On Saturday the 28th and Sunday the 29th of November, Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan paid an archpastoral visit to St. Joseph of Optina Church in Virginia Beach, VA. His Grace brought with him a greatly revered holy icon of the Orthodox world ‒ the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign" ‒ for veneration by the faithful.
On the eve prior, November 28, an akathist was served before the icon during the All-Night Vigil. Bishop Nicholas addressed parishioners with an edifying sermon about the history of the icon and the wonders it has performed, after which all who desired to do so were able to venerate the icon. Everyone received a copy of the wonderworking image of the Theotokos as a gift from His Grace.
The following morning, parish rector Priest Sergei Kosov greeted the bishop and the icon. His Grace celebrated Divine Liturgy, co-served by Archpriest Victor Potapov (dean of the Capital Region), Fr. Sergei, and Deacon Gregory Trubetskoy (cleric of St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, DC).
At the Little Entrance, Fr. Sergei was awarded the right to wear the nabedrennik.
Praying at Liturgy were faithful from neighboring states: West Virginia and North Carolina, as well as Christians from local Orthodox parishes, who came to the divine services to venerate the wonderworking image and lift up their prayers before it. Most confessed their sins and communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries. The parish choir sang the services prayerfully under the direction of Andrew Semyanko, choir director of Holy Trinity Church in Mebane, NC.
Upon completion of the service, His Grace addressed parishioners with an archpastoral sermon. In turn, the rector thanked the diocesan vicar and guest clergy for their visit and shared prayers. The parish sisterhood organized a luncheon in the parish hall, during which the clergy and faithful continued their interaction.