The Origin of Coffee and Christianity
You have probably heard of your favorite beverage – coffee. So you would not be unfamiliar with its many glorious benefits. There are many people who drink coffee on a daily basis. It has become their ritual to have a small cup of the beverage at the end of the day. Some people even have a special pot that they brew fresh coffee in whenever they feel the urge.
Who is this patron saint of coffee? It was St. Nicholas, a Roman Catholic Bishop, who is often represented as a nativity scene. When you put a star on a table in the house of St. Nicholas, you were showing that this man was a follower of the faith. He was also a respected religious figure. His feast day was celebrated on December 7th each year.
One of the most famous stories about St. Nicholas relates how he went to the birthplace of his patron saint, which is in present day Romania. In the story, he chose three young children, which were the sons of a noble family, and delivered a message from the Pope, informing them of the birth of the patron saint. The children returned home, where they celebrated the feast day. Later that night, as the celebration was heating up, the three boys disappeared. This tale was adapted as a movie in Polish, and many families in Romania today celebrate St. Nicholas’ feast day on the same day as Christmas.
How did St. Nicholas become associated with coffee? The first thing we know about St. Nicholas is that he was the son of the Emperor Domitian and the mother of Queen Helena, by the way. Another historical detail is that he was the nouveau riche, or fashionable person, who visited Rome, and brought with him exotic spices from Greece. Some people believe that St. Nicholas was also the son of the Roman goddess, Eostre, and the daughter of Apollo and Diana. The legend says that he disguised himself in an apple tree, planted a row of apples, and began to talk to the girls, promising to deliver five apples a day. Some Christians feel that this was another attempt by the Vatican to bring in the Ten Ages.
There are many more tales that surround St. Nicholas. Many of them date back to the dawn of Christianity, when the Church fathers began writing legends about their favorite Saints. In addition to the stories we have heard about him, there is also the fact that there are coins and images depicting St. Nicholas as being bearded, wearing a tunic, and carrying a crook. His image appears on many coins, some of which show a figure sitting on a bench while holding a cross, another showing him standing while holding a cross. He is also portrayed in many murals, usually highly colored and full of fancy details. The patron saint of coffee has become a very important part of European culture, especially since the Renaissance, and many artists have given their own versions of the story, often including aspects of St. Nick that are based on his real life appearance.
If you like history, archeology, or religion, then you might want to read about some of the patron saints of coffee. You might find that this could be a great introduction into other denominations as well! With a little bit of research, you can add St. Nick to your list of favorites.