The Protection of Our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

On October 1, 911, during the reign of Emperor Leo the Wise, an all-night vigil was being held at the Blachernae Church of the Mother of God in Constantinople, with many of the faithful crowding the church. St Andrew the Fool for Christ (commemorated tomorrow, October 2) was standing at the back of the church with his disciple Epiphanius.

At around four in the morning, the most holy Theotokos appeared above the people, clothed in resplendent garments, surrounded by indescribable radiance, and holding a veil in her outstretched hands, as though to protect all the people. St Andrew said to Epiphanius ‘Do you see how the Queen and Lady of all is praying for the whole world?’ Epiphanius replied ‘Yes, Father, I see it and stand in dread.’ This wonderful event is recorded in Epiphanius’ life of St Andrew. Because of it, the Church keeps an annual feast on this date.

Note: This feast is particularly well-loved in the Slavic churches. In 1960, the Greek church transferred its observance to October 28, in memory of the Mother of God’s protection of the Greek forces holding the Albanian front against Italy in 1940.

 

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