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The Mother of God


Worlds intercessor, O Mother all-hymned,
I stand now before Thee, entreating:
Thy supplicant sinner, despairing and hopeless,
Cover with grace, I do pray Thee!
If I should be overcome by temptations,
Sorrows, and loss, and adversity,
In my hour of need, in my moment of anguish
Give me Thy help, I do pray Thee!
Spiritual joy and a thirst for salvation
Place in my heart, Virgin Mary;
To the heavenly realm, to the world of solace
Show me the way, I do pray Thee!
- Yuliya Zhadovskaya
Translated by Natalia Sheniloff

Her wondrous Protection

In holy Byzantium the great Patriarch
Is praying in the church of Vlachernae.
Together with him prays wise Leo-monarch,
Entreating deliverance from the enemy.
There fool-for-Christ Andrew bows down to the

In front of the Most-pure Ones icon,
His disciple Epiphanius stands at the door
In silent but ardent entreaty.
A heavenly flame suddenly lit up the church,
And a great miracle then took place there:
In sacred majesty, amid hosts of the cherubim,
The Mother of God appeared there.
The people so ardently praying in church
She covered with Her lightning veil
Do you see, do you see? cried out Andrew the

His weary eyes joyously shining.
In reply Epiphanius said: Father, I do!
I see that the Most-holy Virgin
With Her wondrous Protection delivers us from

From the enemys terrible ire.
And abandoning camp, the vile Saracen
Fled from the walls of Byzantium:
The attack of the savage infidel hordes
Was foiled by an unseen barrier.
Now ever since Christs immutable law
We received from the hands of Byzantium,
We, too, from that ancient immemorial time
All pray to the great Virgin Mary
* * * * *
In holy Byzantium the great Patriarch
Is praying in the church of Vlachernae.
Together with him prays wise Leo-monarch,
Entreating deliverance from the enemy
- Elder Nikolay Guryanov
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(A Legend)
The Lord called Peter the apostle to a reckoning
And said: How negligent you have become!
No longer do you execute your sacred duty,
No longer do you follow My command.

The keys to paradise Ive given to you, Peter,
For you to meet the souls of all who die,
To judge their earthly lives with strict impartiality
And only let the righteous come inside.

What do I see now, Peter? Millions of sinners
Sing praises, glorifying God in Eden!
Do you sleep sweetly at the pearly gates of heaven?
What can you say to Me in your defense?

Apostle Peter stood there helplessly, declaring:
I know not how they could have come inside!
The gates of heaven I have rigorously guarded
And stood here day and night, and held the keys.

Then, looking at the sinners faces with alarm:
I did not see these faces at the gates!
They have arrived here by some other way perhaps;
I did not let them through the pearly gates!

Allow me to inspect all Edens hidden corners
And find the secret path to paradise.
So be it as you wish! the Lord said then, arising:
I, too, would like to know this matters truth.

Give me the keys and I shall walk with you together,
And carefully inspect all heavens corners.
But if I find you have been lax in duty, Peter,
Then I will have to tax you most severely!.

The Lord then walked through Eden with Apostle Peter,
Already they have passed through all its lanes,
Already they have reached the other, furthest end,
But nowhere was a loophole to be found.

The Lord regarded Peter with reproachful eyes,
Not knowing how to solve this strangest puzzle.
His head bowed down, Apostle Peter stood and trembled,
And dared not raise his eyes for fear and sorrow.
Then very suddenly. A tiny rustling noise
Was heard among the shadows in the bushes.
They stopped to listen. And with firm and quiet steps
Approached. And glanced behind the quivering bushes.

There stood the Holy Virgin, bent over an opening,
Her kindly eyes were firmly fixed upon it.
A silken rope snaked thinly in Her tender hands,
Descending straight into the pit of Hades.

And out of Hades many sinners climbed this rope,
And quietly came into heavens haven.
Their tired eyes were filled with boundless hope and joy,
And glistened with the tears of their repentance.

