Theotokos "Holy Protection" icon (1)
Icon of the Thetokos Holy Protection, "Agia Skepi", "Panaghia "Agia Skepi".
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, u201cO 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."
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