The monks accompanying the icon assured us it was the first time the Akathist to the Kursk Root Icon had been prayed in an Embassy Suites hotel. I can only imagine what was going through the mind of the family that happened to be on the elevator with them, no concept of the glorious miracle of riding an elevator with the icon that has survived over 700 years of attempts to destroy it.
It can be nothing less than a miracle that these men were able to travel 15 hours through horrendous storms, sleet and ice to arrive in our city at 1:30 am. It was Her hand that guided them as they said the prayers of the Akathist while they drove, even as they passed hundreds of accidents on their journey. It was Her hand that guided hundreds of us along roads and interstates this morning, roads that were nothing but solid ice.
All the beautiful food laid out at the church, the flowers and candles prepared, the place made ready to welcome Her, the roads impassable. No, it was not the way we planned it, as we all packed into a tiny conference room, the only room in the inn.
No candles were here, no iconostasis, no beautiful temple to welcome her. Just a small, very hot room in the inn. The soft flicker of candles replaced by the harsh flicker of fluorescent lighting. A makeshift cloth for the stand, a scarf taken from a parishioner.