The Feast of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker Bishop of Myra

from the Episcopal Parish of St. Thomas the Apostle, Hollywood, California

This order is used following the post Communion prayer and the giving of the blessing at the conclusion of High Mass on the Sunday following St Nicholas' Feast Day, December 6th.

Saint Nicholas in front of the altar
St Nicholas at the Parish of St Thomas the Apostle, Hollywood, California
Photo: Sam Tenney
Used by permission
The Order of the Procession
  • The Verger
  • The Crucifer—alb, green tunicle
  • The Torches (2—red cassock, surplice, and capa negra
  • The Thurifer—red cassock, surplice
  • The Chapter (process in and out with offertory plates containing oranges, chocolate coins and prayer cards)
    • The Venerable Archdeacon—black cassock, surplice, purple cope, black zucchetto
    • The Canon Precentor—black cassock, surplice, green cope, biretta
    • The Very Reverend Dean—black cassock, surplice, white cope, biretta
    • The Bishop's Deacon—alb, gold dalmatic
  • St Nicholas—red cassock, red socks, alb, red "spade-end" stole, silver Byzantine pectoral cross, gold cope, gold mitre w/ red lining, crosier
  • The Bishop's Chaplain—black cassock, surplice, black mozetta, vimpa, Canterbury cap

A Devotion to the Wonderworker

St Nicholas and his attendants arrive at the West Doors of the Church as the post communion is prayed. After pronouncing the blessing, the Celebrant says:

Celebrant: Nicholas of Myra, the beloved friend of God, showed himself loving to all. May we and all God's Holy Church, guided by St Nicholas' luminous example and mighty intercession, never cease to work for the happiness of children, the safety of seafarers, the relief of the poor, and the comfort of those tossed by tempests of doubt or grief. Pray for us, Most Blessed Wonderworker,
People: That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
St Nicholas: O God, make the door of this Thy house wide enough to receive all who need human love and fellowship; narrow enough to shut out all envy, pride and strife. Make its threshold smooth enough to be no stumbling block to children, nor to straying feet, but rugged and strong enough to turn back the tempter's power. O God, make the door of this house the gateway to Thine eternal kingdom.
People: Amen.
St Nicholas: Alleluia! Alleluia! This is none other than the House of God, and this is the Gate of Heaven!
People: Alleluia! Alleluia!

The Great Entrance of St Nicholas

Bells are rung and the organ booms as St Nicholas and his attendants enter the Church with cross, lights, and incense. St Nicholas ascends the pulpit.

An Address by St Nicholas

In nomine Patri et Filii et Spiritui Sancti. Amen.

Grace to you and peace, my children. I visit you this glorious day to bring greetings on behalf of the Kingdom of Saints, the Company of Heaven, who eternally join their voices with yours in singing praises to the Most Holy and Blessed Trinity. Those whose names are etched in stone and metal on the walls of this very church; those whose names are recorded in chantry books and memorial books; and, most importantly, those whose names are held in the depths of your hearts have asked me to convey their prayers and blessings. Just as you have held them these many years in your hearts and prayers, they likewise hold you in their hearts and prayers. A great cloud of witnesses—infinitely more vast than the impressive clouds of sweet incense that fill this holy church, this wayfaring vessel—a great cloud of witnesses is looking after you and guiding you, my pilgrim children. Though I cannot mention them all individually, I pass along greetings from one person in particular, Fr Carroll Barbour . . . a most vociferous and certainly an opinionated chap, but a very holy one, nonetheless! Those of you who knew him might recall that in this life he was not always, perhaps, the most saintly of men, but of course few of us are. And yet there's hope for all of us to dwell in the Kingdom of Saints . . . well, at least there's hope for most of us.

In all honesty, I wouldn't hold out much hope for this one here [pointing his thumb behind to the Father Rector] . . . that naughty little boy with the made-up accent! My goodness, I've crowned many a Boy Bishop these many years, but Boy Rectors? Must be yet another Hollywood innovation. And boy, do his mother and father have stories. What a naughty boy, indeed! Balloons in the petrol tank of his Daddy's convertible . . . painting the kitchen, the living room, the dog, the cat, the television, and everything in sight—even his baby brother—blue! I won't even mention that frightful episode on the double-decker bus—the poor old woman tumbling off the platform while the horrified conductor scampers down the street, chasing after his wayward bus. And don't get me started about that little incident in the Chinese restaurant . . . but I'm sure his dear Mum will regale you all with these harrowing tales during coffee hour! My dear Janis and my dear John, truly you are living saints, indeed! My, oh my, what trials you have endured . . . and continue to endure! I promise you, my dears, you both most certainly have earned your eternal reward.

Alas, I digress. Your Rector is indeed a very good sport, for whom I have great affection, and I thank him for inviting me back to this faithful Parish [turns towards the Rector and gives a slight bow of the head]. Thank you, Father.

I have again this year come bearing delectable treats for you all as a reminder that just as much has been given to you, my dear children, so must ye likewise give to others. For all that we have is God's alone, and not ours to horde. Alas, this year I have brought something else for you [holding up a prayer card]. No, my dear Dayton, they are not headshots! I bring these prayer cards as a reminder, as I have said, that I and a great many others are praying with you. And we will continue to pray for you. You mustn't ever forget that. We will continue to pray with and for you. You see, my children, you travel not alone, but with a vast group of pilgrims seen and unseen. You are on a pilgrimage together, a journey through time into the eternal. You travel through this life into the heavenly realm, your one and only homeland, so that you may forever delight in the infinite Love, eternal Peace, and immense Beauty of the Most Holy Trinity. Those of us who have made that journey ahead of you are making it again by your side. When you are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting life, when you are tossed by the tempests of despair and grief, take hold of this card and know that you travel not alone.

And so, my dear children, seek ye always the face of the Triune God in your common prayer life and in all that you say and do and dream.

Saint Nicholas in front of the altar
St Nicholas at the Parish of St Thomas the Apostle, Hollywood, California
Photo: Sam Tenney
Used by permission

Would you please stand? The Lord be with you . . . Let us pray:

God, Lord of Eternity,
Thy Son came to visit us in time.
Grant to each of us the heart of a child
Which never ceases to marvel at thine infinite wonders,
So that once again this day thou mayest find us watching in hope.
We ask this, because of thy love for us,
God blessed for ever and ever. Amen.

The Closing Hymn

Raise your voice in songs and praises

St Nicholas and his attendants exit.

St Nicholas, assisted by his Deacon and his Chaplain, distributes teddy bears to the children. The Chapter distribute oranges, chocolate coins, and prayer cards to the parishioners as they leave the Church.

More photos

From the Episcopal Parish of St Thomas the Apostle, Hollywood, California. Used by permission.

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