The Holy Protection of the Theotokos
The Feast of the Protection commemorates the appearance of the most holy Theotokos in the Church of Blachernae in Constantinople in the early sixth century, as recorded in the life of Saint Andrew the Fool for Christ’s sake. While the multitudes of the faithful were gathered in church, Epiphanius, the friend of Saint Andrew, through the Saint’s prayers, beheld the Virgin Mary above the faithful and spreading out her veil over them, signifying her unceasing protection of all Christians. Because of this we keep a yearly feast of gratitude, imploring our Lady never to cease sheltering us in her mighty prayers.
In the Greek tradition, this feast is celebrated on October 28, while in the Slavic tradition, this feast is celebrated on October 1.
Apolytikion of Holy Protection of the Theotokos 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.
Kontakion of Holy Protection of the Theotokos in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Let us the faithful hasten to the Theotokos now and venerate her sacred veil, as we chant unto her, singing hymns to praise and honour her, as is fitting; for she shelt’reth with her shelter and all her faithful flock and preserveth them unharmed from all calamities, as they cry to her: Rejoice, Protection most radiant.
Ananias, the Holy Apostle of the Seventy
Holy Apostle Ananias of the Seventy, whose name means “God is gracious”, was Bishop of Damascus. At the command of God, he baptised Saul, the former persecutor of Christians. Saul became the great preacher and Apostle Paul (Acts 9:10-19, 22:12). St Ananias, despite the danger, boldly and openly confessed Christianity before the Jews and the pagans.
From Damascus he went to preach at Eleutheropolis, where he healed many of their infirmities. The governor of the city, Lucian, tried to persuade the Holy one to offer sacrifice to idols. Lucian gave orders to torture Ananias, because of his staunch and solid confession of Christ. Harsh torments did not sway the witness of Truth. Then the torturers led him out beyond the city, where they stoned him. The Saint prayed for those who put him to death. His relics were later transferred to Constantinople.
Dismissal Hymn (Third Tone)
O Holy Apostle Ananias, intercede with the merciful God that He grant to our souls forgiveness of offences.
Kontakion (Second Tone)
Our most fervent advocate in intercession who quickly hears those who pray to you, receive our supplication, O Ananias, and implore Christ, Who alone is glorified in the Saints, to have mercy on us.
Saint Romanos the Melodist
Saint Romanos flourished during the reign of Anastasius (491-518). He was from Emesa of Syria, and apparently was born of Jewish parents, for a hymn written in his honour in Greek says he was “of Hebrew stock,” and it has furthermore been noted that he uses many Semitic idioms in his writings. He was baptized an Orthodox Christian, and at some time became a deacon in the Church of Beirut. He was the first composer of the kontakia, the foremost of which is that of the feast of Christ’s Nativity, On this day the Virgin …. In composing many of his kontakia. Saint Romanos was inspired by the hymns of Saint Ephraim of Syria.
Apolytikion of Romanos the Melodist in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
The image of God, was faithfully preserved in you, O Father. For you took up the Cross and followed Christ. By Your actions you taught us to look beyond the flesh for it passes, rather to be concerned about the soul which is immortal. Wherefore, O Holy Romanos, your soul rejoices with the angels.
Kontakion of Romanos the Melodist in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
As a harmonious harp of lofty wisdom from on high and an expounder of things seen in God-inspired ascents, we extol thee, Father Romanos, and we hymn thee. As a trumpet of the gifts that pass the mind of man, do thou rouse us to divine and saving watchfulness, as we cry to thee: Rejoice, O Father elect of God.