It is 1945, and Yugoslavia is now definitely part of the Communist Bloc of nations. When the local school burns down, injuring its teacher, Nicodemus (Predag Miki Manojlovic) the town's communist leader, insists that the townspeople must convert the church into something useful by painting over the icons and murals.
When the townspeople refuse to do this, he and the recovering teacher do the painting, with the townspeople (and priest) mulishly standing around outside. Imagine the mayor's disgust, then, when the icons miraculously begin to reappear despite the paint coating them.
His fury knows no bounds when the teacher, who dies, is restored to life by a mysterious stranger. The town is full of exactly the sort of religious fervor which he sought to quell.