Русский | pdf 1, 2, 3 from Abp Hilarion of Sydney
English Translation by Igor Radev

Most Beloved Vladika Anthony!

"Beiguan", 1939. pp 16-17.

Just before the Feast of the Nativity of Christ an ancient Icon of Saint Nicholas has been renewed.

This Icon was transferred in 1685 to Beijing by the Russian Cossacks of Albazin garrison, who entered Chinese service after the takeover of the town by the Chinese. A large part of garrison at that time made use of the right given by the Chinese to return to Siberia, and 45 Cossacks along with the priest Maxim Leontyev and accompanied by several women and children decided to go to Beijing. In Beijing a Buddhist shrine has been cleaned up to be used for Orthodox services, and an Icon of Saint Nicholas was put there which was brought there by the Cossacks.

This Icon has always been revered as miraculous, and it can be seen in the custom kept till now, to hang little crosses on the Icon as a promise for healing of a sick person.

The Icon is painted on a canvas with primer, put on an alder board with dimensions 90x73 centimeters. The letters are Byzantine, and the icon type is that of Mozhaysk. The Saint is depicted holding a sword in his right hand and a model of a church in his left. The whole space of the Icon is cut into the board and the peripheral 8 centimeters are standing higher while being covered with silver and gilt bearing relief with herbal motifs. The renewal of the Icon was noticed on December 21st (January 3rd). Before this, the Icon was completely darkened insomuch that it was difficult to recognize the depiction of the Saint. In the attempts to photograph it, only the metallic halos, the hanging little crosses and the quite general lines of the person and the vestments could be seen. In 1907, Fr Archimandrite Avraamy made a copy of that Icon. On Fr Avraamy’s copy the depiction of the Saint was far more clearly visible in comparison with the original.

On St Nicholas’ Feast Day – December 5-6th of the previous year, when, according to the custom, the Icon was brought from the icon-case [kiot in Russian] and put in the middle of the church, and no one noticed any changes. But in the proceeding two weeks, completely unnoticeable for human eyes some changes appeared on the Icon: beside the general clarification of the lines and the colors, such details were discovered which were not on the copy. Particularly amazing was the renewal of the omophorion. The omophorion on the chest changed its color from dark to bright, and red crosses in circles were discovered on it. This was noticed during December 21-23rd. Till the present day there are some dark areas on the omophorion – in the part of the right shoulder and on the right side of the chest. But even these areas are noticeably becoming brighter. The renewal of the color (red) of the phelonion and its pattern was noticed on December 21st. Markedly brightened were also the small depictions of the Savior and the Mother of God on the sides, especially that of the Mother of God. The background of the Icon, principally around the head and the shoulders noticeably brightened as well. Even the halos and the icon casing are shining as if cleaned up.

Now, in front of the Icon every day a Moleben is served by the regular priest, and on Thursdays a Moleben accompanied by reading of the Akathist is performed. I hope that the renewal of Saint Nicholas’ Icon – an ancient relic of ours – is a good sign to us. This event is our household celebration. It tells a lot to the heart of the believers, who are here an insignificant minority, not in terms of the whole population of this non-Christian country, but even in comparison to the general multitude of our compatriots and the heterodox Christians.

January 23, 1924. № 14