Rescue in Harbin, China

Saint Nicholas
Russian Icon Card, 1890
St Nicholas Center Collection
Harbin Train Station
Harbin Train Station

Before Communists came to power in China, there was an icon of St. Nicholas in the Harbin train station, as many Russian immigrants had settled there. The icon was respected by non-Christian Chinese as well as the Russian Orthodox immigrants.

One day a Chinese man, dripping wet, ran into the station, throwing himself down in front of the icon. He was speaking Chinese and it is said he was thanking the saint for saving his life.

During the winter, when the Sungari river that flows through Harbin, China, is frozen solid it becomes a short-cut to to from one side to the other.

The ice breaks up in the spring and chunks flow down the river. On that day this man was in a great hurry to get to the other side of the river. Even though the ice was breaking up and floating in the water, he ran across, jumping from floe to floe. Then he slipped and went down under the ice.

As he was beginning to drown, he remembered the train station icon and cried out, "Old man from the train station, help me!"

Then he became unconscious, slipping completely under the ice where he would surely perish.

The very next thing he knew, he was on the riverbank! Freezing water soaked him to the skin, but he alive and well! As fast as he could, the man ran the long distance to the train station. He stopped in front of the icon, throwing himself down, thanking the great hierarch Saint Nicholas for such an amazing miracle of his mercy and love.

"Saint Nicholas the Merciful", a sermon by St. Philaret, the late Metropolitan of New York.

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