The Teaching about the Virgin Mary

The whole dogmatic teaching about our Lady can be condensed into these two names of hers: the Mother of God (Theotokos) and the Ever-Virgin (aiparthenos). Both names have the formal authority of the Church Universal, an ecumenical authority indeed. The Virgin Birth is plainly attested in the New Testament and has been an integral part of the Catholic tradition ever since. “Incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary” (or “Born of the Virgin

Homily on the Feast of the Annunciation, by Saint Theodore the Studite

It was spoken on the day of the Annunciation. Brethren and fathers, the Annunciation is here and it is the first of the Feasts of the Lord, and we should not simply celebrate as most do, but with understanding and with reverence for the mystery. What is the mystery? That the Son of God becomes son of man, using the holy Virgin as the means, dwelling in her and from her fashioning for Himself a

The Entrance of the Theotokos in the Temple

The Feast of the Entrance of the Virgin in the Temple is believed to be not among the most ancient festivals of the Church. However, indications that the Feast was observed in the first centuries of Christianity are found in the traditions of Palestinian Christians, which say that the holy Empress Helen (May 21) built a church in honor of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple. St. Gregory of Nyssa, in

The Feast Day of Saint Romanos the Melodos. Three Chanters Gifted by the Theotokos, by St. Nikolai Velimirovich

The Most-Holy Theotokos has often appeared to holy men in need: sometimes to encourage them in asceticism, or to heal them from sickness, or to reveal a certain mystery to them. Two similar, wonderful events took place in the Great Lavra on the Holy Mountain. In Great Lent, during the chanting of the Great Akathist, St. John Koukouzelis was tired and sat down, facing the icon of the Theotokos. As he sat, he fell asleep.

The Dormition (Koimesis) of the Theotokos

On August 15, Orthodox Christians celebrate the greatest of all the religious festivals which the Church established in honor of the All-Holy Virgin Mary (Panagia), the feast of the Dormition (Koimêsis) of the Theotokos. The feasts of the Virgin Mary (theomêtorikai eortai) are second in importance after those of our Lord Jesus Christ in the annual cycle of festivals observed by the Orthodox Church because, after our Lord Himself, the All-Holy Virgin is the most


1. Every generation offers hymns, O Virgin, to honor your entombment 2. Come with all creation to sing the hymns of parting as you are raised, O Virgin. 3. Disciples of my Lord Christ, arrive to tend the body of my God’s purest Mother. 4. Invisibly attending, the archangels and angels in ranks sing hymns to praise you. 5. The women high in honor along with the apostles are crying out and weeping. 6. O


1. Truly it is right that we magnify you who bestow life, just as your pure Mother you magnify for her life-creating falling into sleep. 2. Truly it is right that we magnify you, Theotokos, you took your divine and all-blameless soul and entrusted it into the Hands of God. 3. Wonder strange and new! For the Door now passes through the Doorway, Heaven enters Heaven! We stand in awe as the Throne of God


1. In a grave they laid you yet, O Christ, you are life and they now have laid the Mother of Life as well: both to angels and to men a sight most strange! 2. We exalt you greatly, Theotokos most pure, and we glorify your holy Dormition now, as we bow before your honored precious tomb. 3. In your womb you held him who cannot be contained; you are life to all the faithful:

Dormition or Assumption?

In our Orthodox tradition we are usually very careful to distinguish between the “Dormition” of the Mother of God and her “Assumption” into heaven. The former, we feel, is properly Orthodox, while the latter strikes us as a purely Western designation, derived from a Roman Catholic “misunderstanding” of the meaning of this feast, celebrated universally on August 15. It is true that some very genuine yet misguided interpretations of Mary’s death and exaltation can be

Praying With the Entire Church

“O you apostles, assembled here from the ends of the earth, bury my body: And You, Omy Son and my God, receive my spirit” (Exapostilarion of Dormition of the Theotokos) To be a genuine Orthodox Christian is to share in the joy of fellowship gathered around the holy Mother of God, Mary the ever-virgin one. Yet in America a hesitancy arises even with the Church among the faithful. What is so normal and self-evident an