Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
A Message from the Diocesan Secretary on the Parish Visitation Tour of the Kursk Root Icon
Dear in the Lord honorable fathers, brothers, and sisters,
With the blessing of His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York, the guide and protectress of the Russian Diaspora, the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God of the Sign, will tour the Eastern American Diocese from December 10th, 2009 to February 8th, 2010. With God’s help, this parish visitation tour will spiritually fortify the faithful and serve to unite our diocese. At a time when our diocese is undergoing a revival, it is especially important for us to intensify our prayers to the Lord our God and His Most Pure Mother, that not only might our diocese be revived, but our spiritual lives, as well. The Kursk Icon of the Mother of God is the greatest blessing we in the Russian Church Abroad have. Over the course of our history, the Heavenly Queen has, through Her icon “Of the Sign,” protected our archpastors, pastors, and all of the faithful children of the Church Abroad under her omophorion. During the most fearful years of the 20th Century, the Heavenly Queen never abandoned us and, thanks to Her, our Church was able to preserve the spirit of Holy Russia far away from our native land.
By God’s grace, Russia is being reborn, and we all bore witness to the historic return of the miracle-working icon to its home in Kursk. All of our hearts rejoiced, seeing how the Russian people greeted this miraculous icon for the first time in 90 years. The Kursk icon comforted the long-suffering Russian people and granted spiritual joy to our brothers and sisters in Christ. At a time when the whole Russian Orthodox Church is undergoing a revival, we have the weighty responsibility to participate in this revival here in our own diocese. We have a duty to make sure that this revival is, first and foremost, a spiritual one. We must offer up our sincere repentance to the Lord God together, as one diocese, laying the foundation for a renewed spiritual life. Our common diocesan life is a reflection of our internal spiritual life. If within us are love and co-suffering, then we will strive to help and support one another. If in our souls we will harbor envy and pride, then we will foster only vengeance and jealousy, to the rejoicing of the evil one, who ceaselessly seeks to tear apart the one Church – the raiment of Christ.
Our diocesan hierarchs of blessed repose, Metropolitan Philaret, Metropolitan Laurus, Archbishop Vitaly, Archbishop Averky, Archbishop Nikon, and many other archpastors always prayed before our heavenly guide. Let us follow their example, turning to our Heavenly Mother with prayer for the unity and well-being of our beloved diocese. Let us all fall to our knees together before this honorable image, singing with “one mouth and one heart:” O Most Holy Theotokos, save and bless us in our forthcoming labor!
Archpriest Serge Lukianov