On Sunday, at four o'clock in the morning, the Church of St. Mary of Blachernae in Constantinople, crowded with people, was serving the All-Night Vigil.

Andrew the fool-for-Christ's sake, who was inside the church, raised his eyes and saw the Blessed Virgin Mary standing on the air and praying, shining with sunlight and covering people with her holy omophorion.

Upon seeing that, Saint Andrew said to his disciple, the blessed Epiphanius: "Do you see, brother, the Holy Theotokos, praying for all the world?"

Epiphany answered: "I do see, holy Father, and I am in awe."

The Protection of Our Most Holy Lady Theotokos is a great Orthodox holiday of the miraculous phenomenon of the Intercession of the Blessed Virgin.

This phenomenon and this sign meant salvation for inhabitants of the city from invasion, misery and deprivation.

In difficult days of turmoil, the days of war and schism, we pray to the Most Holy Theotokos that she stretched her veil above our land, above all of us, and peace and love return to our homes and hearts.

Today we Orthodox people joyfully celebrate Thy glorious coming among us, O Mother of God, and gazing upon Thy most pure image, we say with compunction: Shelter us with Thy most precious protection, and deliver us from all evil, and pray to Thy Son, Christ our God, that He save our souls.

Happy Holiday!