MOSCOW, October 14 (Itar-Tass) — The Russian Orthodox Church is marking the Feast of Intercession, one of the most sacred and vital holidays in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, on Sunday. Russian clergymen will use the occasion to carry out a merciful action to support convicts and prisoners. A special prayer will be held in every church after a liturgy. Moscow priests will hold prayers at all pre-trial detention facilities and will talk to the inmates.
The Intercession is one of the most favorite religious feasts in Russia. It dates back to the 10th century and is linked to miraculous apparition of the Mother of God in the besieged Constantinople in 910. Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky (St. Andrew the Blessed Fool-for-Christ) and his disciple St. Epiphanius saw the Mother of God who spread Her veil over all the people in the church as a protection.
The feast symbolizes a special patronage of the Mother of God over the human race. The Intercession, which is also known as Pokrov (“protection”), has always been celebrated in Russia. Fairs were held all across the country in these autumn days when the harvest season was over. The Intercession day was considered to be the best time for weddings, symbolizing the Mother of God’s patronage over future family life.
Moscow has several churches named after the Feast of Intercession: the Church of Intercession on Red Square (also known as St. Basil’s Cathedral), the Intercession Convent and a church in Moscow’s Fili district.