Orthodox Veneration of the Theotokos

An online Synaxaristes including martyrologies and hagiographies of the lives of the Orthodox Church's saints.

Moderators: Maria, phpBB2 - Administrators

fserafim
Jr Member
Posts: 57
Joined: Sun 22 December 2002 11:53 pm
Location: Seattle, WA
Contact:

Orthodox Veneration of the Theotokos

Postby fserafim » Sun 22 December 2002 11:53 pm

Today we celebrate the conception of the Most Holy Theotokos by Righteous Anna. What a wonderful feast! Today begins the advent of our salvation...The Virgin Mary like every other woman is conceived according to the laws of nature and like everyone bears the ancestral sin of our forefathers. In this respect she is a true daughter of Eve. But what makes her very special is that she leads a sinless life. In this respect she is model for every Orthodox Christian. Christ takes on the flesh of Adam from His Mother who is the greatest of ascetics, who by her virtuous life becomes like Christ. And so she is able to stand before God and intercede for us. In Mary we see that true synergy available to everyone of us. Man strives and the grace of God makes perfect. It is not her conception that is immaculate but her life in total conformity to the will of God. Blessed art thou among women! O Thou who art full of grace!

There is wonderful book on this theme by St John of Shanghai.

Fr Serafim

Logos
Member
Posts: 266
Joined: Tue 17 December 2002 4:31 pm

Postby Logos » Mon 23 December 2002 1:54 am

Father Seraphim could you please explain something to me. You say that the Theotokos was sinless, yet I thought that Christ was the only sinless one? :?: Could you please explain this to me. Thank you.

fserafim
Jr Member
Posts: 57
Joined: Sun 22 December 2002 11:53 pm
Location: Seattle, WA
Contact:

Postby fserafim » Mon 23 December 2002 6:12 pm

After the Fall, God did not deprive mankind of His grace-giving gifts. "..from my mother's womb Thou art my protector". Ps 70. However everyone except Christ was born subject to orginal sin - "Firstborn among many brethren" Romans 8:29. Only Christ was born sinless "let us adore the Holy Lord Jesus, the only sinless One.." from Sunday Matins.

Christ is the New Adam and not subject to sin, nor He being God did He sin. The Holy Virgin was born subject to the sin of Adam together with all mankind, and with him she shared the need for redemption (The Epistle of the Eastern Patriarchs, Para 6). However the life of the Virgin was pure and immaculate. She was free from personal (not ancestral) sins, which was the fruit of her spiritual labour upon herself (keeping the commandments) and the abundance of grace that was poured out upon her. "Thou hast found grace with God", says the Archangel. This means that she attained, acquired and earned grace by her sinless and immaculate life.

There is unfortunately some modern Orthodox opinion that subscribes to the Latin teaching on original sin, which teaches that we are automatically deprived of grace because of ancestral sin. This is not scriptural. "Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me..With Thy governing Spirit establish me.. (Ps 50). From this misunderstanding, some Orthodox accept the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. But this dogma which would seem to exalt the Theotokos, infact denigrates her spiritual labour and conformity to the will of Christ.

Yours in Christ,

Fr Serafim

Logos
Member
Posts: 266
Joined: Tue 17 December 2002 4:31 pm

Postby Logos » Mon 23 December 2002 7:04 pm

I think I understand now. The Theotokos achieved theosis through her chastity and ascetic labor and thus was able to bear God the word. Am I correct? So in other words, Mary was really the first saint in the church to achieve theosis, correct?

God bless you,
logos

Steve
Jr Member
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed 30 October 2002 3:22 pm

Father, bless -

Postby Steve » Mon 23 December 2002 7:49 pm

and many thanks for the explanation. It is very timely. I also hope to see more posts from you.

Steve

fserafim
Jr Member
Posts: 57
Joined: Sun 22 December 2002 11:53 pm
Location: Seattle, WA
Contact:

Postby fserafim » Mon 23 December 2002 9:27 pm

The Mother of God is the first of all Christians. Yet she did not obtain theosis purely through works. For "it is not of him, who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God Who shows mercy". (Romans 9: 16).

Yours in Christ,

Fr Serafim

Justin Kissel

Postby Justin Kissel » Tue 24 December 2002 1:57 pm

I have another question dealing with the veneration of the Theotokos. A number of accepted Apocryphal texts, as well as many of the God-inspired hymns of the Church, speak of Mary as being brought up in the "holy of holies". I don't understand how to take this, as obviously the OT commanded that only the high Priest be in the holy of holies (and then only once a year, and with a rope tied to him in case he died). A number of Jews I've chatted with found this extremely offensive, and I'm never quite sure what to tell them. I've thought up some possible answers, but I'm still wondering what the truth is exactly. Here's some of the answers that have come to mind...

1. Mary literally was in the holy of holies, it was a special scenario that the high priest at the time recognized. She also literally learnt the scriptures, was fed by the angels, etc.

2. Mary could symbolically be thought of as being intimately attached with the holy of holies. Perhaps this was a way of describing the virtue and majesty of Mary and her relationship with God the Son.

3. We just aren't sure exactly what it means. The truth has been passed down to us, but how exactly we are to understand it is not for us to know (at least, not for us who are yet constant sinners).

Any thoughts?


Return to “Synaxarion Orthodoxia”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests