Laudation of the Most Holy Mother of God
Today the clergy changed their Lenten vestments for light-colored garments in order to celebrate the feast of the Laudation of the Most Holy Mother of God and to sing to Her: “Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!”
On the eve of the feast of the Laudation of the Mother of God, or the Saturday of the Akathist, the Matins service with the reading of the Akathist to the Most Holy Mother of God was held in the Trinity Cathedral of the Seraphim-Diveyevo monastery.
This service is unlike any other. “Rejoice…, rejoice…, rejoice…” – the words of the Archangel are heard repeatedly throughout the Akathist as he delivers the news about the birth of the Son to the Virgin Mary. This appeal for joy during the penitential days of Great Lent sounds unexpectedly and draws all believing hearts to rejoice and praise Her Who, throughout Her life, received no glory, to the glorification of the One Who answered for the great mystery of the Incarnation of God and responded with humility to the call of God: “Behold, the Handmaiden of God” (Luke 1:38) and humbly accepted the words, “…a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also” (Luke 2: 35).
Grateful for all the good deeds of the Most Holy Mother of God, those we did or didn’t know, we praised Her, “O Mother of God, Who gave birth to the Most Holy Word of all holies! Accept this present offering, deliver us all from all harm, and have us overcome the torments of the future, as we cry to You, Alleluia.”
Metropolitan Georgiy of Nizhny Novgorod and Arzamas presided at the service on the eve of the Laudation of the Most Holy Mother of God and the festive late-morning Divine Liturgy on the following day. Concelebrating His Eminence were Bishop Clement of Krasnoslobodsk and Temnikov and Bishop Ignatius of Yeniseisk and Lesosibirsk.
Rev.Fr. Pavel Pokrovsky, the rector of the Protection of the Mother of God Church in the village of Kremenky, recalled during the post-Communion sermon that the today’s feast emerged in gratitude to the Mother of God for the miraculous deliverance of Constantinople from the Persians in the 7th century.
“The Queen of Heaven is named the Intercessor of the Christian race. She keeps Russia in Her special care, and there are a lot of examples to this in the history of our country.
When our empire was seemingly on the verge of destruction, the Most Pure Virgin had always responded to the tearful pleas of our pious ancestors giving assistance through Her many icons: Kazanskaya, Smolenskaya, Donskaya, and the Sovereign Lady. Today again, the time has come for us to fervently pray to our Intercessor so that She grants victory to the Russian military and blesses our homeland,” said the preacher.
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Hegumenia Sergia, the abbess of the Seraphim-Diveyevo monastery, heartily thanked Metropolitan Georgiy, Bishop Clement and Bishop Ignatius for their archpastoral prayers on the feast of the Laudation of the Most Holy Mother of God.
“It is gratifying that in 1991 the Trinity Cathedral of the Seraphim-Diveyevo monastery was consecrated on the day of the Laudation of the Most Holy Mother of God. And today, three bishops offer thanks to the Queen of Heaven for Her great favors,” said the matushka hegumenia.
As a token of gratitude, Hegumenia Sergia presented the vladykas with prosphoras and the icons of the “Laudation of the Most Holy Mother of God.”
In his hierarchical address, the head of the Nizhny Novgorod Metropolis congratulated all those who prayed with the completion of the fifth week of Great Lent. He noted that two weeks are left until the Bright Resurrection of Christ, and what kind of spiritual joy we will have there hinges on our work in the field of Lent. “The Lenten season is allotted to us for the purification of our hearts so that the grace of God can enter and sanctify it with Divine light,” the archpastor said. “The prayers before Communion have the following words: ‘for I will not speak of Thy Mystery to Thine enemies, neither like Judas will I give Thee a kiss; but like the thief will I confess Thee: Remember me, O Lord in Thy Kingdom.’ Judas, one of the Savior’s closest disciples, betrayed Him, but the prudent robber confessed the Crucified One as God and repented. Fasting, prayer, and the holy sacraments of penance and communion are very important for every believer. If we approach the Holy Cup like Judas, the communion will be for our judgment and condemnation, but if we approach it like the prudent thief, it will be for the healing of our soul and body.”