Object ID
2013.5.125
Object Name
Icon
Object Entities
Poulos, Peter (is related to)
Peter, St. (is related to)
Object Description
Wooden icon of St. Peter. It has a wooden backing that has been painted red with a paper image attached to the front. The backgrounf of the image is a dark gold color, slightly metalic. In the center of the picture is St. Peter, he is standing up straight, tanned skin and about shoulder length, dark hair. Around his head is a very large halo, with two differnt sections to it. The outer portion of the halo has a blue background to it and has four otters looking as if they are swimming around his head. There are also two sets of three fish swimming with each other, one set at the top left of the halo and the other lower and to the right, but set in between the otters. The next section of the halo is all gold and has a waved pattern at the edges, waves cresting in the right direction. He is wearing an orange coat with what looks like wool/fur around the neckline and at the ends of the sleeves. The are in a light cream color. He has a long sleeved white shirt underneath. Both hands are brought towards the center of his body. His left had is holding a cross, but this cross has a horizontal piece interesting in more than one spot: the first is at the bottom, a little higher than his grip, another much longer one that is in the usual spot for a cross, and the other a little it about that is much shorter. His right hand has a gresture where his ring finger and thumb are touching. Under St. Peter there is two panels of images. The one on the left side is a small section of a map that shows Alaska and the Aleutain Islands. The panel to the right shows three men, each holding a weapon in hand beating a fallen man with a halo circling his head. Each man is wearind a different color cloak, the one on the left has a light pink, almost skin color one, the middle man green and the one to the right in red. The man on the floor is in the same clothing as st. Peter as discribed above. At the bottom of the images and also moving upward and around the picture is a boarder. The bottom half is made to look like water, it is multi colored with green, blue and purple. Once this portion begins to move up it twists together like a braid. There are also images of grey and blue fish, three on each side. There is also orange coral twisted into the side boarder as well. The top border of the image is still twisted/braided water pieces but the fish and coral are not seen on this side. To the left of St. Peters head is his name which is done in a dark red color and to the right of his head, in the same color is "The Aleut".
Origin
In the late 18th century, may Aleuts became Christians by joining the Russian Orthodox Church. One of the Earliest Christian martyrs in North America was St. Peter, the Aleut, who was killed in San Francisco, in 1815 because he would not abandon his Orthodox faith. St. Peter was from Kodiak Island in Alaska. Cungagnau (his Aleutain name), a fur hunter, was baptized by the monks of St. Herman's missionary party and recieved the Christan name Peter. Spain was in possession of California in 1815. The Russian-American Trading Company has established Fort Ross, 50 miles north of San Fransisco, as a trading post and as a place to raise crops and cattle to support the commuinites in Alaska. When the Spanish governor ordered an immediate halt to Russian trading and trapping in the region, St. Peter was arrested with nearly one hundred Russian and Aleuts. St. Peter and his party or young fur trappers were taken to San Fransisco for a mock trial. Roman Catholic priests tried to force Aleut hunters to embrance Roman Catholicism, but the Aleuts would not agree, saying, "We are Christians" and showed them their crosses. The Spanish priests-inquisitors ordered a group of California Indians to torture St. Peter. They cut off his fingers, one joint at a time, and then his hands, but St. Peter continued to say, "I am a Christian; I will not betray my faith." His toes and feet were also cut off; and St. Peter died as a result of his torture. Before they were ready to start on the next Aleut, the Spaniards received orders to stop. When the witnesses to St. Peter's murder reported the incident to St. Herman back on Kodiak Island, the monk turned to an Icon, crossed himself, and exclaimed, "Holy New Martyr, Peter, pray to God for us." In 1980, St. Peter, the Aleut, was formally glorified as a saint and as the "Martyr of San Fransisco." His feast day is commemorated on September 24th.
Rights and Reproduction
The content on this site is made available for research and education purposes only. The use of these materials may be restricted by law or the donor.

Any other use, such as exhibition, publication, or commercial use, is not allowed except by written permission in accordance with the NHM Image Rights and Reproduction Policy.

For questions on image rights and reproduction, please contact nhmcollections@hellenicmuseum.org
Citation
Icon, National Hellenic Museum, https://collections.nationalhellenicmuseum.org/Detail/objects/10741. Accessed 01/20/22.