Orthodox America

  Kursk Icon Visits Luxembourg

1995 marks the 700th anniversary of the miraculous appearance of the wonderworking Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God.  During this year, the icon is scheduled to visit as many parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad as possible. Its journey began in Europe. From Luxembourg we have the following account. Most Holy Mother of God, save us!

After the Bishop's Council in the Lesna Convent near Paris, Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany took the Kursk Icon of the Mother of God to Germany, having previously entrusted Archpriest Michael Artzimovitch, rector of the parish of the Resurrection of Christ in Meudon-la-ForÍt, a suburb of Paris, to arrange the visit of the dear guest-icon to the various parishes of Western Europe.  On learning that the holy icon would be visiting our parish at the end of February, we decided to inform as many Orthodox people of this as possible, not only in Luxembourg but in neighboring countries. To this end, we sent out the story of the icon from the Jordanville calendar, with a translation in French.

On Tuesday, 21 February, at 6 o'clock in the evening, the first moleben with an akathist took place before the icon in the church of the Apostles SS Peter and Paul in Luxembourg.  The church was filled to overflowing, like on Pascha, with people spilling out onto the terrace and sides of the church. One could scarcely believe the number of people who had gathered to greet the icon of the Mother of God.  It turned out that those who had received our information about the icon had made photocopies and sent them around to friends and acquaintances. Before the moleben, Fr. Serge Poukh gave a brief word in both Russian and French, assuring everyone that each person present would have an opportunity to quietly pray before the icon and venerate it.

Fr. Serge went on to relate a miracle that took place some 25 years ago in the Synodal church in New York City.  At that time he was working in a bank.  One day, his friend Paul, an Armenian, called him over and, showing him his hands, feet and chest, broke down in tears.  They were covered with an itching, oozing eczema; everywhere blood seeped from the wounds. When Fr. Serge advised him to go to the Synod and venerate the wonderworking Kursk Icon, Paul shrugged off the suggestion: "I don't believe in any of that.  Go away!"  Two days later, however, Paul called and asked Fr. Serge to take his mother to the Synod.  His mother wanted to pray for him.  His brother, a doctor, came with them. Arriving at the Synod, he left the "unbelieving" Paul on the terrace, while he showed the mother where the icon was located.  The distraught mother stroked the icon with her aged hands and whispered her fervent entreaty on behalf of her suffering son. Twenty minutes later, Fr. Serge approached her, and they left. Paul's brother had already left to take his shift at the hospital.  Fr. Serge drove Paul and his mother home.

The following Wednesday, Paul stopped him. "For the past three days you've been walking by me without once saying hello."  "Sorry," said Fr. Serge, "you see how busy it is here at the bank; I didn't mean to offend you."  He had completely forgotten about what had happened the past Friday.  "Look here!" exclaimed Paul, showing him his hands and chest: there was not a trace of eczema!   The skin was clear and smooth.  "What does your brother say?" asked Fr. Serge.  "He can't make it out," answered Paul.  "And you? Go quickly to the Mother of God and thank her."

I am not going to describe how each person venerated the holy icon. Suffice it to say that this day will be remembered for the rest of our lives.

After the service, Fr. Serge took the icon to a hospital, where a young boy, Yura, from Chernobyl, was receiving treatment.  During the moleben, his eyes were fixed on the face of the Mother of God. What he asked her will remain a secret, but the following day his mother related that after the priest had left with the icon, Yura had straightway asked for something to eat and that he now felt much better.  Before the visit of the icon, his stomach could not tolerate any food.  Most Holy Mother of God, save him! On Friday, the last day of the icon's visit in Luxembourg, people came from Brussels, Liege, from Germany.  Russians, Serbs, Bulgarians, Greeks and Romanians approached to venerate the icon, each speaking to the Mother of God in their own language.

Most Holy Mother of God, help all of us!  Most Holy Mother of God, come visit us again!

From Pravoslavnaya Rus, Jordanville, NY, 1995, No. 6 (1531).