A story of receiving a gift from a Greek Orthodox Priest recounted by Mark Stoddard:

To hold that phonograph record and see the painting on the front left me speechless.

“Who painted this,” I asked him.

“A great painter for our church about 1900; Mikhail Nestorov who painted so much canvases of faith,” he smiled so broadly as our translator proclaimed the history. “His Holy Rus is a favorite of all of us and it hangs today in the Russian Gallery in Leningrad.”

“What does it depict?”

“Our Savior visiting ancient Russia or Rus.” The translator didn’t wait for the priest to provide the history. “We all know this story.”

“Tell me, Igor,” I asked quietly, “and please ask him where this story came from.”

Igor wanted to tell me, but obliged and asked the priest. They let me know Nesterov based his painting upon an ancient Russian folk tale about how Jesus came to visit the Russian people after his resurrection.

“Who are the haloed visitors behind him?”

The priest smiled and through Igor said, “Nestorov was no fool. He placed the three leaders of the Church of his day in the painting standing in for Peter, James and John.”

By now I had let the import of the painting settle in and looked up and shook my head in assent. Then we embraced and said we hoped to meet again. “You teach me much and I wish to show gratitude.”

Read the rest of this amazing story at Meridian Magazine.