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VLADIVOSTOK , RUSSIA : November 12, 2013
Epistle to the Clergy, Monastics and All Faithful Members of the Vladivostok Diocese On the Visit of the Miracle-Working Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign” to Primorsk Metropoliate on November 13-25, 2013

Beloved in the Lord Honorable Fathers, God-Loving Monastics, Dear Brothers and Sisters!

With spiritual joy in our hearts, we welcome the ancient holy image, the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign.”

With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the visit of this miraculous icon to the Primorsk Metropoliate will last almost two weeks: from November 13-25 . We see this as a great mercy of God towards us, allowing each Christian, every pilgrim in the Far East, to bow before the honorable image of the Queen of Heaven.

Two years ago, in 2011, Vladivostok joyously and ceremoniously greeted the Belt of the Most-Holy Mother of God from Mt Athos, when thousands of Far-Easterners were able to venerate it. For the Queen of Heaven is our Joy and Consolation, our Protector and Intercessor. She is our Blessed Gate-Keeper, protecting us sinners with Her intercession before the Lord. We believe that it is She who blessed us to have the opportunity to greet her healing image referred to as “the Sign.”

It is fortunate and providential that this salvific event is happening now in Primoriye, for we are all in need of the all-merciful prayers of the Most-Holy Mother of god and Her intercession before God. Each of us has many physical failings and spiritual wounds. Prayers before the Kursk-Root icon of the Speedy Helper, the Empathizer of our sorrows, has led to the healing of many sufferers over the course of seven centuries. The young Prokhor was healed before this icon, later to become the great St Seraphim of Sarov.

Through its veneration of this ancient holy item, the entire Metropoliate of Primorsk can, too, bear witness to many blessings and healings, received by us through faith and prayers to the Most-Holy Mother of God.

The Kursk-Root Icon was discovered in the 13 th century. The icon was glorified by many miracle, and a martyric fate. The warriors of the Great Horde hacked the icon in half, but it miraculously grew together again. It survived a bomb blast plotted by the terrorists of the end of the 19th century. The akathist read before this icon begins with the prayer: “Having obtained thee as an unassailable wall and as a fountain of miracles, O most pure Theotokos, thy servants subdue the attacks of enemies. Wherefore, we pray to thee: Grant peace to our native land, and to our souls great mercy.”

Today, the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign” represents the spiritual banner of the Rusian diaspora.

I call upon you, dear brothers and sisters, to take advantage of this remarkable opportunity, lovingly granted to us by our compatriots living abroad, and venerate this ancient icon.

The greeting ceremony will take place in Protection Cathedral on November 14 . On Monday, November 18 , the miracle-working holy icon will depart for the next cathedral of the Primorsk Metropoliate, Nakhodka. On November 21-22 , the ancient icon will visit Protection Church in the city of Ussuriisk, and on November 23 , it will be in Annunciation Cathedral in the city of Arseniev. The Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God will leave Primorsk on November 25 .

Let us glorify our Lord, my beloved, thanking the Queen of Heaven for the joy of our forthcoming chance to prostrate ourselves before Her Kursk-Root Icon. Through the prayers of the Mother of God we can hope to expect grace and mercy from the Source of all good and our Benefactor, the Lord God, in the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

+Veniamin
Metropolitan of Vladivostok and Primorsk

vladivostok.eparhia.ru