By His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Kastoria
Since the glorious years of Byzantium this month has been dedicated to the Honorable Cross, hence on the 1st of August we celebrate the Procession of the Honorable Cross. The Honorable Cross, the Honorable Wood, exited the Sacred Palace where it was kept and it arrived at the Great Church from were for fifteen consecutive days it was brought throughout the entire City for the sanctification of the faithful.
All these days there are held various Sacred Services and Vigils, as well as the Service of the Sanctification of the Holy Water, "baptizing the Honorable Wood in the sacred water", in order for the people to be protected from infectious diseases and epidemics which favor the heatwave of August.
Even the fast is dedicated to the Honorable Cross. Coupled with the prayers of our Orthodox Church, it is a ladder of communication with God and seeking divine mercy. "Heavenly gifts are received with fasting, vigils and prayer." These are the methods always used by our Church, and today in particular we need to use them in order to protect ourselves from demonic influence, but also as a measure by which we can capture the grace of God.
However, the Honorable Cross was stolen by the Crusaders, like so many other relics, and brought to the West. For this reason the litany of the Honorable Cross stopped, and this month was then dedicated to the person of the Panagia, from the 1st of August to almost the 31st of August, since we celebrate the eminent Marian feast of the Dormition on the 15th of this month.
Hence, the person of the Panagia monopolizes the thoughts of all Orthodox who could be found in all the corners of the earth this month.
The mom of the world celebrates.
The mom who understands, who listens and who rapidly obeys, like the Gorgoypikoos (She Who is Quick to Hear) as she named herself at Docheiariou Monastery on the Holy Mountain.
The mom who covers her children, who wipes the tears of tragedy and suffering.
The mom who calms the hearts from the storms of life, and who pacifies the mind, as Saint Theodore the Studite will write and chant.
The mom who as soon as one stands opposite her icon she fills with joy, which is why they chant together with the sacred hymnographer: "In hymns we thank, glorify and praise your immeasurable mercy and great strength, confessing to all."
The mom who is the protector of all Christians. "The protection of Christians, Virgin Mother of the Lord."
To our mom.
To the mom of the world we leave our hope and our endurance always, especially in these difficult days our homeland is going through.
To our mom we open our heart, as the Venerable Sophia of Kleisoura would say.
We supplicate to the Panagia with the sacred troparia of our Church, as Elder Paisios advised, with the purpose of guiding us to her Son and our God.
The Panagia is supplicated today by persons whom we do not give any importance to repeating daily thousands of times the archangelic greeting of "Rejoice, Theotokos and Virgin".
Along with the entire choir of Saints in the Kingdom of Heaven, together with those also who live today in the trenches of life and with the prayers of those who support the world, we also send her our supplications:
For our Church,
For our nation,
For the ill who suffer,
For our needy brethren,
For those battered by the scourges of our times,
For the blood being spilled in Syria, Egypt, and in other countries,
For every human soul which is to be found with every need.
May the Panagia speak to the hearts of the powerful of the earth.
May she speak to all of our hearts.
May she teach us humility in order to find our lost self.
May she help us to regain again that which we lost, that is, our sustenance together with our life-providing and life-bearing Tradition.
My Panagia, my joy, my consolation, my hope, my breath, save us from every circumstance.