BELGOROD: September 18, 2013
Metropolitan Ioann of Belgorod and Stary Oskol and Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany Celebrate Divine Liturgy
On September 18, 2013 , the feast day of Prophet Zacharius and Righteous Elizabeth, the parents of St John the Baptist, His Eminence Metropolitan Ioann of Belgorod and Stary Oskol and Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany celebrated Divine Liturgy in the Church of SS Vera, Nadezhda, Lyubov and Sophia in the city of Belgorod, Russia.
The evening before, the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign” was brought to the church. The aforementioned bishops were joined in the services by: Protopriest Oleg Kobets, Dean of the First Deanery of Belgorod; Protopriest Anatoly Palkin, Rector of Vvedensky Church of Belgorod; Protopriest Sergy Koliy, Senior Priest of SS Vera, Nadezhda, Lyubov and Sophia Church; Priest Alexei Moskalenko, Secretary of the Diocesan Administration; and clergymen accompanying the Kursk Icon.
After the reading of the Holy Gospel, Metropolitan Ioann read a sermon, in which he called upon everyone to approach the image of the Most-Holy Mother of God with love and devotion: “The icon spiritually protects all those who approach it with faith; the Mother of God will always exhibit her power and help those who are staunch in their belief. The Miracle-working Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God ‘of the Sign,’ after the terrible events of 1917, became the guide for the Russian diaspora. I wish you all, as you prayerfully glorify the Most-Holy Mother of God, to proceed upon the path of salvation towards God, that you more often sigh with joy as you speak the words: ‘Most-Holy Mother of God, save us!’”
Concluding the service was a moleben before the icon.
Later that day, Archbishop Mark visited Belgorod Theological Seminary’s Missionary Department; he is accompanying the holy icon on its visits throughout Russia. Vladyka Mark viewed the seminary’s church, after which he discussed the history and contemporary life of the Orthodox parishes entrusted to him in his large diocese, and touched upon the problems of language in divine services, after which he answered numerous questions.
After the meeting, Archbishop Mark bade farewell to his hosts, Metropolitan Ioann arrived at the seminary with the Kursk-Root Icon, placing it on an analogion at the center of the seminary church, thereby bringing the blessing of the Mother of God upon the establishment. After its veneration, Archbishop Mark placed the holy icon in its travel case and proceeded to other cities of the Belgorod Metropoliate.