In the morning of Sunday, December 26th, weather forecasters predicted a 100% chance of snow to accumulate 4-8 inches in Baltimore by the evening hours. This very storm later would dump a foot of snow in Ocean City, MD and would clobber Philadelphia, NJ and NY. Throughout the day in Baltimore, however, the snow that did fall accounted for less than a dusting. Many of us prayed to the Theotokos that she would grant us at Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church the blessing to venerate her wonderworking Kursk-Root icon and that she would not let the snow prevent anyone from coming to her. She heard our prayers. Not only did the icon visit our parish, but many people came and were touched by her grace-filled embrace.
Indeed, the moleben/akathist service to the Theotokos, concelebrated by Archpriest Serge Lukianov, Priest John Vass and Deacon Michael Bishop, brought joy, comfort and strength to everyone who came to venerate the Kursk-Root icon. Singing in both English and Church Slavonic, the clergy, parishioners and guests collectively offered up hymns of praise to the Mother of God and asked for her to intercede to her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to bless us with health of soul and body and to grant us salvation.
At the end of the service, Fr. Serge spoke about the rich history of this wonderworking icon. He also shared some stories of the miracles he himself witnessed when the Kursk-Root icon returned to Russia in September, 2009 after a 90-year absence. In turn, Fr. John asked Fr. Serge to relay our sincere thanks to His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion for blessing the icon’s itinerary to include a stop at Holy Trinity. In remembrance of this day, a copy of the Kursk-Root icon was presented to the parish clergy and faithful by Fr. Serge. Afterwards, as people came to venerate the wonderworking icon, they received a small icon card which was blessed on the original holy icon. Beautiful flowers adorned the holy image and many candles lit up the church.
From the temple everyone proceeded to the church hall (trapeza) for lenten refreshments – a wide variety of dishes prepared by many women of the parish. During the light supper, Fr. Serge showed a slideshow of photographs taken in Russia during the icon’s visit to Moscow and Kursk last year.
This day truly was miraculous…every third or fourth person had tears in their eyes and all in attendance were spiritually strengthened and filled with warmth by the loving touch of the All-Pure Mother of God. We are profoundly thankful to her for blessing us through her wonderworking icon. “Rejoice O Bride Unwedded!”
For more information on the Kursk-Root icon, please visit the website of the Eastern American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia: http://www.eadiocese.org/en.index.htm