There are four icons on the walls at St Nicholas, all painted by Michael Coles.
Icon of Saint Nicholas
Saint Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra (C AD 326) and is the patron protector of children and sailors. St. Nicholas is shown vested as a bishop holding the Aberfeldy Street Church in his arm. In the other hand, St Nicholas holds the Bishop’s crosier, his symbol of office.
The design of the icon is based on three incidents in the Saint’s life as recorded in ‘The Golden Legend of Jacobus de Voragine’. At the base of the design can be seen the once familiar symbol of the pawnbroker’s three golden balls, commemorating the gold coins St. Nicholas left at night at the home of an impoverished nobleman, thereby enabling him to provide a dowry for each of his three daughters. Above, protected by the Saint, are shown the three boys who during a great famine had been butchered by an evil innkeeper, but by the intercession of St. Nicholas were happily restored to life. The upper part of the design depicts the city of Myra in Asia Minor. St. Nicholas is at prayer in his cathedral while, at the same time, miraculously appears to answer the prayers of some storm-tossed sailors, by stilling the storm that threatened to overwhelm their ship.
Icon of the Madonna and Child
This Icon is a memorial to the late Daphne May Coles, Fellow of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the artist’s sister.
The Blessed Virgin Mary is shown with her divine Son, who has his hand raised in blessing. Clustering around them are some of the wild birds found in many London gardens. They are shown on a branch of the white flowering shrub Daphne Mezereum. The birds depicted from left to right are: two wrens, two blue tits, two goldfinch, a robin, a great tit and two London sparrows.
The inscription at the base reads: ‘In loving memory of Daphne May Coles, FRSPB 1924-2003. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.’
Icon of the Transfiguration
This icon was commissioned to commemorate the re-opening and revival of St. Nicholas Church after the thirty years of closure and secular use between 1968-1998.
The design depicts the transfiguration, the event towards the end of Jesus’ ministry where he revealed his glory to some of his disciples on a mountaintop (see Matthew 17: 1-8).
In this image, Christ is shown bathed in the uncreated light of Mount Tabor, with Moses and Elijah kneeling at his feet. They both carry their appropriate symbols: Moses the Tablets of the Law, Elijah his raven. At the base of the design are the three apostles chosen to witness the event, Peter, James and John.
Icon of the Resurrection
In this icon, Christ rises triumphantly from the tomb, one hand raised in blessing, the other holding the banner of the resurrection. On the banner is the inscription ‘IC XC NIKA’ (‘Jesus Christ conquers’). At the base is an angel in white robes, as described in Mark 16.
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