Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.
Gospel of St. Luke, chapter 6, verse 38
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
All now are aware of the great gift that God is giving us in a beautiful property of
We are blessed beyond measure to welcome again to our parish the 700-year-old wonder-working Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God of the Sign. We will honor the Mother of God with prayers before her icon, especially in a votive Vigil and Divine Liturgy on the evening of Friday and the morning of Saturday on Thanksgiving weekend. To refresh the familiar and for those new to the Russian tradition, particularly as concerns the journey of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, this capsule history is offered, copied from the ROCOR website section detailing our Church’s treasured icons.
Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, Protectress of the Russian Diaspora
On 8 September, 1295, on the day of the Nativity of the Most-Holy Mother of God, a small force of hunters from Rylsk came to hunt at the Tuskora river, 27 versts* from Kursk. One of the hunters, an honorable and pious man, seeking prey in the woods, found a small icon lying face down on the root of a tree. He had barely lifted it to inspect it when the spot upon which the icon lay burst out with a strong spring of pure water. The icon turned out to be of the type referred to as the "Sign" of the Mother of God. The hunter who found the icon knew that this was no ordinary occurrence. He called his companions and together they built a small wooden chapel, into which they placed this icon. The residents of Rylsk, hearing of the newly-appeared icon of the Mother of God, began to visit it for veneration, and many miracles began to appear from it.
In 1385, the
The priest was made a prisoner and was forced to tend to Tatar flocks. Some time later, he was ransomed by emissaries of the Muscovite Grand Duke on their way to the Golden Horde, and he returned to the place where the chapel had stood. After a long search, while praying and fasting, he found both halves of the holy Icon, placed them side by side, and they grew together seamlessly, exhibiting only something "like dew".
In 1676 the holy Icon traveled to the
On the night of 7-8 March, 1898, conspirator revolutionaries-atheists tried to blow up the Miracle-working Icon with a hellish bomb, but the Lord Jesus Christ glorified His Most-Pure Mother yet more, for despite the terrifying destruction in the cathedral surrounding the Icon, it remained untouched.
On 12 April 1918, the holy Icon was stolen from the cathedral of the Monastery of the Sign of the Mother of God and stripped of its ornamentation, but on 2 May it was found and returned to its place.
Finally, in 1919, while accompanying Bishop Feofan of
*”Verst” is an old Russian unit of measurement equating to about 3,500 feet.