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Saint Nicholas

Painting of St. Nicholas

By Fr. John Marley

December 6, 2022, is the feast day of St. Nicholas, whose gifts to the poor made him the model for our modern-day Santa Claus. Saint Nicholas was bishop of Myra (located in present-day Turkey) around 300 AD. He was imprisoned during the persecution by the Roman Emperor Diocletian (303-305 A.D.) but released when Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity in 313 A.D. 

Cardinal Egidio Vagnozzi
Cardinal Egidio Vagnozzi

I worked for one of St. Nicholas’ successors, when I was secretary to the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila from 1955-1958. The Apostolic Nuncio was Archbishop Egidio Vagnozzi, titular bishop of Myra, where St. Nicholas once was bishop 

When he finished his term in the Philippines, Archbishop Vagnozzi was appointed Apostolic Delegate to the United States, and after that he returned to Rome, where he was made Cardinal, and put in charge of L’Istituto delle Opere di Religione

L’Istituto delle Opere di Religione (Institute of the Works of Religion) is popularly known as the Vatican Bank. It may function as a bank, but it is different. The ATM’s are in Latin, priests enter by a special door, and there is a life-size picture of the current Pope hanging on the wall.

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