May 27th: Our Lady of the Sign of Kursk-Root (1)
Icon of the Mother of God of “Kursk-Root”
The Kursk Root Icon of the Theotokos “Of the Sign” is also one of the most ancient icons of the Russian Church. In the thirteenth century during the Tatar invasion, when all of Russia was facing their most brutal tribulations yet, the province of Kursk, ravaged by the soldiers of the Mongol leader Batu Khan, fell into desolation. The towns were emptied, and wilderness returned to the province. The residents of Rylsk, the only town preserved from the invasion, often went to hunt in the territories of the province of Kursk.
One day, in the outskirts of the city, a hunter noticed an ancient icon lying on a root face down to the ground. The hunter lifted it and saw that the image of the icon was similar to the Novgorod Icon of Our Lady of the Sign. And, just as the hunter lifted up the holy icon from the earth, right then, at the exact place where the icon lay, a strong spring of pure water gushed from the earth. This was the icon’s first miracle, on September 8, 1259. With the help of friends, the hunter rebuilt an old chapel, which was in the vicinity of the new spring, and placed the newly-found icon in it. The news of this miraculous icon quickly spread, and many came from Rylsk to this small chapel to venerate the icon and pray about their sorrows and needs. There the Mother of God healed all who came to her icon.