Constantinople Consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Eastern Church on May 11th celebrates the consecration of Constantinople, "kept by God" and "under the protection of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary".
The solemn inauguration of the new city did not occur until the year 330, by which time Constantine the Great had erected the outer walls and considerably increased the size of the Byzantine town. Constantinople was chosen for capital of the Christian Empire, on May 11th, after having solemnly dedicated the city to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Constantine took, with the patriarch, the lead of a large procession, joined by the clergy and all the local people. When the crowd arrived at the Forum, the statue of the emperor was set up on top of a porphyry column. The precious nails used to crucify Jesus were deposited in the head of the statue and the twelve baskets that had been used to collect the remainders at the time of the miracle of the loaves and fishes were placed at its feet.
This feast was consequently celebrated each year with great ostentation, by a procession that went from the Forum to Saint Sophia. The Blessed Mother of God expressed her protection on the imperial city a myriad of times, which had become, by its splendid churches and innumerable relics of Saints, like an anticipation of celestial Jerusalem.
In particular, in 626, at the time of the attack by the Avars and the Persians, the Icon of the Mother of God pushed back the enemies miraculously. Under Leo Isaurien, the Blessed Virgin repeated a similar miracle by driving out Saracens who had besieged the city for three years. Constantinople remains for Christians of the symbols of the Holy Kingdom to come.
full of grace,
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of death.