CHICAGO, IL [DOM] – On Thursday, October 12, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel of Chicago and the Midwest received the miraculous Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God at the Diocesan Cathedral, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Chicago, IL. The icon’s visit was in conjunction with the Cathedral’s month-long celebration of St. John of Chicago.
Upon greeting the icon, His Eminence processed with it into the Cathedral and served an akathist before the venerable image. Serving with him were Priest Alexander Koranda, Cathedral Dean; Priest Antony Alekseyenko (ROCOR); Priest Artemy Makartetsky (ROCOR); and Deacon Paul Garklavs.
At the conclusion of the service, His Eminence offered a reflection on the Mother of God and Her presence at the Cathedral. He also extended his gratitude to Metropolitan Nikolai of Eastern America and Archbishop Peter of Mid-America for blessing the icon to visit.
The 13th-century icon has a long and powerful history of protection, often appearing in times of need. During the Bolshevik revolution, the icon was removed from the Cathedral of the Sign on April 12, 1918. At the end of October 1919, when the White Russian Army was evacuating the city of Kursk, twelve monks of the monastery took the icon to the city of Belgorod, from which it was again transferred, first to Taganrog and Ekaterinodar, and then to Novorossiisk. During the evacuation, with the permission of Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) of Kiev and Galich, the icon was taken aboard the steamship St. Nicholas by Bishop Theophan of Kursk on March 1, 1920, and transported to the city of Thessalonica. On April 3, Bishop Theophan took the icon to the city of Peć, the ancient capital of Serbia.
After much travel and displacement, the icon was transferred to the New World where it had its permanent residence first in the New Kursk Hermitage in Mahopac, N.Y., and then in the Synodal Cathedral of the Mother of God of the Sign in New York City, the residence of the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. From there it travels often throughout the Orthodox world to bring consolation to the Christian people wherever they are found. Notably, it was before this very icon that the St Seraphim was healed from grave illness while he was still a child.