Monday, March 21, 2011

Kursk Icon of the Mother of God of the Sign

Joyous feast! Today is one of the three feast days of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God of the Sign. This particular icon has such a long title for several reasons. The first is that it is an icon of the Mother of God of the Sign, a portrayal of our Lady grounded in the sign foretold by St. Isaiah ("behold, a virgin shall conceive"). The second is the way in which it was found on the ground next to a tree root. The third is that the place in which the icon was found is close to the city of Kursk in central Russia.

The Kursk-Root Icon was first discovered in the 13th century near what were then the ruins of Kursk, which had been destroyed during the Tatar invasion. It was quickly revealed to be wonderworking as the place on the ground where the Icon was found became a spring as soon as it was picked up. Since then the Mother of God has continued to work miracles through her icon - restoring it after its desecration by the Tatars, saving the city of Kursk from the Polish invasion, and protecting the faithful in Russia and throughout the world from sickness and harm.

Today the Kursk-Root Icon is best known as the 'Protectress of the Diaspora,' having left Russia following the end of the Russian Civil War and taken up residence in the Russian Diaspora since then. Since its departure from Russia the Icon has remained close to the Synod Abroad of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), at one time residing in a hermitage built for it in New York before being transferred to the Cathedral of the Sign (dedicated to the Icon) in New York City.

More on the history and meaning of the Kursk-Root Icon can be found here. May the protection and intercessions of the Mother of God be with us always!

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