Tuesday, 1 November 2016

St Nicholas And The Hanseatic League

On holiday in Britain, I find places relevant to Poul Anderson, e.g.:

Lichfield
Caernarfon
York

Here is another. King's Lynn has a St Nicholas' Chapel. See image. We learned that:

"St. Nicholas is more than the patron saint of sailors. He has been adopted by merchants, brewers and even repented thieves."

Thus, the patron saint not of travelers but certainly of sea travelers. See previous discussion here. According to legend, St Nicholas saved the lives of pilgrims on a storm-tossed voyage to Egypt. Thus, a maritime Chapel of St Nicholas might be an update of the Temple of Lir? Except that Lir must be appeased to dissuade him from killing sea travelers in a storm whereas St Nicholas should be thanked for saving them from a storm. Lir can be regarded as a demon defeated by the saint - if, indeed, Lir stayed around after destroying Ys. In King's Lynn, called "Bishop's Lynn" until Henry VIII:

there was a parish church but merchants, developing new land to the north of town, wanted a closer place of worship so were given a chapel;
Merchant Guilds adopted St Nicholas' Chapel and bestowed side chapels for their members;
sailors could see the spire from sea;
new fishing nets were blessed annually;
there is still a twice yearly service for sailors in the now defunct church;
King's Lynn North Enders can still have funerals there;
weddings can be held with permission from the Archbishop of Canterbury;
the building utilizes solar energy which it shares with the community.

Also, King's Lynn was a Hanseatic port. In 2005, a New Hanseatic League was formed of 173 Northern European cities with cultural and commercial connections and Lynn as the only British member.

1 comment:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I certainly hope St. Nicholas drove away bad and evil spirits like Lir! We both know of how Gratillonius, the last King of Ys,came to despise the "gods" of Ys as no better than demons. And I recall how some of his followers, Christians and Mithraists alike, agreed in considering the gods of Ys to BE demons.

    Sean

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