Their Intercessor they approached with sacred hope,
And overwhelmed with penitence and tears,
They fell down on their knees with purifying prayer
And bitter crying over all their sins.

She covered all the sinners with Her Holy Veil,
And blessed their penitence and bitter tears,
And sinful souls shone forth as gold, anewly gleaming,
All pure and cleansed by Her divinest tears.

The Holy Virgin prayed for all repentant sinners,
And lifting quietly Her precious Veil,
With an embrace She blessed them, made the Cross sign,
And gently let them into paradise.
Let us go now! the Lord said, covering His eyes,
We must not know of what is going on!
What She achieves here with Her divine tears of grace,
We have no right or power to impede!

Pick up your keys and forthwith show no mercy, Peter!
And only let the righteous come inside!
But by this quiet path of genuine contrition,
Let all repentants enter paradise!
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For all who sorrow, oh Most Pure One,
Who art the gleam of tears all trembling in their eyes,
To Whom turn all those who feel quite undone,
For all who toil, oh Sharer of their sighs,
Who from all other chosen wert by God,
As the brightest saint Who this earth has trod,
To bear the One Who cannot be expressed,
To bear Him Whom God hath made manifest,
Who art raised higher than the Cherubim,
Transfigured well above the Seraphim,
Oh star of heaven bright for all eternity,
Oh star of miracles upon this earth proclaimed,
Undying flower of incorruptibility,
Oh Burning Bush which burns, yet whole itself remains,
Light of salvation, light which never dies,
Oh earthly depth which fathoming defies,
Who art of all the chosen loving peace,
The comforter of all those who are banished,
The source of sweetness of those who are famished,
Of those in pain bright joy of prompt release,
In times of triumph, times of tribulation
Divine protection, shield of all salvation,
All-Hymned One, plead for those whove lost their way,
All-Hymned One, pray for those whove gone astray.

- V. Utrenev
Translated by Kosara Gavrilovic

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O, gentle Light! O, one true God!
Send us the blessing of Thy rays,
Within the mystic setting place
The diamonds of our yearning hearts.
Worn out am I with silent pain
And know not what my soul could fill,
So let it be Thyself, Thy grace,
Which in my soul shall henceforth reign.
In me but barely flickers still
The dream which I cannot attain,
So take it, take to paradise,
Where there is beauty, all serene.
And Thou, O Virgin full of grace,
Protect a life so young, so green,
And let Thy hand extract unseen
The strain of sadness from my lays.
O, keep it safe! In it repose
All strivings and all thoughts of light.
It is the pledge of earthly love,
Of all my springs it is the source.
O, keep it safe above the clouds,
Within the peace of azure heights,
And, when our carefree times return,
Anew to my embrace restore.
And then some strain not heard before
Upon this earth will in my verse
Ring ever more. All that is right,
Holy and high will then unite
And merge into life-giving fire.
Then echoes of an angels choir,
As limpid as a tear will rise,
And I shall know then that Thine eyes
Have searched and seen my hearts desire.
- Prince Vladimir Paley.
Translated by Kosara Gavrilovic
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- By Olga Anstey

The following poem, in a delightful homespun manner, talks about various saints who are celebrated in August (new style): the Prophet Elias on the 2nd, Saint Mary Magdalene on the 4th, the holy Princes Boris and Gleb on the 6th, and the feast of the Holy Mother of God Her Dormition on the 28th.

The Holy Virgin scolded Elias:
- Why dont you clean up after yourself, grandpa!
Look at the mess you have made!
What have you done on your namesday?
The whole sky is in heaps and piles,
Youve thrown cloud on cloud and left them there.
Heres a broom, come sweep it up.

Elias frowns after his namesday feast,
Doesnt say anything, just scowls.
Then he shrugs his shoulders and goes off,
Goes to put his thunders away in a box.

