Hermitage of Our Lady of Kursk is located in Mahopak, in an hour and a half drive from New York City and covers an area of 7 hectares, much of which is covered with woods. Monastery was founded in 1950 and was a gift to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia by Prince Sergei Sergeyevich Beloselsky-Belozersky in anticipation of the arrival from Europe of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God. Thus, the monastery became the first home of the miraculous icon and the See of the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church in the USA. A small monastic brotherhood was also created here.
Later, when the miraculous icon was to make the pilgrimage across countries and continents, where Russian refugees from revolutionary Russia had found refuge, a copy was painted, which is also famous for miracles, and still resides in the Hermitage of Our Lady of Kursk in Mahopak.
In recent years, due to objective reasons, the hermitage came to a state of decline. For fifteen years no financial investments were carried out for its maintenance and development. A fire almost destroyed the church of the Nativity of Mother of God. Some people had seriously considered a plan to demolish the church and other buildings in the hermitage, and to sell or lease the plot to commercial firms. But the parish of the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was intent on preserving this sacred site of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and in 2004 was supported of Metropolitan Laurus.
These years the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, Metropolitan Hilarion also shows keen interest in events in the hermitage and the parish. On the feast day of the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, 23-24 September 2010, he visited the hermitage with the miraculous Kursk-Root icon of the Most Holy Theotokos of the Sign.
At a meeting of the Synod of Bishops in October 2010 the Hermitage was confirmed to be by direct subordination to the chairman of the Synod of Bishops, who blessed to raise funds for the restoration of the monastery.
There have started repairs to preserve the main building of the Hermitage. The old walls were dismantled and new ones built, the roof is covered, a new foundation is built, a new heating system for the house and sanitary facilities have been installed. A house for the priest and the guests, the parish kitchen, a chapel, a gate were renovated.
Thanks to the donations collected, volunteer workers and builders, who took over work on behalf of the Church at a very low price, the parish could cover the costs of repair and construction work for $105 thousand, while they were originally estimated at $250-300 thousand.
An old bakery, two monastic buildings are about to be reconstructed. n The candle factory, warehouses, summer chapel, workshops also require repairs. However, to date, works have slowed due to lack of funds.
Still. There are many plans for the future. As the Hermitage is located not far from New York City and covers an area of 7 hectares, much of which is covered by forest, the place is ideally located to benefit from its use for various purposes: organizing pilgrimage center and the modern hotel for guests and delegations, organizing of religious congresses, conferences and symposia, youth complex, the publishing center, Synod's warehouse, increasing the capacity of existing Synodal candle factory.
Hermitage of Our Lady of Kursk can also be an attractive destination for pilgrims from Russia, aided by its proximity to New York City the opportunity to make excursions to historical places of the city and the New York State, such as the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, convent of "Novo-Diveyevo" the largest in America Russian cemetery in Spring Valley, the oldest in the U.S. Russian parochial school in Nyack, Niagara Falls, etc.
In the future, there are plans to arrange here a summer residence of the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad and apartments for visiting bishops.
Donations towards the reconstruction work can be mailed to the:
Mahopac Church Restoration Fund
1050 Route 6,
Mahopac, NY 10541
100 % of donations are spent on construction and restoration work.