On the eve of Great Lent, the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora – the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God – returned from the Diocese of Australia & New Zealand to her home in New York City – the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign. On the first week, the holy image is brought out for veneration by the faithful at every evening service, including during the reading of the Great Penitential Canon of St. Andrew of Crete.
On Monday of the first week, the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, read the Canon in the Synodal Cathedral. On Tuesday, it was read by diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan who, as the icon’s guardian, traveled with it from New Zealand to New York. (Further details of the icon’s visit to the Diocese of Australia & New Zealand will be published on the diocesan website in the near future.)
Co-serving with the hierarchs at the services was the cathedral clergy: senior priest Archpriest Andrei Sommer and Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff. Praying in the altar was Archpriest Edward Chervinsky. Downstairs in the St. Sergius Mission at the Synod of Bishops, the Great Canon read for English parishioners by Abbot Zosimas (Krampis).
Parishioners and faithful from various churches of the city gathered at the Cathedral of the Sign for Compline with the reading of the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete. Especially tender and beautiful was the singing of the services by the Synodal choir under the direction of Peter Fekula.
Upon completion of Compline, the faithful had an opportunity once more to venerate the Kursk Root Icon, which then left the church with Bishop Nicholas until the following day.