If you were a child in the Netherlands, you would be getting excited because December 5th is coming — the Eve of Sinterklaas — St. Nicholas, when children receive gifts from Sinterklaas.  The following day — December 6th — is the official day of commemoration of Nicholas.  It is also the day of his commemoration in Eastern Orthodox churches following the “new style” calendar, while those who keep the “old style” celebrate him on December 19th.

Now oddly enough, there are folk names that apply here.  May 9th (May 22 “old style”) commemorating the “translation” of his relics — meaning simply the moving of his relics from one place to another (from Myra to Bari in Italy) — is popularly referred to as Nikola Veshniy/Никола Вешний — “Spring Nicholas.”  That distinguishes it from the day of commemoration of his “repose,” meaning his death — December 6th (19th old style)  —  known as Nikola Zimniy/Никола Зимний — “Winter Nicholas.”

Now the significance of this for students of icons is that these two appellations apply also to the commonly seen icons of Nicholas.  Here is how:

Icons of Nicholas without his bishop’s crown/mitre are popularly known as “Spring Nicholas”:

(Courtesy of Jacksonsauction.com)

By contrast, icons depicting Nicholas in his bishop’s crown are called “Winter Nicholas”:

(Courtesy of Jacksonsauction.com)

An easy way to remember the difference between “Spring Nicholas” and “Winter Nicholas” is that Nicholas “puts on his hat when it gets cold.”

Now as you can easily tell from the border ornamentation of both these icons, they date to near the end of the 19th/beginning of the 20th century.


If you are not familiar with Eastern Orthodox churches, the word analoy will probably mean nothing to you.  And no, it is not a typographical misspelling of the name of a relative of the actress Myrna Loy.

In Russian it is an analoy/аналой; in Greek it is an analogion/ἀναλόγιον, or in its older form analogeion/ἀναλογέιον, derived from the Greek verb analegesthai, meaning loosely to read though something.  That tells us it was originally a lectern, and it is partly still used for that purpose in churches.

Our interest in it, however, is because it also functions as an icon stand placed considerably out front of the iconostasis.  It commonly has only a single icon placed on it, which will be the icon of a church festival celebrated on its day, or a calendar icon showing the saints for that month, or an icon of a saint commemorated on that day.

Source: http://classical-news.ru/chto-takoe-analoy/

The analoy looks like a narrow, high table with a sloping top.  It can also be a pillar with a sloping top added, or even a kind of folding open framework table.  Some are very simple, some highly ornamented or carved.

The analoy may also be called a proskinitariy/проскинитарий in Russian, or in Greek a proskynetarion/Προσκυνητάριον.  Perhaps you will recognize that word as being related to Greek proskynesis — meaning to bow or prostrate before something in honor or worship.  It was discussed in an earlier posting.

This brief article gives me an excuse to share with you a photo of a very interesting person who seemed to have a fondness for analoy-shaped lecterns:  Queen Marie of Romania/Roumania.

She had a style all her own, and if you are interested, you may get a glimpse into her world here:



All right, all right!  I have heard from so many of you that you want me to keep this site open.  Email after email.  When I opened this odd little blog years ago, I did not know if anyone would read it.  Now I cannot seem to stop people from reading and subscribing even when I say it is closing.   So I will not be closing it any time soon.  There.  Are you all happy now that you can still read about such tremendously exciting subjects as Greek cross abbreviations and the differences in finger positions in Russian icons?

That does not mean, of course, that I will have time to add new postings, though I may from time to time, depending on how things go in life  And yes, you can still ask me questions about icons and email me photos of your icons, and if I have the time and am able I will try to answer them.  And thanks to all of you for your unexplainable interest in such a peculiar subject.