Visit to the Church of St. Nicholas in Tolmachy. Situated in the romantic area of Zamoskvorechye, in front of and belonging to the Tretyakov Gallery, this charming church was built in the 17th century. Both main and lateral iconostases show highly interesting relics, including the St. Nicholas icon. The church occupies a very significant place in Russian Christendom as it houses one of the most precious and honored relics: the icon of Our Lady of Vladimir, a Byzantine icon from the 12th century, which, according to legend, was painted on the wood of the table where Jesus Christ dined with Luke the Evangelist. On many occasions this icon has been near the troops defending Moscow and Russia from invaders, such as Tamerlane, the Mongols, and the Tatars. Some say that in 1941 Stalin ordered the icon to be flown on board a plane above the city of Moscow when it was besieged by the Germans and shortly before they were forced to retreat. The icon is today considered the protector of Russia.
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