After much anticipation, the long-awaited days at last arrived for the Orthodox faithful of Geneva, Switzerland, as the most revered icon of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia – the wonderworking Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign” – crossed the threshold of the Diocese’s Cathedral of the Exaltation of the Cross. In these difficult days, the believers of the Cathedral parish, together with a large number of Ukrainian refugees who have arrived in Switzerland, had been looking forward with anticipation to the arrival of the miraculous icon of the Mother of God, which, over preceding weeks, had visited parishes all across the Diocese, in order that they might also be sanctified by the grace emanating from it and together offer up prayers for peace in its presence.
The icon was brought to Geneva on Saturday, May 7, 2022, having in recent days visited the faithful in Zurich, Bern, Fribourg and Vevey. Brought to the doors of the Cathedral, His Grace Bishop Alexander of Vevey, Vicar Bishop of the Diocese, received the icon on behalf of His Grace Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe, and bore it solemnly into the temple surrounded by the clergy of the Cathedral and other clergy, invited for the occasion, with a multitude of believers drawn from more than ten nationalities.
The meeting of the icon was done in the full splendor of the Church’s tradition, the Cathedral having been beautifully decorated with flowers, as if for Pascha, and all the faithful gathered with lit candles to greet the Mother of God, present herself in this most miraculous of her icons. The Cathedral’s bells sounded out the arrival of the icon for the whole of Geneva to hear.
On Sunday May 8, which on the Church’s Paschal calendar was the Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearing women, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the presence of the Kursk-Root Icon – a moment of particular joy for all the Orthodox of the region.
Liturgy was headed by Vladyka Alexander, together with the parish clergy; and despite the Cathedral’s large size, even it was not sufficient to accommodate all those who came to partake of the Holy Mysteries and venerate the icon. After Liturgy, a solemn procession was performed around the temple, during which several hundred faithful humbly and joyfully followed behind the icon “of the Sign.”
At its conclusion, Archpriest Pavel Tzvetkoff read out in Russian and French a greeting from the head of the Diocese of Great Britain and Western Europe, Bishop Irenei, in which Vladyka offered his personal greetings, congratulations and prayers to all the clergy and faithful of Geneva on this monumental day.
Later, at 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, a moleben and akathist to the Mother of God of the Kursk-Root Icon was served in the Cathedral.
In the days following, the sacred icon remained in the Geneva region, being taken by Archpriest Emilian Pocinic and Archdeacon Dometian (Redko) to visit the homes of parishioners, as well as the sick wards in city clinics and prisons.