In the late third century by Greek tradition, there was a man known simply as Nicholas. He was
born to wealthy parents in Patara, Asia Minor (present-day Turkey), in 280 AD. This was at the
time of Roman domination of most of the world. Nicholas was by faith a Greek Orthodox
Christian—one of many such folks who were the objects of Roman persecution under Emperor
Diocletian. When Nicholas’ parents died from a plague, being their only child, he inherited their
wealth. He aspired to the popular concept of that day of giving away all his wealth and living a
humble life, so he gave to the poor generously, but also anonymously, as he wanted the credit to
go to God.