For learning. For inspiration. Or just for fun.
Russian Empire (1721-1917)
Not a Scratch! : Hapless extremists try to wipe out a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary.
Not a Scratch!

Based on an account at Pravoslavie.

This is far from the only tale of its kind concerning the ‘Kursk Root’ icon, named after its discovery in the 13th century among the shrubs of a forest near the ruins of Kursk in Russia. The icon, which escaped both the USSR and the Nazis, is kept today in New York, and last visited England in 2012.

The Kursk Root icon without its protective metal cover. Click the image to enlarge it.

IN 1898, Russian anarchists planted a bomb in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign in Kursk. It was timed to go off during the evening service for maximum casualties, and designed to destroy the miraculous icon of Mary kept there in a glass case. A shared belief in the icon’s miraculous powers drew peasant and Tsar closer together, which did not suit the anarchists at all.

However, the bomb did not explode until two in the morning, with a shivering bang. The monks of the monastery leapt out of bed and raced into the deserted cathedral, to find the icon’s heavy marble pedestal jolted and cracked. A weighty silver candlestick had been blown off it, right across the church; an iron door beside it had been wrenched off its hinges; the golden canopy above had crashed onto the floor, and window-glass was everywhere underfoot.

Amidst this devastation the icon itself was serene, its glass case — like its reputation for miracles — perfectly intact.

Based on an account at Pravoslavie.


In 2009, the icon returned to Kursk for the first time since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. The short video below shows its arrival and the vast crowd of Russians who gathered to pay their respects to it.

More like this

Lives of the Saints (95) History (405) Russian History (17) History of Icons (6) Bible and Saints (110)

Picture: © Гондарева Илга (Ilga Gondareva), Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0. View original
The dome of the Znamensky Cathedral in Kursk, Russia, some 280 miles south of Moscow. The cathedral was built in 1825 in honour of the icon of the Virgin Mary; nearby is the Kursk Hermitage, which stands on the site where the icon first appeared in 1295.
Based on a
Byzantine Tradition

Amazon Books

Featured Music

Letters Game

What is the longest word you can make using these letters?

Press enter or type a space to see feedback on your word.

More like this: Letters Game Games with Words

Numbers Game

Make the total shown using two or more of the numbers underneath it. You can add, subtract, divide and multiply. Use any number once only.

More like this: Target Number (Mental Arithmetic Game) Mental Arithmetic

Selected Stories
Elfric of Eynsham
Elfric, Abbot of Eynsham in the reign of Æthelred the Unready, reflects on two appearances of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament.
St Adamnán worked tirelessly to secure protection, rights and dignity for the women of Ireland.
By Saint Bede of Jarrow
The chapel of Bede’s monastery in Sunderland was full of the colours and sounds of the far-off Mediterranean world.
A struggle between rival Royal Houses during the 15th century
By Charles Dickens
Pip Pirrip never misses a moment of visiting time with Abel Magwitch, the convict who made him into a gentleman, in the prison hospital.
The only truly global conflict in history began when German troops crossed into Poland in September 1939.