The Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God in Ohio

During the second week of Great Lent, the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God visited parishes in Ohio. On Tuesday March 2, an akathist to the Mother of God was served at the Joy of All Who Sorrow parish in Cleveland. The following day, over 150 Orthodox Christians venerated the holy image in Columbus, Ohio. By the middle of the week, word had spread throughout the Orthodox community within the Greater Cleveland area, and Priest Victor Boldewskul of St. Sergius Russian Orthodox Cathedral agreed to take the Icon to the Serbian Convent of Marcha and to the Archangel Michael Serbian Orthodox Church in Akron, Ohio. In Akron, over 300 Orthodox Christians from various jurisdictions came for the moleben and akathist to the Mother of God. Protopriest Peter Burlakov served with Protopriest Dragan Filipovic, Priest Milovan Katanic, and Priest Milovan Korac. Several clergymen from the Orthodox Church in America and the Greek Archdiocese were also present in the church.

On Friday, March 5, a church filled with worhipers received the holy Icon at Holy Nativity Old-Rite Church in Erie, PA. Pre-sanctified liturgy was performed followed by a moleben in the old-rite, which included the full canon. A trapaza was served after the moleben, during which Protopriest Pimen expressed his gratitude to Bishop Peter and the clergy of the Chicago diocese for their concern for Vladyka Daniel and the parish by offering to bring the Icon to Erie.

The next morning, a packed church venerated the Icon at St. George Russian Orthodox Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The Rector of the parish, Priest Paul Basset, noted that this Icon has been at every important event in the life of the Russian Church Abroad, and that it is now guiding our Church in the period of reconciliation between the two parts of the Russian Church. The parish of St. George Russian Orthodox Church has steadily grown over the past ten years, and is currently making plans for building a new church.

The culminating event of the week was the visit by His Grace Bishop Peter at St. Sergius Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio. By Friday, the local press had developed interest in the visit of the Icon, and a positive report appeared in the Akron Beacon Journal. Several reporters had contacted Father Victor as more favorable coverage appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer and on Fox News. Approximately two hundred people attended the vigil. Concelebrating with His Grace Bishop Peter were: Protopriest Peter Burlakov and Priest Victor Boldewskul from St. Sergius Cathedral, Priest Theodore Jurewicz from Erie, Protodeacon John Onopko from Holy Trinity Monastery, and Deacon Milan Medakovic from St. Sava’s Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Parma, Ohio. The choir sang beautifully and prayerfully under the direction of Alla Olegovna Generallova, the cathedral’s choir director and psalm-reader.

Bishop Peter during the services at the Cleveland Cathedral of St. Sergius

During the services at the Cleveland Cathedral of St. Sergius

Once again a full church greeted His Grace Bishop Peter for Sunday morning liturgy. The faithful were particularly moved with the tonsure of a new reader, Anthony Alekseyenko. For the majority present, this was the first time that they had participated in a tonsure or ordination of any kind. The choir again sang solemnly with a balanced sound and movingly led the faithful in prayer. Nearly five hundred people came to venerate the Holy Icon of the Mother of God throughout the day. Bishop Peter preached in Russian on the Sunday Gospel reading, and in English on the Icon. Vladyka emphasized that our Lord Jesus Christ always honors the requests of His Holy Mother as He did at the marriage at Cana, and that we must turn to Her for intercession.

Bishop Peter tonsures Anthony Alekseyenko a reader

After Liturgy, the Sisterhood prepared a lenten meal. During this time, many of the faithful remained in the Church and sang an akathist to the Mother of God. Visitors continued to come and venerate the Icon until three o’clock. During the meal, Bishop Peter expressed his gratitude to the clergy, the Parish Council and the Sisterhood of the Cathedral for their efforts in properly receiving the Icon with due reverence. Priest Victor Boldewskul thanked Vladyka for His genuine concern for His flock, noting that since becoming our archpastor, Vladyka Peter has visited nearly 20 parishes. Likewise, Father Victor thanked the visiting clergy, particularly Protodeacon John Onopko, and also made special mention of the choir.  At three o’clock, Protopriest Andrei Alexiev arrived to accompany the Icon for services in Detroit.

O Most Holy Theotokos Save Us!

A member of St. Sergius Cathedral