The New Student's Reference Work/Nicholas, St.
Nicholas, St., the patron saint of Russia, whose life is wrapped in obscurity. He is supposed to have lived about 300 A. D. He was bishop of Mira in Lycia, and was imprisoned under Diocletian and released under Constantine. In Catholic countries St. Nicholas is especially the patron of the young and particularly of scholars. In England his feast was publicly celebrated in ancient times. Santa Claus is a corruption of the name, introduced into England from America; the old Dutch settlers of New York kept a Santa Claus holiday. St. Nicholas also was the patron of merchants, sailors and travelers; and, as he was prayed to for protection against robbers, the term “clerks of St. Nicholas” came, oddly enough, to be a cant name for robbers.