Kursk Root Icon: History & Miracles
- 1295 Icon discovered by a hunter in the root of a tree. Where the icon came from is unknown. Upon its discovery a spring of water gushes forth in that place.
- 1383 The Tartar invaders attempt to destroy the icon. First, unsuccessfully by fire, although they destroy the little wooden chapel in which it was housed, then by cutting the icon on two and scattering the halves. The icon is miraculously restored.
- 1612 The city of Kursk, to which the icon had been taken, is besieged by the Poles. The icon is not in Kursk at the time, but the inhabitants implore the Mother of God for protection from the invaders. Their prayers are heard and in gratitude the Znamensky Monastery is built. The icon returns to Kursk in 1618 to reside at the monastery.
- 1769 A gravely ill 9 year old boy from Kursk, Prochorus, is brought by his mother to venerate the icon. The boy is wonderfully healed and goes on to become one of the greatest Saints of Russia: St Seraphim of Sarov.
- 1898 Anarchists attempt to destroy the people's faith in the icon by placing a bomb in Cathedral of the Sign where the icon resides. The cathedral is badly damaged but no harm comes to the icon, with even the glass on its cover remaining intact. Far from being weakened, faith is strengthened by this event.
- 1918 Bolshevik revolutionaries steal the icon from the cathedral on 3 May. A little later, on 12 April, a poor seamstress discovers the icon left in a package at the historic well dug by St Theodore of the Kiev Caves.
- 1920 Guarded by the White Russian Army, the icon is evacuated to Thessaloniki in Greece, and then to Pec in Serbia.
- 1941 Now in Belgrade, the icon resides in the Church of the Holy Trinity, as large parts of the city are destroyed by bombing. The icon and the church remain unharmed: locals say that the church is safer than any air-raid shelter.
- 1951 After some years in Germany, the icon is transferred to America and eventually to the Cathedral of the Mother of God of the Sign in New York (Russian Orthodox Church Abroad), where it resides to the present. Thereafter, the icon regularly travels throughout the Russian diaspora.
- 1966 On 2 July (19 June in the Orthodox Calendar) St John of Shanghai and San Francisco falls asleep in the Lord before the icon.
- 2009 The icon returns to Russia for the first time since 1920. Estimated that millions greet the icon and that many tens of thousands of people have the opportunity to venerate it.