Kursk, June 9, 2018
This year marked the 400th anniversary of the holy procession with the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God in Kursk, Russia, as orthochristian.com previously reported.
The procession is traditionally held on the Friday of the 9th week after Pascha, which fell on June 8 this year. Several thousands of faithful from Kursk, neighboring regions, and even abroad took part in the great celebration yesterday, according to the site of the Kursk Province administration.
Since 1957, the miraculous icon has been kept in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia’s Cathedral of the Sign in New York, but it is brought back to Kursk every year for the consolation of the faithful.
The faithful began to gather from the early morning in the Znamensky Cathedral in Kursk. The Divine Liturgy was celebrated by His Eminence Metropolitan German of Kursk and Rylsk, after which the procession with the wonderworking Kursk Icon of the Mother of God began under the ringing of the cathedral bells, headed for the Kursk Root-Nativity of the Mother of God Hermitage.
The sacred icon, decorated with fresh flowers, was festively carried along the city streets, Orthodox faithful joining in the procession all along the way.
The icon was met with a festive moleben in the Church of the Entrance of the Mother of God, after which the procession continued on its way towards the Kursk Hermitage. Local civil leaders and guests joined in the procession along the way.
A road of flowers was laid out leading to the monastery, and the pilgrims were met with the sound of sacred chants. As in antiquity, the holy procession ended in the hermitage with a moleben before the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon.
The traditional procession with the icon was first held in 1618 by decree of Tsar Michael Fedorovich. It was then that the miraculous icon was first solemnly transferred from the Znamenny Monastery to the Kursk Root Hermitage on the occasion of the consecration of the first, then-wooden Church of the Nativity of the Mother of God.
According to the established tradition, the procession would begin on Friday of the 9th week after Pascha, and the icon would remain at the Kursk Root Hermitage, built on the site where the icon first appeared, until September, after which it would again be carried to Kursk.
This tradition was interrupted in 1919 when the icon was taken abroad. The procession was reborn in its fullness only in 1990, although there is evidence that, despite the prohibitions and persecution, a small group of believers continued to secretly walk the path of the procession to the closed monastery, where they would pray for the return of the holy icon.
The Kursk Root Hermitage, with its main church dedicated to the Nativity of the Mother of God, has been restored in our times. The wonderworking Kursk Root Icon first returned to Kursk on September 23, 2009 after nearly a century abroad. Since 1957, it has been kept in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia’s Cathedral of the Sign in New York.
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