Who is the saint in this Russian orthodox mosaic?
April 15, 2018 9:44 AM   Subscribe

When I visited Tallinn, Estonia, I photographed some of the mosaics on the exterior of the 1901 Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral. The mosaics depict saints. Next to their images are their names in Cyrillic text that includes letters from the early Cyrillic alphabet. Translating early Cyrillic is beyond my minimal level of expertise in the Russian language. However, I'd like to know who I photographed, so if anyone here is handy with this form of Russian, a translation would be much appreciated. Here is the photo:
posted by A. Davey to Religion & Philosophy (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Saint Isidor, almost certainly Isidor of Tartu.

Now the question is "which Isidor." I found a sentence about a different church "Built for the Brotherhood of St. Isidor, a group of Orthodox professionals and tradesman from Estonia..." which implies that Isidor is popular in Estonia.

Isidor of Yuriev, the Martyr: usually depicted holding a box and a handkerchief. Probably not him.

Isidor of Seville: Church Father (which would explain the book iconography), but not popular in Orthodox churches.

Finally I found a reference to Isidor of Tartu here, which said that he was martyred in the 16th century, and he was a priest, which would explain the book. The cult* of Isidor of Tartu is associated with Platon.

*'cult of $saintname' is how academics tend to refer to systems of worship of particular saints.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 10:01 AM on April 15, 2018 [5 favorites]

Oh, and naturally: Tartu is the second-biggest Estonian city. He's a native Estonian Saint.

I managed to dig up some extra dirt on Isidore of Tartu: he likely didn't exist and may have been part of anti-Catholic polemics.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 10:24 AM on April 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Full hagiographies of St. Isidore are here and here
posted by deanc at 2:25 PM on April 15, 2018

Tartu was also known as Dorpat at some points in history, in case that helps in searches.
posted by penguin pie at 9:05 AM on April 16, 2018

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