Today, I celebrated Saint Nicholas Day by driving to and from Connecticut for some sonar training (incidentally, at my old haunt: Naval Submarine School in Groton). The link above tells one very common story of Saint Nicholas coming to the aid of sailors during his lifetime. Such stories could be mulitplied and are not limited to his lifetime, of course.
This icon, entitled, “Nicholas, Help of Mariners,” has a special meaning for me, and not only because I am a sailor and a submariner myself. When I first arrived at boot camp — recruit training at Great Lakes, Illinois — it was a very difficult transition. Upon first attending the Divine Liturgy two weeks after my arrival, this icon greeted me from the analogion just inside the door of the Eastern Orthodox chapel. As I walked in and bowed before this image of the holy Nicholas coming to the rescue of imperiled sailors, I nearly wept; my eyes were fairly moist for most of the service. If someone wants to be in my graces forever, that icon is near the top of my wishlist for Christmas.
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