Today we keep S Nicolas; for a couple of decades of my life, at Lancing, a Double of the First Class and a half-holiday when we all sallied forth down to Brighton to do our Christmas shopping or, in the case of the students, to imbibe. I remember browsing happily, one S Nick's Day, in that shop for remaindered books down East Street. I had my back to the window; and I was showing a scholarly interest in a large glossy volume entitled Forbidden Pictures From Ancient Pompei (I didn't buy it). Some cheerful drumming on the window behind me suddenly awakened me to the fact that a fair portion of the V Form approved warmly of my reading matter and shared my views about its academic significance.
The cultus of S Nicolas is one of the most ecumenical and one of the most ancient; he was a saint with as large a portfolio of Patronages as a Renaissance cardinal. He was, at Lancing, co-principal Patron with the Glorious Assumption of our Blessed Lady; on his feast day we used to sing the hymn composed for him by dear Basil Handford: Sancte, Sancte, Nicolas// Tute Patronus noster es// Laus et Deo Gloria// Sancte, pro nobis exor-a. So many of the waterside churches in Sussex, and elsewhere (Byzantine East as well as Latin West), have his Dedication. Wherever one goes, he is the old friend one so often seems to meet up with again.
When we go to Gardone for the Roman Forum colloquium, we offer our Masses each morning in the superb parish church ostentatiously dedicated Divo Nicolao (what a very 1750s turn of phrase!) high up the hillside overlooking Catullus's lake. Incidentally, one of the baroque ceiling paintings there shows S Nicolas Banishing the Moors. Sancte, pro nobis exora!
In the OF he is merely optional; however, in the Extraordinary Form, happily, he is included in the 2020 CDF list of Privileged observances which cannot be skipped.
Good on yer, mates.
An important point I would like to make concerns the historical-theological aspects of his cult.
What I mean is this. His observance is distinctly older, more widespread, and more significant than many feasts with a loftier 'intrinsic' status; even feasts, for example, of our Blessed Lord.
S Nicolas on December 6 has Auctoritas, and oodles of it. S Martin is another saint about whom I would make a similar judgement. I would be outraged if either of them disappeared from the Calendar; but the disappearance of Christ the King from Excita Sunday, or of S Joseph Opifex from May 1, would simply encourage me to open another enthusiastic bottle of Waitrose Cava.
Easy come, easy go, as Auntie used to say.
Or, in my own native Nerdspeak, Auctoritas matters a lot more than daft bits of paper from Rome.