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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Russia Series at RussianPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Russian holidays and observances. I’m Jenny, and you're listening to Season 1 Lesson 24 - Intercession of the Theotokos
In this lesson, we will be discussing the great Orthodox religious holiday called “Protection of the Holy Virgin”, or in Russian Покро́в Пресвято́й Богоро́дицы (Pakróf Presvyatóy Bagaróditsy). Observed every year on October 14, this holiday was instituted to commemorate the great miracle of the appearance of the Holy Virgin in Constantinople in 910. The holiday of the Protection of the Holy Virgin is a symbol of the Virgin Mary’s patronage and protection over mankind.
Now, before we go into more detail, we’ve got a question for you-
Do you know what famous Russian church is dedicated to this holiday?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later, so keep listening.
As we know from history, in the 10th century, the Byzantine Empire, in Russian referred to as Византийская империя (Vizantiyskaya imperiya), was at war with the Saracens. In 910, the Saracens surrounded Constantinople with the intention of completely destroying the city. The citizens of Constantinople then gathered in the Church of Blachernae and began desperately praying to the Virgin Mary for salvation.
During the liturgy, the blessed Saint Andrew and his disciple Epiphanius or Епифаний in Russian – who later became the patriarch of Constantinople – saw the Holy Mother of God come floating down in the air, radiant with heavenly light. She was surrounded by angels and saints. The Mother of God prayed for the people’s salvation, then took off her head-covering, and spread it over the people who were in the church. The city was saved, and the enemy soon retreated.
On this day, a festive Holy Liturgy, in Russian called Божественная литургия (Bazhestvennaya liturgiya), is delivered in all Orthodox churches and cathedrals. This holiday is also considered a protector of marriage. On this day, maiden women go to church, light candles before the icon of the Virgin Mary, and pray for a happy marriage of their own.
The love of all Orthodox Christians for this holiday is evident by the fact that a great number of cathedrals and churches in Russia are named in its honor. In Moscow alone, there are no fewer than fifteen active churches dedicated to the Protection of the Holy Virgin.
Returning to our earlier quiz, do you know what famous Russian church is dedicated to this holiday?
It's St. Basil's Cathedral, in Russian called Собор Василия Блаженного (Sabor Vasiliya Blazhennava), which is located on the Red Square and is considered a symbol of Russia all over the world. The cathedral has another name as well – Cathedral of the Protection of the Holy Virgin.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn something new?
Is there a holiday similar to protection of the virgin mary in your country?
Leave a comment at RussianPod101.com, and I’ll see you in the next lesson!