Today on October 14 is one of the most important feasts of the Russian Orthodox liturgical year. In Russia it is celebrated as the most important solemnity after the Twelve Great Feasts. The Protection of Our Most Holy Lady and Ever-Virgin Mary, known in Church Slavonic as Pokrov ("protection"), is a feast of the Mother of God celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches.
According to Eastern Orthodox Sacred Tradition, the apparition of Mary the Theotokos occurred during the 10th century at the Blachernae church in Constantinople. On Sunday, October 1 at four in the morning, St. Andrew the Blessed Fool-for-Christ, who was a Slav by birth, saw the dome of the church open and the Virgin Mary enter, moving in the air above him, glowing and surrounded by angels and saints. She walked to the altar and continued to pray. Afterwards, she spread her veil over all the people in the church as a protection.
St Andrew turned to his disciple, St. Epiphanius, who was standing near him, and asked, "Do you see, brother, the Holy Theotokos, praying for all the world?" Epiphanius answered, "Yes, Holy Father, I see it and am amazed!" they contemplated the veil of the Virgin Mary, but soon it became invisible too. Though the divine grace was left at this place.
The Protection of the Mother of God Day is celebrated in Russia after the 12th century, the Church regards it among Twelve Great Feasts. It was set up by Andrew Bogolyubskyi in 1164. first temples devoted to the Holy Virgin appeared in Russia in the same century.
The famous temple upon the Nerl River was built by Andrew Bogolyubsky in 1165. the first monastery of the Holy Virgin appeared in Novgorod in the 12th century, and in 1560 in commemoration of seizure of Kazan tsar Ivan the Terrible built the Moscow Cathedral of Intercession Upon the Moat (Cathedral of Pokrov upon moat), popularly known as the Saint Basil's Cathedral. Cathedrals devoted to the Protection of the Mother of God were often built in commemoration of victories.
Pokrov (the Protection of the Mother of God) is a patron of Russian weddings. All maidens lightened candles at the icon of the Holy Virgin and prayed for their near marriage. In the morning they asked the Pokrov "to cover earth with snow and maiden with a shawl", as shawl was a symbol of marriage. The more snow were on the Pokrov Day, the more marriages would be celebrated next year.
The Protection of the Mother of God is symbol of protection and
consolation, of prayer for Salvation of the world from sorrows and
in modern Ukraine this Day has turned into noisy feast. So, last year in the Pyrogovo Museum there was a feast and fair under the open sky. More than 40 Ukrainian amateurs presented their production, such as embroidery, wooden, clay and ceramic production. At the main scene of the Museum musicians and singers of folk style presented their programs.
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