Sunday, December 6, 2009

Nicholas the Saintly

Yesterday there was a divine liturgy in honor of St. Nicholas, Wonderworker, patron of the Byzantine church and of children.  T and I attended with our friend Matt. It was quite the pan-Byzantine service.  There was a Melkite priest, a Ukrainian priest, an Armenian deacon, a Ruthenian server, and a Ukrainian choir. And it was beautiful.

We celebrated in a chapel on the BC campus, "converted" to accommodate the liturgy.  Even though there were so many rites present, since we all celebrate the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and the various parts are all the same.  Sure, the translation into English is sometimes different, but you still can't really get lost.  It was wonderful to be in that familiar place, liturgically speaking. All the incense, the singing, the candles and icons and rich vestments.  Those friends of mine who are fortunate enough to attend Liturgy every Sunday are blessed indeed!  T and I can't wait to move back to the west coast--back to our Byzantine homes :)

I know Roman Catholics celebrate St. Nicholas day, too, but it's such a big deal for Byzantines--him being the patron of our church.  Kris Kringle came this morning and left us a book about St. Nicholas.  While I take issue with one or two words in the text (i.e. "Nicholas supposedly defended the faith with a magnificent confession.") the illustrations are beautiful and very Byzantine. It was nice to see the traditional representation of the Saint with his bishop's stole.  Of course, the book explains how today's Santa Clause arose from the story of Nicholas, and so we come full circle.  But it's still nice to hear about the beginning, as it were.

Happy Feast, everyone!

St. Nicholas, pray for us!

bountiful Father and special Patron of our Byzantine 
Catholic Church. You are a shepherd and teacher to all 
who invoke your protection, and who, by devout prayer, 
call upon you for aid. Hasten and save the flock of 
Christ from ravenous wolves; and by your holy prayers 
protect all Christians and save them from worldly 
disturbances, earthquakes, attacks from abroad, from 
internal strife, from famine, flood, fire, sword, and 
sudden death. As you had mercy on those three men in 
prison and saved them from the king's wrath, now also 
have mercy on me who by word, deed, and thought have 
sunk into the darkness of sin, Save me from the just 
anger of God, and from eternal punishment. Through your 
intercession and aid as well as through his own mercy 
and grace, may Christ our God allow me to lead a 
tranquil and sinless life, and save me from standing at 
"his left," but deem me worthy to stand at "his right" 
with all the saints. Amen.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back! Oh how I adore you posting. This made me miss Eastern Liturgy so much. Especially during this time and Easter. Easterner's really know how to bring the Holy Spirit. Is your St. Nicholas book by Demi. We got that one this year to celebrate St. Nicholas' Day. It's not exactly good for the little ones though. It was too long, too many words and the pictures weren't big enough. But, I thought it was interesting, because it has so much.