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St. Nicholas posing with a kindergarten student


stn In the early part of the fourth century, St. Nicholas was a Greek speaking bishop in the city of Myra (now called Demre) on the southern coast of present day Turkey. Although Nicholas was born into a wealthy family, he was raised to be a devout Christian and used his entire inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering.


St. Nicholas (who was never officially canonized as saint) dedicated his life to serving God, and became known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need. He had a reputation for giving anonymous gifts to the poor and would go around at night to drop off money, food, and toys in the hope of making children happy. reconstruct


St. Nicholas remains a patron saint of Christmas, and in the 1670 years since his death, this secret gift-giving has been the inspiration for our present day Santa Claus.


How did St. Nicholas become associated with our contemporary image of Santa Claus with a sleigh and reindeer? The association was made almost 200 years ago in an American poem entitled “Twas the night before Christmas”. According to, “The poem ‘Twas the night before Christmas’ has redefined our image of Christmas and Santa Claus. Prior to the creation of the story of ‘Twas the night before Christmas’ St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, had never been associated with a sleigh or reindeers!” santa6cropped


snscrest4 At IHMS, it’s been a long standing tradition to celebrate the feast day of St. Nicholas, which happens to be on the day he died – December 6th. St. Nicholas is especially important to our school community because prior to 1963, Immaculate Heart of Mary School was known as St. Nicholas School.


So on Friday, December 4th the students and staff gathered in the gym to welcome Saint Nicholas (or Sviaty Mykolaj) with a short concert. After a brief introduction by Mr. Picklyk, the program began with everyone singing a song entitled “O xto? xto?”.


St. Nicholas entering the gym with his angel helpers


During the singing, St. Nicholas entered the gym and moved to the front of the gym where the students were assembled. He greeted the students before sitting down to listen to a song with two angel helpers from grade 7 on his side.


St. Nicholas seated at the front of the gym (top photo), his two angel helpers posing under the front stairs shortly before the program began (middle photo), and students singing to St. Nicholas (bottom photo)


After speaking to the kids for a few minutes, he then handed out goody bags to the kindergarten to grade 3 students. The grade 4-8 students found a similar goody bag on their desk when they got back to class.


St. Nicholas with the kindergarten students


The short concert for St. Nicholas was organized by the school’s Music/Ukrainian teacher, Mrs. Stanowych who is also busy preparing the students for the school’s Ukrainian concert (with a Christmas theme), less than 2 weeks away. Check back in a few weeks for a spectacular performance!


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