Nicholas of Pskoff or Plescow

Nicholas Of Pskoff Or Plescow, a Russian hermit who flourished in the second half of the 16th century, and whose legend was written by Horsey in 1570, was a great favorite of the people, and was believed to have supernatural power, because he went about unclothed without discomfort, enduring unmoved extreme heat and cold, and performed many other extraordinary things. He was noted also for the great good he did. He is particularly remembered as the savior of his native town from the destruction threatened by czar Ivan. 'This prince came to Plescow with the savage intention of massacring the whole population there, as he had already done at Novgorod. According to the traditionary story, it was early morning when the czar approached the town. The bells of the churches — those voices of Russian' religion — were sounding for matins, and for a moment his hard heart was melted, and his religious feeling was stirred. The hut of the hermit was close by; Ivan saluted him and sent him a present. The holy man, in return, sent him a piece of raw flesh. It was during the great fast of Lent, and Ivan expressed his surprise at such a breach of the rules of the Church. "Ivasko, Ivasko," that is "Jack, Jack" — so with his accustomed rudeness the hermit addressed his terrible sovereign "thinkest thou it is unlawful to eat a piece of beast's flesh in Lent, and not unlawful to eat up so much man's flesh as thou hast already done?" At the same time he pointed to a dark thunder- cloud over their heads, and threatened their destruction by it, if he or any of his army touched a hair of the least child's head in that city, which God by his good angel was preserving for better purpose than his rapine. Ivan trembled and retired, and Plescow was saved. See Strahl, Gesch. v. Russland, 3:213 sq.; Horsey, Travels (1591), p. 161 sq.; Karamsin, Hist. of Russia, 9:635 (11 vols. 8vo, to 1618); Mouravieff, Hist. Russian Church, p. 119.

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