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The Protection of the Mother of God
The Protection of the Mother of God
The Protection of the Mother of God

The 17th Sunday after Pentecost - October 13th, 2019

The Protection of the Mother of God or the feast of her protecting veil is celebrated to remember an event of the 10th century.  From “OrthoWiki”:

The feast day celebrates the appearance of the Mother of God at Blachernae in the tenth century. At the end of St. Andrei (Andrew of Constantinople) 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 Protection is commemorated most fervently in Slavic churches, probably because St. Andrei was a Slav.  The first celebration of the Veil of the Theotokos in the Russian Orthodox Church dates back from the 12th century and today is celebrated throughout the Orthodox Church.

The feast day commemorating the miracle is celebrated with an All-Night Vigil, with many of the same elements as occur on Great Feasts of the Theotokos. However, this feast has no afterfeast.

The Russian Primary Chronicle noted that the intercession of the Theotokos was needed for the protection of the people of Constantinople when a large fleet of the pagan Rus was threatening Constantinople. The invading fleet was defeated and the event remembered. Strangely, the feast came to be considered a very important feast by the Slavic Orthodox Churches but not by the Greeks.

A twelfth century Russian chronicle describes the establishment of the intercession as a special feast day honoring the event. Within a few centuries churches began being named in honor of the Protection of the Mother of God throughout Russia.

Two different events that took place four hundred years apart are combined in this one icon. Both events took place in the former Church of Blachernae in Constantinople.

The icon of the feast shows the Theotokos standing above the faithful with her arms outstretched in prayer and draped with a veil. On both sides of her are angels. On the lower right of most icons of this feast, are saints Andrew and his disciple Epiphanius who saw this vision of the Mother of God, with the twelve apostles, bishops, holy women, monks and martyrs, spreading her veil in protection over the congregation. St. Epiphanius is wearing a tunic under his cloak and gestures in astonishment at the miraculous appearance, while St. Andrew, Fool-for-Christ, is dressed only in a cloak.

Below the Theotokos, in the center of the icon, stands a young man with a halo, he is clothed in a deacon's sticharion. In his left hand, he is holding an open scroll with the text of the Kontakion for Nativity in honor of the Mother of God. This is St. Romanus the Melodist, the famous hymnographer whose feast is also celebrated on the same day, October 1. He is with his choir attended by the Emperor Leo the Wise together with the Empress and the Patriarch of Constantinople.

A New Member of the Body of Christ - Yesterday, John Peter Thompson was baptized under the heavenly protection of John the Theologian and evangelist of the 4th Gospel.  Please welcome him to the parish.  He is already working extensively to help us with our property development efforts.  Glory to God for answered prayer!

News from Kyrill - He has told us he is to be made a monastic this coming Tuesday.  The day after, Metropolitan Hilarion will make him a Subdeacon.  He moves spiritually forward, and we glory in our parish’s place in his Orthodox life.  He will be informed of his monastic name at the time of his tonsure.  When we know, we will report it, and we can all update our prayer lists.

Parish Work Day Next Saturday -  Join the Joy! -  The last work day was a wonderful and productive fellowship event.  We need volunteers to work and one (at least) to provide food for the workers.  It is easy to be a part of and very helpful for the parish, and fun!  Take advantage of it.

Grant Supported Work on the Chapel Rose Window - Within this month, the plywood on the chapel rose window over the entrance will be replaced by opalescent colored glass in a scheme to replicate the original.  This replication is being done according to the available fragments found among the detritus after we acquired the building.  Soon the sunlight that has been blocked will stream into the space much as it must have when Admiral Ammen built it in 1880.  Glory to God!

Parish Camping Trip - God bless Sherry (Elena) Solodkova for arranging the location and time for the camping outing happening now!  Father Christopher Johnson is there and a Divine Liturgy has been served.  We look forward to hearing all about it.

Sunday School at the Rectory will not happen today because of those absent at the camping trip.  When it resumes, the youngest class meets in the windowed basement room, the primary grade class meets in the sun room, the older girls meet around the kitchen table, and the older boys meet in the family/fire place room.  Accompanying adults gather in the living room to talk over issues of current interest and general conversation.

Parish Hall building Efforts - A fundraising committee meets regularly concerning our parish hall building campaign.  The Spire architectural firm is on fire to meet our building needs.  Weekly update meetings with Spire are proceeding.   Preparation of a report to present to loan underwriters of the Sandy Spring bank is in progress.  Again, as always, let us all pray intensely for the successful forwarding of our efforts.

Our Capital Campaign for our Parish Hall - Our 3-year capital campaign is under way.  We’d like to understand the amount we can expect from pledges and  will be grateful if you could submit your building fund pledge forms.  Get a Capital Campaign pledge form in the tract rack in the back and make your money felt in our future.

