At a time when ancient Christian communities in the East are under severe persecution, and in an era of rising secularism in the West hostile to traditional faith, seen on many levels including the recent shooting of Christians in Oregon and threats to religious freedom, many Americans of all backgrounds are turning to the Orthodox Church as the living and growing tradition of the Apostolic Church. This is reflected in our name. The Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, in Orthodox tradition is known to intercede for the faithful with Christ our God in times of severe trial, from the Byzantine era to those of communist and fascist persecutions, into the present.
May the Most Holy Mother of God intercede for the protection of us in Union County and our American land, to her Son the Lord Jesus Christ our God!
by the Very Rev. Archpriest Fr. Claude Vinyard, Acting Rector of Holy Protection Mission Church
The Church has always glorified the most holy Mother of God as the Protectress and Defender of the Christian people, entreating, by her intercession, God’s loving-kindness towards us sinners. The Mother of God’s aid has clearly shown times without number, both to individuals and to peoples, both in peace and in war, both in monastics deserts and in crowded cities. The event that the Church commemorates and celebrates today proves this constant protection of the Christian people by the Mother of God. On October 1st, 911, in the time of Leo the Wise (or the Philosopher), there was an all-night vigil at the Blachernae church of the Mother of God in Constantinople. The church was crowded. St. Andrew the Fool for Christ was standing at the back of the church with his disciple Epiphanius. At four o’clock in the morning, the most holy Mother of God appeared above the people with a veil spread over her out stretched hands, as though to protect them with this covering. She was clad in gold-encrusted purple and shone with an unspeakable radiance, surrounded by apostles, saints, martyrs and virgins. Seeing this vision, St. Andrew gestured towards it and asked 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.’ As a result, this commemoration was instituted to remind us both of this event and the Mother of God’s constant protection whenever we prayerfully seek her protection, that shelter, in distress.
– The Prologue from Ochrid.
The Feast Day of the Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God is celebrated on October 14 on the Civil Calendar.
Glory be to God for all things.