My beloved spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS SUPPLICATE THE THEOTOKOS AND
EVER-VIRGIN MARY TO SAVE US FROM THE PANDEMIC AND
OF ALL DANGER
As Orthodox Christians, we instinctively supplicate the Mother of God to come to our aid and save us not only from the current pandemic but all danger and especially from all evil. Christians turn to our Almighty God for everything and believe that He because of His unconditional love for mankind will hear our cries and prayers of faith and bestow upon us all His protection and healing.
On August 1st every year we commemorate the Procession of the Precious and Life-giving Cross. Because of the many diseases that occur in the month of August, the tradition prevailed of old in Constantinople to carry the Precious Wood of the Cross in procession throughout the city for its SANCTIFICATION AND ITS DELIVERANCE FROM ILLNESS. It was brought forth from the imperial treasury on the last day of July and placed upon the Holy Table of the Great Church of Agia Sophia (Holy Wisdom); and from the August 1st until the Holy Dormition of the Theotokos, it was carried in procession throughout the city and was set forth FOR VENERATION BEFORE THE PEOPLE.
How blessed are we Orthodox Christians to have the Most Holy Mother of God to intercede and to save us from sin and death. How appropriate and timely is this holy season of the Dekapentavgousto (15 days of August) during which we conduct daily divine services and with faith to supplicate the Mother of God to protect us, our loved ones, relatives, friends, and all of humanity from illness of body and soul. We turn to her who is our greatest Advocate and who sheds tears of love and seeks the blessings for all of her Son and God.
Looking at the Paraklesis divine service we come to understand better our special relationship with the Theotokos as our Heavenly Holy Mother.
Hymns from the Paraklesis dedicated to the Theotokos:
To the Theotokos, let us run now most fervently,
As sinners and lowly ones,
Let us fall down in repentance,
Crying from the depths of our soul:
Lady, come and help us,
Have compassion upon us;
Hasten now for we are lost
In the host of our errors;
Do not turn your servants away,
FOR YOU ALONE ARE A HOPE TO US.
O Theotokos, we shall never be silent.
Of your mighty acts, all we the unworthy;
Had you not stood to intercede for us
Who would have delivered us,
From the numerous perils?
Who would have preserved us all
Until now with our freedom?
O Lady, we shall not depart from you;
FOR YOU ALWAYS SAVE YOUR SERVANTS
FROM ALL TRIBULATION.
To God and the Savior you’ve given birth;
I ask you, O Virgin,
From THE DANGERS DELIVER ME;
FOR NOW, I RUN TO YOU FOR REFUGE,
With both my soul and reasoning.
With most serious ailments,
And with the passions so dark,
I AM BEING TESTED, O Virgin
Come and bring help to me;
For I have known of you,
That you are without fail
The ENDLESS TREASURE OF CURES,
Only All-blameless One.
ALL OF YOUR SERVANTS, FROM DANGER, O Theotokos;
After God, WE ALL FLEE TO YOU,
FOR SHELTER AND COVERING
AS AN UNSHAKABLE WALL AND OUR PROTECTION.
A fervent prayer, and wall most unshakable
A merciful spring
And SHELTER OF ALL MANKIND;
Fervently, we cry to you
Theotokos, our Lady,
Come to us
And from all dangers now deliver us
THE ONLY PROTECTION WHO SPEEDS TO US.
A PROTECTION OF CHRISTIANS UNSHAKABLE,
Intercessor to our Most Holy Maker, unwavering
Please reject not
The PRAYERFUL CRIES OF THOSE WHO ARE IN SIN.
Instead, come to us, for you are good;
Your loving help bring to us,
WHO ARE CRYING IN FAITH TO YOU:
HASTEN TO INTERCEDE
AND SPEED NOW TO SUPPLICATE,
AS THE PROTECTION FOR ALL TIME,
THEOTOKOS, FOR THOSE WHO HONOR YOU.
No one is turned away from you,
Ashamed and empty, WHO FLEE UNTO YOU,
O Pure Virgin Theotokos;
But ONE ASKS FOR THE FAVOR,
AND THE GIFT IS RECEIVED FROM YOU
TO THE ADVANTAGE OF THEIR OWN REQUEST.
Put me not INTO THE HANDS
OF ANY HUMAN PROTECTION,
O Our Lady, Most Holy,
But do now receive the prayers of our supplication;
Sorrow has taken me,
And I am unable
To withstand and bear the demon’s darts;
Shelter I do not have,
Nor a place to go, worthless that I am;
Lady OF HUMANITY,
THE SHELTER OF THE FAITHFUL AND THEIR HOPE,
DO NOT REJECT MY PRAYERS TO YOU,
DO THE THINGS THAT PROFIT ME.
DO YOU SHELTER, O Good One,
Those who IN THEIR FAITH FLEE UNTO YOU,
With your strong hand, your protect;
We who sin have no one else,
Who intercedes for us
BEFORE GOD, PRAYING ENDLESSLY,
IN ILLS AND ALL DANGERS,
FOR US WHO ARE LAIDEN WITH
OUR MANY SINS AND MISTAKES;
Mother of our God in the Highest
THEREFORE, WE FALL DOWN TO YOU, HUMBLY;
FROM ALL THE MISFORTUNES, KEEP YOUR SERVANTS SAFE.
LADY, DO YOU RECEIVE,
From your servants, their many prayers;
AND DELIVER ALL OF US,
FROM ALL SADNESS AND NECESSITY.
ALL OF MY HOPE
IS PLACED BEFORE YOU, Most Holy One,
Mother of our God,
GUARD ME WITH CARE UNDER YOUR SHELTER.
As all of you can see we rely upon the intercessions of the Theotokos for our Savior to save us from sin, illness, and death. The divine services of our Holy Orthodox Church are not an ancient ritual that has no meaning or purpose. One either believes or does not it is as simple as that. Science CANNOT REPLACE OUR CREATOR AND GOD.
The current pandemic is not the first pandemic or the last. As long as humanity rejects God and wishes to follow its own course and destiny the suffering will continue. Our Creator is the answer to all of our needs, challenges, and problems. We are truly just creatures who cannot exist without Him. Man must divorce himself from pride and arrogance and with humility and reverence accept God’s will. What greater proof of His unconditional love than His Son’s Sacrifice on the Cross to save us?
When hopefully all of you attend the divine service of the Paraklesis to the Theotokos be ready to shed tears of repentance and with faith ask for Her blessings and intercessions to save us from ourselves and the Evil One.
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sinere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George