May 30th: Our Lady of the Sign of Kursk-Root (4)

In March of 1898 a group of anarchists, desiring to undermine the faith of the people in the miraculous icon, decided to destroy it. They placed a bomb in the Cathedral of the Sign, and at two o'clock in the morning a horrendous explosion ripped the air, shaking the walls of the monastery. The force of the blast had shattered the gilded canopy above the icon. The heavy marble base had been jolted out of position and split into several pieces and a huge metal candlestick, which stood before the icon had been blown to the opposite side of the cathedral. A door of cast iron located near the icon had been torn from its hinges and cast outside, where it smashed against a wall and caused a deep crack. Amid the general devastation, the holy icon remained intact and even the glass within the frame remained whole. In their efforts to destroy the icon, the anarchists had, on the contrary, become the cause of its greater glorification.

On April 12, 1918, the Bolsheviks removed the icon from the Cathedral of the Sign. At the end of October 1919, the icon was transferred to the city of Belgorod, then to Taganrog and Ekaterinodar, and then to Novorossiisk. After a brief stay in Thessalonica, the icon was taken to the city of Pec, the ancient capital of Serbia, before returning to Crimea. In 1920, the holy image left its native land, accompanying the Russian people who refused to submit to the Soviet regime. After staying seven years in the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croatians and Slovenes, the holy icon was transferred to the Russian church of the Holy Trinity in the city of Belgrade. During World War II, when Belgrade was subjected to bombardment, the miraculous icon became a rampart of hope for all who approached it with sincere prayer. The icon was removed from Yugoslavia in the autumn of 1944. From ruined Vienna, the icon was taken to the tranquil city of Carlsbad. With the approach of the Bolsheviks it was again transferred to Munich in the spring of 1945. From Munich the icon went to Switzerland, France, Belgium, England, Austria, and many cities and camps in Germany itself. Subsequently, the icon was transferred to the New World where it had its permanent residence first in the New Kursk Hermitage in Mahopac, N.Y., and then in the Synod's Cathedral Church of the Mother of God of the Sign in New York City, the residence of the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. The original “Kursk-Root” icon of Our Lady of the Sign is still in New York, but is promised to return to its original Hermitage once it is rebuilt.

Rejoice, unshakeable Tower of the Church.
Rejoice, impregnable fortress of the Kingdom.
Rejoice, you through whom trophies are raised up.
Rejoice, you whom enemies are cast down.
Rejoice, Healing of my flesh.
Rejoice, Salvation of my soul.

Valérie Dionne