While on our cruise in the Mediterranean, we booked an excursion to Bari, Italy, which is a southern Italian coastal town. Unbeknownst to me, we stopped at a cathedral which has a significance in most of the Christian world. It has a tomb with the primary relics of St. Nicolaus
The secondary major repository of his bones are at the Monastery Church of San Nicoló in the Lido in Venice, Italy.
The Basilica of San Nicola (Basilica of St. Nicholas of Myra) is a Cathedral in Bari in southern Italy with the title of a Papal Basilica. The church was built between 1087 and 1106 for the relics of the saint transferred from Myra to Bari, and is still an important pilgrimage destination for Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians.
The San Nicola basilica was the first church of its kind in Puglia and served as a model for many later religious buildings in the region.
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The San Nicola Cathedral is considered to be the founding building of the Barese Romanesque period and served as a model for numerous later religious buildings in the region.
Below: Saint Nicholas tomb at the Basilica of San Nicola in Bari, Italy, where Saint Nicholas’ primary relics (bones) are located and have rested since 1087.
There were many miracles attributed to Saint Nicholas reign, therefore he was also called a Wonderworker. He is the Patron Saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, pawnbrokers, children, unmarried people, students and brewers in many cities around Europe.
His reputation evolved among the pious, and the the habit of secretly giving gifts gave rise to the traditional “Santa Claus” or “Saint Nick” in America. In Germany his name is “Sankt Nikolaus” the Netherlands “Sinterklaas”.
In a historical sense little is known about Nicholas. Accounts of his early life were written centuries after his death and most likely contain some legends. From the writings it is said he is born in the Greek seaport of Patara, Lycia, to wealthy Christian parents.
On St. Nicholas’ Day, which is Dec. 6, a vial is traditionally lowered into the crypt of the saint’s tomb to catch some of the myrrh that is said to flow from the bones. The same Myrrh is placed in small containers and shipped to worshippers worldwide, Numerous miracles have been reported by believers.