Russia Religion Subjects Orthodox Saint St Nicholas of Myra

St Nicholas of Myra

St Nicholas of Myra was a bishop and a miracle-worker. At the Council of Nicaea in 325, he publicly slapped the Alexandrian presbyter Arius in the face. Nicholas was subsequently demoted from the rank of bishop and imprisoned. Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary appeared to him one night and returned to him the rank of bishop, bringing him a copy of the Gospels and an omophorium.

St Nicholas was worshipped in Russia almost immediately after the adoption of Christianity in 988 and soon became one of the most revered Russian saints. He was the patron of mortals before God, a helper in times of troubles, protector of travellers and intercessor at any injustice. The worship of St Nicholas was so widespread in Russia that he soon began to rank next to Christ and the Mother of God.

The earliest icons with images of St Nicholas and events from his life date from the fourteenth century. Although many such works have survived, it is extremely difficult to find two icons of St Nicholas with identical life cycles. They differ in both the order of the scenes and the compositional features.

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