Dear Parish Faithful,
Today, October 1, is the Feast of the Holy Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos. The Great Horologion describes the Feast in this manner:
"The Feast of the Protection commemorates the appearance of the most holy Theotokos in the Church of Blachernae in Constantinople in the early sixth century, as recorded in the life of St. Andrew the Fool for Christ's sake. While the multitudes of the faithful were gathered in church, Epiphanius, the friend of St. Andrew, through the saint's prayers, beheld the Virgin Mary above the faithful and spreading out her veil over them, signifying her unceasing protection of all Christians. Because of this we keep a yearly feast of gratitude, imploring our Lady never to cease sheltering us in her mighty prayers."
As we chant in one of the hymns of the Feast:
Heaven and earth are sanctified,
the Church shines and all people make glad.
For behold, the Mother of God with the hosts of angels,
with preachers and evangelists, prophets and apostles,
has invisibly entered.
She prays to Christ for Christians
and entreats Him to have mercy on this city and people
who glorify the Feast of her Protecting Veil. (Stichera at Great Vespers)