Fascinating story in the WSJ:
While millions of parents ready their children for Santa Claus's visit later this week, I get to tell my boys that he actually lived next door to our house.
We don't live in the North Pole, but in the Old City of Jerusalem, where last spring my husband discovered a small stone house for rent in the Christian Quarter. When we first moved in, I was surprised to see Christian pilgrims climbing the stairs in the courtyard in front of our house and disappearing above us. Soon I discovered that, hidden among the other houses, was the ancient Greek Orthodox monastery of St. Nicholas.
While walking my two sons to school recently, we encountered the Superior of the monastery, Fr. Aristovoulos, and introduced ourselves.
"Why is it named the monastery of St. Nicholas?" I asked. He looked at my two boys and smiled. "It's because St. Nicholas came to the Holy Land as a pilgrim and stayed in the monastery for a year." My 5-year-old son's face lit up. "You mean Santa Claus?" he asked. "The original Santa Claus," Fr. Aristovoulos answered.