Saint Nicholas of Myra (died c. 342). The original “Santa Claus.” As bishop of Myra, he participated in the first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church, the Council of Nicea (325 A.D.). This Council condemned the heresy of Arianism and defined the Nicene Creed which is still professed every Sunday in Roman Catholic churches.
According to one story (depicted on this plaque), when Saint Nicholas heard that a local man had fallen into such desperate poverty that he was intending to sell his daughters into prostitution, Nicholas went by night to the man’s house and cast three bags of gold in through the window thereby saving the man’s daughters from a life of degradation and exploitation. These three bags of gold, given generously in desperate times, are now symbolized by the three golden balls that indicate a pawn broker’s shop. (Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of pawnbrokers, among many other causes.) His feast day is December 6th.