This week stands blessed by the feasts of Saint Nicholas and Saint Lucy, whose histories and legends span the centuries.

Of their true lives we know little but of their relics’ peregrinations, a lot, which attests to the values attached to them and highly prized by our ancestors.

Saint Nicholas, bishop of Myra is also known as Saint Nicholas of Bari because sailors from that port seized his remains from his church in Myra to bring them home.

Some minor bone fragments left in his grave were later removed by a Venetian fleet en route for the Crusades and now lay in San Nicolò al Lido.

Legends abound of Bishop Nicholas’ protecting arm and munificent generosity, which have made him the patron saint of many countries, cities, trades, seafaring and, having reportedly rescued three of them from a sinister butcher, of children.

It is also in Venice that Lucy’s relics rest from travels that took them from her native Syracuse to Metz, Constantinople, Bourges among other places.

Lucy – or Lucia –, whose eyes were gouged according to legend, is the patron saint of the blind

Our wandering saints seem to have filled the very air with their imagery and symbolism and recede behind the traditions they have inspired throughout the West.

Lucia’s name, from the Latin word lux for light, has been associated in the Christian calendar with the return of light at the dead of winter.

In the Julian Calendar, her feast on December 13, then coincided with the winter solstice, John Donne’s “Both the year's, and the day's deep midnight”.

It is hailed with candle-lit festivities throughout Scandinavia.

The long-awaited return of longer days, comes as does John the Baptist in Sunday’s Gospel to “testify to the Light” still to come.

Lucy’s blindness may alert us to invite the “light within.”

In some parts of Italy, Lucia makes the best of her longest night to bring gifts to good children – and coal to the naughty ones.

Here, she crosses paths with Saint Nicholas again for throughout large swathes of Northern Europe, he was, on December 6, an equally discriminating bearer of gifts.

But his legendary generosity got the better of him in his latest avatar as Santa Claus whose benevolence may be closer to the message of unconditional love announced in the season of Advent.