Wooden eulogia stamp of Saint Nicholas
This stamp is an exceptional example of the wood carving tradition of Skyros. It dates from the 18th-19th century. Stamps depicting saints are used to stamp eulogia bread for the breaking of the bread and its distribution to the faithful for their health and happiness at the end of the liturgy. Saint Nicholas was born in Asia Minor to pious and wealthy Greek parents who ensured he received a good education; he was extremely gifted. He put his large fortune at the service of the public good and worked hard to spread the Christian faith. He initially dedicated himself to the ascetic life. Later, his appointment as Archbishop of Myra in Lycia, as well as his multifaceted Christian good works, would arouse the fury of the Romans, who imprisoned and tortured him during the period of persecution instituted by Diocletian. He was released from prison during the reign of Constantine the Great, who recognized the right to freedom of religion, and went on to continue his ministry. He passed away on 6 December 343, and his memory is celebrated on this date. On this stamp, his noble form is depicted in exceptional detail, holding the Gospel in his right hand and making a gesture of blessing with his left. In the Christian tradition, Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, seas, travellers, bakers and the weak, and has the epithets "miraculous" and "bearer of myrrh" bestowed upon him in the light of numerous miracles he performed during his life and after it.
This stamp is part of Loulis Mills private collection of 500 bread stamps dating from the 5th to the 20th century.