CHICAGO, IL [DOM Communications] – On Thursday, March 25, the great feast of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos was celebrated solemnly at the Diocesan Cathedral, Holy Trinity Cathedral. In addition to the observance of this holy day, those gathered for the service also had the blessing of venerating the Miraculous Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God.
The Vesperal Liturgy was led by His Eminence Archbishop Paul and concelebrated by Priest Alexander Koranda, Cathedral Dean, and Protodeacon Thomas Keith. Following the Gospel, Archbishop Paul delivered the sermon, teaching the meaning of the feast; “This feast day,” he said, “is truly a marvelous day of celebration of our faith and particularly for giving us to understand that we are given a free will as human beings.” The Archbishop went on to explain the importance of free will and the part that each of us plays in submitting our will, voluntarily, to God’s will in order to unite ourselves to Christ, in fulfillment of our baptismal oath. “God revealed Himself to her and she said, ‘Amen!’ She consented of her own free will.”
Throughout the service, the faithful came to venerate the holy Kurst Root Icon. The icon dates back to the 13 century. It is under the protection of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and resides in New York, NY. Currently, the icon is visiting parishes in the Midwest to strengthen Christians during the Great Fast.
Following the dismissal, Fr Alexander served a Molieben before the icon, praying for the Mother of God’s intercession and blessing on the upcoming restoration work of the holy and historic cathedral. Toward the end of the service, to the ringing of the bells, Fr. Alexander processed with the icon around the cathedral and the faithful sang: “Most Holy Theotokos, save us!” Fr. Alexander then expressed his gratitude for the blessing of the icon’s presence and noted the significance of having the icon present for the Feast.
“God is so good to us here at Holy Trinity [Cathedral],” he said. “He gives us this blessed Feast during this time of spiritual labor. But He has also sent His Holy Mother, through this Holy Icon, to encourage us and to bless our work of restoration to preserve this holy temple. The Mother of God is no stranger to this temple. She has chosen this very spot to be a place where she works and has worked. From the time when the Tikhvin Icon was given protection here, to the various other miraculous icons that have been here, our Holy Mother continues to hear our prayers and to minister to us.”
Holy Trinity Cathedral was built by St. John Kochurov and St. Tikhon of Moscow. The much needed restoration work will begin shortly to repair and paint the cracked stucco of the cathedral and rectory building, and to restore the signature metal work by Louis Sullivan.
The parish welcomes donations toward the extensive restorations. A GoFundMe page for such donations has been created and may be accessed here. Updates will be available on the cathedral website throughout the process.