Thy gladness pours forth O Pure Lady like morning dew

Today is the Feast of the Placing of the Honorable Sash of the Most Holy Theotokos. You can read a detailed history at the website of the Friends of the Vatopaidi Monastery.

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Footage of an All-Night Vigil for the Feast of the Placing of the Sash, at the Vatopaidi Monastery.

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The sash had once belonged to the Virgin Mary – indeed, she had plaited it herself out of camel hair – and was brought originally from Jerusalem to the capital city of Constantinople in the late fourth century. Many years later, the Empress Zoe Zaoutsi, the wife of Emperor Leo VI (r. 886-912), worked the belt with gold embroidery.

It is now kept in a silver reliquary in the Monastery of Vatopaidi on Mount Athos.

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The reliquary containing the Cincture (Sash, Belt) of the Theotokos, at the Vatopaidi Monastery, Mount Athos

“Today the much-hymned Cincture of the Pure Lady above honour bursts forth in grace with healing remedies for the faithful.” The reliquary containing the miraculous Cincture (Sash, Belt) of the Theotokos, at the Vatopaidi Monastery, Mount Athos.

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O FAITHFUL, let us honour today the Cincture of the Pure Lady, and faithfully venerate it, as a bond of union with God.

Ever-running streams of spiritual gifts [charisms] water all the faithful, O Pure Lady, flowing from thy immaculate casket.

Today the much-hymned Cincture of the Pure Lady above honour bursts forth in grace with healing remedies for the faithful.

Like a morning dew, thy gladness pours forth O Pure Lady, ever quenching the furnace of the passions among them that raise hymns to thee.

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An icon of the Placing of the Cincture (Sash, Belt) of the Theotokos

An icon of the Placing of the Cincture (Sash, Belt) of the Theotokos

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THY Church celebrates with splendour the placings* of thy godly Cincture, and eagerly crieth out to thee, O Virgin Pure: Save one and all alive from the sovereignty of the enemy: shatter the insolent deeds of the godless barbarians, and govern our life unto the doing of the divine will of the Lord.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
Both Now and forever, and to the ages of ages.

THE rivers of wonders, O Theotokos, coming forth from thy all-reverend casket, as from Eden, give drink to the face of the earth, pouring forth with grace to them that honour thee with faith: wherefore we hymn thee, and reverently honour thee with praise, and ever cry out with thanks: Rejoice, the only hope of them that sing hymns unto thee.

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Prayers taken from Matins on the Feast. These are my inexpert translations. Greek text at Analogion.

* As the history at the website of the Friends of the Vatopaidi Monastery explains, the Sash was actually moved around several times, consequently being ‘placed’ at Constantinople at least twice, and then again at the Vatopaidi in the 15th century, as well as being divided into three sections early on.

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