St. Nicholas became the patron saint of
Russia shortly after he was canonized in the ninth century. some 500 years
after his death.
It was 987 A.D. when St. Nicholas’
memory first made news in Russia. Duke Vladimir wished to marry Princess
Anna of Byzantium, but the Duke had to publicly accept Christianity in
order to win Anna ‘s hand.
He returned to Russia from Byzantium with
a portrait of Saint Nicholas and also brought with him the various legends
surrounding the life of Saint
Nicholas, including tales of the many
miracles reputed to him.
These many legends, passed down to each
succeeding generation, gained Saint Nicholas the honor of being recognized
as patron saint of such diverse people as sailors, maidens, packers, and
The Russian depiction of Saint Nicholas
is generally that of a bearded man, an image which is certainly based on
the portrait Duke Vladimir brought from Byzantium.
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