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UKRAINE: May 25, 2010
The Miracle-Working Kursk-Root Icon of theMother of God of the Sign Arrives In Sumy

The Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God of the Sign arrived in the city of Sumy on May 22, 2010, accompanied by His Grace Bishop Agapit of Stuttgart, Vicar of the Berlin Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia; His Grace Bishop Panteleimon of Vasilkov, Vicar of the Kiev Metropoliate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church; as well as other clergymen from Germany and the USA, as reported by Pravoslaviye v Ukraine, with a reference to the official website of the Sumy Diocese.

His Grace Bishop Evlogy of Sumy and Akhtyrka greeted the icon on Independence Square, along with the clergymen of the city of Sumy and the head of the Sumy Oblast Administration, Yu. P. Chmyr, the Sumy City Chief G.M Minaev and other city and regional leaders.

Tens of thousands of believers came to greet and venerate the ancient Russian icon. A copy of the Kursk-Root Icon painted by local Sumy iconographers specifically for this event was placed against the original holy icon.

Afterwards, the miracle-working icon was taken on a procession of the cross to Transfiguration of the Lord Cathedral, where all-night vigil then began, headed by His Eminence Archbishop Ioanafan of Tulchino and Bracslav, who came especially for the celebrations, along with a host of hierarchs and clergymen.

The holy icon remained in place for continuous veneration by worshipers. After all-night vigil, akathists were read one after the other before the icon, during which believers could pray to the Most-Holy Mother of God. The icon is scheduled to remain here until May 25, after which it will be sent to Kursk.

On the same day, May 22, a cross was blessed on Independence Square. It was the feast day of St Nicholas the Miracle-worker, and as the local population was greeting the great holy Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, Bishop Evlogy blessed this cross, which was erected on the former site of the Church of St Nicholas the Miracle-worker, destroyed during the period of persecution. The clergymen of Sumy, praying before this cross, and also the many attending worshipers, were of one spirit in witnessing the perpetual Christian memory of this destroyed church as well as the importance of this day of greeting the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God.

On Sunday, May 23, a press conference was held at the Sumy Diocesan Center. Reporters asked questions of the bishops who participated in the celebrations, and of VM Volontyrets, Head of Sumy Municipality, as well as members of the ROCOR delegation. Practical matters in contemporary Orthodox life were discussed, problems of schism in Ukraine, and the organization of church life in Ukraine and the rest of the world. Journalists were then invited to work together with the ecclesiastical administrative structures to disseminate information in the future.