Sunday, 23 December 2018


Though not officially recognised as part of the Calendar of the Saints until Pope John Paul II made it official in 1984 and followed up with a visit to the island, Saint Þorlákur Þórhallsson—Thorlak Thornhallsson, Bishop of Skálholt, had been considered the patron of Iceland for the greater part of a millennia.

His feast day, today, the anniversary of his death in 1193, marked the end of the customary Christmas time of fasting and signaled for households to prepare for Christmas in earnest, doing the last-minute shopping and finishing decorating the tree. Traditionally, Icelanders have skate, a sort of ray-like fish, on this evening—Thorlak also being the patron of fisherman and currently under consideration, informal investigation for being nominated as the patron saint of Autism, apparently as his interventions (we’re not exactly sure why but everyone needs a cause and a champion) have proved especially helpful for those on the spectrum.