(this article is not directly related to Athos)
In blog 638 I told you about an old Dutch tradition, the celebration of name day of Saint Nikas on the evening before the 6th of December, especially meant for children (our version of Santaclaus in Anglo-American and Scandanavian countries), the “Sinterklaas” feast.
Because I live in Amsterdam and the Holy Niklas is the protecter of my city, I will show you pictures that I took in the large catholic St. Niklas church in Amsterdam (opposite the main railway station). And at the end of this blog I’ll show you a surprizing connection in this church to the Holy Mountain!
Exterior of the Church of St Niklas (St Nikolaaskerk) in Amsterdam
Interior with a statue of St. Niklas
Stained glass with the three crosses of St Andreas, belonging to the flag of Amsterdam
The most famous relic of Amsterdam: the wonder of the host that wouldn’t burn in 1345.
A dutch icon of Christ with orthodox characteristics
Again an orthodox style icon, this time of Agiou Nicolaos.
To my surprize I found this painting of St. Athanasius. I know this probably Athanasius the Great, one of the four churchfathers, but in a way the name of this saint is connected with the Holy Mountain and the founder of Lavra!
It also surprized me how the icon of Athanasius resambles the icon of St Niklas:
And this is how the “real” St Niklas looked like on November 14th of 2010 (with the three Andreas crosses on his clothes and mitre), when he arrived in Amsterdam (Jeroen KrabbÃ© is the actor).
Reception room: three Archangels: Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel
This isn’t an icon of the Archangels Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel, it is actually an icon of the Holy Trinity (also known as the Old Testament Trinity and the Hospitality of Abraham). The copy you say is a version of the icon originally painted by St Andrey Rublev in Russia.
For some background, see:
both “Orthodox style” icons might actually be really Orthodox. The Orthodox Church of Amsterdam (obviously dedicated to St Nicholas) started in a “loft chapel” of this Catholic church in 1974 (see http://www.orthodox.nl/index.php?lang=en&content=topic&topic=doc/history&close=was ).
Even in the West, St Nicholas is not only the patron saint of children, but also of sailors. That’s why you’ll find a church dedicated to him in many European ports (e.g. the Oude Kerk @Amsterdam, the Nieuwe Kerk @Middelburg, or the Sint-Niklaakerk @Ghent).
And don’t forget the church of Î†Î³Î¹Î¿Ï‚ ÎÎ¹ÎºÏŒÎ»Î±Î¿Ï‚ in the city/port of Rotterdam, build by Greeks in the Netherlands (in Greek/Byzantine style.