Today our Holy Church celebrates the “Holy Protection of the Theotokos” the feast originated in the vision that St. Andrew, the Fool for Christ, had of the Theotokos covering the faithful who prayed to her. On October 1, 911 St. Andrew saw in his vision of the Theotokos hovering over the faithful protecting them with her veil (omophorion) as they prayed in the Church of the Mother of God – Blachernae in Constantinople. She was safeguarding all who prayed for her protection.
What does this mean for us today over a thousand years later? As Orthodox Christians, the communion of the saints and the power of prayer are realities that we cannot underestimate. The Mother of God stands at the throne of Our Lord ever praying and interceding for us, her children. From the cross Christ said to the Theotokos, “Woman behold your son!” and to His beloved disciple, St. John, “Behold Your Mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home” (John 19, 26-27). At the foot of Christ’s cross, the Theotokos became a mother to all of us. The Apolytikion of the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos remind us:
In giving birth, O Theotokos, you have retained your virginity,
and in falling asleep you have not forsaken the world. You who
are the Mother of Life have past over into life and through your
prayers you do deliver our souls from death.
“You have not forsaken the world….” This is the essence of the Theotokos’, ever-present ever-watchful, ever-praying protection for us, her children. Such is the love of a Mother. Throughout the ages, she appears to holy people and people in distress to assure us of her continuing care. St Andrew is not the only one that has seen her. People who have seen her are people like you or I. She has appeared in churches, to monks on Mount Athos, in hospital rooms and in other places that she knows need her loving care. She appears to comfort and reassure her children that she is protecting us through her constant prayers. The hymns of the Church remind us that she is “more honorable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim.” She stands at the right hand of her Son, the model of the Church interceding always for those who in faith call upon her. As we celebrate the Feast of Her Protection let us join with the angels to sing this hymn from the Divine Liturgy According to St. Basil:
All of creation rejoices in you, O full of grace; the assembly
of the angels and the human race, You are a sanctified temple
and a spiritual paradise, the glory from whom God was incarnate
and became a child – Our God, existing before all ages. He made
your womb a throne, and your body more spacious than the
heavens. All of creation rejoices in you, O full of grace.
Glory to You!
Most Holy Theotokos Pray for us! God Bless…..fr g