Icon of the Mother of God “Quick to Hear”
The Protection of Our Most Holy Lady, the Mother of God
Icon of the Mother of God ‘’The Healer’’
Icon of Panagia Eleftherotria (“Our Lady of Deliverance”)
Commemorated October 1/14
The Queen of Heaven is particularly close to children who call upon her. She loves and helps them. Once the father of the holy Russian hierarch Joasaph of Belgorod was sitting on his porch at sunset pondering on what awaited his son when he grew up and finished his studies. Suddenly he saw the Mother of God in the air and his son on his knees, praying at Her feet. Then he heard her say to Joasaph, “Your prayer is enough for me,” and from the heights an angel flew down and cloaked the youth in a bishop’s mantle. Thus Saint Joasaph, while still a child, prayed to the Queen of Heaven, entreating her never to leave him, and she never did!
We must also pray to the holy God-pleasers, the saints, those fervent intercessors before God for us. There are entire books written about the miracles wrought by Saint Nicholas, Saint Sergius of Radonezh, Saint Seraphim of Sarov, and others. The holy ones are very close to children who call upon them. Listen to what happened to one little boy. From the age of four, his legs and arms were bent and he was unable to walk. Once, when all in the house were sleeping, the mother heard her son’s voice: “Mama, Mama!” She asked what he wanted. The boy replied: I saw a dream. An old man appeared to me and said, “Why are you crying?” I replied: “I am a cripple and can’t work, my father is poor, I am a burden to him and he grumbles.” “It is good that you pray to God,” continued the old man, “but do not cry. Go to Belgorod, pray at the tomb of Saint Joasaph, and you will walk.” The words of the hierarch came true. When the boy was brought to the relics of the Saint, he began to cross himself and then he was able to walk. Prayer is so soul-saving. Therefore I beg you, children, make a habit – and never leave it – of praying morning and evening and before beginning and ending any work. Children who turn to the Queen of Heaven and to the God-pleasing saints in their needs and sorrows draw closer to them and are protected from many calamities. Pray to the Mother of God and the saints. The Mother of God and the saints once lived on earth and were themselves in need of help from people, asking their protection and intercession.
from Patristic Talks with Children (Moscow, 1997,reprinted from a 1901 edition), translated by Maria Naumenko.
Saint Joasaph of Belgorod was born in Proluka, Poltava province, on September 8, 1705, on the Feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God, he was given the name of Joachim.. He was finally elevated to the rank of bishop in 1748, and appointed bishop of Belgorod.He died at age 49, on December 10, 1754. St. Joasaph was canonized by the Church on September 4, 1911.
Apolytikion The Protection of Our Most Holy Lady in the First Tone
O Virgin, we extol the great grace of thy Protection, which thou didst spread out like a bright cloud beyond all understanding; for thou dost invisibly protect thy people from the foe’s every assault. Since we have thee as our shelter and certain help, we cry to thee with our whole soul: Glory to thy great deeds, O most pure Maid. Glory to thy shelter most divine. Glory to thy care and providence for us, O spotless one.
“Remember us in your prayers, O Lady Virgin Mother of God, that we not perish by the increase of our sins. Protect us from every evil and from grievous woes, for in you do we hope, and venerating the Feast of your Protection, we magnify you.”