St. Nicholas: Hidden Patron of America – Crisis Magazine

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Nations have fervently claimed him as patron. From sacred icons and medieval legends to secular folklore and modern commercialism, St. Nicholas is renowned worldwide. But would one guess that America claims a long and storied friendship with this popular saint?

While Haddon Sundblom’s series of Coca-Cola illustrations in the 1930s are often credited for reintroducing St. Nick to modern society, one need only look back one hundred years or so to find stories of the bishop alive and well in the States, or at least in the state of New York.

When the “Father of American Literature” published his ghostly autumnal tale The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in 1820, Washington Irving wasted no time in alluding to the presence of St. Nicholas in the colonies as he cites commonplace devotion to the saint in the very first paragraph of his story: “…the ancient Dutch navigators…prudently shortened sail, and implored the protection of Saint Nicholas when they crossed….”

St. Nicholas: Hidden Patron of America – Crisis Magazine

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