Visit of the Kursk-Root Icon, Palm Sunday Vigil, 4 April 2015
With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, St Patrick Mission had the inestimable privilege of welcoming the wonder-working Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God "Of the Sign" for the All-Night Vigil of Palm Sunday.Around 60 of the faithful attended for all or part of the litya prior to the Vigil and for the Vigil itself. The Vigil was served by the rector: Priest Peter Hill, generously assisted by Hieromonk Tikhon, who accompanied the holy Icon. We were also pleased to welcome later Priest Jeremy Krieg, who came after the conclusion of the Vigil at St Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church.
There was a wonderful atmosphere of joy and of prayerfulness and peace. We were struck and humbled by the fact that here was the Icon that has blessed the Russian land, been venerated by Saints and Tsars, and countless thousands of the faithful, now vouchsafing the grace of God and the blessings of the Theotokos on our small mission. "But why is this granted to me that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?" (Lk. 1:43).
The triumph and solemnity of our Lord's Entry into Jerusalem filled the hymns and prayers of the service, and was marked by our local custom of distributing small palm crosses which were eagerly received by the worshippers: "Hosanna in the Highest!"