It’s always time, any time, to make or renew your Annual Pledge - To fulfill our responsibility to our parish and to God, we make a pledge of a percentage of our income.  The ideal foundation is 10%.  Those who do this can tell of God’s blessings.  To begin or renew your pledge, complete a pledge form and return it to the donation box.

Here for the First Time? - Please sign our new guest book, including any information to enable contact if desired.

Holy Apostles Orthodox Church
Three-year Capital Campaign Pledge form

The campaign runs from Summer 2019 until our Parish Feast in the Summer of 2022

Download and print the Pledge Form in PDF format.


'Our Paradise in Beltsville'

– a new brochure for the building of our parish hall and beyond...  


The occasion for the new brochure is twofold.  The new brochure reflects the fact that, since we have raised the $50,000 necessary for the architect’s fees, we have moved on to the next phase of our capital campaign: the building of our parish hall.  Secondly, a great number of these brochures accompanied Fr. George and Matushka to St. John’s for a special presentation recently.  Please take a copy of the brochure and read it. Take extra copies to give to any interested friends.  Spread the word!  We want to build our church!

Two new posters - We have also created two new posters for the presentation at the Cathedral, and for our Capital Campaign in general.  The large color poster will go with the watercolor poster of our future parish hall.  This new poster has photos of the historic chapel and grounds.  The smaller poster is the design for the interior of the parish hall.  These three posters are featured on our kitchen wall.

A fundraising committee has been meeting every two weeks.  In addition to having produced the brochure and posters, we are planning to produce a booklet of about 20 pages or so, which will detail the history of our parish and especially since we received the gift of the chapel.  We want to bring everyone on board, as we have a lot of new parishioners who were not there in 2009, when we were given the chapel, and before that, when we were searching for our parish home.

Architect's Watercolor of New Parish Hall - click to see more...
Architect's Watercolor of New Parish Hall - click to see more...

Andrew Gould’s Vision -

See and be inspired by his beautiful water color of the parish hall, along with the concept drawings from this God-sent and God-gifted man.  See, too, his impromptu presentation at our trapeza.  It stimulated one present to say, ”We gotta get this guy!” 

Holy Apostles Youtube Channel and Videos! - See online the results of the labors of Herman Muller in consultation with Matushka Deborah in creating the parish youtube channel.  The channel banner is from the 6th century mosaic icon over the altar of the church of St. Apollinaris in Classe in Ravenna, Italy.  The contents consist of all our videos over the years, leading off with the complete video of June 10th’s fund raising event.

Pray for: Our Traveler Abraham Alexander.

The Holy Fire is with us from this year’s Holy Land Pascal celebration, conveyed to Metropolitan Hilarion in New York, conveyed by him to St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedra; in Howell, NJ, and conveyed to us from there by a friend of the parish.  Please avail yourselves of it, and join those who keep the fire burning all the time.  To do this well, you need two oil lamps like those at church that you relight twice daily, one from the other.

Make an Annual Pledge to help us with steady financial help and fulfill  our responsibility to God and each other.  The ideal foundation for giving is a tithe, or 10%.  Those who do this testify of God’s blessings.  Please complete a pledge form and return it to the donation box.



Service and Support Opportunities:

  • Sign up to make a meal for all after Sunday Divine Liturgy, together with cleanup. We need food for up to 60. Add your name to the signup sheet.
  • Holy Apostles Chariots – See Thomas Hurlock if you need a ride.
  • Holy Apostles Choir – Required rehearsals are from 7 to 9 PM on Thursdays.
  • The St. Juliana of Lazarevo Sisterhood sees to various needs of the parish, including church decoration and prosphora baking. See Elena Swensen.
  • Nick’s Place is a halfway house for young men recovering from substance abuse. We deliver non-perishable goods. Please donate.
  • A Commemorative Tile made by John Hume is a likeness of our chapel with our name and the verse, “I was glad when they said unto me: Let us go into the house of the Lord.” This beautiful perpetual reminder of mutual prayer can be had for $45.
  • We accept credit cards! We have a card reader that works with smart phones, so, get with the treasurer (or designee), to make donations and purchases.
  • We have an on-line mall service from the eScrip program. The eScrip page of our web site has a link and instructions for use. For items bought through eScrip, merchants donate small referral bonuses to our building fund. Please use this method for your on-line shopping. See our treasurer, Mariya Petrenko for more information.
  • Please sign our Guest Book! - When you visit for the first time please record your coming in the little book by the door, including name and contact information such as address, telephone and email. If you wish to be on our distribution list, please let us know.
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