St Procopius the Righteous Praying for Unknown Sailors
During the First World War, Nicholas Roerich painted a series of pictures depicting holy men deeply revered in Russia – St Panteleimon the Healer, St Sergius of Radonezh, St Boris and St Gleb and St Procopius the Righteous. In popular belief, they were regarded as religious zealots – defenders, labourers, warriors and helpers. The artist employed such works to imbibe people with ideas of love and kindness and a summons to lay down arms and live in peace. St Procopius’ devotion to his native town of Ustyug the Great was the stuff of legends. The artist conveys the image of an unselfish defender and patriotic sage. Perched high up on a river bank, he blesses the sailors on each passing ship.