KURSK: October 1, 2012
The Final Days of the Visit of the Kursk-Root Icon
of the Mother of God to the Kursk Metropoliate
On the night of September 27-28, 2012, the miracle-working Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign” was brought to the Kursk oblast’s Perinatal Center.
With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan German of Kursk and Rylsk and His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany, the icon was taken there by Protopriest Oleg Chebanov, Secretary of the Kursk Diocesan Administration, and Priest Nicholas Olhovsky. Fr Oleg noted that “in the first days of the visit of the icon to Kursk, many noticed that a great number of young families with children and expectant mothers came to venerate the holy image. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to travel to see the icon and bring their children. Among those were new mothers, or those about to bring a new life into the world. The Mother of God Herself likely wished to visit the newborn infants.”
The optimal time to make the visit, it was decided, was 2-3 am, when the stream of people venerating the icon abated, and it was possible to take the icon out of Znamensky Cathedral.
“Despite the late hour, a great number of patients and medical personnel gathered at the Prenatal Center. Many had tears in their eyes. This is understandable,” added Fr Oleg. “One instantly senses the joy of St Elizabeth; when the Virgin Mary learned from the angel that her relative, Elizabeth, wife of the priest Zachary, would soon bear a son, she hastened to visit her. Entering the house, the Mother of God greeted Elizabeth. Hearing her words, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and recognized that Mary was the one chosen worthy to be the Mother of God. She then exclaimed ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! Why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?’”
The priests then prayed before the miracle-working icon for the health of the patients of the Perinatal Center, who were given the opportunity to venerate it.
On September 30, the feast day of SS Vera, Nadezhda, Lyubov and Sophia, Archbishop Mark headed a delegation representing the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, officiating at Divine Liturgy at a church dedicated to these holy martyrs in northwestern Kursk.
Vladyka Mark was joined by the parish rector, as well as the rector of St Seraphim of Sarov Church and All Saints of Kursk, All Saints Church, and other priests of the Russian Church Abroad who accompanied the icon on this trip to Russia.
A multitude of worshipers filling the church, splendidly adorned with living flowers, welcomed the visitors. On this Sunday, which coincided with the parish feast day, most of the parishioners partook of the Holy Gifts of Christ, among whom were many who were celebrating their namesday, as well as young families with their children.
After the service, a procession of the cross and moleben to the holy martyrs was performed.
Vladyka Mark then addressed the worshipers with a sermon, congratulating Protopriest Andrei Ivanov, the parish rector, the clergymen and parishioners on their feast day, expressing hope that they emulate SS Vera, Nadezhda, Lyubov and Sophia, who served as an example for us of worthily bearing their crosses. Fr Andrei then thanked Archbishop Mark for celebrating Liturgy with them, and the parishioners, and the Lord for filling their Kursk Diocese with the gift of the visit of the miracle-working Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God. Fr Andrei then gave Vladyka Mark a gift of a carved cross.
In accordance with local tradition, the parishioners were then treated to sweet rolls and ice cream, which particularly thrilled the children.
During a concert given afterwards, performed by the local Sunday school, the children sang, danced, played violins, and the smallest of them sang a merry children’s song.