Icon of St. Nicholas, Tsar-Martyr – S302


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Church Feast Day 1



Egg Tempera


Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, New York, USA


20th c. (Late)


St. Nicholas was the last Tsar and Emperor of Russia before the Russian Revolution in 1917.  The eldest son of Tsar Alexander III, he was very well educated, speaking Russian, English, French, German, and Italian fluently.  In 1894 he married Princess Alix of Hessen-Darmstadt (later chrismated Alexandra), who was the granddaughter of the British Queen Victoria.  When his father died in that same year, St. Nicholas became the Emperor.

St. Nicholas was very pious and extremely conscious of his responsibility to rule and live in a righteous Orthodox manner, realizing that he was responsible to God for every action.  This was often interpreted as weakness or the inability to act.  Together, St. Nicholas and his wife had four daughters and the heir apparent St. Alexey, who was born with hemophilia.  This affliction was known only to a few people, and so another form of misunderstanding was prevalent because of this.  After WWI had raged for years, St. Nicholas was forced to abdicate in 1917.  After the Bolshevik take-over, he was martyred with his family in Siberia on July 4, 1918.  They are known as “Passion-bearers” like SS Boris and Gleb.