Bp. of Myra. According to tradition he was imprisoned in the Diocletianic persecution and was present at the first Council of Nicaea; the latter supposition is improbable. He is regarded as the patron saint of sailors and of Russia; also of children, bringing them gifts on 6 Dec. (his feast day; whence ‘Santa Claus’, a corruption of the Dutch for ‘Saint Nicholas’). His symbol is sometimes three bags of gold, the dowry he is supposed to have given to save three girls from degradation.