Under the Virgin Mother’s Protection
And he swathed your city of Kiev in splendor, as thought in a crown. And he entrusted your people and city to the holy, all-glorious Mother of God, the ready protectress of Christians. To her he built also a church on great gates, in the name of the first of the feasts of the Lord, the feast of the Annunciation, so that the archangel’s salutation to the Virgin may touch this city as well. For to her the archangel said: “Rejoice, for joy is given thee, the Lord is with thee;” thus to the city: “Rejoice, city of faith, the Lord is with thee.”
Sermon on Law and Grace
The image of the Mother of God protecting Russia, interceding for it, serving as its special divine patroness is one of the most important themes of Russian Christian culture both in the Middle Ages and today. The first church in Kiev – that of the Tithes – was dedicated to Our Most Holy Lady Theotokos, built by Grand Duke St. Vladimir. And it was in Russia that in the 12th century a new religious feast day was established – the Intercession of the Virgin, and the first church raised in honor of it was the famous Church of the Intercession-on-the-Nerl.
There are many works of art that reflect the exceptional reverence that the Russian people had towards the Virgin – these are the famous miraculous images of her and their copies, as well as the panels illustrating the most widespread chants glorifying Our Lady. One of the most famous examples of the miraculous intercession of the Mother of God can be seen on the Novgorodian icon "The Miracle of Our Lady of the Sign", which is also known under the title "The Battle of the Inhabitants of Novgorod with those of Suzdal".