14 October 2023
Dear brothers and sisters!
I greet you on the great and particularly revered Feast of the Protection of Our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary.
Today, we commemorate the miraculous deliverance of Orthodox Christians of the East from a siege of invading troops and praise the Most Pure Virgin for Her unceasing care about the Church of Christ and God’s people.
The Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos is a feast which reminds that one should never go against God, His Most Pure Mother, and His Church. That is certainly a losing choice.
It is important to think about this for those who encroach upon the holy domain of the Mother of God these days as well. And what is this domain? It is, of course, not mountains, valleys, and rivers, not square kilometers. It is the hearts of Orthodox people. It is our churches and monasteries, erected for prayer and the salvation of many generations, not for worldly concerts and shows.
Enemies of Christ want to ban our Mother Church and turn sacred places into an abomination of desolation. They even tried to rob the people of the very Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God, which has been celebrated on this day since the XII century. But through prayers of the Theotokos, the Lord will soon scatter all of it, like He once scattered the fleet of barbarians at the walls of Constantinople. All of it will vanish like smoke, becoming merely one more page of history.
The Mother of God extends Her protecting Veil only over children of the Church, over those who turn to Her and to Her Divine Son in sincere prayer, who need Her gracious help. Who put all their trust in the Lord and His Most Pure Mother in the face of the most serious threats of our sinful and sometimes so horrible world.
The protecting Veil of the Most Holy Theotokos is not extended only over enemies of Christ and His traitors. Over those who themselves, either already openly or, for the time being, in thoughts, have decided to leave the holy Protection — the fence of the Church — because of fear, blackmail, or promises of earthly good things and honours. Those who have believed the sweet lies of the deceiver and have chosen the path of the poor Judas.
I believe that the Most Pure Virgin prays for them as well. May they understand, may they repent, before it is too late!
 And we, let us rejoice at these hard times that the Most Holy Theotokos is always with us. Let us thank Her today and in all days of our lives for the fact that despite the sufferings and deprivations, unjust accusations and persecutions, the grace of God covers us in the true Church of Christ, which the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the omophorion of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufriy was, is, and will be in our lands.
I once again greet you, dear brothers and sisters, on the feast!
I wish all of us the Protection and blessing of the Queen of Heaven!
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