The Protectress of the Russian Diaspora Visits the Eastern Canadian Diocese

With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, beginning in the middle of May, the Miracle-working Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God began visiting the parishes of the Diocese of Montreal and Eastern Canada. It is probably the first time in the history of "Canadian Russia" that the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora will visit this part of the North American continent for such a long period of time. The Icon is to visit all the parishes of the Diocese of Eastern Canada so that the greatest number of worshipers could come to seek her aid, including the poor, the sick etc.

From the first days of her visit to Eastern Canada, the miraculous Icon was present at the traditional holiday of sisterhoods in Russia Abroad, in Montreal. This holiday is celebrated on the Sunday of the Holy Myrrh-bearing Women, this year falling on May 15. His Grace Bishop Gabriel arrived in good time to the cathedral city of the Eastern Canadian Diocese, and on Saturday morning, May 14, met with the students of the AS Pushkin Parish School at St Nicholas Cathedral. Present at the meeting were the cathedral clergymen, teachers and parents of the students. Tea was served, and His Grace answered many questions, and also spoke about the 700-year history of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God. The following day, after Divine Liturgy and a moleben before the Icon, a festive trapeza was offered, during which His Grace Bishop Gabriel spoke, again touching upon the history of the Protectress of Russia Abroad, stressing that this Icon will visit every parish in the Eastern Canadian Diocese.

At the end of that week, on May 28-29, the Protectress visited Resurrection Church in Toronto, ON, on its feast week. The services in this small church, whose parishioners are actually growing in number, were conducted with an unprecedented number of worshipers: its rector, Priest George Sachewsky, gave each person who came to venerate the Icon a small printed copy of it (these copies were prepared through the efforts of St Nicholas Cathedral in Montreal for this occasion). There were 250 of these icons, distributed one to each person, but more were needed.

We offer a description by a parishioner of Resurrection Church, Oleg Vorobiev:

"The last days of May will long be remembered our parishioners and all Orthodox Christians in Toronto. The joy of our feast day was greatly enhanced by the fact that the great holy icon came to visit: the Protectress of Russia Abroad, the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God.

"The joyful participants of this event piously watched as the Icon was placed in the center of our church before the beginning of vespers on May 28. Our Rector, Priest George Sachewsky, served along with Protopriest George Kurtow from California, Deacon Victor Chernikov and Deacon Basil Milonov of Ottawa, who had brought the miracle-working Icon. During polyeleos, Vladyka Gabriel emerged. Since the weather turned magnificent, and the number of worshipers exceeded a hundred (as we counted later, some 115-120 souls), the litia was performed at the very doorway, on the steps of our church, under the open sky. Tears of joy and warmth could be seen on the faces of many from their meeting with the holy Icon, which many had only seen for the first time. On Sunday, May 29, a hierarchal Divine Liturgy was served. His Grace Bishop Gabriel was joined by all the above-named clergymen. The famous choir director, Reader GA Skok, came to lead the singers for this service. This service was particularly memorable for our parishioners because our priest, Fr George, was awarded the right to wear the skufia for his zealous service. Indeed, our parish is undergoing a period of renewal, which of course is due in great part to Fr George and his energy and perpetual care for the parish. How good it was to see present in the church and the trapeza that followed people of all ages, from the founders of our church and parish to their grandchildren and grandchildren, from old parishioners to those who began to come only weeks ago. How joyous it was to see in our small church such a multitude of our good neighbors, parishioners of Holy Trinity Cathedral. The Rector of Holy Protection Church in Hamilton, Priest Michael Luboschinsky, came in time for the trapeza. It was to his parish that the Icon will proceed after a four-day visit in Toronto. Actually, the Protectress will once again come back here, to visit our Holy Trinity Cathedral, where they area awaiting Her with great anticipation."

We add that the visit of the Miracle-working Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God to Eastern Canada is scheduled to come to a conclusion with a visit to the children's camp "Ruskoka," for the consecration of the Chapel of Tsarevich-Martyr Alexei, to be headed by His Grace Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan. From there, the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora will return to the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign in New York.