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The Dormition of our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary (Part II)

Then came the third hour (9 A.M.), when the Dormition of the Mother of God was to occur. A number of candles were burning. The holy Disciples surrounded her beautifully adorned bed, offering praise to God. She prayed in anticipation of Her demise and of the arrival of Her longed-for Son and Lord. Suddenly, the inexpressible Light of Divine Glory shone forth, before which the blazing candles paled in comparison. All who it saw took

God and Caesar (Part II): The Last of the Righteous

The first task of the Church and of Christians is therefore to open up history to the eternity whither she is destined to ‘pass’ one day in a final Passover, whither she is already ‘passing’ by the prayers and the blessing of the liturgy and of liturgical people. To those who see with the ‘eye of the heart’, the reintegrating power of the sacraments holds the world in being, preserves history from decay and slowly

Saint John of Kronstadt’s Sermon on the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos

“Magnify O my soul, the honourable Translation of the Mother of God from earth to heaven.” (Refrain for the 9th Ode of the Canon) Let us be happy, beloved brothers and sisters that we belong to the Holy Orthodox Church, worthily and rightly glorifying the Most Holy Sovereign Theotokos on this eminent day out of all the days of the year with special solemnity. There exists on earth many societies and entire governments that do

The Mother of Us All

Cardinal Newman in his admirable “Letter addressed to the Rev. E. B. Pusey, D.D., on occasion of his Eirenicon” (1865) says very aptly: “Theology is occupied with supernatural matters, and is ever running into mysteries, which reason can neither explain nor adjust. Its lines of thought come to an abrupt termination, and to pursue them or to complete them is to plunge down the abyss. St. Augustine warns us that, if we attempt to find

Her Personal Perfection

The intimate experience of the Mother of the Lord is hidden from us. And nobody was ever able to share this unique experience, by the very nature of the case. It is the mystery of the person. This accounts for the dogmatic reticence of the Church in Mariological doctrine. The Church speaks of her rather in the language of devotional poetry, in the language of antinomical metaphors and images. There is no need, and no

An Eve’s Descendent, too

Mary was chosen and elected to become the Mother of the Incarnate Lord. We must assume that she was fit for that awful office, that she was prepared for her exceptional calling-prepared by God. Can we properly define the nature and character of this preparation? We are facing here the crucial antinomy (to which we have alluded above). The Blessed Virgin was representative of the race, i.e. of the fallen human race, of the “old

Be it according to Thy Word

Again, the Annunciation is “the beginning of our salvation and the revelation of the mystery which is from eternity: the Son of God becometh the Son of the Virgin, and Gabriel proclaimeth good tidings of grace” (Troparion of the Feast of the Annunciation). The divine will has been declared and proclaimed by the archangel. But the Virgin was not silent. She responded to the divine call, responded in humility and faith. “Behold the handmaid of

The Divine Election

Mary “has found favor with God” (Luke 1:30). She was chosen and ordained to serve in the Mystery of the Incarnation. And by this eternal election or predestination she was in a sense set apart and given an unique privilege and position in the whole of mankind, nay in the whole of creation. She was given a transcendent rank, as it were. She was at once a representative of the human race, and set apart.

A Unique Relationship

“But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman” (Gal. 3:4). This is a scriptural statement of the same mystery with which the Fathers were wrestling at Chalcedon. Now, what is the full meaning and purpose of this phrase: “born of woman?” Motherhood, in general, is by no means exhausted by the mere fact of a physical procreation. It would be lamentable blindness if we ignored its spiritual aspect.

The Nature of Christ

The name Theotokos stresses the fact that the Child whom Mary bore was not a “simple man,” not a human person, but the only-begotten Son of God, “One of the Holy Trinity,” yet Incarnate. This is obviously the corner-stone of the Orthodox faith. Let us recall the formula of Chalcedon: “Following, then, the holy Fathers, we confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ… before the ages begotten of the Father as to