Holy Items within the Temple
Nicholas - warrior
When entering our church, on the right wall you can see the sacred image of the holy man with the raised sword in one hand and with a church in the other. And not everybody can recognize in him a quiet and wise, loved by all Rus St. Nicholas, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia. He is represented here as a menacing warrior and creator. This is the sacred image of so-called Nicholas Mozhaisky. Why exactly this image is selected as patronal will become clear from its history.
In 1408 a detachment of the Golden Horde Khan Yedigei who besieged Moscow suddenly seized and burned Vereya and Mozhaisk. Prince Andrew D. (reigned from 1389 to 1432) had built in Mozhaisk a stone Cathedral of St. Nicholas instead of the burnt wooden church by 1412. He ordered to make a holy guardian at the restored wooden gates of the fortress Ц a carved icon of St. Nicolas with a sword and a town in hands: the gateway Sword-bearer was to guard the church and the town.
It is known that during the Mongolian and Turkish invasion, when the enemy approached the town, there was a wonderful sign: St. Nicolas himself soared into the air as he was depicted on the icon Ц with a sword in one hand and with the town Mozhaisk in the other. And frightened enemies fled.
Prayerful pilgrimage of the Russian Orthodox people unfolded to St. Nicholas of Mozhaisk since 1541. By the end of the 16 century 16 monasteries and 75 churches appeared in the town. Mozhaisk was called Уthe Holy town of RussiansФ
One day in Moscow a copy of carved image of St. Nicholas with a sword and town in the hands was placed over the Nikolsky Gate of the Kremlin as a talisman.
When Napoleon who established himself in the capital in 1812 tried to blow up the Kremlin, tent of the Nikolskaya tower collapsed but the destruction stopped exactly at the age of the St.Nicholas image.
During October revolution in 1917 the Bolsheviks storming the Kremlin with the defending cadets inside, cruelly fired cannons point-blank at the Kremlin gate. They shot off the left hand in the image of the St. Nicholas. The wonderworker was left with a sword in his right hand. After battles the sacred image was covered with the red cloth, when suddenly one May day in 1918 on the eve of St.Nicholas Spring Feast many people on the Red Square saw: red bunting cloth burst to the bottom, then began to tear off to pieces and fell on the ground. The icon of УinjuredФ and УinsurrenderedФ St.Nicholas opened miraculously again.
It is known that an icon of St. Nicholas with a sword in his hand was brought to our region by the Cossacks. ItТs interesting that at the late icons the straight Russian sword is slightly curved because the Cossacks considered Nikola their heavenly patron.
When Ermak and his warriors were going to conquer Siberia, the Cossacks were accompanied by three priests in this long and difficult road, and every sotnia received an icon from the lay brothers. The Cossacks always went into action with these holy images and during the battle took care of them as a regimental flag. Among these relics (icons of the Holy Image of the Saviour, God Almighty, the Blessed Virgin, Holy Cross, Archistrategos Michael) was also an icon of St. Nicholas with a sword in one hand and with a church in the other. The leader of Cossack host Ermak Timofeevich himself held sacred St. Nocholas. In the city of Ermak at the bank of Chusovaya river where the great campaign started, Ermak spent the winter and prayed to the holy image of St. Nicholas. The first chapel built by Cossacks at the top of Stone (Ural) mountains was also devoted to Nicholas of Mozhaisk.
From the history of the Siberia conquest, we know that after one of the appearance of Nicholas-warrior in the heavens, on the 23 October 1581, Siberia, the capital of Kuchum was occupied. All the subsequent conquest of the first Siberian kingdom was consecrated by a special prayer zeal to St Nicholas. Wherever they chose sites for long-term halt - first of all the Cossacks set the cross, built a fence around it, in this way many Siberian prisons appeared - and then a chapel was erected more often than others in the name of Saint Nicholas. On the shores of Lake Baikal, almost all churches were built in the name of St. Nicholas. Wonderworker finally conquered this region with the light of glory of his miracle-working image that appeared in the village of Bolshoe Goloustnoye.
Material prepared by
Elena Borovskaya and Igor Borovsky