Bulgaria. Nessebar. Sculpture to St. Nicholas – the patron saint of sailors
Not far from the entrance to Old Nessebar is one of the new symbols of the city – the sculpture of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, the patron saint of sailors, families, children, merchants. The sculpture stands on a high granite pedestal, at the base of which sea stones are laid. The height of the statue is about 3 meters. St. Nicholas is in the boat with his arms outstretched to the sky. In one hand he holds a dove, and in the other a cross.
The author of this unusual Sculpture to St Nicholas, installed in 2006, is Stavri Nikiforov Kalinov.
Stavri Kalinov is a talented sculptor and artist in Bulgaria, recognized and appreciated by his people. Bulgarians call their fellow countryman a unique master. He works with both small and large sculptural forms, experimenting with different materials (plaster, bronze, gold), works a lot with glass. As conceived by Stavri Kalinov, the composition represents “a new Noah in search of the promised land, and perhaps his dove found salvation in this blessed Nessebar.”
On December 6, Bulgaria celebrates St. Nicholas Day.
St. Nicholas is called “the fish saint”, “wet saint Nicholas”, and in some Bulgarian regions “the fish church”. In Bulgarian legends, St. Nicholas has many faces – from a young and handsome young man to an old man with a long beard. In all legends, regardless of age, St. Nicholas flies over the seas and oceans on golden wings. In those legends where Nikolai is an old man, he brings snow, as soon as he shakes his white beard, snowflakes begin to fall.
There is a legend according to which St. Nicholas the Wonderworker went on a journey by ship. A strong storm began and the ship was about to go to the bottom. Then the sailors turned to St. Nicholas with entreaties that he would help to avoid the catastrophe and be saved. St. Nicholas began to pray to God and after a while the storm stopped and the sea calmed down.
During the struggle of the ship with the elements, one sailor fell from the mast and crashed. St. Nicholas was able to bring him back to life and from that time on he was revered as the patron saint of seafarers.
For Nessebar the sculpture of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker is a special symbol, because at all times, the inhabitants of this area have always been associated with the sea by their business and fishing.