Wednesday, December 06, 2006

St. Nicholas Saves Three Innocents from Death (Feast of St. Nicholas)

St. Nicholas Saves Three Innocents from Death, Ilya Yefimovich Repin, 1888

I stumbled upon the above painting after wanting to read more about the seat of St. Nicholas. The "simple old country lawyer" Kolokotronis of Free told me of the story behind the painting (special thanks to him).

"The story is that +Nicholas, having restored order in Myra among a group of looting soldiers, was walking along with their general when he came upon the scene in the painting. Three innocent young men had been condemned to death by a evil, venal magistrate named Eustathios who was trying to extort a bribe from the men or their families. When +Nicholas saw what was happening he grabbed the beheading sword and stopped the execution. Word spread fast and even the corrupt Eustathios came to see what had happened. +Nicholas demanded that he immediately clear the men or he would report him to the Emperor. He did, then Eustathios immediately fell to his knees, confessed his crime and begged the saint to forgive him, which he did."

It is fitting, then, that St. Nicholas should be the patron saint of those who are unjustly accused.

St Nicholas of Myra, pray for us!


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