Detail: The Life & Miracles of Saint Nicholas
Artist: Alexander Boguslawski
St. Nicholas Center Collection
A man from Kiev had a strong devotion to Saint Nicholas and the first Russian saints, Boris and Gleb.* He took his wife and baby up the Dneper River to Vyshgorod to celebrate the two saints' feast day (July 24) at their tomb. Sailing back home down the river, the mother dozed off, allowing the baby to fall into the river. The baby, caught in a whirlpool, was pulled down and drowned. Sadly making their way home, the grief-stricken parents cried out, "O Holy Wonderworker Saint Nicholas, you are the swift deliverer of all in distress, perform a miracle and save an innocent child from death."
That night Saint Nicholas went to the river, lifted the child up, and carried it to the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev. There he placed the baby, now alive and well, in front of his own icon in the women's gallery.
Arriving early the next morning, the sacristan heard a child crying inside the church. He accused the guard of letting in a woman and child. The guard defended himself, saying he had not. They found all the doors were still locked—no one had come in during the night. Going inside, they found a child, dripping wet, lying in front of the Saint Nicholas icon. Not knowing what to think, they went to the Metropolitan. He sent them to the market to find out whose child it was.
People flocked to see this child—and the child's father came, too. He recognized the baby but was afraid to say anything. He went home and told his sorrowful wife what had happened at the cathedral. "Don't you know?" she asked. "It is a miracle of Saint Nicholas!"
The mother ran to the cathedral. When she saw the baby, she fell down before the icon, giving thanks to God for the rescue of the infant. As word spread, the whole city gathered, glorifying God for his servant Nicholas.
* Boris and Gleb, the first Russian saints, were sons of Vladimir the Great, who brought Orthodox Christianity to Kievan Rus' and beyond. The brothers were murdered during the internal fighting over succession between 1015 and 1019.
The vitae of St. Nicholas and His Hagiographical Icons in Russia, Vol. 2, doctoral dissertation by Alexander Boguslawski, University of Kansas, 1980, pp. 87-88.
Service, Akathist, Life and Miracles of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, New York. A complete translation of the Life and the Miracles of St. Nicholas as it appears in The Lives of the Saints in the Russian Language as set forth according to the guidance of the Menologiion of St. Dimitry of Rostov, Moscow, Synodal Press, 1903.
The Life and Miracles of Saint Nicholas, the Wonderworker, by Count Michael Tolstoy, Publishing House of the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral, translated from Serbian by Petar V. Sherovich.
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