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12 Sep, 2009 14:25

Ancient Orthodox relic back in Russia

The highly venerated, wonder-working Kursk Root Icon of the Virgin Mary of the Sign, which was taken out of Russia after the 1917 revolution, has been delivered to Moscow from New York.

The icon will stay in the Cathedral of the Savior through to September 23. During the eleven days, clerics and laymen from the churches of Moscow will chant a special song of laudations – the “Acathistos” – in front of the icon.

The Kursk Root Icon of the Virgin Mary of the Sign is one of the oldest-known indigenous Russian icons of Our Lady.

It is first mentioned in a chronicle with reference to the year 1295, when it was found lying on the roots of an oak-tree near the present-day city of Kursk.

At different times, the clergy blessed Russian troops going to war with the Crimean Khanate and also Napoleon with it.

The Monastery of the Sign in Kursk was ruined during the Civil War after the revolution of 1917, but the wonder-working icon was rescued. Russian clerics took it abroad in April 1920, and it eventually reached the US, where it is kept in the New Hermitage of the Root near New York City.