1. Learn about it!
Access the Bozhi Dity (God’s Little Children) lesson on the Edmonton Eparchy Website. You will learn about the Feast of the Protection of the Holy Mother of God and have fun making a lovely 3D icon: https://eeparchy.com/children/
2. Build a blanket fort in your living room using furniture, cushions, blankets, and sheets. Crawl into your fort and read the story of the miraculous appearance of Mary; the Theotokos (see below). Talk about how you feel in your fort – safe, protected by the blankets all around you. Discuss how our mother – the Mother of God made the people in the church feel the same way as she held out her veil. She is our protectress and we can feel safe knowing that she is always protecting us and praying for us. We know that she and all the angels and saints are “covering us with a blanket of prayer” each and every day!
3. Play I spy in my little icon. See the I Spy Page above from Byzimom.com. You could do this together inside your fort! Playing a game like this is a nice way to explore icons. It is good to encourage children to really look at what they see in icons. Icons can educate, help us to pray and deepen our understanding of the faith that God calls us to, if we spend time with them.
4. Pray together: As you prepare to pray together at the end of the day encourage your children to close their eyes and feel the warmth of the Theotokos’ veil protecting them; feel the prayers that surround them.
We flee to the shelter of your mercy, O Virgin Mother of God. Do not reject our prayers of anguish, but free us from tribulations, O only pure and blessed one. Most glorious, ever-virgin Mother of God, receive our prayers and bring them to your Son and our God that because of you, He might save our souls.
Під Твою милість прибігаємо, Богородице Діво. Молитвами нашими в скорботах не погорди, але від бід нас визволи, єдина чиста і благословенна. Преславна Вседіво, Богородице! Прийми молитви наші й донеси їх Синові Твоєму і Богові нашому, щоб заради Тебе спас душі наші.
The Protection of the Holy Mother of God (Theotokos) for Children
One night in Constantinople many, many years ago lots of people were gathered in a large Cathedral to pray. They were praying to be saved from enemies that wanted to attack them. St. Andrew, known as the Fool for Christ, and his disciple Epiphanius were there praying too. As everyone was praying St. Andrew and Epiphanius saw the Theotokos (Mother of God) enter the church! She moved towards the altar. She stood there and tearfully prayed for a long time. Then she went even closer to the altar and continued to pray with tears flowing from her eyes. Finally, she turned towards the people. She was surrounded by angels of heaven and by saints that had lived a long time before! She was wearing a veil on her head. She took it off her head and held it out and over those who were praying in church. St. Andrew and Epiphanius understood that she was showing them that she was protecting the people from their enemies. The people in the city were saved!
From that time on, Christians have known that Mary the Mother of God and our mother is our protectress and that they could pray to her when they needed her protection.
700 years later in Ukraine, at Pochaiv, the Theotokos appeared again in a church full of people as they were being attacked by an army. Again she held out her veil to protect the people and they were saved!
We must always remember that when we are frightened, we can pray to Our mother Mary for her protection and for her prayers!