The Protecting veil of the Most Holy Mother of God Virgin Mary.
Celebration day is on the October 14th (previously October 1st).
The term “protecting veil” is translated from Slavonic as “cover”, as well as “protection”. Blessed Virgin is pictured on the icon of the protecting veil of the Most Holy Mother of God Virgin Mary levitating in the air and praying for the world, surrounded by faces of cherubs, sons of Mary and Apostles and brightening Christians by her protecting veil.
This image acts as a memorial of miraculous vision that appeared in front of St. Andrew the God’s fool in the Church of Blachernae (at the beginning of the 20th Century) in Constantinople during the night long Sunday vigil. Life of Andrew narrates the following about the vision of Holy Mother: “One day, during the night long blessing in the Church of Blachernae, glorious Andrew came there”. Epiphanius (St. Andrew’s follower) was there as well with one of his servants. As he often did, he was standing as long as he could, sometimes until the middle of the night; sometimes until the morning. At 4am, Andrew saw with his own eyes the majestic Wife, walking from the Royal doors with the frightful escort where honest John the Forerunner and son of thunder (Saint Apostle John the Theologian) were supporting Her with their hands and many saints in white raiments were following Her; other followers were singing sacred and spiritual songs. When she reached the Ambon, the venerable came to Epiphanius and said “Do you see Most Holy Mother of God?”. ”I see Her and I blanche”, he answered. When they were looking at Her, She, kneeling down, was praying for long hours, steeping in tears, Her godlike and pure Face. When she finished Her prayer there, She came to the altar and prayed there for the crowd. At the end of the prayer, She took off great and majestic cover (omophorion) resembling the lightning that she wore on her pure head and, holding it with Her pure hands and with great solemnity, overspread it above all standing crowd. Miraculous men (Saint Andrew and Epiphanius) looked for good while at this cover and glaring glory of the God overspread above the crowd; and while the Holy Mother could see the cover. When She left, it became invisible. She took it with Her but She left the blessing for all that were there. (Month archangel Sergius, II, 405.)
Thus, Mother of God appeared in the air praying for the world, surrounded by faces of cherubs, sons of Mary and Apostles, tearfully praying for people. Most Holy Mother of God was asking Jesus Christ to listen to the prayers of all people, calling His the Most Holy name and falling back on Her protection. “Holy Father, said Most Holy Mother of God in Her prayer levitating in the air and surrounded by Angels, accept every person who is praying to you and saying My Name for help, no one will leave me without being heard”. She finished the prayer and took off the omophorion (cover) and, holding it with Her pure hands, overspread it above all the standing crowd.
On the occasion of many political disturbances in Greek Empire, day of the Protecting veil was not included in the feast days. Russian Church has an honour of creation this high day. From its origin it put its faith in the protecting veil of the Most Holy Mother and blessed the day of the protecting veil by the festive celebration. St Andrew’s vision appeared on October 1st and therefore on that day Church created a celebration of the annual memorial dedicated to the appearance of the Most Holy Mother’s special cover above it.
High day of the Mantle of Our Lady especially is reputed in Orthodox Russia. Since high antiquity, the Mantle of Our Lady’s cathedrals have been raised up in Rus, there are many miracle-working and venerated icons dedicated to Her protective veil and reverentially hallowed by believers.
World famous the Church of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin on the Nerl was built in 1165 by the Saint Duke Andrew the Pious. Only because of him the High day of the Mantle of Our Lady was established in Russian Church. In the twelfth century, there was a monastery of Protection of the Blessed Virgin (so called Zvorinskiy monastery); in Moscow by John the Terrible, the Cathedral of the protecting veil of the Holy Mother of God was built next to the Church of Blessed Trinity (known as Saint Basil’s Cathedral). On the high day of the Protection of the Blessed Virgin we ask for protection and help from the heavenly Queen: “Remember us in Your prayers, the Blessed Virgin, do not let us die for the increase of our sins, protect us from all the evil and fierce bear downs; in You we trust and we praise You during Your high day of protecting veil.”