BELGOROD: September 17, 2013
The Metropolitan of Belgorod and His Diocese Greet the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God
On September 16, 2013, the miracle-working Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign,” the main holy relics of the Russian Church Abroad, arrived in Belgorod Metropoliate in Russia
Hundreds of residents of Stary Oskol gathered to greet the icon, which came from Voronezh Metropoliate, accompanied by His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany. Upon arrival, the icon led a procession of the cross to the Church of the Nativity of Christ in the town of Stary Oskol. At the entrance to the church, His Eminence Metropolitan Ioann of Belgorod and Archbishop Mark read an akathist before the miraculous icon, after which the worshipers were allowed to venerate it.
On September 17, the feast day of the heavenly patron of Holy Belgorod, St Ioasaf, divine services were held in Transfiguration of the Lord Cathedral. On the eve of the holiday, Metropolitan Ioann, Archbishop Mark, His Grace Bishop Iosif of Yampolsk, His Grace Bishop Sofrony of Gubkino and Graivoronsk and clergymen of the metropoliate performed all-night vigil.
In accordance with tradition, divine services on this day began at midnight in the Chapel of St Ioasaf on Holy Trinity Boulevard, and at 3 am and 6 am in Transfiguration Cathedral. Throughout the duration of these services, worshipers came to venerate the Kursk-Root Icon, to the relics of St Ioasaf and Holy Hieromartyr Nikodim.
At 9 am , Metropolitan Ioann and the head of the neighboring Kursk Diocese, His Eminence Metropolitan German of Kursk and Rylsk, Archbishop Mark, Bishop Iosif and Bishop Sofrony celebrated Divine Liturgy.
After the reading of the Holy Gospel , Metropolitan Ioann read a sermon . After the service, a moleben of gratitude was performed before the miracle-working Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign” and the other holy relics.
Welcoming the visiting hierarchs, clergy and worshipers, Metropolitan Ioann said: “This is a great event taking place, for on this feast day of the heavenly protector of Holy Belgorod, this ancient image, the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God ‘of the Sign,’ is here in our metropoliate. With all my heart I thank His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, who gave their blessing for this visit. I also welcome Archbishop Mark, who brought the icon here. I thank the Head of our neighboring Kursk Metropoliate, Metropolitan German, and the graduates of our own seminary, Bishop Iosif and Bishop Sofrony, for taking part in the celebrations. I congratulate, too, all the people of Holy Belgorod! Holy Father Ioasaf, pray to God for us!” concluded Metropolitan Ioann.
As a memento of his visit to Holy Belgorod, Vladyka Ioann gave Archbishop Mark an icon of Holy Hieromartyr Nikodim of Belgorod containing a portion of his relics.