The Holy Virgin looked into the list of saints -
Whom should She call, who is close?
She calls upon two brothers, two knights:
- Gleb and Borisko, come over here
To clean up the sky, to sweep it up!
Boris and Gleb shook their heads:
- We are soldiers, Mother, we are warriors!
We are comfortable with a sword or a lance,
But we wouldnt know how to use a broom.

The Holy Virgin thumbed the pages,
Looked further on in the list.
- Magdalene! - She cried, - come and help!
Take the broom and sweep up the sky.

- Mistress! Tomorrow is my namesday,
And I am all decked out, Mistress:
In my left hand Im holding a pitcher of myrrh,
This pitcher is called an alabaster!
In my right hand I have a red-colored egg,
The one which I gave to Caesar for Easter
So both my hands are taken up!

The Holy Virgin sighed lightly.
She didnt ask anyone else, just took the broom.
A quiet white trail filled the sky.
The Most-Pure sweeps the sky cleanly.

The weather will be fair.


  Icon of “The Unexpected Joy”

To Thee, O our Most-holy Mother,

I dare to offer up my prayer,

My visage covered with streaming tears:

Do heed me in this sorrowful hour.

Accept my fervent supplication,

Deliver my soul from evil and woe,

Shed tenderness into my heart,

Instruct me on salvation’s path.

Let me be alien to my own will

And ready to bear all for God,

Be Thou my shield in bitter fate,

Prevent my unlamented death,

Thou art a haven for the poor,

And intercessor for us all;

O do protect us when we hear

God’s voice on fearful Judgment Day,

When time forevermore will end,

The risen dead will hear the trumpet,

And the book of conscience will reveal

The onus of my dreadful sins.

For all the faithful Thou art a shield;

I pray to Thee with all my heart:

O save me, my delight and joy,

Have mercy on Thy supplicant.


– N. V. Gogol

– Translated by Natalia Sheniloff


Icon of the “Sovereign” Theotokos

I stand before Thy Sovereign Icon,

Enveloped in a prayerful daze;

Thy heavenly Visage, royally crowned,

Attracts my deeply-moved gaze.

In times of strife, ignoble cowardice,

Deceit, and treason, and unbelief,

Thy Sovereign Icon Thou hast given us.

Thou came to us and gently said:

“The scepter and orb I take upon Me,

I’ll give them to the Tsar Myself,

I’ll give the Russian realm new glory,

I’ll nourish, comfort, and make peace.”

Repent then, Rus’, thou miserable sinner,

And cleanse thy desecrated shame with tears;

The Heavenly Queen, thy Intercessor,

Does pity and guard thee all these years.


– Sergey Bekhteyev

– Translated by Natalia Sheniloff




O, Queen of heaven and the earth,

O, Comforter of the grieving!

Hear Thou the anguished prayers of sinners,

In Thee are hope and our salvation!

We are bogged down in evil passions,

We wander in the dark of vice,

But – our Homeland!... O, upon it

Do Thou incline Thy all-seeing gaze!

O, Holy Russia! Thy bright Home

Is on the edge of annihilation!

To Thee, Protectress, we call out,

We know none other for salvation!

Do not abandon Thy poor children,

O, Comforter of the grieving!

Do not Thou turn away Thine eyes

From our sufferings and anguish!


– N.K.

– Translated by Natalia Sheniloff


Our Lady of Kazan




O, benevolent Intercessor!

Seest Thou, Most-holy Virgin,

All the sorrows of my soul.

Grant me tears of tender feelings,

Deep contrition in my heart,

Calm my agitated passions,

Their tempestuous storm disperse.

Grant me power of renewal,

Chasteness, purity, and patience,

Grant my heart Thy inner peace.

Do destroy with sovereign power

Vanity's corrupting idol

In my desolate, malicious,

Avid, egoistic soul.

Do obtain my sins' forgiveness,

Reconcile with the Almighty,

Cover me with grace,

So that, keeping His commandments,

The right path I now would follow,

And arrange my life eternal

With the saints in Glory's Kingdom!


– Elder Barsonuphius of Optina

– Translated by Natalia Sheniloff



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