On October 8, 2018, the feast day of St Sergius of Radonezh, His Eminence Metropolitan Alexander of Riga and All Latvia greeted the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign” at Holy Trinity-St Sergius Convent in Riga, Latvia, along with His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, Vicar of the Eastern American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, the caretaker of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign;” His Grace Bishop Alexander of Daugavpils and Rezeknes, and His Grace Bishop Ioann of Jelgava, Vicar of the Riga Diocese of the Latvian Orthodox Church.
This is the first-ever visit of the Kursk-Root Icon to Latvia, thanks to the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York of ROCOR, and Metropolitan Alexander.
The icon was taken from the gates of the convent on a procession of the cross throughout the grounds, after which is was brought into the Church of St Sergius of Radonezh, where a hierarchal Divine Liturgy was celebrated.
During the augmented litany, special prayers were lifted for the unity of Holy Orthodox Christianity and for peace in Ukraine. A moleben was performed afterwards, at the end of which Metropolitan Alexander read a prayer to the Mother of God and to St Sergius of Radonezh. Many Years was then sung.
In his sermon, Vladyka Metropolitan congratulated everyone on the feast day of St Sergius and the presence of the Kursk-Root Icon. He discussed the history of the miracle-working image of the Queen of Heaven and the ascetic life of St Sergius. He thanked Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan Hilarion for the visit of the holy icon to Riga, and Vladyka Nicholas for bringing the icon to Latvia.
Abbess Magdalena (Polyn), on behalf of the convent’s nuns, congratulated His Eminence and thanked him for his care for the convent’s needs. She also thanked Vladyka Nicholas for bringing the holy icon to her convent, and gave him and his delegation commemorative gifts.
Metropolitan Alexander thanked Abbess Magdalena for her kind words and for her tireless efforts and congratulated her on the church feast day. Metropolitan Alexander then congratulated Bishop Alexander on his namesday (he was baptized with the name Sergius) and gave him a prosphora and a bouquet of flowers.
Over the course of several hours, many believers venerated the icon, among them the director, teachers and students of Metropolitan Alexander (Kudryashov) Graversky Elementary School, Archimandrite Tikhon (Kravchenko) of Holy Transfiguration Convent-Hermitage and a multitude of worshipers.
Bishop Nicholas and his delegation were invited by Metropolitan Alexander to visit Holy Trinity Cathedral and the lower Holy Dormition Church, where they venerated its relics.
The Kursk-Root Icon was then taken to Riga’s Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ, where thousands of worshipers eagerly awaited its arrival. The icon will remain in Latvia until October 10, and the daily cycle of services, molebens and akathists will be performed around the clock. On Tuesday, October 9, a moleben in the Old Rite was performed.
On October 10, after Divine Liturgy, the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign” will return to America.