St. Nicholas—nearly everybody's saint!
Patron of Children
Mosaic, Seoul Anglican Cathedral, Korea
Photo: Anglican World/JMR
In addition to children, sailors, and prisoners, many others have laid claim to St. Nicholas as patron. The list below shows the great variety of causes which are linked to him. Why did some of these groups become identified with the beloved saint? Though usually traced to one of the stories or legends, some are primarily geographical, such as the cloth trade which was strong in Flanders and Lorraine where many churches were named for St. Nicholas. Some unlikely groups, like thieves, are in his patronage—not because he helps them steal, but because he helps them repent and change. One of the most commonly seen, though not necessarily understood, is the pawnbrokers' symbol of three gold balls. Pawnbrokers and bankers both regarded Saint Nicholas as their patron and took his gold balls as their own symbol to represent redeeming something of value as Nicholas had used the three bags of gold to redeem the lives of three young women.
Nicholas is the Patron Saint of:
Armed forces police
Chandlers (suppliers of ships)
Cloth trade & merchants
Corn measurers & merchants
Court recorders, registrars, clerks
Grain dealers & merchants
Lace makers & sellers
Lawsuits lost unjustly
Lemko people, Ukraine
Robbers & thieves
Shipwrights & gaugers
Wine porters, merchants & vendors
Women, desirous of marrying
Lightships were stationed offshore to guide ships past dangerous areas. St. Nicholas Lightship, Great Yarmouth, England, was aptly named for a whip responsible for the safety of sailors and ships.
Poscard: St. Nicholas Center Collection