Such activity soon came to the attention of the local bishop, Nicholas' uncle (his father's brother), also called Nicholas. Seeing his nephew's fervour for the Christian life, this elder Bishop Nicholas of Patara tonsured him reader, and later ordained him priest. At Fr Nicholas' ordination, the elder Bishop Nicholas remarked:
Nicholas approached his duties as priest and teacher of the faith with the same fervour his uncle had witnessed in him during his childhood. Despite his youthfulness, many of the faithful considered him an elder, and his ability to respond to questions of the faith in love and wisdom earned him the deep respect of those in the city. He was noted in particular for the fervency of his prayer and kind-hearted nature, and the attention to charitable work that characterised his priestly ministry. Following the injunction of Christ, Fr Nicholas sold his possessions and, following his parents deaths a few years after his ordination, distributed his inheritance to the poor and afflicted, who would often seek him out for assistance.
Desirous above all to follow the command of God, Nicholas departed the brotherhood of Holy Sion and moved to Myra.
Shortly after his arrival in Myra, the elder Archbishop of that city, a certain John, died. There was some discussion as to who should succeed him as the chief bishop of the region, the local synod of bishops desirous that the new archbishop should not be an individual chosen by men for the office, but one revealed by God. One of their eldest number beheld a vision of the illumined Christ, who indicated that the old bishop should go into the church, for the one who was first to enter it that nightâ€”who would be called Nicholasâ€”was he who should become the new archbishop.
St Nicholas' title 'wonderworker' comes from the multitude of reports of miracles that issued forth at his intercession, both during his life and after. The renown of his miraculous acts was widespread in his own lifetime. As he had secretly delivered gold, many years before, to the father of three destitute daughters, so he secretly delivered gold to an Italian merchent (by some accounts, this gold was left miraculously by an apparition of the saint appearing to the merchant in Italy), convincing him to sail to Myra with a shipment of grain. And so by his prayers and deeds, his city of Myra was rescued from a terrible famine.
The saint's departure
[For more on the Dormition of St. Nicholas, and the Transferral of his Holy Relics, see: http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/2008/12/lord-in-you-i-have-hoped.html]
On their arrival in the city in 1087, the travellers from Bari found the Church of St Nicholas in Myra abandoned, save for the presence of four devoted monks. These led the men to the coffin of the saint, which they had hid to keep it safe from invaders. On opening the coffin, the men found St Nicholas' relics flowing with myrrh which they collected in vials, before securing the coffin and placing it on one of the ships for the return voyage to Bari, accompanied by two of the Myran monks.
The original sarcophagus of St Nicholas, in Myra
The famous dismissal troparion for all holy hierarchs, 'The truth of things hath revealed thee to thy flock...', was composed originally for our saint, and it remains his particular troparion to this day. His chief hymns are as follows:
Appendix: Veneration of St Nicholas in Russia
Veneration to St Nicholas has always been particularly strong in Russia. This veneration stems from earliest Russian Christian imperial history. In the year 866, the first Christian prince of Russia, Askold (d. 882), was baptised with the name Nicholas by Patriarch Photius. Later, over this same Prince Nicholas Askold's grave in Kiev, St Olga founded the first temple of St Nicholas in the Russian Orthodox Church.
 According to another version, he enclosed the gold coins in an old stocking; hence the origin of the tradition of Christmas stockings filled with gifts.