Sankt Nikolaus

Icon

Pfarrkirche St. Johann Baptist
Burtscheid, Aachen, Germany

9th or 10th century
Legend tells that when Empress Theophana married Emperor Otto II in Rome, she brought this icon to Aachen as a wedding gift. They lived in Aachen, following the example of Charlemagne. In 997 their son Otto III built a Benedictine Abbey in Burtscheid, dedicated to Ss. Apolinaris and Nikolaus. The icon, the oldest image of St. Nicholas north of the Alps, was placed in the abbey’s St. Nicholas chapel.

The icon was brought to women’s homes when childbirth was imminent and St. Nicholas would be asked to bless a quick and healthy birth. Because of this icon, many churches in the area were dedicated to Saint Nicholas.