Science of the Saints, 2 July, The Deposition of the Venerable Robes of the Theotokos at Blachernae

The Placement of the Venerable Robe of the Most Holy Mother of God at Blachernae: During the years of the reign of the Byzantine emperor Leo the Great the Macedonian (457-474), the brothers Galbius and Candidus, associates of the emperor, set out from Constantinople to Palestine to venerate at the holy places. In a small settlement near Nazareth they stopped for overnight lodging with a certain quite aged Hebrew woman. In her house the burning of candles and smoking incense caught the attention of the pilgrims. To their questions as to what sort of sacred thing there was in her house, the pious woman for a long time did not want to give an answer, but after persistent requests she replied that she had a very precious sacred item – the Robe of the Mother of God, from which had occurred many miracles and healings. The Most Holy Virgin before the time of Her Dormition bequeathed one of her garments to a pious Jewish maiden from the family-lineage of this house, having instructed her to hand it on after death to another virgin. Thus, from generation to generation, the Robe of the Mother of God was preserved in this family.

The jewelled chest containing the sacred Robe was transferred to Constantinople. Saint Gennadios, Patriarch of Constantinople, and the emperor Leo having learned of the sacred find, convinced themselves of the incorruptness of the holy Robe and with trembling they certified its authenticity. At Blachernae, near the seacoast, there was erected a new church in honour of the Mother of God. On 2 June 458 Sainted Gennadios with appropriate solemnity transferred the sacred Robe into the Blachernae church, placing it within a new reliquary.

Afterwards into the reliquary, together with the Robe of the Mother of God, was put also Her omophorion (i.e. the outer or over-robe) and part of Her belt-sash. This circumstance also set its seal upon the Orthodox iconography of the feast, in conjoining the two events: the Placing of the Robe, and the Placing of the Belt-Sash of the Mother of God in Blachernae. The Russian pilgrim Stefan Novgorodets, visiting Constantinople in about the year 1350, testifies: “We arrived at Blachernae, wherein lies the Robe upon an altar‑throne in an imprinted reliquary.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.