Russia Religion Subjects Virgin Mary The Intercession of the Holy Virgin

The Intercession of the Holy Virgin

This subject is taken from the Life of St Andrew the Fool, who lived in the late ninth and early tenth centuries. Andrew had a vision of the Mother of God while praying with his disciple Epiphanios in the Church of Blachernae in Constantinople, where the Virgin’s robe and head-veil (maforia) were enshrined. The event occurred during the evening service, when the Virgin was seen walking on the air, accompanied by St John the Baptist and St John the Theologian and surrounded by a host of angels and saints in white robes. She then removed her veil and held it out over the congregation below.

The Intercession of the Holy Virgin (1/14 October) is believed to have been first established in Russia in the 1160s, during the reign of Prince Andrew Bogolyubsky of Vladimir. It was only later that it was celebrated by the Greek Orthodox Church. The festival was inspired by the Byzantine cult of the robe of the Mother of God and is closely linked to the concept of the patronage and intercession of the Virgin on behalf of Russia and the whole human race.

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