Russian icon | St Nicholas of Zaraisk

Icon: St Nicholas of Zaraisk H-14

Origin :
Central Russia
Period :
mid-17h century
Size :
31.2 x 26 cm

St Nicholas is portrayed full-length and dressed as a bishop. He is wearing a white phelonion which is decorated with black crosses and a stole. To the left and to the right of Nicholas’ head, Christ and the Mother of God are depicted half-length within a medallion. They are representing a segment of heaven and are offering Nicholas a stole and the Book of Gospels. St Nicholas is making a gesture of blessing with his right hand while holding the Book of Gospels with his left hand.

Nowhere in the world is the worship of Nicholas as widespread as in Russia. The saint is inseparable from the country. According to tradition Nicholas continuously travelled, disguised as a poor Russian peasant or beggar. With a knapsack over his shoulder and a stick in his hand, he visited villages and cities. He would spend the night with poor people and bring help where it was needed, as inconspicuously as possible. While most saints have their own ‘specialty’, everything comes together in the figure of Nicholas. He is the patron of trade and shipping in particular, but in fact one can go to him for any kind of assistance; he offers help anywhere and always. For Russians, Nicholas is a thoroughly human, friendly old man, who is well aware of the joys and burdens of daily life.

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