1 October 2023

Two lungs, one breath.

 Any fule doe kno that  ...  on 7 October 1571, thousands of slaves were liberated from the Turkish War Galleys when Don John of Austria defeated the forces of Islam (reread Chesterton!).  And it is is no secret that S Pius V perpetuated the memory of this event by an annual commemoration of our Lady of Victory. His successor, Gregory XIII, changed the title of that Feast to our Lady of the Rosary,  ordering it to be kept on the First Sunday of October in those churches possessing a Rosary Altar. 

So matters remained until Innocent XI fixed this feast on the Universal Roman Calendar ... where it stayed throughout the nineteenth century. This is what all those Victorian clergy were familiar with ... and today recurs as that First Sunday in October!

Mary as Protectress; Mary as the one who stretches her protection over us! But ... especially this year ... that is not the the only consideration which may bring joy to my heart and to yours. Because (especially among Slav Christians) today, October 1, is also Pokrov ... in Greek, Skepe. The Protecting Veil of the Mother of God. This devotion, I believe, owes its origins to the Mandora, or Protecting Veil of the Mother of God, which I think was originally kept in the Blachernae Basilica in Constantinople ... what an immense Reliquary City that must have been!!

Readers will recall the pleasure it gives me when I discover East and West breathing in harmony ... which is what we do find here. The Iconography of the West is as keen as anybody to show the Mother of God extending her Veil of Protection over her devoted clients; readers who are fortunate enough to spend their days in and out of Exeter Cathedral ... one of the Greatest Churches of Europe's Western fringe ... will recall the Chantry Chapel of Mr Precentor Sylke (d 1508), in the North Transept, which has a painting of this theme on one of its walls; and other admirers of the mighty cosmopolitan Burgundian Bishop of Exeter ... Prince Bishops don't come much Princier than John Grandisson in the 1320s ... will not need me to tell them that the Mater Misericordiae (Occidentalese for Pokrov) was his Patroness.

I wonder how many centuries it will be before the post-Christians of both East and West again find themselves huddling for protection beneath the Protecting Veil of the Mother of our Most Holy Redeemer.


frjustin said...

According to the "Vita Sancti Odonis" by John of Salerno, the phrase "Mater Misericordiæ" was revealed to a 10th-century monk of Cluny by our Lady herself. As he tells it:

-This brother led his life, and after a short time of exile it drew to an end. Having labored to the last, he called his loving father [St Odo of Cluny] and begged to speak with him alone. He went on, "Last night, father, I was raised in a vision to heaven. A lady of most glorious appearance and great power met me, and approaching me said,'Do you know who I am?' 'No, lady,' I replied. 'I am the Mother of Mercy,' she said. 'What do you command me to do, lady?' 'After three days come to this place at such an hour.'"

-And so indeed it happened, for on the third day at the hour which she mentioned he died. From this it was perfectly clear that what he saw was a true vision, because at the hour which she foretold he left the world. From that time our father was accustomed to call our Lady the Mother of Mercy.

Kathleen1031 said...

Maybe sooner than we think, if faithful Catholics continue to be persecuted out of the church by Francis. We are already in schism, undeclared. Whether or not that continues to an exodus of the faithful remains to be seen. Apparently it's all up to Francis, who speaks "synodally" (where was this word in Catholicism before Francis) but acts unilaterally.

Victor said...

Pokrov has always been a very popular festival in Ukraine - since the beginning of Russia's war against Ukraine it has also been designated as the official secular festival of the Defenders of Ukraine. With the church calendar it changed the date from October 14th to October 1st. May Mary, the Mother of God, always and forever keep under Her protection all those who defend freedom, truth and goodness!

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Amen, amen, amen.

Albert Ryle Kezel said...

Reverend Domine, vox MANDORA in Byzantini ritus libris nusquam de BMV invenitur. Vestimentum mariale olim in Blachernis conservatum semper a Graecis
ΜΑΦΟΡΙΟΝ dicitur. Videtur Homerus dormitasse. Sub Theotoci protectione vale! ARK

GraceofBrittas1607 said...

It is no mere coincidence that on Sun. Oct. 1, 1578, Don Juan of Austria “the last knight of Europe” died at the age of 31 having been fortified with Viaticum + Extreme Unction, and Holy Mass offered at his bedside. The inscription on the side of his tomb: “There was a man sent by God whose name was John.” It is thought that he died from being poisoned.

El Codo said...

Glorious words Father