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The Protection (Pokrov) of the Most Holy Mother of God

The Protection (Pokrov) of the Most Holy Mother of God

“The Virgin today doth stand forth within the Church, and with the choirs of the Saints invisibly for us doth pray to God: angels with hierarchs make reverence, and apostles with prophets sing forth: for us the Birthgiver of God prayeth the Praeternal God” — this miraculous appearance of the Mother of God occurred in the mid-X Century at Constantinople, in the Blakhernae church where there was preserved the Robe of the Mother of God, Her Head-Veil (mathoria) and part of the Belt-Sash, transferred from Palestine in the V Century. On Sunday, 1 October, during the time of the all-night vigil, when the church was overflowing with those at prayer, the Fool-for-Christ Saint Andrew (Comm. 2 October) at the fourth hour of the night lifted up his eyes towards the heavens, and beheld coming through the air our MostHoly Lady Mother of God resplendent with an Heavenly light and surrounded by an assembly of the Saints. The holy Baptist of the Lord John and the holy Apostle John the Theologian accompanied the Queen of Heaven. On bended knee the MostHoly Virgin began with tears to pray for Christians and for a long time was at prayer. Then, coming nigh the Prestol’-Throne, She continued Her prayer, which having completed She then took from Her head the veil and spread it over the people praying in church, protecting them from enemies both visible and invisible. The MostHoly Lady Mother of God was resplendent with Heavenly glory, and the protecting veil in Her hands gleamed “more than the rays of the sun”. Saint Andrew gazed atrembling at the miraculous vision and he asked of his disciple Blessed Epiphanios standing alongside him: “Dost thou see, brother, the Queen and Lady, praying for all the world?” Epiphanios answered: “I do see, holy father, and I be in awe”. The Ever-Blessed Mother of God implored of the Lord Jesus Christ to accept the prayers of all the people, calling on His MostHoly Name and hastening in recourse to Her intercession. “O Heavenly King, — sayeth in prayer the Immaculate Queen standing aethereally amidst the Angels, — accept every person, that prayeth unto Thee and calleth on My Name for help, let them not go empty away unheard from before My Visage”. Saints Andrew and Epiphanios, granted to behold the Mother of God at prayer, “for a long time did gaze at the protecting veil spread over the people and the lightning like flashes in glory to the Lord; as long as the Most Holy Mother of God was there, so likewise was the protecting veil visible; but with Her departure it likewise became invisible, and though having taken it with Her, She left behind the grace of having been there”. At the Blakhernae church was preserved the memory of the miraculous appearance of the Mother of God. In the XIV Century, the Russian pilgrim and clerk Aleksandr saw within the church an icon of the MostHoly Mother of God praying for the world, and written such, as depicting Saint Andrew in contemplation of Her. But the Greek Church does not know this feast. [trans. note: i.e. does not historically celebrate this feast. Our Russian source is here reticent concerning the historical circumstances occasioning the necessary protective intercession of the Mother of God, and it reflects a great irony, that for the Russians rather than for the Greeks this should be an important feast, since it celebrates the Divine destruction by a storm of a large pagan-Russian fleet under Askold and Dir which threatened Constantinople itself, sometime in the years 864-867, or per the Russian historian Vasiliev on 18 June 860.

The Russian Primary Chronicle of Saint Nestor notes this miraculous deliverance following the all-night vigil and the dipping of the garment of the Mother of God into the waters of the sea at the Blakhernae church, but without mention of Saints Andrew and Epiphanios and their vision of the Mother of God at prayer. These latter elements, and the beginnings of the celebrating of the feast of Pokrov, seem to postdate Saint Nestor and the Chronicle. A further historical complication might be noted under the 2 October entry for Saint Andrew — that of his demise in the year 936. Either this year of death might not be quite reliable, or that he survived into quite extreme old age after the vision of his youth, or that his vision involved some historically later pagan-Russian raid which met with the same fate. The below suggestion likewise that the Saint Andrew of the vision was a Slav (or a Skyth per other sources, such as S. V. Bulgakov) — is a nice touch, but not necessarily chauvinism: the extent of historical South Slavic penetration and re-population into Greece is the stuff of scholarly disputes].

In the Prologue, a Russian book of the XII Century, is contained a description about the establishing of the special feastday in honour of this event: “For lo, when we heard, — we realised, how wondorus and merciful was the vision and moreover an expectation and intercession on our behalf, without celebration… and it transpired, that Thy holy Pokrov-Protection should not remain without festal-celebration, O Ever-Blessed One!”. Wherefore in the festal celebration of the Divine-services to the Pokrov-Protection of the Mother of God, the Russian Church intones: ” With the choirs of the Angels, O Sovereign Lady, with the venerable and glorious prophets, with the First-Ranked Apostles and with the PriestMartyrs and Sainted-hierarchs pray Thou for us sinners, glorifying the feast of Thine Protection in the Russian Land”. And moreover, it would seem that Saint Andrew, contemplating the miraculous vision, was a Slav, taken captive and at Constantinople given over into slavery to the local inhabitant named Theognost.

Churches in honour of the Pokrov-Protection of the Mother of God appeared in Russia in the XII Century. Widely known on its architectural merit is the temple of the Pokrov at Nerla, which was built in the year 1165 by holy Prince Andrei Bogoliubsky. Through the efforts of this holy prince was also established in the Russian Church the feast itself, the Pokrov-Protection of the Mother of God, in about the year 1164. At Novgorod in the XII Century there existed a monastery of the Pokrov of the MostHoly Mother of God (the so-called Zverinsk monastery); at Moscow also under tsar Ivan the Terrible was built the cathedral of the Pokrov of the Mother of God at the church of the Holy Trinity (known as the church of Saint Basil the Great).

On the feast of the Pokrov Protection of the MostHoly Mother of God we implore the defense and assist of the Queen of Heaven: “Remember us in Thine prayers, O Lady Virgin Mother of God, that we perish not by the increase of our sins, protect us from every evil and from grievous woes; for on Thee do we hope, and venerating the feast of Thine Pokrov, Thee do we magnify”.

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St. Seraphim Memorial Church to the Reunification | Sea Cliff, NY

On Wednesday, August 1, on the feast of the Finding of the Relics of St. Seraphim of Sarov, the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York, celebrated the Divine Liturgy in St. Seraphim’s Church in Sea Cliff, NY, on the occasion of the parish’s patronal feast.

In accordance with the resolution of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad of June 14, 2012, St. Seraphim’s Church received the status of a Memorial Church to the restoration of the fullness of brotherly communion and unity within the Russian Orthodox Church. The church’s frescoes are to be dedicated to the entire 1000-year path of the Russian Orthodox Church, from the Baptism of Russia to the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion. Work continues on the frescoes.

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Stars of the Orient: New Martyrs of China

Troparion, in the Fifth Tone:

In a pagan land ye were enlightened by the Orthodox Faith,
and having lived in the Faith but a little time,
ye inherited the eternal Kingdom.
By the purity of your Christian ways
ye put to shame the false Confucian piety
and trampled demon-inspired Buddhism underfoot as refuse,
sanctifying the Chinese land with your blood.
Wherefore, we pray:
Entreat the Master of all
that He enlighten your land with Orthodoxy in these latter times,
and strengthen us therein.

Kontakion, in the First Tone:

O Martyrs of these latter times,
ye whitened your garments in the blood of the Lamb,
and shed your own blood for Christ.
Wherefore, ye now minister unto Him day and night
in the Church of heaven.
Therefore, entreat Christ for us, O glorious Martyrs,
that He hide His little flock from the beguilement of Antichrist,
and that He lead all of us out of great tribulation
unto a land of never-waning light.

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Проповедь Патриарха в неделю 7-ю по Пасхе

27 мая 2012 года, в неделю 7-ю по Пасхе, святых отцов I Вселенского Собора, Святейший Патриарх Московский и всея Руси Кирилл возглавил служение Божественной литургии в храме Воскресения Словущего на Успенском Вражке в Москве. За Литургией была совершена хиротония архимандрита Никиты (Ананьева) во епископа Людиновского, викария Калужской епархии.

May 27, 2012, in the 7th week of Easter, the holy fathers, I Ecumenical Council, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill headed the ministry of the Divine Liturgy in the church of the Resurrection in Uspensky Vrazhek in Moscow. During the Liturgy was performed consecration of Archimandrite Nikita (Ananiev) Lyudinovskogo Bishop, Vicar of the Diocese of Kaluga.

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15 мая 2012 года на телеканале «Россия 1» состоялся премьерный показ фильма митрополита Волоколамского Илариона «Единство верных», приуроченный к 5-летию важнейшего исторического события – восстановления канонического общения между Московским Патриархатом и Русской Зарубежной Церковью. Подписание Акта о церковном воссоединении 17 мая 2007 года, по словам Святейшего Патриарха Алексия II, поставило точку в истории гражданской войны в России. Оно положило конец болезненному и драматическому разделению в церковной среде русского зарубежья, которое продолжалось в течение многих десятилетий.

Фильм рассказывает о том, как иерархи Церкви в Отечестве и в зарубежье шли к этому эпохальному событию, как преодолевались разногласия и противоречия, какими усилиями достигалось единство. Он построен на уникальных воспоминаниях и впечатлениях непосредственных участников переговорного процесса – Святейшего Патриарха Московского и всея Руси Кирилла, архиепископа Берлинско-Германского и Великобританского Марка, секретарей обеих комиссий по восстановлению канонического общения – двух митрофорных протоиереев – Николая Балашова и Александра Лебедева и многих других.

May 15, 2012 on television channel “Russia A” film premiere of Metropolitan Hilarion “The unity of the faithful”, dated to the 5th anniversary of a milestone – the restoration of canonical communion between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church. The signing of the Act of church reunion May 17, 2007, in the words of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II, has put an end to the history of the civil war in Russia. It put an end to the painful and dramatic division in the church community the Russian diaspora, which lasted for decades.

The film tells of how the hierarchy of the Church in the homeland and abroad came to this momentous event, how to overcome differences and contradictions, what efforts achieved unity. It is built on the unique memories and experiences of direct participants in the negotiation process – the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill, Archbishop of Berlin, Germany and Great Britain Mark, secretaries of the two commissions for the restoration of canonical communion – two Mitred Archpriest – Nikolai Balashov and Alexander Lebedev, and many others.

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Act of Canonical Communion – 5 Year Anniversary (Some Video Footage)

20 мая 2012 года, в неделю 6-ю по Пасхе, о слепом, Святейший Патриарх Московский и всея Руси Кирилл возглавил служение Божественной литургии в кафедральном соборном Храме Христа Спасителя в Москве. В праздничном богослужении, приуроченном к торжествам по случаю пятилетия воссоединения Русской Православной Церкви в Отечестве и за рубежом, приняла участие делегация РПЦЗ во главе с митрополитом Восточно-Американским и Нью-Йоркским Иларионом.

May 20, 2012, in the 6th week of Easter, the blind, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kyrill led the service of Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow. In a festive celebration, timed to coincide with celebrations to mark the fifth anniversary of the reunification of the Russian Orthodox Church in the homeland and abroad, attended by a delegation of the ROCOR, headed by Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York Hilarion.

20 мая в Зале церковных соборов кафедрального соборного Храма Христа Спасителя в Москве состоялся торжественный акт, посвященный пятилетию восстановления канонического единства Русской Православной Церкви. Мероприятие возглавил Святейший Патриарх Московский и всея Руси Кирилл.

May 20 at the Hall of Church Councils Cathedral of Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow held a solemn act, on the fifth anniversary of the restoration of canonical unity of the Russian Orthodox Church. The event was headed by His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kyrill.

21 мая 2012 года в Богоявленском кафедральном соборе в Елохове Святейший Патриарх Московский и всея Руси Кирилл возглавил служение панихиды по приснопамятным Святейшему Патриарху Московскому и всея Руси Алексию II и митрополиту Восточно-Американскому и Нью-Йоркскому Лавру. В числе сослуживших Его Святейшеству были члены делегации Русской Православной Церкви Заграницей, прибывшие в Москву для участия в торжествах по случаю пятилетия подписания Акта о каноническом общении между Московским Патриархатом и РПЦЗ.

May 21, 2012 at Epiphany Cathedral in Yelokhovo Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill led the memorial service service for the late Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II and Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York Laura. Among concelebrated by His Holiness were members of the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, who arrived in Moscow to take part in celebrations to mark the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion between the Moscow Patriarchate and the ROCOR.