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Theotokos "Holy Protection" icon (2)
Orthodox Icon of the Theotokos the Holy Protection, Theotokos "Agia Skepi" (2).
Commemorated October 28th.
This miraculous appearance of the Mother of God occurred at in the Blachernae church in in Constantinople the mid-tenth century. It was in this church where her robe, veil, and part of her belt were preserved after being transferred from Palestine in the fifth century. On Sunday, October 1, during the All Night Vigil, when the church was overflowing with those at prayer, the Fool-for-Christ St Andrew, at four o'clock in the morning, the Most-holy Theotokos appeared above the people, holding her omophorion outstretched as a protective covering for the faithful. She was clothed in gold-encrusted purple, and shone with an ineffable radiance, surrounded by apostles, saints, martyrs and virgins.
The Most Holy Virgin tearfully prayed for Christians for a long time. Then she came near the Bishop's Throne and continued her prayer. After completing her prayer she took her veil and spread it over the people praying in church, protecting them from enemies both visible and invisible. The Most Holy Lady Theotokos was resplendent with heavenly glory, and the protecting veil in her hands gleamed more than the rays of the sun. St Andrew gazed trembling at the miraculous vision and he asked his disciple, the blessed Epiphanius standing beside him, Do you see, brother, the Holy Theotokos, praying for all the world? Epiphanius answered, I do see, holy Father, and I am in awe.
The Ever-Blessed Mother of God implored the Lord Jesus Christ to accept the prayers of all the people calling on His Most Holy Name, and to respond speedily to her intercession, "O Heavenly King, accept all those who pray to You and call on my name for help. Do not let them not go away from my icon unheard."
On the Feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos we implore the defense and assistance of the Queen of Heaven, "Remember us in your prayers, O Lady Virgin Mother of God, that we not perish by the increase of our sins. Protect us from every evil and from grievous woes, for in you do we hope, and venerating the Feast of your Protection, we magnify you."
Theotokos "Healer" icon
Annunciation of Theotokos Icon(SSC)
Byzantine icon of Annunciation (Evangelismos, of the Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary.
Commemorated March 25.
This beautiful icon is made with the specific technique of silkscreen on real gold foil. This Orthodox icon depicts the Archangel Gabriel (left), and the Virgin Mary (right). Gabriel is shown with his feet apart indicating the joy and urgency of his message. The staff he holds in his hand is to symbolize that he is a messenger of God. He extends his right hand towards Mary as a blessing from God. The virgin Mary stands in an elevated place indicating that she is greater in honor than the cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the seraphim, who without corruption gave birth to God the Word.
She holds in her right hand spindle of scarlet yarn indicating her task of making the veil for the Temple in Jerusalem. Her raised right hand is an indication of her acceptance of the message brought by Gabriel and her stance shows her willingness to cooperate with God. On her clothing are three stars symbolizing that she was a virgin before , during and after the birth of Christ. At the top we can see a circle which indicated the Divine realm and the descent of the Holy Spirit acting on her. On this feast day we celebrate not only the work of God's plan for our salvation through the Incarnation of Christ, but also the human response of Mary who with voluntary obedience accepted the role God gave her.