Pokrov – Protection (Patronage) of the Mother of God – October 1st
Our Ukrainian Catholic Church has a great devotion to Mary, the Theotokos, the Mother of God. Throughout the liturgical year, we celebrate various Marian feasts. One such feast is the Pokrov, the commemoration of Her Heavenly Intercession and Protection. On the Gregorian calendar, the Feast is celebrated on October 1st and thirteen days later according to the Julian calendar on October 14th. Many churches, both here and in Ukraine, are dedicated in Her honor.
Jesus before dying on the Cross established a special relationship between Mary and His beloved disciple John. “When Jesus saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing at the foot of the Cross, He said to His mother: ‘Woman, behold Your Son!’ Then He said to the disciple: ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took Her to his own home.” (John 19:26-27)
The special relationship with Mary is not only with John the beloved disciple, but also with all the faithful disciples of the Lord. Mary is our spiritual Mother, the Mother of the Church. The Holy Theotokos Who is in Heaven in the Presence of Her Son, Our Lord, intercedes on our behalf. Her Heavenly Intercession helps us to remain steadfast in Faith and protects us from the onslaughts of the evil one and from all evil.
The Icon of Pokrov shows Mary’s arms extended in prayer and draped with an omorphor veil. This highlights the fact that Mary is the “Never-failing Protectress of all Christians, our ever-present Advocate before Christ, Her Son. In the tropar for the Feast, we pray: “Watch over us with Your noble protection and deliver us from all evil by asking Your Son, Christ our God, t6o save our souls.”
Recently, Ukraine has designated October 14th as “Defender of Ukraine Day.” It was under the banner of the Mother of God that our Kozaks laid the foundations of statehood. It was on this day that participants in the national liberation of Ukraine had begun to fight for freedom in the last century. And it is under the auspices of Mary that the armed forces defend our beloved Ukraine.
May we trust In Mary’s maternal care and protection as we sojourn to the Heavenly kingdom.
Rev. D. George Worschak