The Serbian Orthodox Church and its faithful celebrate St. Nicholas, one of the greatest Christian saints, protector of travelers, sailors, fishermen and rafters.
Saint Nicholas is the most common ”slava” (tradition of the ritual glorification of one’s family’s patron saint). More than 600 churches are dedicated to him.
”Slava” of St. Nicholas is of an unchanging date – December 6th according to the old, or December 19th according to the new calendar, on the day when that saint died in 343 AD.
St. Nicholas is also celebrated on May 22, in memory of the day when his bones were allocated from Myra in Lycia in 1096, to ,at that time orthodox, Bari in Italy, and laid in the Church of St. John the Baptist, which soon became a gathering place for pilgrims. Three years later, the people of Bari erected a magnificent church in honor of St. Nicholas.
Saint Nicholas, Archbishop of Myra, is celebrated throughout the Christian world. It is celebrated as a children’s holiday in Western Europe, because then the children, if obedient, receive gifts. He is the patron saint of the city of Amsterdam.
Saint Nicholas was born in the city of Patara in the region of Lycia, Asia Minor, by the parents of Theophanes and None, during the reign of Roman Emperor Valerian. As a child, Nicholas displayed unusual spiritual gifts. During his childhood life and later through his education, he wanted to become a priest, so his uncle, the archbishop, “produced” him as a priest for the city of Myra.
He began his spiritual life in the monastery of New Zion, where he became a monk. After the death of his parents, he distributed all the inherited property to the poor.
According to legend, guided by a divine voice, he set out to spread the faith, justice, and mercy among people, bringing comfort, peace, and goodwill by his appearance.
St. Nicholas falls at the time of Christmas fasting, so the faithful prepare fish and other fasting food.