Unlike in other local Orthodox Churches, in the Russian Church, the feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos is considered a great holy day and is treated much as one of the twelve major holy days of the Orthodox Church. In part this is due to historical reasons. This feast commemorates the miraculous appearance of the Most Holy Mother of God in the Church of Blachernae in ancient Constantinople, when the city was in danger of sacking by pagan warriors from present-day Russia. This intervention of the Holy Virgin caused the pagans to reevaluate their paganism, upon beholding the power of the Mother of God in protecting the Orthodox people.
This feast has always been considered as the feast of the Cossacks, those fiercely patriotic peoples who inhabited the border lands of the Russian Empire and were always defending the fatherland from its enemies. In the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, many parishes founded by Cossack exiles bear the name of Holy Protection.
Our Holy Trinity Monastery holds in great veneration a small thread from the Belt of the Most Holy Theotokos, which is enshrined in the icon of the Protection, painted by our master iconographer, Archimandrite Cyprian. This precious relic was gifted to the monastery by pious people in Beirut, Lebanon in 1953, when an ancient church was excavated in that historical city, and this sacred holy thing was discovered with a written testament to its validity.
Many pilgrims assembled in the monastery church for the All-Night Vigil and the Divine Liturgy the following day, celebrated by His Grace, Bishop Luke, abbot of the monastery, along with the monastery clergy.
This feast is considered the patronal feast of our choir, whose members with its director, Deacon Nicholas Kotar, were prayed for in the liturgy and commemorated at the end in the Many Years chanted for those whose name’s day it was. We also commemorated past choir directors of the monastery among the reposed, as this day, St. Roman the Sweet-Singer is also commemorated, the very one who was directing the chanting in the church when the Mother of God appeared to those present in the temple.