Skip to Navigation

Icon of the Mother of God "Kursk Root"


Commemorated on November 27 (also on September 8)

The Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God “Of the Sign” is one of the most ancient icons of the Russian Church. In the thirteenth century during the Tatar invasion, when all of Russia suffered, the city of Kursk, ravaged by the Horde of Batu, fell into desolation.

One day, on the outskirts of the city, a hunter noticed the ancient icon, lying on a root, facing downwards towards the ground. The hunter lifted it up and saw that the image of the icon was similar to the Novgorod “Znamenie” Icon. As the hunter lifted the holy icon from the earth, a spring of pure water gushed up from where the icon had lain. This occurred on September 8, 1259. The hunter decided not to leave the icon in the forest and instead found it a resting place in a small chapel. Soon inhabitants of the town of Ryl’a heard about this, and living not far away, began to visit the place of the appearance for venerating the new holy image.

The people eventually transferred the icon to the town of Ryl’a and put it in a new church in honor of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos. However, the icon did not remain there for long. It disappeared and returned to its former place of appearance in the forest. The people of Ryl’a repeatedly retrieved the icon, carrying it back to the city, but the icon continued to return to its former place. Everyone then realized that the Theotokos preferred the place of the appearance of Her Icon.

The special help granted by the Mother of God through this icon is connected with important events in Russian history: The war of liberation of Russia during the Polish-Lithuanian incursion in 1612, and the 1812 Russo-Franco War against Napoleon’s armies.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (