Friday, November 18, 2016

Christmas Cards

Assorted Christmas Cards
Image Courtesy: Wikipedia
We all love Christmas Cards but I found it quite interesting to learn that in the beginning Christmas cards had little do do with Christian images and were in fact the direct ancestor to what is known as Trade Cards.
The setting was early 17th c London where businesses found a way to not only give directions to their establishments but advertise their goods. Needless to say, such an inviting way to advertise ones business quickly made its way across all of Europe and to North America too.
Victorian Trade Cards
Images of Trade Cards Courtesy: Iowa Digital Library
Belding Brothers & Co.: Men Lifting Package onto Ship (Front)
And another:
Allen's "Lung Balsam, Perry Davis' Pain Killer" (Front)
The colorful aspect of these cards made them into very popular items and people were soon collecting them. It was only with the ascendancy of magazines that Trade Cards, something our ancestors would have known and loved, fell into disuse.
I'll leave you on this lovely Friday with one more especially beautiful card:
Clark's Cotton: Children on Parade (Front)
Don't children make everything wonderful? Trade Cards, Christmas Cards, everything! Personally I like the Christ Child on my Christmas Cards with St Nicholas, (Yes, even in the guise of Santa!) coming in a close second.

Christmas Cards

Penny Black
Image courtesy: Images of the World
Great Britain's First Adhesive Stamp 
Issued May 1840
Queen Victoria's Profile
Now what does an historic stamp have to do with Christmas Cards?
Not only do we have to travel three years into the future from when the Penny Black was first issued to arrive at that answer, but we have to meet Sir Henry Cole.
Sir Henry Cole (1808 - 1882)
Image courtesy: Wikipedia
Sir Cole, a long time civil servant, was not only one of those (he worked under Sir Rowland Hill) who was instrumental at that time in the establishment of the Penny Post in Britain - what we call the Postal Service in most areas of the world today - but also in the design of the Penny Black postage stamp and for our especial interest here, the first commercial Christmas card.
First Commercial Christmas Card
Image Courtesy: Wikipedia
Commissioned by Sir Henry Cole in 1843
Artist: John C. Horsley
This card was advertised in the Athenaeum Paper as: "A Christmas Congratulation Card" or "Picture Emblematical of Old English Festivity to Perpetuate Kind Recollections between Dear Friends"
It was to have caused quite a stir as it showed a child drinking wine, something I'm happy to say would still be cause for concern today in a Christmas card! The reason for the card was of course to help promote the Penny Post and the use of the postage stamp.
It was the age of Queen Victoria and a revival in traditions having to do with Christmas was sweeping the land of Great Britain. But Commercial Christmas Cards were not the only thing that comes to us from this time...can you guess to what I am referring?
If not, stay tuned to find out!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Church of St. Nikolaus, Lockenhaus, Austria


Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Baroque in style, this lovely church building was built between 1655 and 1669.
It was named in honor of Nicholas of Myra and Nicholas of Tonentino.

Monday, October 28, 2013

St. Nicholas Church - Cranleigh, England

Church of England Parish for Cranleigh 
The first St. Nicholas Church built in tiny hamlet of "Cranley" in 1170
Image courtesy: St. Nicholas Church
Look at the church today!
Image courtesy: St. Nicholas Church
The Nave
Image courtesy: St. Nicholas Church
What's unusual about this?
The plain window.
Of fourteen stain-glass windows only three survived when a bomb exploded near the church in 1944...
This is a vibrant church. Please visit its extensive and wonderful website to learn more about it's long history and current events that welcomes all!
As always it is the people who make up a church and as the following photos show, this St. Nicholas church has plenty!
Happy little ones:
Dancing girls (and one gracious boy!):
Dear helping hands:
Last three images courtesy: St. Nicholas Church
Many thanks to the wonderful people of Cranleigh's St. Nicholas Church!

P.S. To all  my dear blogging friends who are kind and go to the trouble to leave a comment. Please write your blogspot or .com address down when you leave your comment. Now that I am part of google+ it doesn't always allow me to link back to you! Sometime it does but not always... Honestly - is this PROGRESS??
Thanks and blessings!

