Akathist Hymn to the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God (1st/14th October)
Updated: Oct 18, 2020
"The Mother of God dwells in heaven and ever beholds the glory of God, yet she does not forget us... and spreads her compassion over the whole earth, over all peoples." - St Silouan the Athonite
On the 1st / 14th October we celebrate the appearance of the Mother of God at Blachernae (Vlaherna) in the tenth century. At the end of St. Andrei Yurodivyi's life, he, with his disciple St. Epiphanius, and a group of people, saw the Mother of God, St. John the Baptist, and several other saints and angels during a vigil in the Church of Blachernae, nearby the city gates. The Blachernae Palace church was where several of her relics were kept. The relics were her robe, veil, and part of her belt that had been transferred from Palestine during the fifth century.
The Theotokos approached the center of the church, knelt down and remained in prayer for a long time. Her face was drowned in tears. Then she took her veil (cerement) off and spread it over the people as a sign of protection. During the time, the people in the city were threatened by a barbarian invasion. After the appearance of the Mother of God, the danger was averted and the city was spared from bloodshed and suffering.
The feast is known as Pokrov (Покров) in Russian and Skepis (Σκέπη) in Greek. In both languages, the word has a dual-meaning of “veil” and “protection”. In English the feast day is variously translated as Protecting Veil of the Mother of God, Protection of the Mother of God or Intercession of the Mother of God.
The Akathist hymn is available to download below: