O MOTHER of God, as living and ungrudging source, establish those united in spiritual fellowship who sing you hymns of praise, and in your divine glory grant them crowns of glory.
I’ve been exploring the fascinating Biblical allusions to be found in the Canon of the Akathist. The next line I thought I’d look at reads:
HAIL, Sovereign Lady, never failing spring of the living Water.
The Volokolamsk Icon of the Mother of God is a copy of the Vladimir Icon of the Moscow Dormition cathedral. The icon was brought from Zvenigorod to the Dormition monastery of St Joseph of Volokolamsk on March 2, 1572, during the second week of Great Lent and was solemnly met by Igumen Leonid (1563-1566; 1568-1573) and all the monastic brethren.
It is distinguished by its particular depiction on the margins of St Cyprian (right) and St Gerontius (left), Metropolitans of Moscow.
O Angel of God, my holy guardian, given to me from heaven, enlighten me this day, and save me from all evil. Instruct me in doing good deeds, Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »
Byzantium may have perished and did not survive as a state. Nevertheless, it survives spiritually as a genuine way of life and as a culture. I would dare say that Byzantium lives on spiritually within the Holy Mount Athos! Our Lady’s garden exhibits resilience beyond time, as well as a unique way of life and a reviving vigor. read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »
The Abbot of Vatopedi monastery, Archimandrite Ephraim, spoke on the radio programme “Η Γκίζα κάπου αλλού” (Gisa somewhere else) of ΣΚΑΪ (Sky) 100,3 FM on Saturday 14th August 2010, on the eve of the feast of the Dormition of our Lady, Mother of God. Elder Efrem was celebrating the feast at the Vatopedi Metohi of Porto Lagos.
Here is the full text of the interview. read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »
As the Archangel beheld you, immaculate one, a living scroll of Christ, which the Spirit had sealed, he cried out to you: ‘Hail, vessel of joy, in whom the curse of Eve is lifted’. O most holy Mother of God, save us! Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »
The feast of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary is a feast of the Lord and of the Mother of God (Theotokos). It is a feast of the Lord because Christ who was conceived in the womb of the Theotokos. It is a feast of the Theotokos because it refers to the person who aided in the conception and Incarnation of the Word of God, that is, the All Holy Virgin Mary.
Mary (the Theotokos) has great value and an important position in the Church, precisely because she was the person whom all generations awaited, and she gave human nature to the Word of God. Thus the person of the Theotokos is associated closely with the Person of Christ. Furthermore, the value of the Virgin Mary is not only due to her virtues, but also mainly to the fruit of her womb. For this reason, Theotokology is very closely associated with Christology. When we speak of Christ we cannot ignore her who gave Him flesh. And when we speak of the Virgin Mary, we simultaneously refer to Christ, because from Him she draws Grace and value. This shows clearly in the service of the Salutations, in which the Theotokos is hymned, but always in combination with the fact that she is the mother of Christ: «Rejoice, for you are the throne of the king. Rejoice for you bear Him Who bears all things». Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »
Continued from Part 1
Divine priesthood is a “functional imaging of the divine priesthood of God the Father through Jesus Christ” (Voulgaris 1996 : 35). It can thus only be imaged by man who is connected to the imaging of divine fatherhood. A woman’s role differs in that she images functionally the role of the Paraclete who is the assistant of Jesus Christ in His work in the Ekklesia. Both men and women are considered in Orthodoxy, to be harmonious and mature persons with a sense of great personal responsibility. Each of the sexes has a deep gnosis or knowledge of their total dependence on the Triune Godhead for their salvation by the Grace of God the Father. Holy Scripture teaches us that Salvation is the task of the entire Triune Godhead. The Father wills that certain things happen. The Son fulfills the will of the Father and the will is then perfected in each individual believer by the Paraclete. This is the foundation upon which the teachings of the early Church was based concerning priesthood as a specifically masculine function. Men and women thus have distinct roles and functions within the Church. There is expected to be synergy in what men and women do in the Church in the same way that Jesus Christ and the Paraclete co-operate. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »
I. All share in the joy of Christmas.
Our Saviour, dearly-beloved, was born today: let us be glad. For there is no proper place for sadness, when we keep the birthday of the Life, which destroys the fear of mortality and brings to us the joy of promised eternity. No one is kept from sharing in this happiness. There is for all one common measure of joy, because as our Lord the destroyer of sin and death finds none free from charge, so is He come to free us all. Let the saint exult in that he draws near to victory. Let the sinner be glad in that he is invited to pardon. Let the gentile take courage in that he is called to life. For the Son of God in the fulness of time which the inscrutable depth of the Divine counsel has determined, has taken on him the nature of man, thereby to reconcile it to its Author: in order that the inventor of death, the devil, might be conquered through that (nature) which he had conquered. And in this conflict undertaken for us, the fight was fought on great and wondrous principles of fairness; for the Almighty Lord enters the lists with His savage foe not in His own majesty but in our humility, opposing him with the same form and the same nature, which shares indeed our mortality, though it is free from all sin. Truly foreign to this nativity is that which we read of all others, «no one is clean from stain, not even the infant who has lived but one day upon earth.» (Job xix. 4.) Nothing therefore of the lust of the flesh has passed into that peerless nativity, nothing of the law of sin has entered. A royal Virgin of the stem of David is chosen, to be impregnated with the sacred seed and to conceive the Divinely-human offspring in mind first and then in body. And lest in ignorance of the heavenly counsel she should tremble at so strange a result, she learns from converse with the angel that what is to be wrought in her is of the Holy Ghost. Nor does she believe it loss of honour that she is soon to be the Mother of God (Lat. Dei genetrix, Gk θεοτόκος). For why should she be in despair over the novelty of such conception, to whom the power of the most High has promised to effect it. Her implicit faith is confirmed also by the attestation of a precursory miracle, and Elizabeth receives unexpected fertility: in order that there might be no doubt that He who had given conception to the barren, would give it even to a virgin.
II. The mystery of the Incarnation is a fitting theme for joy both to angels and to men.
Therefore the Word of God, Himself God, the Son of God who «in the beginning was with God,» through whom «all things were made» and «without» whom «was nothing made,» (S. John i. 1–3) with the purpose of delivering man from eternal death, became man: so bending Himself to take on Him our humility without decrease in His own majesty, that remaining what He was and assuming what He was not, He might unite the true form of a slave to that form in which He is equal to God the Father, and join both natures together by such a compact that the lower should not be swallowed up in its exaltation nor the higher impaired by its new associate.Without detriment therefore to the properties of either substance which then came together in one person, majesty took on humility, strength weakness, eternity mortality: and for the paying off of the debt, belonging to our condition, inviolable nature was united with possible nature, and true God and true man were combined to form one Lord, so that, as suited the needs of our case, one and the same Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, could both die with the one and rise again with the other.
Rightly therefore did the birth of our Salvation impart no corruption to the Virgin’s purity, because the bearing of the Truth was the keeping of honour. Such then beloved was the nativity which became the Power of God and the Wisdom of God even Christ, whereby He might be one with us in manhood and surpass us in Godhead. For unless He were true God, He would not bring us a remedy, unless He were true Man, He would not give us an example. Therefore the exulting angel’s song when the Lord was born is this, «Glory to God in the Highest,» and their message, «peace on earth to men of good will.» (S. Luke ii. 14.) For they see that the heavenly Jerusalem is being built up out of all the nations of the world: and over that indescribable work of the Divine love how ought the humbleness of men to rejoice, when the joy of the lofty angels is so great?
III. Christians then must live worthily of Christ their Head.
Let us then, dearly beloved, give thanks to God the Father, through His Son, in the Holy Spirit, Who «for His great mercy, wherewith He has loved us,» has had pity on us: and «when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together in Christ,» (Eph. ii. 4, 5) that we might be in Him a new creation and a new production. Let us put off then the old man with his deeds: and having obtained a share in the birth of Christ let us renounce the works of the flesh. Christian, acknowledge thy dignity, and becoming a partner in the Divine nature, refuse to return to the old baseness by degenerate conduct. Remember the Head and the Body of which thou art a member. Recollect that thou wert rescued from the power of darkness and brought out into God’s light and kingdom. By the mystery of Baptism thou wert made the temple of the Holy Ghost: do not put such a denizen to flight from thee by base acts, and subject thyself once more to the devil’s thraldom: because thy purchase money is the blood of Christ, because He shall judge thee in truth Who ransomed thee in mercy, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit reigns for ever and ever. Amen.
Prot. No. 1237
By God’s Grace
Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome
and Ecumenical Patriarch
To the Plenitude of the Church
Grace, peace and mercy from the Savior Christ
Born in Bethlehem
Beloved concelebrants and blessed children in the Lord,
Heaven and earth have united
Through the birth of Christ.
Today, God has appeared on earth,
And man has ascended to heaven.
The distance and separation between God and humanity resulting from sin has been abolished with the assumption of the entire human nature by the Only-Begotten Son and Pre-eternal Word of God. It was God’s good will – that is to say, His initiative and will – that the incarnation of His Son should abolish all such distance uniting heaven and earth, as well as creation with its Creator. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »
Απολυτίκιον. Ήχος δ΄.
Σήμερον της ατεκνίας δεσμά διαλύονται, του Ιωακείμ γαρ και της Άννης εισακούων Θεός, παρ’ ελπίδα τεκείν αυτούς, σαφώς υπισχνείται θεόπαιδα, εξ ης αυτός ετέχθη ο απερίγραπτος, βροτός γεγονώς, δι’ Αγγέλου κελεύσας βοήσαι αυτή· Χαίρε Κεχαριτωμένη, ο Κύριος μετά σού.
Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
The Mother of God and the Saints whose memory we keep today, those who are known to us because God has revealed them and because they have been understood and recognised, either by their contemporaries, or years, at times – centuries later, all the Saints are the response of the earth to the love of God. And this response is given by them not only in their own name but in the name of all creation and in our names also; because each of us has the privilege to be called by one name, our Christian name, the name of one of those Saints. And the Saints whose names are ours stand before God and pray that their name should not be made unworthy in the eyes of the Lord. The Saints of God embrace the whole of Creation in their love, in their intercession, in their prayer, in their real, continuous presence. How wonderful it is that we belong to this vast family of men, of women, of children who have understood what the Lord meant when He came, and lived, taught and died for us! They responded with their own heart, they understood with all their mind, and they accepted His message with all their determination, to overcome in themselves all that has been the cause of the crucifixion; because if only one person on earth had strayed, fallen away from God, Christ would have come to save at the cost of His life. This is His own testimony to a Saint of the early centuries who had been praying that the sinners should be confounded; and Christ appeared to him, and said, “Never pray that way! If one sinner have existed, I would have died for him.” Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »