March 21

Kursk Root Mother of God, New York, New York, USA

On the night of March 21, 1898 (March 8 in the Russian liturgical calendar), an anarchist time bomb exploded under the icon of the Kursk Root Mother of God, blowing apart its cast-iron baldachin and marble pedestal, the church windows, and the cupola. But the precious image and its glass cover remained unharmed. This widely revered Orthodox icon had resided for hundreds of years in Kursk in western Russia. By the time of its discovery on September 8, 1295, after Tatar devastation, the area was a depopulated wilderness. Some men had come from Rylsk, around 75 miles southwest, to hunt game there. One of them noticed the icon lying face down at the root of a tree, and when he lifted it up, a spring gushed forth. The hunter built a chapel for the image near the spot, where the number of pilgrims and miracles soon multiplied. When the prince of Rylsk tried to move the icon to a finer church there, it repeatedly returned to its place in the forest. In 1597, the Tsar decided to rebuild the city of Kursk and founded the Kursk Root Hermitage (monastery) at the site of the chapel. When Tatars destroyed the hermitage in 1611, the icon went to Moscow until 1618, when the monastery was rebuilt. After that, annual processions commemorated the icon's return from Moscow to Kursk: on the ninth Friday after Easter, it was carried from the Kursk Cathedral of the Sign to the rural Hermitage, remaining until September 13, when it returned to the city. Following the Russian Revolution, Orthodox bishops took the icon to Serbia in 1919. In 1920, the counter-Revolutionary White Army brought the icon to their Crimean stronghold. After their defeat, the Kursk Root Icon returned to Serbia until 1944, when it accompanied Orthodox clergy into exile, moving through many countries in Europe and finally to New York, where since 1957 it has resided in the Church of the Mother of God of the Sign in New York City, Cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. It often tours the Russian diaspora, visiting Russia itself in 2007. The Kursk Root Mother of God is an icon of the "sign" type, with the child in front of his mother facing the viewer, often in a roundel. Its main feast day is celebrated on November 27 (Julian) / December 10 (Gregorian).  

Source: Information also from The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia - Official Website,

Also commemorated this date:

bulletMadonna del Carmelo, Sersale, Catanzaro, Calabria, Italy. Votive processions March 8 and 21. Festa July 16, Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly