St. Nicholas—Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

by Linda Funk

Script for a simple vignette that may be performed by children, especially for a St. Nicholas event.

Ship on sea
St. Nicholas Saves a Ship Russian icon with silver okald
St. Nicholas Center Collection


With lines to memorize
First Mate
Young Nicholas
Passenger 2

Mime only, no speaking parts
Small Child
Passenger 1


Chairs to create a 'ship'
Captain: captain's hat
Binoculars or telescope
Crew: white t-shirts with "CREW" on back (in black electrical tape or something similar)
Luggage: a variety of suitcases, boxes, etc.
Narrator: When Nicholas was young, he lived in the seaport village of Patara, which is on the southern coast of what is now known as Turkey. He yearned for the holy and wanted to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He wanted to walk where Jesus walked and longed to experience Jesus' life, death and resurrection more deeply. When it was time to leave on his pilgrimage, he went down to the port to board the ship.

A crowd of PASSENGERS, children and adults, including YOUNG NICHOLAS, is standing around the ship with their luggage, talking and laughing.
The CREW is busy arranging chairs for seating in the ship.

Captain, roughly: Ho, Crew! Get that ship in shape. Hurry up everyone! Get on board. Good weather doesn't last forever and if we hit a storm you'll wish you had been quicker!

Everyone scurries to find a place on the ship, pushing and shoving as the CREW tries to finish arranging the last of the chairs. There is general chaos.
SMALL CHILD gets pushed and falls down, crying.
YOUNG NICHOLAS has found a seat but SMALL CHILD is left wandering and crying with no place to sit.
YOUNG NICHOLAS goes over and picks up SMALL CHILD and settles him/her on his lap.

Captain: Ho, Crew! Hoist those sails!

The CREW hoists the sails.

Captain shouts: Ho, all! We're off! And I hope none of you are first time sailors. I had enough sick Passengers on the last trip to last me a lifetime. If you feel sick, lean over the side of the ship and aim away from the person next to you.

PASSENGERS and CREW settle into general conversation.
After awhile, the CAPTAIN pulls out binoculars/telescope and anxiously scans the horizon.

Captain to himself: Oh no!!

Captain, to everyone else, loud and excited: Ho, all! We're in for some bad weather. Hang onto your seats and remember what I told you about leaning over the side of the ship.

Suddenly everyone starts to pitch and roll in their seats. Standing CREW staggers to keep their balance.
SMALL CHILD falls off YOUNG NICHOLAS' lap. He picks him/her up again before the crying starts.
PASSENGER 1 gets up and leans over the side of the ship.

Captain: Ho, mate! Take this wheel. I've never felt so sick in my life.

FIRST MATE takes the ship's wheel.
CAPTAIN leans over the side of the ship beside PASSENGER 1.
Everyone is moaning and holding their stomachs.

First Mate, terrified: Crew! Haul those sails down before this whole ship cracks in two. And hurry up!
Pause. Today! Today! I said TODAY—before we go under!

CREW works feverishly to pull down the sails.

YOUNG NICHOLAS gets up, sets SMALL CHILD on his chair & stands in the middle of the ship. Everyone else continues to act sick. He makes the sign of the cross on himself, raises both hands and his face to heaven.

Young Nicholas: Just as you calmed the Sea of Galilee by your powerful words of peace, O Lord, command this great Mediterranean Sea to be at rest.

Suddenly EVERYONE sits up straight and still at the same time.

Passenger 2, incredulously: Who are you? And how did you do that?

Young Nicholas: I am Nicholas from the village of Patara. And I didn't do it. God did it. I am only an unworthy servant who wants, more than anything, to know Him and be like Him. I had a dream last night about this, but God assured me that we didn't need to be afraid because He would protect us. Give Him the glory.

Captain: I've prayed lots on these stormy seas, even though I'm not a religious man, but I've never seen anything like this before. Young man, your prayers must be more than a desperate man's cry for his life.

First Mate: Captain, look! Land ahead! The storm has driven us to the land of Israel faster than we ever expected. Man, oh man, I can't wait to tell everyone about this.

Captain: Ho, mate! I get to tell it first! This story will travel with sailors all over the world.

Narrator: Well, stories and songs did travel all over the world, thanks to many sailors, and St. Nicholas chapels were built in numerous seaports. St. Nicholas became the patron saint of sailors and travelers—and perhaps of all who find themselves threatened by the storms of life.

Entire Cast stands to sing:

O Who Loves Nicholas the Saintly?

O who loves Nicholas the saintly?
O who loves Nicholas the saintly?
Him will Nicholas receive,
And give help in time of need:
Holy Father Nicholas!

He who dwells in God's holy mansions,
Is our help on the land and oceans,
He will guard us from all ills,
Keep us pure and free from sins:
Holy Father Nicholas!

Holy Saint, hearken to our prayer,
Let not life drive us to despair,
All our efforts shall not wane,
Singing praises to your name:
Holy Father Nicholas!

Sources: Who is St. Nicholas? and Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

By Linda Funk, St. Vincent of Lerins Orthodox Church, Saskatoon, Canada. Used by permission.

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