged by their deep christian values, the young Saint made available to the needy his rich inheritance, following the prophet David’s precept: “If prosperity comes, don’ t let your heart feel attached to it”. A few years later he moved to the close Myra – today known as Demre – where he became priest . After the death of the city bishop, the people praised him as his natural successor for his virtues as disinterested benefactor well focused on the needy people.

San Nicola Vescovo, Basilica di San Nicola, Bari

From the Diocletian persecution until the denese of Nicene Council's tradition

San Nicola a Nicea

From 305 to 313 Saint Nicholas was subjected to the deprivation of the emprisonment and to th exile ordered by the emperor Diocletian faithful to thr traditional roman pagan cult, against every christian from the Orient Empire. Set free by emperor Costantino, the Saint came out even stronger in the faiith and started an intense campaign of evangelism.

He was, almost certainly, one of the 318 members of the first ecumenical Council held in 325 in Nicene, in Turkey, by the emperor Costantino to reconcile the western and the eastern christian empires. People say that during the council, Saint Nicholas, fervent observant of the tradition, had a bad arguement ith the theologian Ario, who , on the contrary denied the Holy Trinity, sustaining that only the Father had to be conidered as God. At the clue of the arguement Saint Nicholas, fooled by the anger, may have slapped the heretical, a gesture that brought to his episcopal regalias an emprisonment. But God – they say – decided to free him and to give him back his bishop charge.

Brave sailors bring Saint Nicholas' relics to Bari

According to the tradition Saint Nicholas died and was buried on Decomber the 3rd 343 d.C. in Myra. More than six centuries had to pass by before his remains, stolen by a group of brave sailors, would have been brought to the city that will venerate them as it has rarely happened in the history of Christianity: Bari.

San Nicola Vescovo, Basilica di San Nicola, Bari