NOTE: As announced today at the Divine Liturgy and in our weekly bulletin, the feast will be observed with a Divine Liturgy scheduled at 9AM on Saturday, October 6, 2012.
A brief explanation of the origin of the feast is included in the Menaion, or book of the fixed cycle of the saints, for the month of October:
On October 1, 911, during the reign of emperor Leo the Wise, there was an all-night vigil in the Blachernae church of the Theotokos in Constantinople. Standing near the rear of the church was St. Andrew the Fool for Christ, and his disciple Epiphanius. At four o’clock in the morning, the Theotokos appeared above the people with a veil spread over her outstretched hands, as if to protect them. She was surrounded by angels and saints. Seeing this, Andrew asked his disciple, “Do you see the Queen and Lady of all is praying for the whole world?
source: Byzantine Monthly Menaion - Volume 2: October [Metropolitan Cantor Institute, Byzantine Catholic Seminary, Pittsburgh, PA, 2005]It is said the Theotokos protected the faithful in the church that morning, and the people of the capitol city of Constantinople, from the onslaught of an invading barbarian army.
The Marian para-liturgical hymn, We Hasten to Your Patronage (Pod Tvoj Pokrov Pribihajem) is most commonly associated with this feast.
In preparation for the observance of the feast at our parish, we will publish hymns and propers for the Divine Liturgy later this week.