Modern statue of St. Nicholas.
St. Nicholas was born in nearby Patara about A.D. 300 and served as the bishop of Myra later in his life. A number of miracles are attributed to this revered bishop, including his providing a dowry to the three daughters of a local baker. Thus he is associated with “gift giving!” He was also the patron saint of sailors and was prayed to for protection at sea—note that Myra is very near the Mediterranean Sea (Click Here to view a map). He died about A.D. 345.
It is said that he was buried in this church, but that his relics (bones) were taken to Bari, Italy, about A.D. 1088, although other claims are made that the Venetians took them.