Miracle-Working Holy Icons of St. Nicholas
Saint Nicholas, also known as Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker and Bishop Nicholas of Myra, is one of the most beloved saints of the Christian Church. Moreover, this applies not only to Orthodox Church. Saint Nicholas is also revered and commemorated among Anglicans, Catholics, and Lutherans. He is loved by so many largely due to the miracles of healing and rescue he performed during his life and after. Many of these miracles worked and continue to work through the holy icons. Here is a short list of some of the most famous Orthodox Christian icons of St. Nicholas you should know about!
The icon of St. Nicholas of Zarazsk
St. Nicholas is probably the most popular saint in Russia, where his name is often synonymous with the word “icon.” This is especially true for Zarazsk, which is near Ryazan, and the reason for that is a miracle-working St. Nicholas icon. This hand-painted icon depicts the saint full-length, with the left hand holding a Gospel book and the right hand raised in blessing. It is believed that it was brought to Zarazsk (known at that time as Krasnoe) from Crimea in 1225, and that thanks to it, Novgorod and Ryazan were brought through the Tartar invasion unscathed.
The St. Nicholas icon of the Nikolskaya Tower
Religious icons painted over the entrances to palaces and cities were highly popular in Byzantium and, later, the Russian Empire. One of such antique Russian icons is the St. Nicholas icon (late 15th – early 16th century) placed over the entrance to Nikolskaya Tower of the Moscow Kremlin. This icon depicts the saint with the city of Mozhaisk in the left hand and a sword in the right hand, which refers to the miracle of Mozhaisk, when the army of Tartars left the city after the miraculous appearance of St. Nicholas in 1302. However, that’s not all! The St. Nicholas icon of the Nikolskaya Tower has survived fire, depressions, and wars. It was considered lost since the 1930s, but, in fact, it was hidden under the layer of metal mesh in the icon niche of the tower, which made it invisible. The miracle-working St. Nicholas icon was discovered only in 2004. After the restoration, it was placed again on the Nikolskaya Tower of the Moscow Kremlin.
St. Nicholas icon and Zoya
This story happened in Samara (known at that time as Kuibyshev) in 1956. In the midst of New Year’s Eve celebration with friends, a young woman named Zoya took down the St. Nicholas icon and started to dance with it. Despite the entreaties of friends to stop, she continued to dance with the words, “If God exists, let Him punish me.” At that very moment, Zoya stopped unable to move, with St. Nicholas icon stuck to her chest. The woman remained frozen for 128 days, until Easter. This was witnessed by many people, including the local bishop, priests, a professor of medicine, and physicians. During the whole period of being frozen, Zoya could speak but was unable to drink and eat. Each night, she cried “because she was lost on account of her sins” and asked her mother to pray. On Easter day, the woman’s muscles relaxed, and she came back to life. However, three days later, Zoya reposed peacefully.
These are only three miracle-working holy icons of St. Nicholas. There are actually many of them even these days. No wonder, St. Nicholas is called the Wonderworker!