VLADIVOSTOK, RUSSIA: November 18, 2013
The Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign" Leads a Procession of the Cross with Bishops and Clergymen of the Primoriye Diocese and the Russian Church Abroad and Hundreds of Worshipers
On November 17, 2013, His Eminence Metropolitan Veniamin of Vladivostok and Primorsk led divine services at Protection Cathedral in the city of Vladivostok, Russia. He was joined by His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and His Grace Bishop Innokenty of Ussuriisk, Vicar of the Vladivostok Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The hierarchs were joined by clergymen of the Primoriye Diocese and the Russian Church Abroad: Protopriest Vladimir Boikov, Dean of New Zealand of ROCOR; Protopriest Serafim Gan, Secretary of the First Hierarch of ROCOR; Priest Nicholas Olhovsky, caretaker of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign", and Protodeacon Alexander Kotliaroff of SS Peter and Paul Cathedral in Sydney, Australia (ROCOR).
Hundreds of locals came to pray before the ancient Kursk-Root Icon. Divine Liturgy concluded and a procession of the cross circled the cathedral.
Metropolitan Veniamin once again told the parishioners about the history of the icon. He noted that Protection Cathedral’s worshipers had already been given the opportunity to venerate many holy relics:
“We cannot live without sanctity. We are grateful to the Lord and His Most-Pure Mother, and to those who brought this great holy icon to us, giving us the opportunity to pray before the ancient, miracle-working image. I thank His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion and the Synod of ROCOR for this chance. I ask the delegation to relay to Vladyka Hilarion and all the believers of the Russian Church Abroad our gift of a painted copy of our own holy icon, Primorsk’s Icon of the Mother of God ‘of Port Arthur.’”
Metropolitan Veniamin then gave Archbishop Kyrill a gift of a set of blue hierarchal vestments used for services to the Mother of God, so that as he continues to accompany the icon throughout the world, he could don them for services and remember the people of Primoriye.
In his response, Vladyka Kyrill thanked Metropolitan Veniamin for the opportunity to venerate the local holy relics, and expressed his joy at being with his compatriots. Vladyka Kyrill then read aloud a decree:
“By a decision of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, in recognition of his zealous work, and to mark his 75th birthday, on the occasion of the visit of to the Primoriye region of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God ‘of the Sign,’ the Hodigitria of the Russian diaspora, His Eminence Metropolitan Veniamin of Vladivostok and Primorsk is awarded the Synodal Medal of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God ‘of the Sign,’ Second Degree. In witness of this, this decree of blessing is issued, duly signed and bearing the Synodal seal, confirmed in the God-preserved City of New York on Sunday, November 3, 2013, the feast day of St Hilarion, Schemamonk of Kievo-Pechersk Lavra, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Russia.”
Archbishop Kyrill then gave a gramata to Bishop Innokenty in recognition of his work for the good of the Church, and to mark his birthday.
Metropolitan Veniamin then gave Bishop Innokenty a copy of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign.”
Oleg Anatolievich Melnikov, Ataman of the Ussuriisk Cossacks, awarded Vladyka Kyrill a medal of the Protection of the Most-Holy Mother of God.
The visitors from the Russian Church Abroad then sang the troparion to the Mother of God in the tradition of the Russian Church Abroad.
Metropolitan Veniamin then invited the parishioners to Protection Cathedral on Monday, November 18, to prayerfully see off the Kursk-Root Icon as it continues its travels to other cities of Primoriye: Nakhodka, Ussuriisk and Arseniev.
After Divine Liturgy, molebens were performed before the Kursk Icon until evening.