October 28, 2023

Homily Three on the Holy Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on October 1/14, 1955)

The Mother of God served the great mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God. Already during her life on earth she was the living "Most Pure Temple of the Savior, the Most Honorable Chamber and Virgin." The Holy Spirit dwelt in Her during the incarnation of the Son of God and remained with Her, giving Her such power that the greatest saints had never been given. And this most abundant grace of the Holy Spirit, overflowing the heart of the Most Pure Virgin, pours out from it onto all those who have loved the eternal love of Her Divine Son. This is easy to imagine, for from our human experience we know how pure and holy love pours out of our hearts towards our neighbors.

In our morning prayer to the Most Holy Theotokos we say: “I sing of Thy grace, O Lady, I pray to Thee, give grace to my mind.” Of course, the source of grace is only in the Triune God, and the Most Holy Theotokos can not pour out Her own grace on us, but only the excesses of grace that She receives from the Holy Spirit. And this excess is so great that it is enough for all Christians who pray to Her with faith.

Many saints appeared and still appear with faith to those calling on them in prayers, but they appear alone, without accompanying people, and the Most Holy Theotokos appeared many times to Her chosen ones and favorites, of whom the closest to us are the Venerable Sergius of Radonezh and Seraphim of Sarov, not alone, but accompanied by saints. On the Feast of the Protection, now celebrated by us, Blessed Andrew and his disciple Epiphanios saw Her appear in the Blachernae Church in the air, accompanied by a host of Angels, apostles and saints. The retinue of kings and queens and great nobles consists only of those who are lower than themselves. And in the retinue of the Most Holy Theotokos, who appeared in the Blachernae Church, there were many Angels and Archangels, apostles and glorified saints. Doesn’t this indicate that the Most Holy Virgin Mary is More Honorable Than The Cherubim and the Beyond Compare More Glorious Than The Seraphim?

She came down and entered the altar, knelt before the throne, then turned to the people and spread Her veil over them, shining like lightning with an unearthly light. Do not these lightnings signify the abundant grace of the All-Holy Spirit pouring out from Her heart? But, of course, She does not spread Her Cover over everyone without distinction, but only over humble people with a contrite heart, trembling before the Word of God.

Let us also be humble, let us not think highly of ourselves, so as to be worthy of always being under the Protection of the Most Holy and Most Pure Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary. Through her holy prayers, may the All-Merciful God forgive us our many sins and untruths and have mercy on us. Amen.

: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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