Orthodox America

  The Cry of the New Martyrs -  Celebration in Kursk

       Through the efforts of some believers in the Church Abroad, an exact copy of the Wonderworking Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, the "Directress" of the Russian Orthodox Diaspora, was sent not long ago to the city of Kursk, birthplace of St. Seraphim of Sarov. This fraternal gesture was made in hopes that in the near future the Kursk Hermitage would be opened for believers.

       Recently there came from Kursk a letter from a member of the clergy, who writes of the celebration which greeted the Icon's arrival:

      "There is a kind of thread, joining us with your half of our common Russian Church, which stretches through the Kursk region. Not long ago we received a wondrous gift from the believers of your Church--a copy of the Wonderworking Kursk-Root Icon. It is masterfully executed by someone who is clearly prayerful and spiritual, and is an extremely faithful reproduction. The evening of March 5 (Sunday), in the St. Sergius-Kazan cathedral of Kursk. an akathist was served before this icon, with a large crowd in attendance. Our Bishop Juvenali told the believers where the icon came from, emphasizing that it unites us to those living outside our country. Later, on Forgiveness Sunday and in the Week of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, this icon was brought out into the center of the church for general veneration. And I must tell you that from this copy which you made there emanates a manifest feeling of grace! I myself, and several others, deliberately tested this, to rule out the possibility of "self-suggestion" or self deception. No doubt remained: the icon is grace bearing. It is located temporarily in the cathedral sacristy. Not only I, but all the believers here rejoice at this brotherly gift, and we express our most fervent gratitude to all those who labored to have it painted and sent to us..."

    Concerning the significance of the Russian Church Abroad and the importance of its missionary work in sending spiritual literature to Russia, this priest writes: 

      “You can't even imagine with what joy I received your unexpected letter! May our Lord grant you salvation! The packet with the spiritual literature you listed hasn’t arrived yet; perhaps it's still too early. Judging from the titles, this is precisely what I and many here need. But even by itself, your attention towards my unworthiness warmed me with love and hope We Orthodox here have such a difficult time in the struggle against ecumenism, modernism and other deformities in church life. The subject is nearing an open explanation with the Synod, but this is fraught with.... We have always looked with love and hope at the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, as a stronghold of firm dogmatic and canonical foundations, whose careful preservation is so important today, among the particularly turbulent waves of the sea of life, "surging with the storm of temptations". For this reason I am infinitely grateful to God's Providence, which made possible the establishment of some kind of contact with you." 

      This is only one example of the depth of gratitude with which our small donations are received in the much-suffering Russian land.             B.H. (Translated from Blagovest, Holy Virgin Cathedral Bulletin, San Francisco; June 1989)

       Keston College reports that "a church in the village of Svoboda, near Kursk, has been returned to the Russian Orthodox Church. Its return is particularly significant since it is situated 800 [yards] away from a spring which has been venerated by Orthodox believers since 1295... In the 1920's the Kursk Korennaya Monastery of the Sign [was]...abolished. In the, 1960s the spring was buried in concrete, but continued to seep through the concrete. The Moscow Church Herald (12/88), states that the former hermitage buildings were occupied by a technical school, whose authorities tried but failed to restrict access to the spring. The parish now intends to build a chapel over the spring and a dressing-shed for pilgrims to change in before bathing in the river there.” (KNS 3/16/89)