When Christians are in need of quick and sure help, they have recourse to the Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of God (Theotokos), who has saved people in Orthodox countries so many times that an entire history book could be compiled to describe them all.
Many times the Most Holy Theotokos has saved Orthodox Christians from attacks by people from the Moslem East; not because she could ever be against anyone – for Moslems are also people created by God – but because Orthodox Christians have a special love for her, as for their own Mother, for she does not neglect those who faithfully turn to her for help in times of adversity.
In these current terrible times, we must not forget to pray to the Theotokos with tears for the people of Syria and the Middle East, just as Orthodox Christians before us prayed in times of danger. One example of this is the Vladimir icon of the Mother of God, before whom medieval Russians prayed in the face of sure annihilation.
In 1395, Tamerlane with his Tartar horde approached Moscow. The Grand Duke of Moscow, Vasiliy Dmitrievich, requested that the Vladimir icon be carried from the city of Vladimir to Moscow. As the icon was processed from Vladimir to Moscow, the faithful knelt, begging, “O Mother of God, save the Russian Land!” The city of Moscow waited solemnly for the Vladimir icon; and, when it arrived, everyone came out to meet it, praying fervently for salvation.
During the very hour that the people were meeting the Vladimir icon, Tamerlane lay sleeping in his tent. He saw a vision of saintly hierarchs with golden staffs descending from a high mountain, and a radiant Lady in the air above them, surrounded by angels and dazzling rays of light. Tamerlane woke up in fear. His soothsayers warned him that the Woman whom he had seen in the vision was the Protectress of the Orthodox, the Mother of the Christian God, and that her power is invincible. Tamerlane was so shaken by the vision that he swiftly departed, swooping down upon the steppe-cities of the Golden Horde, who had caused the Russian land so much suffering. Tamerlane crippled them, effectively curing Russia of their threat.
As we once again fear the growing threat of fundamentalist Islamic jihad, let us Orthodox Catholic Christians fervently pray to the Mother of God for protection against all evil. She is indeed our Protectress in times of need.
* Excerpted from “pravoslavie.ru”