Now and then I like to pause from more rigorous postings and turn to icons that are just pleasant to look at for a number of reasons.
Today’s example is a very recent Greek icon painted by the iconographer Aristides Milakis of Athens. Though it dates only to 2017, the subject — St. Nicholas of Myra as the patron saint of sailors — is quite old. This example combines the traditional iconography of Nicholas with pleasant Greek regional touches and pleasing colors
First, let’s look at the title inscription:
HO HAGIOS NIKOLAOS SOZEI TOUS EN THALASSE KINDUNEUONTAS
[the] HOLY NICHOLAS SAVES THOSE IN [THE] SEA ENDANGERED
In normal English,
“Saint Nicholas Saves Those in Peril on the Sea.”
In the center we see Nicholas in his bishop’s robes, with the Gospels in his left hand and the fingers of his right loosely forming the letters IC XC — abbreviating Iesous Khristos — Jesus Christ.
Nicholas is an immensely popular saint along the Greek coast. There are many stories of Nicholas saving fishermen and sailors. It is said that once, when he was on a boat bound for Jerusalem, he saw the devil climb aboard, intending to sink the ship in a storm, but Nicholas prayed and the boat was saved.
Scenes of fishermen and of Nicholas saving the endangered on the sea are delightfully depicted on this bright icon.
The scenes are interestingly placed amid seagulls, fish, and dolphins:
I particularly like the octopus:
In the background, we see clusters of buildings on the rocky Mediterranean mainland dotted with cypress trees:
And closer, what appears to be an island or peninsula — with its little church atop the summit:
The icon is signed in the traditional Greek manner:
ΧΕΙΡ ΑΡΙCΤΕΙΔΟΥ ΜΙΛΑΚΗ
KHEIR ARISTEIDOU MILAKE
“[The] HAND OF ARISTIDES MILAKIS” (followed by the date of completion)
If you would like to see more icons by Aristides Milakis, you will find them on his web site at: http://aristidhmilaqi.blogspot.com/