St. Nicholas

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A Second Home: Translation


Men carrying casket
Detail: The Life & Miracles of Saint Nicholas
Artist: Alexander Boguslawski
St. Nicholas Center Collection

After Myra fell under the control of the Seljuks, who were not sympathetic to the Christian faith, Italian merchants in both Venice and Bari saw an opportunity for their cities. A major place of pilgrimage, such as Nicholas tomb, would be a great boon to both spiritual and economic life. Forty-seven set out from Bari, sailing in three ships, to accomplish the task. Making port in Andriaki, they made their way to the church in Myra. A small community of monks guarded Saint Nicholas' shrine. To the monks horror, the Barians broke into the tomb and made off with the saints' relics. The ships arrived triumpantly back in Bari on May 9, 1087. The townspeople were overjoyed and San Nicola became the patron saint of Bari and all Apulia.

A great church, the Basilica di San Nicola, was built for the saint, who is now known as Saint in Bari as well as Bishop of Myra. The tomb of St. Nicholas has been a major pilgrimage site ever since.

Two ancient detailed accounts:
Translation of Saint Nicholas
Earliest account, written by Nicephorus immediately after the arrival in Bari, May 9, 1087

Translation of Saint Nicholas
13th century anonymous Greek account

Saint in Bari
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