The true story of Saint Nicholas, bishop of Myra, began in Turkey where he died in 343. His bones were preserved there for 7 centuries. Albert de Varangéville, a knight from Lorraine brought back a finger from one of the saint’s hands to the chapel in ‘Hameau de Port” near Nancy. This town become known as Saint Nicolas de Port. The bishop of Toul built a new church in the town in 1093. It was replaced in the 15th century by the basilica that still exists today. It was René II, Duke de Lorraine who gave Saint Nicolas the tile of Patron Saint of Lorraine.
The story continues
Every year from then until today, there is a re-enactment of his story and a parade that is appreciated by young and old alike, who still consider him a kindly and generous Saint who knows how to tell the difference between nice and bad children.
At Saint Nicolas de Port there is a real ritual and true commemoration of the Patron Saint. Hundreds of torches illuminate the church building. The religious celebration is an unmissable event during the end of year holiday season in Lorraine. Having commemorated over 770 editions of this festival, the torchlight procession in Saint Nicolas de Port pays homage to Lord de Réchicourt. He was a prisoner in the East around 1240, he prayed to Saint Nicolas for his release and woke up in front of the church in Saint Nicholas de Port. Since then and every year, thousands of people gather in the torchlight to sing in chorus a song for Saint Nicolas.