DIOCESE OF AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND: March 4, 2015
The Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God Visits Dandenong, Australia
There is a Russian saying: “Want a protector-icon, like a second parent? But parents aren’t chosen, and icons come as they will.”
Undoubtedly, the visit to Australia of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign” brought great spiritual support to the believers of the diocese, for it is the main holy icon of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. “This icon has enormous meaning in the life of every Orthodox Christian. She protects us before the Lord and opens the path towards light to all who seek it,” said His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, who is accompanying the icon on its travels.
The holy icon arrived at the Dandenong parish on the eve of Forgiveness Sunday. The fates of many parishioners of the Dormition of the Mother of God Church in this city has been closely bound to St John of Kronstadt Russian Welfare Society. Protopriest Michael Protopopov, the parish rector, is the president of the organization. On Friday, February 20, 2015, an akathist was performed before the Kursk-Root Icon at St John Chapel at the senior home known as the “Kronstadt Gardens.” Metropolitan Hilarion served along with Fr Michael, Hieromonk Tikhon (Gayfudinov) and Deacon Alexei Zhukov. All the residents of the home were able to venerate the holy icon.
In his sermon, Fr Michael stressed the importance of the visit of the image of the Mother of God on this 60th anniversary of the organization’s founding. After the service, Fr Michael, along with Fr Tikhon and the choir, visited the seriously ill in their rooms with the Kursk-Root Icon. Especially touching was the meeting with 100-year-old Anna Vikhrova.
On Saturday, February 21, 2015, Fr Michael took the holy icon on an unplanned visit to the parish school, bringing pious joy to the teachers, students, parents and staff. The sense of Divine grace was especially strong among the sinners. Fr Michael, who is also the school director, suggested that everyone remain in the hall after a prayer, during which he told the enraptured children, aged 4-13, about the rich history of the holy icon. Everyone was then given the opportunity to venerate the image of the Mother of God. In the words of those present, this “school lesson” on the Law of God would remain especially memorable to all.
On Saturday evening, the miracle-working icon was brought to Dormition of the Mother of God Church, whose parishioners were already gathered and waiting. Vigil was performed by Metropolitan Hilarion and Fr Michael, Fr Tikhon, Protodeacon Alexander Abramov and Deacon Alexei. The Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign" was placed on an analogion in the center of church, bringing with her a flood of maternal love, warmth and Divine light, filling the cozy church.
This visit will long remain in our memory, and there is no more precise description of the event than “a holiday of greeting” for those who came into contact with the holy icon’s grace.