VLADIVOSTOK: November 14, 2013
The Miracle-Working Kursk-Root Icon of the
Mother of God "of the Sign” Arrives in Primorie
On the feast day of SS Cosmas and Damian of Asia Minor, His Eminence Metropolitan Veniamin of Vladivostok and Primorsk led divine services at Protection Cathedral in Vladivostok. He was joined in the service by His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America and His Grace Bishop Innokenty of Ussuriisk, Vicar of the Vladivostok Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church. Also serving were clergymen of the Primorsk Metropoliate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
Divine services began with the ceremonious entry of the ancient Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign.” Metropolitan Veniamin led a moleben service before the commencement of Divine Liturgy.
With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the miracle-working Kursk Icon of the Mother of God will visit the cathedrals of the Primorsk Metropoliate until November 25.
The ancient image, glorified for its seven-hundred-year history of miraculous healings, is today the spiritual symbol of the Russian diaspora. The icon was brought to the Primorsk Metropoliate on November 13 by a delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
Leading the delegation is Archbishop Kyrill (Dmitrieff), Secretary and Deputy Vice President of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad. Also in the delegation are Protopriest Vladimir Boikov, Dean of the ROCOR parishes of New Zealand; Protopriest Serafim Gan, Chancellor of the Synodal Administration and personal secretary of the First Hierarch; Priest Nicholas Olhovsky, caretaker of the Kursk-Root Icon and Protodeacon Alexander Kotliaroff of SS Peter and Paul Cathedral in Sydney, Australia.
The delegation was greeted the evening before at Vladivostok’s international airport, where it had arrived following a visit to the Orthodox parishes of Japan. The welcome took place in the central area of the airport, and in agreement with its administration, all who wished, including arriving and departing passengers, were able to participate in the event. Among those welcoming the icon at the airport were local civil authorities, society figures, Cossacks and many print and media journalists, who interviewed Fr Serafim and Fr Vladimir. Over three hundred fifty persons venerated the icon and received blessing before their travels, and participated in a divine service.
Hundreds of residents of Primorsk came to venerate the icon during the morning Liturgy. The icon will be at Protection Cathedral beginning on November 18.
Metropolitan Veniamin explained the importance of the visit of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God to reporters:
“Each of us has some physical ailments and spiritual wounds. Prayerful appeal to the Mother of God helps us receive grace and mercy from the Source of all good, the All-merciful Lord. The Queen of Heaven has now blessed us, the people of Primorie, to meet her ancient, healing image known as the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign,” before which a multitude of people have been healed over many centuries, including the young Prokhor, who later became the venerable elder known throughout Russia as St Seraphim of Sarov. I call upon all of you in whom faith lives to take advantage of this remarkable opportunity, lovingly offered to us by our compatriots from abroad, to venerate this great ancient icon. “