Jaroslav Čermák (1831 – 1878), a Czech born painter, produced this beautiful painting of Saint Nicholas. This Saint’s feast day was celebrated on December 6th. He was the bishop of Myra, a city in modern day Turkey, in the 4th Century AD. Interestingly, he is one of the foremost Saints in the Russian Orthodox Church. He is the patron Saint of children, but not for the reasons which advertisements would have you believe…

Saint Nicholas is the patron Saint of children because during a grizzly famine in Myra, three local children were killed and pickled in order to be sold as ‘ham’. Saint Nicholas intervened, by working a miracle, and brought them back to life! There is a painting by Gentile da Fabriano depicting this scene.

He is also the patron Saint of unmarried people, fishermen, pawnbrokers, and the falsely accused.

This is very far indeed from the usual depiction of this Saint, astride some garish sleigh and pulled along by an assortment of ill-paid reindeer. I think the painting evokes the kindness and bravery of this Saint in splendour.