The Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God On Canada’s West Coast

03:08 PM

On May 20th, 2013, the miraculous Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, accompanied by its guardian, the priest Nicholas Olkhovsky, a clergyman of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign, in New York, arrived in Vancouver from Montréal.

On Tuesday, May 21st, at 6:00 P.M., the first divine service in its honor was celebrated in the Church of St. Nicholas.

At the evening service, that of our church’s patronal feast, many of the faithful from all the Orthodox parishes in Vancouver were present.

Tens of parishioners from the Greek, Serbian and Rumanian churches, as well as parishioners of our neighboring Holy Trinity Church and from the Orthodox Church in America, came to venerate the holy image and to share this joy with all the parishioners of our church.

On May 22nd, the feast of the Translation of the Relics of St. Nicholas, i.e., our patronal feast, Fr. Michael Furik, rector of the Orthodox Church in America’s parish, Fr. Serge Overt, rector of our Holy Trinity Church, and Fr. Marko and his wife, from St. Savva’s Serbian Church, arrived before the beginning of the Divine Liturgy to congratulate us and to take part in the divine services.

Our small by very hospitable and warm church could barely hold all the guests who wished to greet the icon. More and more people arrived from all throughout Vancouver, patiently waiting in line to enter the church and kiss the miraculous icon. All approached to venerate it, bearing their pain, their love, their hope. A most sincere and general reverence, full of grace, rendered the service special. It was as if it were not only the Icon that was with us, but that the Mother of God herself was invisibly present throughout all the divine services.

No one wanted to leave the church and the Icon even after the conclusion of the service. A living stream again and again flowed toward it in silent prayer and could not be stopped. How many tears and heartfelt prayers she took to herself over these days, as throughout the Icon’s entire history!

Fr. Nicholas and all the clergy of the church waited and blessed everyone, giving each the opportunity to venerate the holy object.

At 6:30 P.M. of that day, the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God was present at a service of supplication at the St. John of Shanghai Orthodox Mission.

The following day, Thursday, May 23rd, the Icon visited the home of senior parishioners of our church, Vera Petrovna Omeyanets in Aldergrove, and Anna Alexandrovna Reno, who was celebrating her 100th virthday that very day.

On Friday, May 24th, the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God visited those parishioners who, by reason of frail health or advanced age, had been unable to be present in church. In the words of Fr. Nicholas, they strove to carry this great miracle to each of those who thirsted for it.

On the evening of May 24th, at 6:00, a service of supplication, with the akathist hymn to the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, was celebrated in Holy Ascension Russian Orthodox Cathedral. And again the church was overflowing with parishioners from all the churches. They had followed the Icon, desiring to venerate it again and to feel once more the power of her grace in their hearts.

That evening, our church welcomed Vladyka GaBriel, Archbishop of Montréal & Canada, who visited us May 25th-26th. He was accompanied by Deacon Alexander Morin from Toronto.

The hierarchal service was most solemn, with Protopriest Serge Overt and the Priests Eusathius and Nicholas concelebrating with Vladyka.

At Sunday’s divine services, Vladyka Gabriel presented the gold cross to our rector, Fr. Eustathius, for his efforts in fostering the growth of our parish.

After the service, all were inveted to share a common meal and to visit the fair which is put on every year for our patronal feast, sponsored by the sisterhood of our church. Many of the parishioners of our church participated in it. Georgian, Russian, Ukrainian, Moldovan, Rumanian and Kazakh tables were organized, which not only served to strengthen and united our friendship, but also contributed to a good cause. For all profits from the sale of ethnic dishes are to be applied to the purchase and installation of new domes for our church.

As always, our oldest parishioners and faithful participants in the building of our church, the sisters Sophia and Olga Petruchik, were honored guests. With their attention and unfailing dedication to the church they continually serve as an example for us of sincere service and loving-kindness.

The celebratory festal luncheon was accompanied by a specially prepared concert by our parish choir and children of our church school, who sang Many Years and recited poems.

The day turned out to be warm and balmy, making it possible for all of us to mingle pleasantly in good spirits

The feast was also deemed a success thanks to the efforts of all the clergy of our church, of Fr. Eustathius personally, and of the incomparably talented members of our choir and their guests, the children of our church school, who helped put on the concert. And, of course, thanks also to the industrious and generous sacrifices of each parishioner who took part in the preparation and organization of the festal meal, first and foremost the sisterhood.

At 6:00, all who wished met again at Holy Trinity Church. Once more there was a great stream of the faithful and a fervent, festal atmosphere. Fr. Serge and his sisterhood also provided their guests with a marvelous supper.

The departure of the Icon of the Mother of God was very moving. It was a moment both of joy and of radiant sorrow; each of us sensed Her grace.

We accompanied it on a long procession through the province—to the city of Nanaimo, and afterwards to Alberta, B.C.

Tatiana Kuleshoff