Kursk Root Icon and Bishop Peter visit St. Sergius Cathedral
On the weekend of March 14-15, the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God was brought to St. Sergius Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio, by Bishop Peter of Cleveland who presided at the Divine Services. Also traveling with His Grace was Protodeacon Vadim Gan, Subdeacon Nicholas Hantel, and Reader Andrei Urtiew.
The weekend began on Saturday morning with a Pan-Orthodox Lenten Youth Retreat at the Cathedral. The first speaker was Kathryn Saclarides, who has done work around the world with various Orthodox charities. She spoke about young people living Orthodoxy beyond the church building and into the community around them. Following lunch and a viewing of "From the Little Mountain", Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Parma, OH, spoke about the spirit and essence of the Trinity in the beginning of the Gospel of John. He then answered questions from the youth about current issues and Confession.
The Cathedral was near capacity for All-Night Vigil, Divine Liturgy, and Holy Unction services. Many local Orthodox Christians took the opportunity to pray before this Holy Icon of the Mother of God. At the Divine Liturgy, Bishop Peter spoke in his homily on the power of the intercession of the Mother of God. He recounted Christ's first miracle at the wedding in Cana, and that Christ did not wish to perform this miracle, yet his mother asked him, and He did, thus showing what a great intercessor we have before the Throne of God. Following the Divine Liturgy, the Cathedral Sisterhood prepared a Lenten banquet for the gathered faithful.
The Holy Unction was served Sunday evening by Bishop Peter, and the Cathedral Dean Fr. Ilia Marzev, joined by the Cathedral clergy, Archpriest Peter Burlakov and Archpriest Peter Selenoi. Joining these clergy were other local priests: V. Rev. Vladimir Berzonsky of Holy Trinity Church, Parma, OH; V. Rev. Basil Stoyko of Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Lorain, OH; Rev. Paul Bassett of St. George's Church, Cincinatti, OH; Rev. Victor Trotskyy of Dormition Cathedral, Detroit, MI.