Linda Foo Guest, Heswall News
A FAMOUS religious icon will make a flying visit to Wirral this Friday.
The Kursk Root Icon will come to the little parish of St Elisabeth the New Martyr, based at the former Rake Lane Cemetery Chapel in Liscard.
It will be the icon’s third visit to Wirral – it last came to the Russian Orthodox Church congregation in 2007 and 2009.
The artefact, otherwise known as Our Lady Of Kursk, was painted in the 13th century and has many stories of healing attributed to it.
Twelve figures are painted on it – Theotokos, the infant Christ, God the Father with the Holy Spirit as a dove, and nine Old Testament prophets.
The icon is now kept in New York. It left Russia in 1922 when it was rescued by the White Army and smuggled out of the country.
The trip was made possible when Archbishop Mark of Berlin, Germany, and Great Britain, said he wanted to bring the painting to the Russian church.
The icon will arrive at the church this Friday, May 11, at 5pm and the Archbishop will lead the service until he leaves two hours later to travel back to London.
Father Paul Elliott, of the Russian Orthodox Church, said he was delighted the icon is returning to the parish after two-and-a-half years.
He told the News: “It is amazing for the icon to come all this way. It is a wonderful and unique chance for people to come and venerate something which has been highly valued and prized spiritually for centuries and centuries.
“The icon went back to Russia in 2009 and hundreds of thousands of people turned up.
“It travels around the world and is famous for its healing.
“The last time it came was not long after the church opened. It looked wonderful among our other Russian icons in the church.
“Our Archbishop wanted to bring it to us and it was suddenly announced that he would bring it here. It has travelled from New York to Germany and then on to Liverpool, where a limousine will bring it to our church.
“Anonymous donors paid for the train to Lime Street and the cost of the limousine.
“It is one of the most famous and revered wonder-working icons of Russia and visits our little parish from time to time.
“This is a unique opportunity to venerate one of the most esteemed icons in the world.”