May 29th: Our Lady of the Sign of Kursk-Root (3)
In the year of 1383, the province of Kursk was subjected to a new invasion by the Golden Horde under their leader, Khan Tokhtamysh. The Tatars decided to set fire to the chapel, to burn down this icon who was protecting the province. In spite of all of their efforts, the chapel refused to burn. So the Tartars accused the priest Bogoliub of sorcery. The pious priest denounced their foolishness and pointed instead to the will of the miraculous icon, but that only served to infuriate the malicious Tartars, who got a hold of the icon and cut it in two, casting the pieces to either side. Only then did the chapel catch fire, and the priest Bogoliub was made a prisoner.
During his captivity, the God loving man placed all of his hope in the holy Mother of God. One day, as he was guarding flocks while singing prayers in Her honor, emissaries of the Tsar passed by and heard this singing. They were so moved by his love of the Theotokos that they paid his ransom and arranged for his release from captivity. Bogoliub immediately returned to the former site of the chapel, where he found the pieces of the miraculous icon, which the Tartars had cast away. He picked them up and straightway they came back together, although the scars remained. Learning of this miracle, the residents of Rylsk gave glory to God and to His all-pure Mother: a new chapel was built on the original site of the icon's apparition and it remained there for about 200 years.
The special help granted by the Mother of God through this icon continued throughout Russian history, during the Polish-Lithuanian incursion in 1612, the 1812 Fatherland war and on many other occasions.