Welcome! This blog celebrates both the local and the catholic -- that is, universal -- aspects of the Roman Catholic Church by sharing reflections on experiences of the Church in a variety of settings and cultures. Postings will come from around the world and around the corner. You don't have to be a Catholic to come along.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Saint Who is Santa

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

Last night Ann hung our stockings by the chimney with care for St. Nicholas to fill, as seen above. We have been doing this all during our married life. The number of stockings has expanded consistently as we have added children, spouses of children, and grandchildren.

St. Nicholas was bishop of Myra in what is now Turkey in the fourth century. His remains rest in Bari, Italy. Our Byzantine rite Catholic friend Stephanie Moore called our attention to a wonderful website called "St. Nicholas: Discovering the Truth About Santa Claus." Check it out to learn more.

The site includes beautiful icons of the saint. Icons of St. Nicholas are quite popular in the eastern rites and the Orthodox Church. Stephanie's son, Nicholas, owns about a dozen icons of his name saint.

In Stephanie's tradition, children leave their shoes by the door the night before the feast day to be filled with chocolate coins and candy. At the Moore house, the adults also find their shoes filled with adult beverages! This is yet another reason why St. Nicholas should be better known in the west than just another name for Santa Claus.

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