08 September 2014

The Kursk Root Icon of the Theotokos

Acrylic and gold leaf on birch panel, 2014.

Today, the feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos, is also the commemoration of miracle-working Kursk Root icon. Over 700 years ago, a Russian hunter discovered this icon lodged in the roots of a tree near Kursk. When he removed it, a healing spring gushed forth. The icon would always return to that tree when removed and placed in the local church, so a chapel was built around it. When the Tartars invaded in 1383, they cut the icon in half and burned the chapel, but the icon remained unburned and restored itself whole. Similarly, in 1898, anarchists placed a bomb under the icon, which remained unharmed while the church was destroyed in the blast. Saint Seraphim of Sarov was among many healed through this icon. Since the Russian Revolution, the icon has remained protected in America and regularly visits the Russian Orthodox Church in my town. Through the years, I have drawn much hope and inspiration from this incredible icon and wanted to honor the Theotokos by painting this icon. I have also chosen to use this icon as the prototype for my upcoming workshops this fall. Please see more information about my workshops here.