Because St. Nicholas"s feast day is during Advent, people came to associate him with Christmas. But in the Orthodox church, we venerate him all year round. Every Thursday, in fact, is a little St. Nicholas Day, just like every Sunday is a little Pascha. * That started in the year 842. A poet named Joseph was headed to Rome, when the ship he was on was captured by pirates. The passengers were imprisoned in Crete. * One night, a holy old man from Myra appeared and handed Joseph a scroll. "Read it." Joseph read it, saw that it was a prayer, and sang it: "Hasten O Merciful One, and in compassion come quickly to our aid." * And that night, or the next day, Joseph was freed. And for the rest of his life, he was devoted to St. Nicholas. * As it happens, this Joseph was the man we know as St. Joseph the Hymnographer. He was the first to address canons to saints, and he wrote canons for each day of the week. Those weekday canons became our weekly cycle of prayers. * Sunday was already kept as a little Pascha, and Wednesday and Friday were already dedicated to our Lord"s passion. St. Joseph added canons to the angels for Monday, the prophets (especially John the Baptist) on Tuesdays, and all the saints (especially the Theotokos) on Saturdays. And on Thursdays, St. Joseph commemorated the Holy Apostles and St. Nicholas.