|30,8 x 26,5 cm
No saint is as popular, either in the East or the West, as the miracle worker St. Nicholas. He was Bishop of Myra in Asia Minor, and is believed to have lived in the 4th century. Nicholas can be recognised from his short beard and his high forehead, a sign of great wisdom.
A well known saying in Old Russia was, ‘If God dies,we’ll make Nicholas God’. People believed that Nicholas understood human weakness better than any other saint. He defended them against every injustice and protected them. He also protected travellers if they got into difficulty. He became the patron of countless churches, professions and communities. He is present in almost every icon corner of a Russian house because he is also considered to be the patron saint of men.
In this icon, Nicholas is shown with the classic characteristics ascribed to him. He wears a bishop’s stole about his neck and holds a Book of Gospels in his left hand. With his right hand he delivers a blessing.
The Mother of God presents him with the bishop’s stole (omofor) and appears on his left. On the right, Christ presents the Book of Gospels. During the First Council of Nicaea, Nicholas is supposed to have boxed Arius’s ears, because he called into doubt the divinity of Christ. The emperor and the bishops present wanted to dismiss Nicholas from his office of bishop, but the Mother of God and Christ took up Nicholas’s cause and gave hiim back the attributes of his bishop’s office.
This icon is overlaid with a finely crafted silver-gilt repoussé and chased revetment (oklad). The head of Nicholas is encircled with an elaborate halo with semi-precious stones. Hallmarked: Moscow, 1880, and with Cyrillic maker’s mark of Dimitri Shelaputin, assayers mark A.K.