On October 14, Orthodox believers celebrate the feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos. Archpriest Andrei Tkachev told Izvestia about the history of the holiday and its traditions.
Many holidays associated with her earthly life are dedicated to the Mother of God: Conception, Christmas, Introduction to the Temple, Dormition. The Feast of the Intercession refers to her posthumous glory, the priest noted.
“According to the common faith of the church, the Virgin Mary did not remain in the grave after her death. To the glory of God, both soul and body, she was resurrected by Jesus Christ. Her tomb is empty, as is the tomb of Jesus Christ. In this heavenly state, the Mother of God continues to actively influence the lives of people, she helps, heals, enlightens, prays for the human race. And this was presented in an event called Pokrov, ”Tkachev said.
The event became known to the Church thanks to the holy fool, the blessed Tsargrad (Constantinople) saint named Andrew. He saw in the Blachernae temple during the siege of Constantinople how the Virgin Mary walked through the air, surrounded by saints and angels, praying that Jesus Christ would have mercy on every person through the Mother of God who comes from him. Andrei told his student about what he saw, and the news spread among the people.
“In this story, people heard a certain secret, namely that the Holy Mother of God performs prayer services and intercession for Christian humanity, for those people who believe in the Son of God. Accordingly, this event turned from local to global, but not immediately, over time, ”the archpriest explained.
Tkachev also noted that the feast of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos is more revered in the Slavic lands – the Greeks did not make a holiday out of this event for a long time. In the holiday, the ROC sees confirmation and continuation of the mystery that “there is an unceasing prayer of the Most Holy Theotokos before her Tsar, the Son Jesus Christ for the human race, and especially for those who believe in the Son of God, for Christians.”
There are no special traditions for the holiday, except for visiting the temple and participating in divine services. Folk omens associated with the first snowfall, the end of autumn and the beginning of winter is completely unimportant, Tkachev added.
“This holiday has nothing to do with covering the ground with snow. The Intercession is a Christian holiday, and weather signs are tied to each separate region, ”he concluded.
On September 27, Orthodox Christians celebrated one of the 12 main holidays of the church calendar – the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The holiday was established in connection with the events of the 4th century, when Queen Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine I, found the greatest Christian shrine in Jerusalem – the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified.