«The Lord Almighty. The Kazan Icon of the Mother of God. St. Nicholas the Wonderworker» (Art 104.248)
Miniature relief, casting, gilding, niello, handwork.
Silver (925). Gilding (999).
Anciently three icons – of Christ, of the Mother of God and of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker – should have necessarily be in God's (Holy) corner of any Russian house. These are the most hallowed images prayed for in all circumstances. The images have been often put on hinged icons taken along. Foreign evidences came down to us from 17th century that every Russian warrior had a nice tryptich on his breast. Hinged icons were worn not just as an amulet, but served for praying: at a good hour they were taken off from one’s breast and placed before one’s face for praying. Such a custom existed from time out of mind: the first-ever hinged icons found in Russia are dated to the time of its Christianization by St. Vladimir.
On the central fold we see the Lord Almighty. In that type of iconography Jesus Christ appears before us as the Lord of the earth and the overworld. The book He holds is in His hand is the great Book of human fate and a symbol of the New Testament. Testament is a covenant of God and human beings according to which He will judge them on the Doomsday. The basic law (commandment) of the Testament is commandment of love: “That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (Jn.13; 34). The world will change after the Doomsday. There will be no malefactors in it “There shall not enter into it any thing defiled or that worketh abomination or maketh a lie: but they that are written in the book of life of the Lamb” (Rev.21; 27).
The Kazan Icon of the Mother of God is put to the right of the Lord. The Kazan image is one of the most hallowed Russian objects of worship. It appeared miraculously in Kazan in 1579, 26 years after Tatar khanate had been annexed to Russia by Ivan the Terrible. A girl Matrona by name, found the icon on a site of a fire. The newly appeared icon being carried to the church several blind persons were healed. That was taken as a sign: the icon will be the enlightener of Russian land. The image copy together with wonders description was sent to the tsar, and Ivan the Terrible ordered a nunnery to be built on the place of the icon appearing. Matrona and her mother took veils in it, Matrona having later become its superioress.
To the left of Christ the icon of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker is put, the most hallowed Orthodox saint. He is especially loved here, in Russia being considered as a chief helper in all things and an intercessor in the ills of life. St. Nicholas the Wonderworker was born in the latter half of the 3d century in Asia Minor, in Patara of Lycia. Upon reaching advancing age he was elected the presbyter of Patara. Several years later he became the bishop of Myra, the capital of Lycia.
Over the years of shepherding the saint become famous for multiple of wonders and acts of mercy that he keeps making up to now. The saint is revered as a healer, patron of travelers, intercessor of offended, persecuted and distressed. He is asked for help in commerce and in learning, for conflicts resolution and governors correction.
The tryptich reverse is decorated with traditional Calvary image – a symbol of Passions place; of the mount where the human race was expiated of the eternal death by Christ’s blood.
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