Orthodox icon | Saint Nicholas of Myra | 24813.
In this icon, Saint Nicholas of Myra, adorned in his bishop’s majestic vestments, stands with the open Gospel clutched in his arm, its sacred pages inscribed with his daily pericope (LUK VI 17-23). Christ and the Mother of God accompany him, sharing their divine presence.
Saint Nicholas was born around 283 in Patara, a place now in ruins near Kalkan, Turkey. He left our world around 348 in Myra (Lycia), present-day Demre, also in Turkey. Both the Eastern and Latin Churches celebrate him as one of their most revered saints.
People observe his feast days on December 6, May 9, and July 29, marking them with beloved traditions. In the first half of the 4th century, he was the Bishop of Myra in the Lycia region of Asia Minor, then part of the Roman Empire, which later became the Byzantine Empire and is now modern-day Turkey.
His name, Nikólaos, from ancient Greek, means “victory of the people” and predates Christian times. He stands as the patron saint for a wide array of groups, from Russia to children, from travelers to those seeking the return of stolen items.
The icon also showcases the Guardian Angel and Saint Barlaam, the Abbot of Chutin/Novgorod, whom the faithful honor on November 6. These holy figures complement Saint Nicholas, intensifying the icon’s spiritual resonance.
Born in the 12th century, Saint Barlaam, the Abbot of Chutin/Novgorod, holds a revered place in the Orthodox Christian tradition. Though details of his early life remain scarce, his unwavering dedication to God and deep asceticism have earned widespread respect.
He took on the role of abbot at the monastery of Chutin in Novgorod, Russia, where he led the monks with exceptional wisdom, humility, and spiritual insight. He lived a life centered around prayer, fasting, and diligent work for God’s glory.
Many turned to Saint Barlaam for spiritual guidance and advice, thanks to his profound wisdom. Both commoners and influential figures sought his counsel, recognizing his holiness and discernment.
Saint Barlaam embodied humility, simplicity, and selflessness. He chose a life free from worldly luxuries, dedicating himself wholly to God. Through his actions and teachings, he inspired countless souls to embrace repentance, grow closer to God, and lead a holy life.
Even though his life on Earth remained humble, Saint Barlaam’s spiritual influence persists. The faithful remember and honor him on November 6, reflecting on his life and seeking his blessings. His life story reminds believers of the transformative nature of faith, sacrifice, and dedication to God, urging them to commit to deep spiritual growth and holiness.