Saturday, December 6, 2014

Celebrate! Celebrate on December 6 St. Nicholas... Protector of Children and Sailors

Romanian Icon Painted on Glass

Each visit to Bucharest I find myself standing in front of magnificent structures nestled in unexpected corners of the vibrant city. This time two churches come to mind that bear the St. Nicholas name…different in architecture and existence.
St. Nicholas Russian Church, Bucharest Romania

One Russian, located in central Bucharest, by University Square also known as “Students Church”, built in 1905 with funds from Emperor Nicholas II.
Biserica Kretzulescu, Bucharest

Kretzulescu Church Interior, Bucharest

The other, Kretzulescu Church in Romanian Renaissance Brancovenesque Architecture, built in 1720, witness to three centuries of Romanian history including the 1989 Revolution when it protected the revolutionaries fighting against Communism.

Several bullet holes are marking the façade with the eternal memory of the sacrifice.
Corneliu Coposu Bust Sculpture by Romanian Sculptor Mihai Buculei

As Orthodox Christians we venerate St. Nicholas on this day of December 6, each year with love, joy and ancient rituals.
St. Nicholas With His White Horse

In Romanian traditions, St. Nicholas at times appears with a white horse, symbolizing the first snow falling in December and is admired and venerated for his many miracles…. guards the sun who tries to flee past him to the realms of the north and leave the world without light and heat, stomps the devil, controls the waters as the patron of sailors saving them from drowning, protects soldiers in war, so they call upon him during battles, helps widows, orphans and poor girls without dowry who want to marry.
Orthodox Icon of St. Nicholas The Wonderworker
 The Miracles of Saint Nicholas are many and well known, that is why he was chosen as the protector of children, and sailors, the bakers, the victims of the injustice of the judiciary system.
St. Nicholas Icon Sailor Miracle Saviour

Fra Angelico St. Nicholas Painting

The night before December 6, children in Romania set their shoes and boots by the door, shined and cleaned waiting for the visit of St. Nicholas during the night…if they were good, the shoes would be filled with gifts the next morning.
Apple Branches

Some may also find a small twig from an apple tree, a more physical reminder to be good. The branches are set in water afterwards to blossom in the warmth of the home, symbol of forgiveness and love.

Traditional Romanian Table Setting
The families throughout Romania, gather on this day to celebrate with traditional meals.
Traditional Paltinis, Sibiu Appetizer Platter

Wild Mushroom Soup
 The family feast includes traditional Romanian dishes, spirits and wine with regional specific ingredients and flavors.

Grilled Meat and Polenta Bulz

Ardeal Bread

Palinca Distillery Production
I learned the tradition of plum brandy production of tuica, palinca as it is called in other regions of Romania from my Transylvanian grandfather Ilie, in Saliste, Sibiu.

The art of spirit making has been cherished and improved from generation to generation. 
Plum Palinca Camara Zanelor
                      Camara Zanelor Palinca Oas, Romania

Bucovina Pastry

Transylvanian Side of Pork Roasted on The Open Fire

Tochitura Polenta and Egg

Traditional Transylvanian Foods
Pofta Buna!