Mary the Warrior

There is a great tradition in the Catholic and Orthodox churches which puts Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, at the head of the armies of Christendom.  She is the “Great General” who goes before the army into battle, who guards the cities and countries of the faithful.

The Byzantines took the so-called Akathist icon and paraded it about the walls of Constantinople.  The hymn which shares this icon’s name also prays to the ὑπερμάχῳ στρατηγῷ (“champion leader”), she is the “victor” and the “one with might invincible”.  The Poles will suffer no “Queen of Poland” save the Blessed Virgin.  Indeed, they once worshipped and thanked her in poetry for their liberation from Islam: “You have arranged your army for battle. You have destroyed the forces of Islam. You have crushed the presumptuous Turks. You have sheltered us under your mantle. Defend your kingdom O mighty Virgin. Do not forget that you are our Queen…”.

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