The Feast of St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas is the patron saint of "sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, children, brewers, pawnbrokers and students." Perhaps a few Congressmen, then, if they ever repent.

Of course he is of great importance to our understanding of Christmas.
In late medieval England, on Saint Nicholas' Day parishes held Yuletide "boy bishop" celebrations. As part of this celebration, youths performed the functions of priests and bishops, and exercised rule over their elders. Today, Saint Nicholas is still celebrated as a great gift-giver in several Western European and Central European countries. According to one source, in medieval times nuns used the night of 6 December to deposit baskets of food and clothes anonymously at the doorsteps of the needy. According to another source, on 6 December every sailor or ex-sailor of the Low Countries (which at that time was virtually all of the male population) would descend to the harbour towns to participate in a church celebration for their patron saint. On the way back they would stop at one of the various Nicholas fairs to buy some hard-to-come-by goods, gifts for their loved ones and invariably some little presents for their children. While the real gifts would only be presented at Christmas, the little presents for the children were given right away, courtesy of Saint Nicholas. This and his miracle of him resurrecting the three butchered children made Saint Nicholas a patron saint of children and later students as well.[51]

Santa Claus evolved from Dutch traditions regarding Saint Nicholas (Sinterklaas). When the Dutch established the colony of New Amsterdam, they brought the legend and traditions of Sinterklaas with them.[52] Howard G. Hageman, of New Brunswick Theological Seminary, maintains that the tradition of celebrating Sinterklaas in New York existed in the early settlements of the Hudson Valley, although by the early nineteenth century had fallen by the way.[53] St. Nicholas Park, located at the intersection of St. Nicholas Avenue and 127th Street, in an area originally settled by Dutch farmers, is named for St. Nicholas of Myra.[54]
It is thus fitting to feast in celebration of him during the Advent.


Anonymous said...

St Nicholas was a fighter. Indeed a violent man, a fighter for Christ!

Go back much farther, before the middle ages, to 325 AD.......

Early in the Fourth Century, there was a terrible heresy in the Church put forth by a very persuasive man named Arius. Arius contended that Christ was not fully divine, but a creature, created by the Father. This heresy was threatening to schism the Church..........................

Read more at the link.......

Grim, you said in an earlier post

"The Church used to make knights, in other words, not for ceremony nor for charity but to stand as swords against evil. "

I maintain, St Nicholas was such a knight, in his fight against Arias and his heresy.
Christ is the one truth. It was because Of St Nicholas and the council of Nicea that we have the Nicean creed

”. . . Et in unum Dominum Iesum Christum,
(And [I believe] in one Lord Jesus Christ)

Filium Dei Unigenitum,
(the only begotten Son of God)

Et ex Patre natum ante omnia saecula.
(And born of the Father, before all ages.)

Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine,
(God of God: Light of Light)

Deum verum de Deo vero,
(true God of true God)

Genitum, non factum, consubstantialem Patri
(Begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father)

Per quem omnia facta sunt.”
(by Whom all things were made.)

jaed said...

As part of this celebration, youths performed the functions of priests and bishops, and exercised rule over their elders.

I wonder how many of these "upside down" feasts there are, where lower-status people and higher-status people switch places for the day. (Or not based on status—Sadie Hawkins dances strike me as an example of the same impulse, swapping roles for a short time.)

Grim said...

Anonymous, you can assume that your companions here can either read Latin or know how to translate it. Also: pick a handle to sign your posts with, and stick to it. House rules.


It's an interesting question. I think it's a wholesome project.

Anonymous said...

One of my students informed me that he helped the adults get hide the Sinterklaas gifts on the night of the 4th. Some traditions last no matter where the family winds up.