July 2, 2016

Synaxarion of the Deposition of the Honorable Robe of the Theotokos in Blachernae

On the second of this month [July], we commemorate the deposition of the Honorable Robe of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary in the Holy Reliquary of Blachaernae.


The garment of the Son keeps watch over the people,
The robe of the Mother keeps watch over the city.
On the second the robe of the All-Pure was deposited in the reliquary.

During the reign of Emperor Leo the Great (457-474), who is also called Makellis, and Verina his wife, in 458, two patricians, called Galbius and Candidus, relatives of Ardaburius and Asparus, received divine longing in their hearts, to go to Jerusalem and venerate in the Holy Land. Therefore they left Constantinople, and went to Palestine. Arriving in Galilee, they found a woman, who was a Hebrew according to race, and was reverential towards the divine and virtuous. She lived in a house, where she prayed night and day, like Anna the daughter of Phanuel of old. In the inner part of her house they saw that Christians were offering many lamps and incense. When they inquired of this, they learned that in that room was the Honorable Robe, namely the outer garment of the Lady Theotokos. Wherefore they asked the woman permission to do a vigil there all night. They then carefully measured the wooden coffer, in which the Honorable Robe was treasured, and then went to Jerusalem.

When they went there, they had another coffer made exactly like the other one, and returned once more to the house of the Hebrew woman. They managed to secretly take that coffer, which contained the Honorable Robe of the Theotokos, and they sent it before them by means of two men of theirs, while they left behind the coffer they made that looked like the original. Returning to Constantinople, they put that divine treasure of the Honorable Robe on their land, which is called Blachernae. So the people would not learn of this news, they built a Temple dedicated to the Holy Apostles Peter and Mark. Because however they did not want to conceal for a very long time such a treasure, they revealed it to Emperor Leo. The Emperor was filled with immense joy, and he built a Temple there to the Lady Theotokos1 where today can be found the Holy Reliquary, or coffer, in which is placed as a treasure the Honorable Robe and the Holy Pallium, namely the cloak of the Mother of God. The Emperor had the Honorable Robe covered with royal purple, and placed it in another coffer made of gold, and he put a lid on it with royal tin. This coffer until today is the guardian of the entire Queen City, and the banisher of all illnesses and enemies of war. The Synaxis and Feast of this Reliquary takes place in the same Blachernae.2


1. There is a disagreement between this Synaxarion and the Synaxarion of the Service by Patriarch Juvenal. There it says that Marcian and Pulcheria built Blachernae, who reigned prior to Leo. However, here it says that Leo built the Temple of Blachernae. Perhaps, however, Marcian built and dedicated the Temple of the Holy Apostles Peter and Mark at Blachernae, as referred to above, while Leo the Great built the Temple of the Theotokos at Blachernae, as it is written here.

2. It should be noted that the Honorable Robe of the Theotokos was made of hair, which after six months would normally be utterly destroyed by worms and moths. However, this Honorable Robe was not affected by decay in its thread or yarn, and it remained the same color. This testifies to the incorruption of the virginity of the Theotokos. One time the Holy Reliquary was opened, and the royal porphyry thread, which covered it, was found to be decayed over time, while the Honorable Robe of the Theotokos remained undecayed.

Apolytikion in Plagal of the Fourth Tone
O Ever-Virgin Mother of God, shelter of mankind, thou hast given a powerful legacy to thy people, thine immaculate body's robe and cloak which remain incorrupt through thy pure childbirth. For in thee time and nature are renewed, and we implore thee to obtain peace for the world and great mercy for our souls.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Thou hast given the covering of thy pure body as an incorrupt garment for all the faithful, and as shelter for all mankind, O pure Lady, Mother of God. We celebrate its placing in Blachernae and cry to thee with fear and love: O Virgin, boast of Christians, rejoice.