The “Kursk-Root” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos, the Directress of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, visited the Western American Diocese. She arrived at the end of June, 2014, in time for the opening of the Council of Bishops and the 20th Anniversary of the Canonization of Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco the Wonderworker celebrated on June 29 of this year.
As can be deduced by reviewing the Icon’s intense schedule for its travels throughout our diocese, the Holy Image was venerated in a multitude of churches and homes during the months of July and August. Funds collected for the care and transportation of the “Kursk” Icon have been submitted to the diocesan chancellery and well are records of house visitations.
As the Icon sojourned through the parishes and homes of the faithful, She brought blessings and consolation to those in need of the help and intercessions of the Most Holy Mother of God. We are grateful to our All-Holy Sovereign Lady and Ever-Virgin Mary for Her love for the clergy and faithful of the Western American Diocese.
As examples of travels, here is an account of the “Kursk-Root” Icon’s visit to Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Los Angeles and a video clip of Her visit to the parishes in Sacramento, CA, and Reno, NV.
The “Kursk-Root” Icon visits the Feast Day
of the Holy Transfiguration in Los Angeles
On August 19th in the Western American Diocese the Great Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was celebrated in the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Los Angeles, CA. The Feast began with an All-night Vigil on the eve, and was followed by the Divine Liturgy. His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America presided with Bishop Nikolai of Manhattan and Bishop John of Naro-Fominsk Moscow Patriarchate concelebrating. The priests that participated in the Divine Services included Archpriest Alexander Lebedeff , Rector of the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral. Other clergy from Holy Transfiguration included Priest Alexei Polyakov, Priest Roman Katyshev, Priest Christopher Horsley, Protodeacon Andrei Karobkoff . There were quite a few guests priest as well which included Archpriest Nikolai Boldyrev from Holy Virgin Mary Church of the Orthodox Church of America in Los Angeles, Igumen Nikodim Assistant to the Bishop, Archpriest Seraphim Gan from the Eastern American Diocese, Archpriest George Gulin from St Barbara Church in Orange County (ROCOR) and Archpriest Victor Tseshkovsky from the Protection of the Holy Virgin Mary Church in Los Angeles (ROCOR). Before the beginning of the Divine Services, the Wonderworking Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God was greeted. The cathedral choir participated under the direction of Alexei Sokoloff who has been directing the choir on this feast day for 56 years. During the Liturgy Priest Alexei Polyakov was awarded the golden Pectoral cross. After Holy Communion Bishop Nikolai performed the traditional “Blessing of the First-Fruits”. Then, Bishop John delivered a moving sermon to the faithful emphasizing that “God is with us, understand all ye nations, and submit yourselves, for God is with us (Is 8:9)”. Afterwards there followed a grand procession around the church with over 200 parishioners present. The clergy sprinkled holy water on the faithful and His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill blessed all the fruits baskets. In the end, the Sisterhood provided a festive meal.
While the “Kursk-Root” Icon Mother of God was in Los Angeles She visited local homes and other local Orthodox churches. The festivities concluded with an Akathist in Her honor on August 20th. It was officiated by Bishop Nikolai of Manhattan, Father Rector Archpriest Alexander Lebedeff and other local priests in Los Angeles. The church was packed and the faithful received one last chance to venerate the Icon before She flew “home” to the Synod Cathedral of “The Mother of God of the Sign” in New York City after being in the Western Diocese since June.