INTRODUCTION: The Christmas festival of Christmas is traditionally a time of giving.
GV State of St. Nicholas and church background
SV INTERIOR Choir singing PAN TO priest conducting (2 shots)
GV TILT DOWN Roof and congregation
SCU Father Christmas
CU Priest speaks. Monsignor Pierre Dubois
SV Congregation. Dubois leads singing (2 shots)
SVs Congregation. Dubois hands over blessed fruit and bread (2 shots)
SV Father Christmas moving away with food in hand
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The Christmas festival of Christmas is traditionally a time of giving. Parents in many families dress up in the red and white costume of 'Father Christmas' before putting their children's presents in stockings during the early hours of Christmas morning. The custom originates from the memory of the festival's patron, Saint Nicholas, known in many countries as Santa Claus. Although often depicted in snowy landscapes driving a reindeer-drawn sleigh the real Saint Nicholas was born in a village on the warm Mediterranean shore of Turkey.
SYNOPSIS: His festival is celebrated every year on 6 December at the church of Saint Nicholas in Istanbul. The statue shows Nicholas in this later years when he is thought to have been a bishop of Myra, now the Turkish town of Demre. While bishop he is said to have performed many miracles including saving the town from famine.
The cathedral choir sing the Saint's praises in one of Istanbul's finest Christian Churches. It was built in the sixth century by the Roman emperor Justinian I, in what was then Constantinople. The cosmopolitan city has many old places of worship and Saint Nicholas's is a religious centre for Istanbul's Roman Catholic Community. Most Christian countries celebrate the Saint's festival on Christmas day (25 December).
It is then that gifts are exchanged and Saint Nicholas remembered with the, now traditional, dressing up as Santa Clause. A member of the congregation did just that at the service.
Monsignor Pierre Dubois conducted the Mass and reminded the worshippers of the story of Saint Nicholas that has contributed so much to a traditional Christmas in millions of homes. Custom has it that the young Nicholas was left a large sum of money with which he used to help those in need. Three recipients of his generosity were the daughters of a nobleman who had fallen on hard times. The family were so poor that no dowry could be provided for the girls' weddings.
Nicholas heard of the family's plight and resolved to help them but, wanting no credit for his gift, he decided to give them gold secretly. One dark night he clambered on to the nobleman's roof planning to drop the bag of gold down the chimney. But he slipped and the coins fell into the girl's stockings hung by the fire to dry. With the money they married and lived a long and happy life. Thus the myth stockings will be left out for Santa's gifts.