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The Crack Magazine

St Nicholas in the Cathedral's Laing Memorial Window.jpg

Is This Santa?

Is St. Nicholas Santa Claus? Find out at ‘From St. Nicholas to Santa Claus’ a fab new exhibition coming to Newcastle Cathedral.

If you want to investigate the origins of Father Christmas, then December seems as good a time as any. And if you want to delve deep into those origin stories then where better to explore them than Newcastle Cathedral – the only cathedral in England dedicated to Saint Nicholas. The historical Nicholas was a fourth century holy man who lived in Asia Minor – now modern day Turkey. Various artworks show Nicholas carrying bags of gold. Legend has it he dropped the gold down the chimney of three teenage sisters to save them from a life of prostitution. This exhibition – aimed primarily at children and families – gathers together depictions from the Cathedral’s vast collection of religious icons, paintings and ornaments (as well as Christmas decorations sourced from abroad) and looks at how ‘Santa’ came into being. There’s also an online trail for adults, which delves into the more fantastical stories surrounding St. Nicholas and his permanent depictions in the Cathedral’s windows and architecture. GM

From St. Nicholas to Santa Clause, 2 December-2 February, Newcastle Cathedral. newcastlecathedral.org.uk