On September 25, 2012, the Apodosis of the Nativity of the Mother of God, in accordance with ancient tradition, the miracle-working Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign” was taken on a procession of the cross from Kursk-Root Hermitage to Znamensky Cathedral.
The Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God is on its fourth visit to the Kursk land: in September 2009, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, for the first time since the ninety-year sojourn of the icon abroad, blessed the Kursk land with this famed icon. In May, 2010, the holy icon was brought to Kursk during its summer procession of the cross to Kursk-Root Hermitage of the Nativity of the Mother of God. On September 24 of last year, the icon was brought to Kursk-Root Hermitage after a visit to Kazakhstan. On September 23 of this year, after a tour through the Samara Diocese, the Kursk-Root Icon was again brought to the Hermitage, where it first appeared in the year 1295.
On the morning of September 25, His Eminence Metropolitan German of Kursk and Rylsk, His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany, His Grace Bishop Veniamin of Zheleznogorsk and Lgovsk and a host of clergymen celebrated Divine Liturgy at the Nativity of the Mother of God Cathedral in the Hermitage.
After Liturgy, under the peal of church bells, the holy image of the Queen of Heaven left the monastery and went on a procession of the cross to the singing of a multitude of pilgrims to Znamensky Church in the town of Tazovo, Zolotukhin region, where a moleben was performed before the holy icon. At about two pm, the icon arrived in the city of Kursk.
At Vvedensky Church, the miracle-working icon was joyfully greeted by the townsfolk. Metropolitan German took the icon and blessed Kursk and the participants in the procession, which continued through the streets of this ancient town. On this holiday, the people of the city are celebrating the 980th anniversary of its founding. Many thousands of “Kuryans,” or residents of Kursk, and visitors, welcoming their Heavenly Intercessor in the form of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, poured into the enormous procession of the cross.
The procession continued to Znamensky Cathedral, where Metropolitan German, Archbishop Mark and Bishop Veniamin performed a moleben before the miraculous icon. Afterwards, Vladyka German delivered an archpastoral sermon to the faithful.
Vladyka German warmly greeted the people of Kursk on this spiritual celebration—the arrival of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God to its historic homeland, expressing his profound joy that now we can annually pray before and venerate the icon.
Under prayerful singing, the icon was brought inside the cathedral and placed on an analogion. A river of people immediately proceeded to venerate the icon. From this day until October 2, the icon will remain in Znamensky Cathedral, available for worshipers to venerate. Molebens and akathists before the icon will continue 24 hours a day, except for periods of scheduled divine services.
On September 24, Metropolitan German, Archbishop Mark and Bishop Veniamin consecrated the restored Church of the Mother of God “Life-Bearing Wellspring” and its first Divine Liturgy.
Participating in the celebrations were members of the government, many representatives of the Benevolent Council for the Restoration of Kursk-Root Hermitage and local Orthodox parishioners. Hundreds of Kuryans filled the steps of the covered stone gallery from which one can see the grand, gilded, snow-white faience iconostasis created by master craftsmen from Ekaterinburg.
Awards were distributed after Liturgy. Vladyka German expressed his heartfelt gratitude to all the benefactors, restorers, builders and residents of the monastery, all those who took part in restoring the Kursk-Root Hermitage, and granted church awards to many Kuryans.
The medals and expressions of thanks, including some from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, were awarded to the directors of the oblast administrations and the more active members of the Benevolent Council, who made significant donations to bring the monastery back to life, and the builders, engineers, tile-workers, artists, all those through whose efforts the Church of the Mother of God “Life-Bearing Wellspring” and the monastery itself assumed its renewed beauty.
Metropolitan German gave Governor Alexander Mikhailov the Medal of St Theodosius of the Caves, 1st Degree, and underscored his efforts in the restoration project. The same medal was given to the First Deputy Governor Alexander Zubarev, and the renowned Kursk entrepreneurs Nikolai Greshilov and Nikolai Poltoratsky. The Znamensky Medal, 1st Degree, of the Kursk Diocese, was given to the President of the Commission on Organization of the Administration of the Kursk Diocese, Sergei Skomorokhov, Deputy Governor Sergei Dyumin, Director of the Oblast UKS Vyacheslav Sidorov and a series of active members of the Benevolent Council.
The governor then also gave civil awards from the Kursk oblast to the builders and specialists who made the greatest contributions to restoring the Church of the Mother of God “Life-Bearing Wellspring,” including the main engineer of the Kursk Diocese, Mr VA Gorbylev.
On September 25, a procession of the cross led by the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God was taken from the ancient hermitage to Znamensky Men’s Monastery in Kursk. At the gates of Znamensky Cathedral, a moleben was performed to the Most-Holy Mother of God. Worshiper can venerate the icon around the clock, as molebens and akathists are performed. On October 2, the icon will leave Kursk and visit Perm Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church. It will then be brought back to New York, to its home at the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady “of the Sign” of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.