The beeswax icon is hand-carved with great attention to details. St. Basil is depicted in the vestments of a bishop, holding the dikirion and tricirion with which he blesses people.
The saint was born in 329 or 330 in Neocaesarea of Pontus, and grew up in Caesarea of Cappadocia. He came from a very wealthy and pious family of clergymen and was one of 9 children. He mastered all the known scientific knowledge of his time, the most important of which was the knowledge of the Gospel life. In Athens, his fellow students were Gregory the Theologian (with whom he had a fraternal friendship) and Julian the Apostate.
Neither inheritance nor education could turn Basil the Great away from the ascetic life he longed for. Because of his exemplary behavior, he was ordained bishop of Caesarea. As a clergyman, he distinguished himself by caring for his flock and combating heresies. One of his most monumental achievements was the establishment of the "Basiliad," a complex of hospitals, boarding houses, schools, and orphanages for the suffering and underprivileged, regardless of race or creed. The saint was also known for his writings, his public speeches and letters, as well as for the composition of the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great, celebrated on certain days of the year.
The saint died of exhaustion on the first day of the year 379, at the age of about 50. In Greece he is associated primarily with the celebration of the New Year (here, Santa Claus is called St. Basil - Άγιος Βασίλης) and the Feast of the Three Holy Hierarchs.