Thursday, December 06, 2012

December 6 -- St Nicholas

Today is the feast of St Nicholas, the patron saint of children, scholars, boatmen, fishermen, dock workmen and sailors, coopers and brewers, travelers and pilgrims, and those who have unjustly lost a lawsuit.  Robbers took him for their patron, too, seeing as how he went about at night with bags of money.  Of course, he was distributing rather than collecting, but the robbers don't seemed to have placed much emphasis on that detail.

Here's a Slovak hymn to St Nicholas much as it is sung locally at Annunciation Byzantine Catholic Church:

A more professionally produced version of the same tune (at least for the first 2:20):

I love the old collect for St Nicholas in the Roman Rite.  The new one isn't bad but the old one gets right to the heart of the matter with wonderful bluntness:

O God, Who didst adorn Thy blessed bishop, Saint Nicholas, with power to work many and great miracles : grant, we beseech Thee ; that by his prayers and merits we may be delivered from the flames of hell.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

"A gehennæ incendiis liberemur", indeed.

(And nothing increases a saint's reputation like giving an arch-heretic a punch up the bracket.)

St Nicholas in medieval England.