Saint Nicholas: ecumenical Saint

Saint Nicholas: ecumenical Saint

Saint Nicholas was venerated in different ways on the European continent.

The Orthodox churches saw in him a defender of the faith and depicted him next to the great fathers of the Eastern Church. In the southern West, Nicholas was the saint of charity and attention to the needy. In central-northern Europe he was considered the patron saint of navigation and trade.

A devotion born in Myra, which spread in the areas of influence of Byzantium during the first millennium, developed throughout the West in the late middle ages, is now alive especially in Orthodox countries.

The St. Nicholas festivity of December 6, liturgical solemnity of the Catholic Church, is considered one of the most important of the Orthodox liturgical year, from Serbia to the Russian North, up to the Greek monasteries of Sinai and Palestine.

There are many churches dedicated to him and miraculous effigies depicting him scattered between the Carpathians and the Urals. In the Balkans and the Mediterranean Levant, the veneration of the saint has overcome the religious barriers so much so as to be taken over by some Islamic communities of Cyprus, Turkey and Albania.

More than 1000 Protestant churches were built in his honour in a context marked by hostility towards the cult of the saints. The majority of the Lutheran churches of St Nicholas are also animated by dialogue between the Christian confessions and with the secular world.

Continue reading, learn more “The cult of St. Nicholas in Russia”.