Monday, October 21, 2013

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church - Wyckoff, New Jersey, USA

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church
Image Courtesy: OrthodoxWorld
A beautiful and peaceful center of Christian worship.
Image Courtesy: Wyckoff
Image Courtesy: NorthJersey
From the community's 40th year of service celebration journal
(1971 - 2011):

 St. Nicholas Church Through the Years
History of  the St. Nicholas Church in Wyckoff, N.J.
(Please click on it)
Many thanks to George Corniotes for his help in providing this information on his church.

This St. Nicholas church stands as an amazing testament to the giving spirit of the people who make up the church of Christ. It's a church filled with wonderful people. I even know some of them!

Many Blessings!

Monday, October 14, 2013

St. Nicholas Catholic Community - Los Altos, California, USA

Into the blue Californian sky...

...rises the lovely white adobe St. Nicholas Church

"St. Nicholas Church was built and blessed in 1942 as a Mission of St. Joseph’s, Mountain View."

The dear Christian, Bishop Nicholas, from the town of Myra

St. Nicholas... and Christmas...
The Advent Light

But it is of course the People that make up the Church of Christ...

St. Nicholas Catholic Community certainly is that!

Please visit the St. Nicholas website for more information on this haven found in the hills of beautiful California.

All images Courtesy: St. Nicholas Catholic Community

Thursday, January 3, 2013

St. Nicholas Church - Cellefrouin, France

Happy New Year Everyone!
St. Nicholas Church
Cellefrouin, France
All Images Courtesy: My Life in the Charente
For the first posting of this brand new year I have Diane at the fabulous site, My Life in the Charente, to thank.
What a St. Nicholas church this is... 
So solid and strong...
Just lovely!
Diane wrote about it:
"The church was founded as the abbey of St Peter about 1025 by Arnaud de Villebre, the bishop of Perigueux (a town in the Dordogne some 100 kilometres away - big diocese!). At this time, the it was likely to have been of wood. A stone building was commenced about 1060 and, so the scholars believe, completed about 1100-1120, to become one of the most important churches in the region. German Wikipedia tells me that it was spared damage in the Hundred Years War (1337-1453) due to its remote location but was attacked and damaged by the Protestants in the Wars of Religion (1562-98). Once peace was restored, the building was rebuilt and re-dedicated to Saint Nicholas in the 16th or 17th century. You have 700 or so years of history there in a nutshell!!"

The Massive and Welcoming Door

Please visit Diane's site for more information on this church and her fabulous life and adventures in the Charente of France!
Thanks Diane!
And again... a Very Happy New Year to all!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Feast of St. Nicholas - St. Nicholas Cathedral - Elblag, Poland

Happy St. Nicholas Day!
St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Cathedral
(Katedra Sw. Mikolaja)
Elblag, Poland
Image Courtesy: Wikipedia
Since St. Nicholas Day is such an important and lovely holiday in Poland I thought to post about this very old church located in the north of the country. 
This beautiful church's cornerstone was first laid in 1247. The building was completely destroyed during WWII... but the indomitable spirit of the Polish people prevailed. It was totally reconstructed and in 1992, it was made a cathedral.
An interesting View
Katedra Sw. Mikolaja
Image Courtesy: Geolocations
It's fun to note that St. Nicholas - that is, Sw. Mikolaj in Polish - brings gifts to all the good boys and girls on this, the anniversary of his repose. But if a child is naughty - watch out! A switch made from one of those lovely birch trees that fill the rolling hills and plains of the country is given instead!
One more view!
Image Courtesy: Wikimedia
Author: Krzymill
Happy St. Nicholas Day to all!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Parish Church of St. Nicholas - Steventon, Hampshire, UK

