Newcastle Cathedral celebrates St Nicholas

06th December 2023

This Advent, Newcastle Cathedral will host a series of festive activities to celebrate St Nicholas, the holy figure who inspired Santa Claus and to whom the Cathedral is dedicated.

Today, St Nicholas Day, (6 Dec)  Newcastle Cathedral Choir will join forces with the Choir of Durham Cathedral for a very special concert .

Newcastle Cathedral celebrates its namesake, St Nicholas

This service will mark the beginning of a remarkable milestone: the 90th anniversary of the Friends of St Nicholas.

Founded nine decades ago with a clear mission to “maintain and beautify” the Cathedral’s heritage, the Friends have played a crucial role in conserving items like the exquisite silver verge, which is used in services, and have contributed to the creation and publication of the Cathedral’s latest guidebook and offered a diverse programme of outings and events for members to connect and share common interests.

Newcastle Cathedral celebrates its namesake St Nicholas

Lesley Lee, a volunteer at Newcastle Cathedral and the Secretary of the Friends, has delved into the recently unearthed meeting logbook of the Friends, with its initial entry dating back to 7 December 1933.

Lesley said:

“The Friends’ groups emerged during the 1920s and 1930s, a time between the wars when cathedrals faced substantial financial challenges. 

“Over the years, they have played a vital role in supporting various conservation initiatives and funding enhancements for the Cathedral which would have otherwise been impossible.”

“And we are always eager to welcome new members of all ages and people of all faiths and none who share an interest in preserving this fantastic building,” she added.

Newcastle Cathedral is the only one of the 42 Church of England cathedrals dedicated to St Nicholas.

Historically, Nicholas of Myra was a bishop known for his acts of charity towards the poor, and whose faith and generosity continue to inspire us today. The cathedral has a rich programme of events for Advent and Christmas including a pay-as-you-feel guided tour this Saturday (10 December) where visitors can encounter the Cathedral’s numerous sculptures and stained-glass windows that depict stories associated with his life and learn how the image of Santa Claus has evolved over the centuries and why the cathedral is dedicated to St Nicholas.

The Dean of Newcastle, the Very Reverend Lee Batson said:

“One thing that makes Newcastle Cathedral truly special at this time of year is that, among the 42 Church of England cathedrals, this is the only one dedicated to St Nicholas.

“The Friends have marvellously upheld the generous spirit of St Nicholas for nine decades, contributing to the preservation of this building. 

“Through their gifts, we can continue to serve our diverse communities, tell the Cathedral’s story, and share in God’s joy together.”

Find out what’s on this Advent and Christmas here.

To find out how to join the Friends of St Nicholas, see