Church celebrates the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos

The Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos, a fragment of the icon. A photo: pravoslav-ru.livejournal.com

Today believers celebrate the miraculous apparition of the Mother of God to those praying at the Blachernae Church in Constantinople in 910.

On October 14 (October 1, O.S.) the Church celebrates the Protection (or the Intercession) of Our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary.

In the Slavic Orthodox Churches, it is celebrated as the most important solemnity besides the Twelve Great Feasts and Pascha.

The feast was established to celebrate a miraculous event that took place in 910 in Constantinople when Saint Andrew the Fool and his disciple Epiphanius had a vision of the Protection of the Mother of God.

These were difficult times for Byzantium. The empire was threatened with an attack by the Saracens who professed Islam. When the troops of the barbarians approached Constantinople, the inhabitants of the Byzantine capital were already preparing for death and, not seeing help from anywhere, flocked to the Blachernae Church, where the Mother of God's robe, veil and part of the belt were kept, and started praying.

On Sunday, October 1 at four in the morning, St. Andrew the Blessed Fool-for-Christ, who was a Slav by birth, saw the dome of the church open and the Virgin Mary enter, moving in the air above him, glowing and surrounded by angels and saints. She knelt and prayed with tears for all faithful Christians in the world, asking Her Son, Jesus Christ, to accept the prayers of all the people entreating Him and looking for Her protection. Once Her prayer was completed, She spread Her veil over all the people in the church as a protection from enemies visible and invisible.

The ciry was protected by a wonderful veil. The rising storm scattered the ships of the barbarians, saving the inhabitants of Constantinople from death.

In Ukraine, October 14, the day when the feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos is celebrated, is an official day off.

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