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SPEECH BY METROPOLITAN HILARION OF EASTERN AMERICA AND NEW YORK
Read at the End of Divine Liturgy at the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady “of the Sign” on Tuesday, December 10, 2013,
the Feast Day of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign."

From the Editors: On Tuesday, December 10, 2013, the feast day of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign,” His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, celebrated Divine Liturgy at the Synodal Cathedral in New York City. He was joined by the members of the Synod of Bishops, His Eminence Archbishop Justinian of Naro-Fominsk, His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of Eastern America (Serbian Orthodox Church), and a multitude of clergymen of the Russian Church Abroad. At the invitation of the Synod of Bishops, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna honored them with her presence. During Divine Liturgy, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion ordained Subdeacon Denis Lvov to the diaconate. At the end of the service, Vladyka Hilarion read the following speech:

Brother Archpastors,
Your Imperial Highness, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna,
Dear in the Lord Fathers, Brothers and Sisters:

I extend my heartfelt greetings to all of you who have gathered in this House of the Mother of God for fervent prayer and pious veneration of Her on today’s feast day of one of the most ancient images of the Russian Orthodox Church, the miracle-working Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign"

This image is one of the many bright stars in the heavens of the Russian Church which have shone upon our ancestors and strengthened them in their faith, piety and the patient bearing of their life’s cross. The Mother of God bestowed Her aid upon our people, and the power of grace through Her icons: those of Vladimir, Kazan, Don, Tikhvin, “Joy of All Who Sorrow,” Abalatsk, Smolensk and many others. Within the great list of miraculous icons of the Mother of God, which church historians continue to study and supplement, the Kursk-Root Icon holds a special place. Tatars hacked this icon in two, but the pieces later miraculously grew together, foretelling the reestablishment of unity between the two parts of the Russian Orthodox Church. Godless terrorists tried to destroy the icon with a bomb, but Her image survived. In the time of troubles, a special mission was entrusted to this holy icon that lies before us—to bring consolation to Russian Orthodox Christians who had lost their Homeland and yearned for her rebirth. Visiting all corners of the Russian diaspora, continuing in the same spirit even now, She blesses the process of the rebirth of the Church in the Fatherland, where hundreds of thousands of faithful have prayed before Her image.

This year, special attention is paid to the meaning of the Feodorovsky Icon, through which the Mother of God helped our people overcome the Time of Troubles and blessed Mikhail Feodorovich Romanov’s ascent to the throne. In connection with this, on behalf of the Synod of Bishops, I would like to especially welcome you, Your Highness Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, on the 400 th anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty which already approaching its conclusion. It was broadly celebrated not only on our historic Homeland, but throughout the world, and I express our hope that everything that your heart wishes for Russia comes true, and all that your great ancestors of blessed memory now pray for before the Divine Throne comes to be, for they made our Fatherland the most powerful Orthodox sovereignty, and they always strengthened the ideals of Holy Russia within our people.

It is very pleasing for me to see my brother archpastors in person, with whom I celebrated Divine Liturgy today with special zeal. It is a great joy to see for the first time in this holy temple Bishop Mitrophan of our fraternal Serbian Orthodox Church, with whom we share our holy fathers. I want to express my heartfelt congratulations to my younger concelebrants who today mark the fifth anniversary of their hierarchal consecrations, Bishop George of Mayfield and Bishop Jerome, and fervently wish them the abundant and all-strengthening aid of the Chief Pastor, Christ, in continuing their difficult archpastoral service. I ask that you, Vladyka John and Vladyka George, receive this panaghia in prayerful memory and that you, Vladyka Jerome, accept these hierarchal vestments, with the request to always pray for my unworthiness.

May the Mother of God, showing us the path to salvific service to the People of God in today’s world through Her Kursk-Root Icon, strengthen us all: the Eminent Bishops, our dear Reverend Fathers, and all the faithful children of the Church in carrying out their own podvigi , to which the Lord calls us for the sake of life eternal! Amen .

Yesterday, a regular session of the Synod of Bishops came to a close, in which many issues of internal life and external activities of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia were discussed, and the archpastors decided to grant ecclesiastical awards to our Lofty Guest, as well as several other clergymen and laypersons.