Diocesan Pilgrimage to Constantinople Day 3
(November 28th, 2006 - The Pilgrimage Continues. By Fr. Nectarios Trevino) Today we offered prayers at the Church of Panagia of Blacherna, the most famous shrine of the Virgin Mary in Istanbul. The most important historical event in this Church occured in 626 A.D. The Avars invaded Constantinople while Emperor Heraclius was fighting the Persians in Asia Minor. The son of the Emperor the Ecumenical Patriarch Sergius carried the icon of the Virgin Blachernitissa in battle. Everyone gathered in the Church with the icon in an all night vigil standing and singing the Akathist Hymn in praise of the virgin Mary. Constantinople was saved and this was attributed directly to the intervention of the Virgin Mary. Many emperors atended serevices at the Church as well as carried an icon of the Panagia of Blachernae on their campaigns. The beautiful hymn, "Te Ypermacho", sometimes call the national hymn of Greek Orthodoxy, was sung by all the pilgrims in the exact place it was chanted over 1,400 years ago. We continued with a visit to the Monastery Chora or the Church of the Holy Savior of Chora and the Zoodochos Peghe Monastery at Balukli.
Wonderworking Icon of the Virgin Blachernitissa which is enshrined in the Church of The Panagia of Blacherna.