• Saint Nicholas of Myra

  • The Life and Legacy of the Ancient Christian Bishop Who Became the Inspiration for Santa Claus
  • By: Charles River Editors
  • Narrated by: Colin Fluxman
  • Length: 1 hr and 56 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 01-11-19
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Charles River Editors

Regular price: $6.95

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Publisher's Summary

Christmas is the most important holiday of the year. After the corresponding days that exalt the national pride of each country, such as Independence Day in the US, Victory Day in Russia, or Bastille Day in France, it's December 25 that articulates the life, the work, and the economy in much of the world, including many non-Christian countries. Since ancient times, the beginning of winter has been the occasion for most people to eat, drink, dance, and get together to beat the drum and take a break. 

One of the most important figures constantly brought up during the Christmas season is Saint Nicholas, despite the fact most people know little about him. In the 21st century, Saint Nicholas (or as people often refer to him, “Jolly Old Saint Nick”) has been reduced to a pretend, adorably portly grandfather-type, a visual often accompanied by a fleet of magical reindeer and a bustling workshop staffed by endlessly cheerful elves. Most assume, quite understandably, that Saint Nicholas was the fount of inspiration that Santa Claus' myth weavers steadily drank from over the centuries. While this is accurate to some extent, it is important to remember that the parallels between Saint Nicholas and the present-day Santa Claus marketed by mass media are actually quite limited. 

For starters, despite centuries of unabashed whitewashing, science has confirmed that Saint Nicholas, as his birthplace should suggest, was not white, nor was he excessively overweight. In the early 2000s, teams of researchers acquired copies of X-rays and logs of measurements originally compiled by scientists of Nicholas’ skull in 1950, in the hopes of examining its framework in further detail. In 2004, a facial anthropologist at the University of Manchester, Dr. Caroline Wilkinson, succeeded in producing a forensically reconstructed three-dimensional model of Nicholas’ face; the reconstruction was refined in 2014. In both reconstructions, which captured Nicholas around the time of his death, his skin is olive-toned. It seems that he did sport a full beard, but it was untamed, scraggly, and silvery. He was balding and had benign but forgettable features, with slightly protruding ears, brown eyes the shape of almonds, and small, sunken cheeks. And whereas Santa is, to most young ones, deceptively tremendous in both height and girth, more so when pictured with his tiny elves, Nicholas was roughly five-feet-six-inches tall. Then there are the scientists who insist he was shorter and that his height was considerably below average, at just about five-feet-zero-inches.

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

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