The First Miracle

Nicholas with woman
Detail: The Life & Miracles of Saint Nicholas
Artist: Alexander Boguslawski

As Nicholas was growing up, he regularly went to study and learn with his teacher. One day as he was on his way he came upon a woman with a withered hand. Stopping, he approached her, laid his hand on her, prayed to God, and made the sign of the cross. The hand miraculously became whole.

This was the earliest miracle that has been attributed to Saint Nicholas.

This story is frequently portrayed on Russian hagiographic icons as part of the life of Saint Nicholas. It is adapted from the Life of Nicholas of Sion, 6th century abbot of the Monastery of Holy Sion near Myra in Lycia and bishop of Pinara in western Lycia. This manuscript was taken to Russia in the 10th century and mistakenly identified with Nicholas of Myra. Many of the conventional characteristics common to accounts of saints' lives that have become a part of the Saint Nicholas tradition can be traced to this source. This is particularly true of the events surrounding his birth and childhood.

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