Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said that the protection of Virgin extends over Russia today as it always has in times of trial, and called on to pray the Mother of God for protection of the borders of Fatherland.

“Now my word is especially to those who seem to doubt the faith (…) There is no time to doubt – today is the time to mobilize our spiritual forces, to ask the Lord, the Most Pure Queen of Heaven to give strength to our people from above to stop the enemy and protect the borders of our Fatherland, which means to preserve the independence and freedom of Russia, for which it fought throughout its history and gaining this freedom, became a great power,” the patriarch said on Friday after the liturgy on occasion of the Feast of the Intercession of the Theotokos.

This feast was established in memory of an event that occurred in the middle of the 10th century. According to legend, one day during the siege of Constantinople, St. Andrew saw the Mother of God, who was marching to the church through the air. After praying, she approached the throne, took off the veil from her head and stretched it over the heads of worshippers. When the Mother of God left the church, the veil became invisible, but the grace kept remained in the church.

“We ask the Queen of Heaven to extend her sovereign veil over us, as it was over previous generations of Orthodox residents of Russia,” Patriarch Kirill said today.

He noted that in former times the intercession of the Virgin and faith in her helped the Russian people to overcome trials. This was the case, for example, during the Napoleonic invasion, which the patriarch called the First World War, when “the whole West turned against Russia,” and this “united Europe (…) wanted to turn us into a colony.” Later, during the revolutionary period, the Sovereign image of the Theotokos was revealed, “and people perceived it as the enthronement of the Queen of Heaven on the throne of all Russia,” the patriarch recalled.

“Even today,” he continued, “there are rather difficult circumstances related to what is happening on the outer borders of our Fatherland. And the forces that dream of destroying and conquering Russia are rising up again. Today, all this is clothed in other verbal forms, but behind all this is the indelible dream of those who attacked Russia from the West: to destroy our sovereignty, deprive us of freedom, and then use all the resources of the richest country in the world for their own purposes.”

In conclusion, the patriarch expressed confidence that the protection of the Virgin “is over us, over our country, and so it will be as long as we keep the faith.”