Hundreds of believers attended the Divine Liturgy celebrated in Romanian language last week at the Blachernae Church in Constantinople where St Andrew the Fool for Christ witnessed the Theotokos entering the church, surrounded by angels and saints.
The feast of the Protection of the Theotokos celebrates the appearance of the Mother of God at Blachernae (Vlaherna) in the tenth century.
The Blachernae Palace church was where several of her relics were kept. The relics included her robe, veil, and a part of her belt that had been transferred from Palestine during the fifth century.
According to tradition, the Theotokos approached the center of the church, knelt down and remained in prayer for a long time.
Her face was drowned in tears. Then she took her veil (cerement) off and spread it over the people as a sign of protection. During the time, the people in the city were threatened by a barbarian invasion. After the appearance of the Mother of God, the danger was averted and the city was spared from bloodshed and suffering.
Over 400 people including members of the Romanian Orthodox parish in Constantinople and other pilgrims coming from Romania flocked to honour the blessed feast of the Protection of the Theotokos on October 1, 2019.
The Divine Liturgy in Romanian language was celebrated by Fr. Sergiu Marcel Vlad, rector of the Romanian Parish at St Paraskevi Church in Constantinople, in the presence (chorostasia) of Bishop Adrianos of Alikarnassos, representing the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Bishop Adrianos conveyed the blessings of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the congregation.