March 18, 2016
Kursk Root Icon Visitation through the Carolinas
Tuesday, February 16, the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God,
Protectress of the Russian Diaspora, made her way to North and South
Carolinas for a visit that would last almost two weeks. The Dean of
the Carolinas & Tennessee, Archpriest Mark Mancuso, accompanied the
holy icon as she visited nine parishes during this time.
On her first stop, February 16, the Kursk Root Icon visited Holy
Resurrection OCA Mission in North Augusta, SC. She was greeted by
the mission’s rector, Priest Alexis Baldwin, and the holy icon was
brought into the chapel where Fr. Alexis served a moleben and
akathist to the Most Holy Theotokos. Over 25 people attended – which
is a large number for this small mission – and, at the end of the
service, Fr. Mark delivered a sermon, in which he conveyed the
history of the holy Icon and its importance to Orthodox Christians.
her second stop, Wednesday, February 17, the Kursk Root Icon visited
Sts. Cyril & Methodius Church in Summerville, SC for an evening
moleben and akathist to the Mother of God. The holy Icon was greeted
by parish rector Archpriest Anastasy Yatrelis and a host of clergy
and their families for a meal at his restaurant, Continental Corner.
After the meal, the holy Icon was carried in procession to the front
of the church, where she was greeted by the clergy and many of the
faithful. The moleben and akathist were served by the dean, Fr.
Mark, Fr. Anastasy, Priest John Parker (rector of Holy Ascension OCA
Church in Mount Pleasant, SC), Deacons Mark Barna (cleric of the
same) and George Malanos (Holy Trinity Greek Church in Charleston,
SC), and parish Deacon Daniel Gregoire. At the end of the service,
the dean delivered a sermon recalling the history and importance of
the Kursk Root icon, noting that this was the third time that she
had visited the parish, and asked the faithful to contemplate the
Righteous Elizabeth’s words to her cousin, the Theotokos, in the
Gospel reading, "And whence is this to me, that the Mother of my
Lord should come to me?" (Luke 1:43), applying it to themselves and
the intercessions that they should make to the Mother of God. About
200 people were in attendance, and many stayed after the service to
pray before the holy icon.
third stop for the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God was Holy
Trinity Greek Church in Augusta, GA for Orthros and Liturgy the
morning of Saturday, February 20. Orthros began with the holy Icon
in the altar, and then brought out in procession around the inside
of the church during the singing of the Great Doxology. At the end
of the Doxology, the Icon was placed on an analogion on the solea.
The Liturgy was celebrated by Archpriest Vasile Bitere, co-served by
Fr. Mark. At the end of the Liturgy, Fr. Vasile said prayers of
healing for the infirm while they knelt before the holy Icon. Fr.
Mark then gave a sermon about the history of the icon and its
importance to Orthodox Christians, and asked all to put their cares
before the Mother of God, that she intercede before Christ for them.
About 100 people attended and a festal luncheon was served in the
parish hall. This was a particularly special day for Fr. Mark, as it
was the first time he had celebrated Liturgy in his hometown of
Augusta, GA and had the added blessing of bringing the Kursk Root
Icon there, as well.
The fourth visit, that same day, was made to the
parish of St. Elizabeth the New Martyr in Columbia, SC. At
2:00pm the holy icon was brought in procession from the parish hall
to the church by Archpriest Gregory Rogers (rector of St. Barnabas
Antiochian Church in Lexington, SC) and was received by the parish
rector, Fr. Mark Mancuso. After Fr. Mark blessed the church and
people with the Icon, a moleben and akathist were served by Fr.
Mark, Fr. Gregory, Archpriest Athanasios Harros (rector of Holy
Transfiguration Greek Church in Florence, SC), and parish Deacon
Columba Wilson. Nearly 200 faithful attended the service, and the
holy Icon stayed in the church through the All-Night Vigil.
next morning began with a baptism (the
daughter of the parish warden, Mr. Joshua Shaw) before the Kursk
Root Icon, followed by Hours and Liturgy. After the Gospel, Fr. Mark
preached a sermon about how this particular vitiation of the icon to
the parish of the Mother of God had many reasons, but also to lead
the faithful into Great Lent. About 100 people attended the Liturgy,
and many more came after the Liturgy to venerate and pray before the
Kursk Root Icon.
fifth visitation the Kursk Root Icon was to Holy Trinity Greek
Cathedral in downtown Columbia. Although the holy Icon arrived over
two hours after their Sunday Liturgy was completed, over 200
faithful stayed in church and waited for the Icon to arrive. The
holy Icon was received at the front doors of the church by the
rector, Alexander Michael Platanis, and taken into the church and
placed on an analogion on the solea. Fr. Michael invited Fr. Mark to
give a presentation about the Kursk Root Icon and Fr. Mark spoke
about the history of the Icon and her importance to the Russian
Church, and relayed some of the miracles connected to this holy Icon
of the Mother of God. After the presentation, a Paraklesis was
served, while all the faithful came up onto the solea to venerate
her sixth stop on Wednesday, February 24, the Kursk Root Icon
St Nicholas parish in Fletcher, NC. She was greeted by the
parish’s rector, Priest Steven Webb, and the holy Icon was brought
into the church, where over 85 people were assembled. After Fr.
Steven took the holy Icon into the church and blessed the people
with it, a moleben and akathist were served by Fr. Mark and Fr.
Steven. At the end of the service, the dean gave a sermon recalling
the history and importance of the Kursk Root Icon. After the
service, a light meal was served in the parish hall.
Friday, February 26, the Kursk Root Icon visited
Holy Trinity Church in Mebane, NC. The holy Icon was brought
into the church where over 250 people were assembled. A moleben and
akathist were served by parish rector Hieromonk Gabriel (Kvansikov),
co-served by Hieromonk Andrew (Winters; cleric of St. Nicholas OCA
Mission in Fayetteville, NC). At the end of the service, the dean
gave a sermon recalling the history and importance of the Kursk Root
Icon. After the akathist, the faithful venerated the holy Icon and
prayed before her.
the morning of Saturday, February 27, the Kursk Root Icon of the
Mother of God made her eighth visitation in the Carolinas. This
visit was to Holy Cross OCA Church in High Point, NC. Parish rector
Priest Christopher Foley blessed the people with the holy Icon, and
the moleben and akathist began. Co-serving with Fr. Christopher was
Archpriest Onouphry Keith (pastor emeritus of St. Nicholas Church in
Fletcher, NC), and Priest Dragoslav Kosic (rector of St. Basil of
Ostrog Serbian Church in Kernersville, NC). Over 200 faithful were
in attendance and, after the service, everyone came up to venerate
and pray before the holy Icon.
the early afternoon on February 27, the Kursk Root Icon made her
ninth and final stop in the Carolinas at the
Reigning Mother of God parish in Charlotte, NC. About 75 of the
faithful were waiting outside to greet the holy Icon as she arrived.
Parish rector Archpriest Alexander Logunov and Priest Alexander
Stepanenko (parish cleric) received the holy Icon and took her into
the church, where she was met by His Grace, Eastern American
Diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, guardian of the Kursk
Root Icon. A moleben and akathist were served, and the holy Icon
remained in the church through the All-Night Vigil. The next
morning, a hierarchical Liturgy was celebrated by Bishop Nicholas,
co-served by Fr. Alexander and parish Deacon Ioann Makarov. A festal
luncheon was held afterward in celebration of the 10th anniversary
of the founding of the parish.
Archpriest Mark Mancuso