The Russian Church Abroad will decide on a schedule of celebrations in honor of its 100-year anniversary and pilgrimages to other countries by its principal holy icon, the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God, as the COVID-19 pandemic eases, its First Hierarch, Metropolitan Hilarion, said after a meeting of the Synod of Bishops held on Tuesday, December 8.
"We held a regular, expanded session of the Synod of Bishops over teleconference, and discussed our monasteries and properties in the Holy Land, a financial report of the Synod, and the very difficult situation of our parishes in South America," the Metropolitan said.
“This year, we planned to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Russian emigration of 1920, but because of COVID-19, we had to put it off for next year, and various events and celebrations have been postponed. Our plan was to go to Serbia, where the Russian Church Abroad was formed, to celebrate the 100th anniversary there, but we are not certain about that. COVID-19 has induced us to do all we can to avoid risk," His Eminence noted.
"In the meantime, we have been celebrating locally," the Metropolitan continued. "At the end of the year, we will have the traditional St. Herman Youth Conference over Zoom. On December 25, the Synod of Bishops in New York City will celebrate Divine Liturgy for the feast of Venerable Herman of Alaska, so our youth can watch and participate it through the internet."
In regards to the question of when the travels of the Kursk Icon to Russia will resume, which had been interrupted this year because of the Coronavirus, Metropolitan Hilarion said:
"Currently, we are not discussing any plans for the Kursk Icon to visit other countries, including Russia. However, certainly, once there is no danger to the health of people who come to church and in such large crowds as always gather in Russia to venerate the icon, we will resume these pilgrimages. In the meantime, many parishes here in the United States that rarely get to see the icon or never saw it were visited by it. There are always ways that the icon can visit the faithful."