VLADIVOSTOK, RUSSIA: November 25, 2013
The Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God leaves Primoriye
Over the course of two weeks, the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign" was venerated by over 40,000 people in Vladivostok, Nakhodka, Ussuriisk, Arseniev and other cities of the Russian Far East. The icon was ceremoniously seen off at Vladivostok International Airport on November 25, 2013.
His Eminence Metropolitan Veniamin of Vladivostok and Primoriye performed a moleben before the icon. Praying at the service were His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia; His Grace Bishop Gury of Arseniev and Dalnegorsk, and His Grace Bishop Innokenty of Ussuriisk, Vicar of the Vladivostok Diocese.
The hierarchs were also joined by clerygmen of the Primorsk Metropoliate. Despite the poor weather, over a hundred worshipers accompanied the icon to the airport, including local civil authorities, Cossacks of Ussuriisk and others. All noticed that the forecast heavy rain and snow did not occur, as was the case on November 18. Strong winds scattered the rainclouds, and the sun came out later in the day.
With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign" came to the Primoriye region from November 13-25. Over two weeks, it visited Vladivostok, Nakhodka, Ussuriisk and Arseniev, and was venerated by worshipers from other towns and cities as well. Among them were local government officials, renowned artists and athletes, including the legendary hockey player Vyacheslav Fetisov.
The delegates of ROCOR participated in divine services in three of Primoriye's cathedrals: Pokrovsky, Kazansky and Blagoveshchensky; they visited Vladivostok's monasteries: St Seraphim on Russian Island; Marfo-Mariinsky in Vladivostok and the Nativity of the Mother of God Convent in Linevichi, near Ussuriisk; and also a new skete being built in Arseniev Diocese. Together with the local clergymen, they performed the first moleben in Transfiguration of the Lord Cathedral in Vladivostok.
During their visit, the clergymen from the Church Abroad visited the Theology and Religion Department on the new campus of the Far East Federal University on Russian Island; met with journalists and local press of Primoriye, and students of Vladivostok Theological School. In Nakhodka Diocese, they met with descendants of Russian emigres from Australia who resettled in the town of Khmylovka.
During their visit, as a symbol of gratitude, Archbishop Kyrill gave decrees of blessing from the First Hierarch of the Church Abroad, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, to Bishop Innokenty, Bishop Nikolai of Nakhodka and Preobrazhensk; and Bishop Gury.
Metropolitan Veniamin, by decision of the Synod of the Russian Church Abroad, in light of his 75th birthday and on the occasion of the visit of the icon to Primoriye, the Hodigitria of the Russian Diaspora, was awarded the Synodal Medal of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, Second Degree.