The Parish Church of St. Nicholas 
The Very Church Where Jane Austen Worshiped!
Image Courtesy: Wikipedia
Image courtesy: Astoft
Okay, I happily admit it! I am a true Jane Austen fan! I think she was just an amazing woman and that the world is a much better place for what she accomplish and gave to it during the time allotted her. So to know that this 12th c St. Nicholas Church (Anglican) is the very one where she worshiped for the first 25 years of her life - well, that is something to write home about! Not only did she worship here, but her father was the rector here for all of her first 25 years (until 1801), while her brother became rector afterwards.
Location of Hampshire within the U.K. - Jane's Birthplace of Steventon (1775)
Image courtesy: Wikipedia
Since most all by now know the great respect with which I hold Nicholas of Myra, I think I might be forgiven for saying that I can't help but feel that the fact that her church building was dedicated to him probably inspired her somehow... Whimsical thought maybe but then again... whose to say? She did write "Pride and Prejudice," "Northanger Abbey," and "Sense and Sensibility" while she lived in Steventon! (Tell me, have there ever been better titles for books? I sigh for want of such titles!) Perhaps dear St. Nick "helped" this very deserving and wonderful young woman out a bit!
Now, I would like to direct all who would like to see more of this historic St. Nicholas church to a wonderful site. Astoft, not only has 82 pictures of the church for us to enjoy but presents a wonderful history to go along with the photos. I highly recommend a "trip" over to Astoft!
A few photos from Astoft 

Many thanks to Astoft for the work and attention that went into documenting this very special St. Nicholas Church.

Now I must go... I am suddenly in the mood to reread, "Pride and Prejudice"!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

St. Nicholas Cathedral - Yombol, Bulgaria

St. Nicholas Cathedral
Yambol, Bulgaria
Image Courtesy: Wikipedia
Photographer: Emil Manchev
Look at this gorgeous cathedral dedicated to St. Nicholas (St. Nicolay in the Bulgarian language) that my friend Tanya told me about!
This city was the ancient Thracian city, Kabyle, that was re-founded as a Greek Polis - city - by Alexander the Great's father, Philip II. A very old history indeed.
Tanya wrote:
These pictures are from a Bulgarian church in the town of Yambol dedicated to St. Nicolas the Miracle Maker. This church is the biggest in the town and was built in 1888, ten years after the Bulgarian liberation from the Ottomans!
Since Tanya is from Bulgaria...I think she is a very good source about this beautiful church!
 (Notice the Icon of Christ)
The Cathedral On A Sunny Day
(Two above images are courtesy of Tanya)
The Lovely City of Yambol
Image courtesy: Holidays
Many many thanks to Tanya!

Friday, November 2, 2012

St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Church - Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.A

Prayers for Those Affected So Terribly by Hurricane Sandy
St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Church
Atlantic City, N.J.
Image Courtesy: cardcow
Although this church isn't named directly for our 3rd c St. Nicholas of Myra, it is dedicated in honor of another saint by the name of Nicholas, the 13th c St. Nicholas of Tolentine. 
St. Nicholas of Tolentine
Image Courtesy: Wikipedia
Artist: Pietro Perugino (1448-1523)
Location: Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica
Since Nicholas of Tolentine was named by his parents in honor of Nicholas of Myra, it is fitting, considering that hurricane Sandy came ashore in Atlantic City earlier this week, to post about this beautiful and historical church.
New Hampshire and Atlantic Ave
Atlantic City - the Atlantic Ocean in its Streets...
Image Courtesy: NJ
Photo by: Jitney Guy
Tourist District
Atlantic City
Image courtesy: NJ
Photos by: Ryan O White-Nobles
The historic St. Nicholas of Tolentino Church is located on Pacific Avenue just one block in from the boardwalk.
Image courtesy: Wikipedia
Built in 1905
Being from Florida, and one who has a first-hand understanding of  hurricanes and how destructive they can be, my heart goes out to those so affected by this storm and for beloved buildings such as the St Nicholas of Tolentine Church in the city we all know so well - if only from the Game of Monopoly .
 St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church is situated at 1409 Pacific Avenue in Atlantic City
(That is...the street represented by the first green space below!)
Image Courtesy: Google
Many, many prayers for the people of the North East United States who found themselves in the path of Hurricane Sandy.
The Atlantic City Coast Guard Base
(In the early stages of the storm...)
Image courtesy: NJ
Photo by:quiggaveli

On a happy note: Please don't forget to enter my give-a-way here!