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Fine Russian Icon - St. Martyress Pelagia of Tarsus

The icon depicts St. Martyr Pelagia of Tarsus (Greek: Πελαγία, † early 4th century), a legendary Christian saint and martyr who lived in Tarsus in Cilicia (southeastern Asia Minor) during the reign of Roman emperor Diocletian. According to her vita, Pelagia was born in the 3rd century in Tarsus (the Cilician region of Asia Minor) in a family of noble pagans. The girl was distinguished by her extraordinary beauty, received a good education, and the emperor Diocletian decided to make her the wife of his adopted heir, who was captivated by her beauty. Pelagia, who heard about Christians, their faith and martyrdom, was baptized by Bishop Clinon in Tarsus. After that, she refused to marry the adopted son of Diocletian and was brought by her mother to the Emperor, who, after seeing her beauty, wanted to make her his wife. Pelagia refused Diocletian, confessed herself as a Christian, and was executed by being burned in a red-hot copper bull. The bones of the saint were collected by local Christians and buried on one of the hills in the vicinity of the city. Emperor Constantine I the Great built a holy church over the relics of Pelagia.

Additional Info

  • ID#: 618-57-118-SP2
  • Size: 12 1/4 x 10 1/4 inches (31 x 26 cm)
  • Age: ca. 1880s
  • Origin: Vladimir region of Russia
  • Materials: Egg tempera on gilt, tooled, and gessoed wood
  • Price: $3,200
  • Orthodox Cross
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