The Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign" has historically survived many dangers. For this reason, it is always accompanied by a devoted guardian, its caretaker. Since 2010, Priest Nicholas Olhovsky of the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady “of the Sign” has borne this responsibility.
Despite the great honor of being the caretaker of the main holy icon of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Fr Nicholas remains humble in his obedience:
– I am not really the caretaker of the icon—all the people of Russia are. Whether in Russia or abroad, every Orthodox Christian venerates our Heavenly Queen, and so preserves Her holy image with trepidation and love.
Fr Nicholas has heard a great many stories of miracles which occurred from the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God:
– We often perform brief molebens before the icon at the home of parishioners in Europe and America. A few days after such visits, I always get a phone call—people hasten to tell me what happened to them or their loved ones. There are many healings that take place. Very often, the Mother of God helps people find a job that suits them. Most often I hear of the remarkable aroma which fills an apartment or house after such a service. I have often experienced this wondrous scent, which is reminiscent of fresh roses, oil and incense. Sometimes it is very powerful, sometimes barely detectable. I attest to the fact that no one who has the icon ever applies anything to it, not a drop of oil or other aromatic substance has touched the icon.
But the main miracle, says Fr Nicholas, that the Mother of God performed, was the unification of all Orthodox Christians.
– By Divine mercy I was able to travel with the icon throughout the United States, visit France, Germany, Canada and Australia. Of course, I have been to Russia several times. Soon I will be going to Japan—to Tokyo. I would like to note that wherever the icon travels, Paris, New York or Kursk, for each parish this is a real celebration, a little Pascha. Believers from various countries greet the icon with the same joy and endearment, and ask the Mother of God for the same thing: for health, family well-being, protection from evil forces. They are not divided by language, time or space. Everyone enters under the protection of the Mother of God, for Whom we are all Her own children. She truly unites Orthodox Christians around Herself, interweaving their lives and inspiring them towards good. I see how your country has so drastically changed since the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God first visited in 2009. You are actively building new churches, old holy sites are being renovated, educational activity in the field of Orthodox Christianity is broadening. The most important thing is the increase of young people in church. Many young couples try to teach their children the foundations of the faith, which they only learned later in life. This means that faith lives in the people, therefore the nation lives.