Nicholas was born in the busy port town of Patara, Asia Minor (southeast Turkey), around the year 280. Christianity was a minor religion during those years of the Roman Empire. Nicholas’s parents, well-to-do merchants, were members of a small Christian community that may have been founded by St. Paul years before.
"He is a miracle," said Theophane. "He is a gift from God!" He looked down at the tiny baby in his arms, tears filling his eyes. "He is our miracle," he murmured. From her bed his wife, Nonna, smiled. All these years she had waited, had hoped, had prayed, that God would give them a baby. Now, she had been blessed with a son! She treasured this sight of her beloved husband holding their newborn child. The baby was truly a blessing, being born to parents so old. What a blessing!
"We name you Nicholas," said Theophane to the baby. "We shall name you after your uncle." "Perhaps one day, you will become a priest like him," said Nonna, her eyes never leaving the child’s perfect face. Theophane turned to Nonna. "The Lord has looked upon us, like Abraham and Sarah, and Elizabeth and Zechariah long ago. Their sons became very great men." Nonna smiled. The nurse attending her said softly, "We should bathe the child, sir."
Theophane nodded, reluctantly handing the baby to her. A warm bath had been prepared for the newborn. The nurse expertly lowered the tiny infant in, and then gasped. This baby, just minutes old, was standing up! And he was holding his hands to heaven, as if in prayer! The nurse cried out. Theophane and Nonna stared, then looked at each other.
"A miracle," Nonna murmured. "I have delivered many babies," said the nurse. "Never, never have I seen this!" Theophane knelt down beside his son and took the baby’s rosebud hand into his. "What will become of a child with such beginnings? he asked.
Learn more about St. Nicholas at the St. Nicholas Center.
Copyright © 2000 by Anne E. Neuberger. All rights reserved. This book is out of print.