La Chiesa ortodossa ha celebrato, il 14 ottobre 2017, la festa liturgica della Madre di Dio della Protezione che, nella tradizione dell’Oriente cristiano, si manifesta, sotto il profilo artistico, nell’icona della Madre di Dio di Pokrov. Nella sua pagina Facebook, il gruppo Orthodoxy Eternal Life ha pubblicato, in lingua inglese, un breve contributo esplicativo che ripercorre, soprattutto, le origini storiche della festa con qualche accenno alle sue valenze simboliche. Lo riproponiamo per gli amici del nostro sito.
From time immemorial, the Church has celebrated the Most-holy Theotokos as the patroness and protectress of the Christian people, who, by her intercessory prayers, implores God’s mercy for us sinners. The help of the Most-holy Mother of God has been clearly shown numerous times, to individuals and to nations, in peace and in war, in monastic deserts and in densely populated cities. The event that the Church commemorates and celebrates today confirms the Theotokos’ consistent protection of Christian people. On October 1, 911, during the reign of Emperor Leo the Wise, there was an All-night Vigil in the Blachernae Church of the Mother of God in Constantinople. The church was full of people. St. Andrew the Fool-for-Christ was standing in the rear of the church with his disciple Epiphanius. 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. St. Andrew said to Blessed Epiphanius: “Do you see, brother, the Queen and Lady of all praying for the whole world?” Epiphanius replied: “I see, Father, and am struck with amazement!” The Feast of the Protection was instituted to commemorate this event, and to remind us that we can prayerfully receive the unceasing protection of the Most-holy Theotokos in any time of difficulty.
On the images of the Theotokos, three stars are always visible, which are located next to her head and hands. This means that She has always been and remains a Virgin: before the Nativity, during the Nativity and after the Nativity of Jesus Christ. The holiness of Mary allowed Her to become the Vessel of the Divine Spirit and to preserve the mystery of the incarnation of God. Even after Her Assumption, She does not leave people, but She prays for them, so the icon of the “Protection of the Blessed Virgin” is especially revered. How does the Mother of God help? Most importantly, the Virgin Mary asks God to save the whole human race. This is the greatness of the Mother of God.