Holiday of the Week

  • The Intercession of the Theotokos (Pokrov Svete Bogorodice), celebrated on October 14th

The Intercession of the Theotokos or the Protection of Our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, known in Slavonic as Pokrov (Покровъ, “protection”) is a feast of the Mother of God celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox. The feast celebrates the protection afforded the faithful through the intercessions of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary).

The Slavic word Pokrov has a complex meaning. First of all, it refers to a cloak or shroud, but it also means protection or intercession.

Belief: According to Eastern Orthodox Sacred Tradition, the apparition of Mary the Theotokos occurred during the 10th century at the Blachernae church in Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) where several of her relics (her robe, veil, and part of her belt) were kept. 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 knelt and prayed with tears for all faithful Christians in the world. The Virgin Mary asked Her Son, Jesus Christ, to accept the prayers of all the people entreating Him and looking for Her protection. Once Her prayer was completed, She walked to the altar and continued to pray. Afterwards, She spread Her veil over all the people in the church as a protection. (From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intercession_of_the_Theotokos)

 

  • St. Petka (Sveta Petka), celebrated on October 27th

Saint Parascheva of the Balkans (also known as Petka), was an ascetic female saint of the 11th century. She was born in the town of Epivates (close to today’s Istanbul) on the shore of the Sea of Marmara; her parents were wealthy landowners.

The legend says that when she was 10 years old, Parascheva heard in a church the Lord’s words: “Whoever wants to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” These words would determine her to give her rich clothes away to the poor and flee to Constantinople. She lived an austere life, experiencing visions of the Virgin Mary. Her voyages took her to Jerusalem, wishing to spend the rest of her life there. After seeing Jerusalem, she settled in convent in the river Jordanian desert. When she was 25, an angel appeared in her dreams, telling her to return to homeland. She returned to Constantinople, and then when she was 25, lived in the village of Kallikrateia, in the church of the Holy Apostles. She died at the age of 27.

Belief: Christian tradition states that after an old sinner was buried near Parascheva’s grave, the saint protested by appearing in a dream to a local monk. The vision informed the monk where the saint had been buried; when the body was unearthed, it was found to be incorruptible. The relics were translated to the church of the Holy Apostles in Kallikrateia

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parascheva_of_the_Balkans).

 

  • Saint Demetrius of Thessaloniki (Mitrovdan), celebrated on November 8th

Saint Demetrius of Thessaloniki was a Christian martyr, who lived in the early 4th century. During the Middle Ages, he came to be revered as one of the most important Orthodox military saints, often paired with Saint George.

The earliest written accounts of his life were compiled in the 9th century, although there are earlier images of him, and the 7th-century Miracles of Saint Demetrius collection. According to these early accounts, Demetrius was born to religious Christian parents in Thessaloniki, Greece in 270. The biographies have Demetrius as a young man of senatorial family who was run through with spears in around 306 AD in Thessaloniki, during the Christian persecutions of the emperor Diocletian, which matches his depiction in the 7th century mosaics.

One theory is that his veneration was transferred from Sirmium when Thessaloniki replaced it as the main military base in the area in 441/442 AD. His very large church in Thessaloniki, the Hagios Demetrios, dates from the mid-5th century. Thessaloniki remained a centre of his veneration, and he is the patron saint of the city. (From www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitrovdan)