Metropolitan Hilarion: on the Feast of the Holy Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos we glorify the heavenly intercession of the Mother of God
On October 14, 2021, on the feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Lady and Ever-Virgin Mary, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Moscow church in honor of the icon of the Mother of God "Joy to All who Sorrow" on Bolshaya Ordynka.
The archpastor was co-served by the head of the missionary department of the Vladimir diocese, Archpriest Arkady Makovetsky, and the church's clerics.
The day before, Metropolitan Hilarion celebrated an all-night vigil at the same church.
During the Litany of Fervent Supplication, petitions were offered up for deliverance of the coronavirus infection.
After the Litany, Metropolitan Hilarion lifted up a prayer recited at the time of the spread of baneful pestilence.
At the end of the Divine Liturgy, the Archpastor addressed the congregation with a sermon:
«In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit!
In today’s divine service we heard the following words: Today the Virgin stands in the midst of the Church and with choirs of saints She invisibly prays to God for us. These words reflect the very essence of the celebrated event - the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos.
Saint Andrew the Fool, who presumably lived in the 10th century, during the all-night vigil in the Blachernae Church in Constantinople, saw the Mother of God descend fr om heaven to those who were praying, accompanied by the Apostle John the Theologian and John the Baptist, to protect Her city and Her people. She removed the veil from her head, which we call Her precious veil, and spread it over the city and over the people. And this radiant vision, which the saint told the people about, formed the basis of today's holiday.
It is interesting that this holiday became so popular in Russia, whereas in Greece, this event is remembered little and is not celebrated very solemnly. But when the Most Holy Theotokos came to Russia together with Orthodoxy, our people fell in love with the feast of Her Protection. Saint Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky built the famous Church of the Intercession on the Nerl in honor of the Intercession, and after that other churches began to be erected throughout Russia in honor of this event.
Celebrating now the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos, we glorify Her heavenly intercession and protection. Many people come to the all-night vigil, stand and pray, but not everyone, like the holy fool Andrew, can see with their spiritual eyes the Most Holy Theotokos, angels and saints, who are invisibly praying to God with us and for us.
Whenever a divine service is performed in the church, especially when the Divine Liturgy is celebrated, not only people who have come to the service are present, but also heavenly forces, as well as the saints whom we speak to in prayers. And above all of us stands the Most Holy Theotokos - the more honorable than the cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the seraphim, immensely superior in her holiness not only to any human being, but also to angelic forces. She invisibly prays to God for us and stretches out Her omophorion, protecting us from all evil, covering us and interceding for us before Her Son and before our Heavenly Father.
The image of the Mother of God - the Intercessor and Protector - has become so popular among the Russian people that the feast of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos is celebrated no less solemnly than the twelve great feasts.
We pray to the Mother of God, we ask Her to protect us, our Fatherland, our loved ones from all evil. This prayer is always relevant, but it is especially relevant now, when our Fatherland and the whole world have suffered a terrible test, when several hundred people die every day before our eyes. The number of deaths in our country alone approached a thousand a day. This is a lot. People in their prime and in old age - those who could have lived for another ten years or several decades, in severe suffering, gasping for breath, unable even to say goodbye to their loved ones in a human way, leave this world. We pray for them. We pray for everyone who is losing their loved ones now. We turn to the Most Holy Theotokos with a prayer that She would help all of us to survive this difficult test. We pray so that She would help those who are now on the bed of illness, and those who are on their deathbed, and protect everyone else from this terrible illness.
Of course, we ourselves must make efforts and follow all the necessary precautions. But in prayer we are called to always turn to the Most Holy Theotokos, because She is our Intercessor, our Protector. If She wants, She will turn away any misfortune from us, as it happened many times during our Russian history, when huge hordes of enemies were found, but by the power of the Most Holy Theotokos they were driven away.
We believe that this misfortune that befell us, through the prayers of the Queen of Heaven, through the intercession of St. John the Baptist, the holy Apostle John the Theologian, who appeared with Her, at the intercession of other saints, including the Holy Royal Passion-bearers and all the new martyrs and confessors of the Russian Church, will stop, and we will be able to thank the Lord for His heavenly mercies and for the fact that He protects and covers us from all evil. "
Then, on the instructions of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk laid the doctoral cross on Archpriest Arkady Makovetsky, who defended his doctoral dissertation “The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia: the stage of the emergence and organizational design of its parishes on the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church and their unification with the Mother Church (1990-2007) "at the General Church Doctoral Dissertation Council on April 6, 2021.
Congratulating Archpriest Arkady on the successful defense of his dissertation, Vladyka, in particular, said:
“The topic of your dissertation, Father Arkady, is very relevant, for it is dedicated to schisms in the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church.
In the 90s, when confusion reigned in the minds of many of our people, when we were still far from unity with the Russian Church Abroad, structures of the Church Abroad began to be created on the canonical territory of the Russian Church, which were, so to speak, in opposition to the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. ...
All this was overcome with God's help when in 2007 the historic reunification of the Church in the Fatherland with the Church in the diaspora took place. Only a few remained who did not want to join the Church. Even today they constitute small schismatic associations, wh ere, as some sometimes joke, there are more metropolitans than parishioners, because the flock does not follow these people.
Attempts to create an alternative Orthodox Church on the canonical territory of the Moscow Patriarchate took place especially in the 90s. Father Arkady described this in his doctoral dissertation, and having successfully defended his dissertation at the Ss. Cyril and Methodius Institute of Postgraduate Studies, at our dissertation council, he received a doctoral cross today. "
In conclusion, Metropolitan Hilarion congratulated all those present on the feast of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos, saying: “Let the Mother of God cover all of us from all evil with Her precious veil,”.
DECR Communication Service