The first news of the cult of St. Nicholas in Russia can be found in a text written in 1110 which refers to a church of St. Nicholas built in the year 882.
A further testimony comes from the Cathedral of St. Sophia in Kiev, built in 1037 in which there was an image of the saint then known as St. Nicholas wet (Nikola Mokryi) because it was said that he had resurrected a child drowned in the Dnepr. The saint’s fame, already deeply rooted in Russia, became enormous as a result of this miracle.
In Russian cities the saint had come from the Black Sea: from the Greek cities of the Crimea he had come to Kiev, he had stopped in the city of Novgorod, until he arrived in Moscow in the fourteenth century. A journey marked by the multiplication of miraculous images including one of the most famous which is the monumental image of Zarajsk, in which the saint raises the Book and raises his right hand as a sign of blessing, with a pose that recalls the sign of the cross. In these icons the saint appears as a true savior, the great thaumaturge second only to Christ. The importance of St. Nicholas to the Russians is such that he deserves the nickname of Russky Bog, the Russian god. They themselves remember with a joke that “even if God dies there, we always have Saint Nicholas”.
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