The History of Saint Nicholas: Santa Claus is real!

Actor and filmmaker Kirk Cameron recently invited a former evangelical pastor to TBN to make the case for Santa Claus as Cameron promotes his new film “Saving Christmas,” which seeks to convince Christians who choose not to celebrate the holiday.

Cameron shared a segment of the interview on his Facebook page on Tuesday, in which he spoke with historian William Federer, a former evangelical minister and political candidate. Sporting the Liberty University logo embroidered on his shirt, Cameron invited Federer to outline the history of Saint Nicholas and other items found in his book “There Really Is a Santa Claus: The History of Saint Nicholas & Christmas Holiday Traditions.”

“You are the Christmas Santa dude!” Cameron said, beaming. “You are the expert to tell us about about the real Santa Claus. … Who is he?”

Federer, a signer of the Manhattan Declaration, an ecumenical document that unites Christians and Catholics to stand together for life and family, then provided background the life of the Turkish bishop Nicholas, who was known to give the poor and inspired the tradition of gift-giving during Christmastime. He explained that after Nicholas died in 343 A.D., his bones were brought to the pope, who built a basilica for his remains, where they are enshrined to this day.

“The Christians moved the bones of St. Nicholas from Myra in Asia Minor over to Bari, Italy in the year 1087 [A.D.],” Federer told Cameron, citing that Muslims were seeking to destroy the bones of the “saints.” “And the pope, Pope Urban II, he builds a cathedral.”

He then explained that gift-giving in the tradition of Nicholas, who had been sainted by the Roman Catholics, soon become so popular among Catholics that it seemed to distract from Jesus, so the icon St. Francis of Assissi (after whom the current pope is named) created the creche, also known as the modern nativity scene.

“And so St. Francis of Assissi said, ‘Look, all this gift-giving is fine, but it’s a distraction from the real reason for the season,’ and so St. Francis of Assissi invented the creche scene—the nativity scene,” Federer outlined. “So, that goes back to the 1200’s and St. Francis of Assissi.”

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“Wow,” Cameron replied in awe.

Federer explained that once the holiday hit Germany, the protestant reformer Martin Luther—a former Roman Catholic monk—did away with the saints days, but the people of Germany liked the gift-giving too much to give up the tradition. And so it continued.

Other Roman Catholic writings confirm Federer’s teachings to Cameron as being accurate.

“In 1087, … Italian merchants obtained the relics of Saint Nicholas, which had been held in a church at Myra, and brought them to the city of Bari, in southern Italy. There, the relics were placed in a great basilica consecrated by Pope Urban II, where they have remained,” writes Catholicism expert Scott Richert. “By the late Middle Ages, Catholics in Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands had begun to celebrate his feast day by giving small gifts to young children. On December 5, the children would leave their shoes by the fireplace, and the next morning, they would find small toys and coins in them.”

By Heather Clark – Christian News Network –

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Author: David McElroy

David Allen McElroy has served as a journalist and a chaplain to hospitals and nursing homes. He continues writing on the world-wide web and has much archived in the forum at BreakingAllTheRules.com. He has a B.A. in Bible from Fresno Pacific College. David stands for Truth, Justice, & Liberty in Christ's Love!