Vision of St. Evlogii (Eulogious)
The Vision of St. Evlogii (Eulogious)
"The Vision of St. Evlogii," "The Vision of the Heavenly Ladder," and "The Parable of the Blind Man and the Lame Man," are conceived and executed in similar ways and undoubtedly formed part of a single ensemble. Originally a four- or six-part icon, this assemblage would have been commonly referred to as a 'parable-icon.'
The subject of "The Vision of Evlogii" would have been familiar in sixteenth-century Russia. One of a group of short stories about the lives of famous saints, known collectively in Russian as the "Skit Paterik," it is the tale of a wise monk, Evlogii, who admonished a group of monks approaching the sanctuary to halt and repent before entering a house of God. There are numerous versions of this story, some of them medieval in origin. This icon displays a version close to a text written on the border of a seventeenth-century icon, now in the Tretyakov Gallery, which originally belonged to the Cathedral of the Dormition in the Tikhvin Monastery.
This story relates that the priest Evlogii received a vision as he participated in the vigil service with other monks, singing psalms. The church filled with light and he beheld three angels singing together with the monks. At the completion of the service, the angelic trio descended from the sanctuary and baskets full of gold, silver, and copper coins appeared before the monks. Eucharistic bread, a golden censer, and a golden vessel with the chrism (consecrated or holy oil) also suddenly materialized. As the monks came to gaze at this glorious array, the angels began to distribute the gifts to them.
Certain monks were the recipients of whole loaves of bread, others of crumbs; some received gold coins, others silver or copper, and yet others received nothing at all. In his prayers, Evlogii questioned the distribution of the gifts. According to the answer he received, the monk's diligence and length of service determined the gift, and those who received nothing were those who had sinned.