KURSK: October 4, 2018
The Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign” is brought to the ancient city of Rylsk
On the day of October 1, 2018, the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign,", brought to Russia by a delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, was brought to Uspensky Cathedral in the city of Rylsk.
The ancient city is historically bound to the miracle-working relic. After its discovery in 1295, the icon spent some time in Rylsk, then miraculously reappeared at the site of its finding. Another miracle that occurred was the blinding and restoration of sight of Rylsk’s Prince Vasily Shemyaka. He had heard of the icon and requested that it be brought to his city; the icon was ceremoniously greeted by the city’s residents, who emerged from the city walls. Only Prince Shemiaka declined to participate. For this he was struck blind. He recognized his fault, repented, and, praying fervently before the icon, was healed.
Many miracles have occurred through this ancient icon of the Queen of Heaven, which is now the “Hodigitria” [“Shower of the Way”] of the Russian diaspora. The icon fulfills a great mission, visiting many countries, uniting and supporting Orthodox Christians worldwide. Having come to the Kursk Metropoliate this year, it was for the first time in many years brought to Rylsk.
Early in the morning, His Eminence Metropolitan German of Kursk and Rylsk and His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, who is leading a ROCOR delegation, brought the Kursk-Root Icon from Znamensky Cathedral in Kursk to Uspensky Cathedral in Rylsk. The archpastors were greeted by Protopriest Vladimir Efremov, Dean of Rylsk, and Abbot Roman of St Nicholas Monastery, the deanery's clergymen and a multitude of faithful. The holy relic was brought into the cathedra under the ringing of bells and placed on an analogion in the middle of the church, after which Divine Liturgy commenced, celebrated by Metropolitan German, Bishop Nicholas and the clergy of the metropoliate. A moleben was then served before the Kursk-Root icon.
Metropolitan German then delivered a sermon, recalling the history of the great Uspensk Cathedral: “When this cathedral was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church after it had been used for various purposes, and after years of neglect, we could only conduct services in one of its chapels. We were helpless at first, but in recent years we have accomplished a great deal. We celebrate in the main altar, and hope that with God’s help, the beauty and grandeur of the cathedral will be fully restored. In the same way, after long years of atheism and spiritual impoverishment, faith is returning to the hearts of our people… The visit of this icon, without a doubt, will help ignite the faith in our people. May the Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven, through Her honorable, miraculous icon bless the city of Rylsk and its populace. May the old traditions here be reborn, may the young children who attend Sunday school grow up good, having faith in their hearts, and rebuild Rylsk and our much-suffering Russian land…”
Metropolitan German thanked Vladyka Nicholas, noting: “Today is an historic day, and we celebrate Divine Liturgy in this main cathedral of Rylsk, this ancient altar. This day is historic not only because the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God was present at this hierarchical Liturgy, but because for many here, with God’s help, a new spiritual life is being born. They will remember this day and say that they came to pray to the Mother of God.
“May God grant that we all come here today and lay bare our souls to the Mother of God. And even when the icon departs these parts, let us firmly know that She is with us in our hearts, in this temple and in all the churches of Rylsk.”
The archpastors warmly congratulated all those who came to venerate the icon and wished them hoy and good memories of this magnificent spiritually-historic day.
Later that day, Metropolitan German and Bishop Nicholas visited St Nicholas Monastery and prayed at the grave of Archimandrite Ippolit (Khalina) of blessed memory, the late abbot of Rylsk Monastery.