The kamilavka of St. John is usually kept at St. Seraphim's Russian Orthodox Church in Sea Cliff, NY, (my home parish), but my husband was able to borrow it for the period of Great Lent and has been taking it to local Serbian Orthodox churches each week so the faithful can venerate it. Many Serbians are Russophiles, and have enjoyed having the kamilavka visit their parish. For several nights, we kept it in our home as well, and the other nights it has resided at the Bishop's residence.
The Kursk-Root icon has made its way to the Midwestern diocese this Great Lent and has been taken around by its guardian, by Bishop Peter, and by another priest as well. Fortunately for our family, the priest who is the official guardian of the icon happens to be family to us as well. He stayed at our house for a few nights and one of the nights, the Icon was here as well. My husband, the baby and I all slept in the same room as the Icon, and in the morning, very early might I add, we woke up the kids to venerate and see the Icon off with us. It was a tremendous blessing for us!
The Kursk-Root Icon is extremely special to me for several reasons. 1) I grew up in the parish of St. Seraphim of Sarov in Sea Cliff, NY. Many people know that St. Seraphim, as a boy, had a terrible fall and was extremely ill following that. He was healed when the Kursk-Root icon (yes, it is that old indeed!) came for a visit to his town and he venerated it. It is so deep and so inspiring to think that the saint whom I have grown close to prayed in front of this very icon a long time ago! 2) In 2008, I was blessed to go on a trip to Russia with a group of young people from ROCOR (the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia). The 'home base' of our group for this trip was in Kursk itself, and we made several visits to the monastery where the icon was actually found! It was an incredible trip. Here are a few photos from my trip...these were all taken at the "Korennaya Pustin'", the monastery that is built around the place where the Icon was found.
|This tree was planted by Metropolitan Lavr when he visited the monastery after the Reunification of the Russian Orthodox Church and ROCOR in May of 2007|
|After the Icon was found, this holy spring began coming out of the ground in the spot where the Icon was found...it is a huge spring today and covers a lot of the territory of the monastery!|
|A picture of our group from ROCOR just outside the monastery walls|
Here is the Troparion to the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God.
Having obtained thee as an unassailable rampart and wellspring of miracles, O Most Pure Mother of God, thy servants quell the assaults of enemies. Wherefore, we pray to thee: Grant peace to our land, and to our souls great mercy.
If you'd like to view and read the Akathist to Her, please click here.
Below is some history about St. John of Kronstadt, since I didn't speak about him much. He's a beautiful saint, and so many Russians view him as a favorite of theirs.
Information taken from the OCA website.
"St John of Kronstadt was born in the village of Sura in Archangel province on October 19, 1829, and was called John in honor of St John of Rila (August 18). His parents were very poor but were very devoted to the Church. Even though he was poor, as a young boy John learned to feel compassion for others in their misfortune. His neighbors frequently asked him to pray for them, as they noticed this special grace-endowed gift in him. When John was ten, his parents were able to raise some money and send him to the local school which was attached to the church. At first, the boy had an extremely difficult time with his studies. He worked for days on end, but still failed to keep up.
Writing about his life he once recalled an evening when everyone had already gone to bed. “I could not sleep, and I still failed to understand anything I was taught. I still read poorly and could not remember anything I was told. I became so depressed I fell to my knees and began to pray. I don’t know whether I had spent a long time in that position or not, but suddenly something shook my whole being. It was as if a veil had fallen from my eyes, and my mind had been opened, and I remembered clearly my teacher of that day and his lesson. I also recalled the topic and the examples he had given. I felt so light and joyous inside.” After this experience he did so well he became one of the first in his class to be chosen to go to seminary, and after seminary to the Theological Academy in St Petersburg (a great honor at that time).