Exhibition “The Image of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker in the Russian book miniature” hosts in Moscow

Житие святителя Николая Мирликийского, с его многочисленными чудесами (XVI в.). Фото Марии Колосовой

Russian State Library in the Blue Exhibition Hall on Vozdvizhenka, 3/5 conducts extremely interesting exhibition of 56 handwritten and 34 early printed books of XVI-XIX centuries, dedicated to the image of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. The guest of the exhibition can be any desired, even not a reader of the library, on weekdays from 01 to 25 July 2016, from 12:00-18: 00.

St. Nicholas of Myra (Gk. Άγιος Νικόλαος, III-IV centuries) – probably the most favorite Russian saint, a native of Patara in Lycia, at that date the region of Byzantium. Not only Christians, but also pagans appeal to him. A great many wonders proceed from this saint. Currently, there are relics of St. Nicholas in Bari (southern Italy), where pilgrimage does not dry out. Every Thursday, the Russian Orthodox Church honors St. Nicholas prayer service.

St. Nicholas came from a pious wealthy family, his uncle was the Bishop of Patar. He was elected as Archbishop of Lycian capital – the Myra city and made a lot of good deeds for his flock. In addition, the saint overcame the heresy of Arius, defended the faith in times of persecution of Diocletian, converted many pagans, pacified revolts, saved innocent prisoners.

The exhibition presents an abundance of livings, legends, miniatures and other relics of the Russian land, in which the image of the saint imprinted. Exhibits originating from various collections, parts of Russia and made in different styles, allow to feel Russian book in its variegation and development.

According to keeper of the Department of Manuscripts RSL Vera Burtseva, exhibition also gives the opportunity to see the difference between the handwritten and printed book. Printed books allow to unify the book and to avoid misunderstandings, inevitable for manuscripts.

The exhibition will give a completely new feeling to man of the XXI century. Today we take into the hands a very different book, serial book, which has become commonplace in our hands. Its value is determined only by its content. Exhibits of the exhibition are works of art, where each illustration – an icon, each page – individual effort. Keeper Vera Burtseva pays attention to the fact that it is easy to understand how often these books have been read – they leave on itself evidence of deterioration: fingerprints, turning the pages, prints of the drops from candles. The content of the exhibition will open a lot of new for everyone, it will interest people of all ages and professions. Among the books are collections of official, the Old Believers’ books (often collectors were Old Believers), ancient notes, Ukrainian books and much more, including «Life of St. Nicholas» of Kremlin workshops times of Ivan the Terrible.

Russian State Library has more than 200 manuscripts of the lives of St. Nicholas. Visitors can, for example, to see the rare instance of the XVI century «Life of St. Nicholas of Myra, with his many miracles» from the collection of merchant T.F. Bolshakov. The purpose of the exhibition, according to N. Y. Samoylenko – to enable the public to open «that is usually only available to some researchers».