Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
From the root of Jesse and the loins of David the King, Mariam, the
child of God, is born for our sake this day. Hence, all creation
exulteth on its renewal. Both Heaven and the earth rejoice together now.
Praise her, O ye tribes of nations here below. The righteous Joachim
rejoiceth, and Anna keepeth feast, crying out: The barren beareth the
Theotokos, the nourisher of our life.
Kontakion in the Third Tone
On this day the Virgin and Theotokos Mary, the bridal chamber of the
Heavenly Bridegroom, by the will of God is born of a barren woman. Being
prepared as the chariot of God the Word, she was pre-ordained for this,
since she is the divine gate and the true Mother of Life.
Please see: The Orthodox Veneration of the Mother of God
by St. John Maximovitch,
Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco
“DETHRONE MARY? . . . An ORTHODOX RESPONSE”
– by Rev. Fr. Daniel Daly
The following article was written by Rev. Fr. Daniel Daly of St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church in response to “Dethrone Mary”, an article in “The Messenger Magazine” – June 2002
In the May issue of your magazine (The Messenger), I read the article entitled “Dethrone Mary” by Jean Green. Throughout the Christian world the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodo Church both honor Mary the Mother of Jesus Christ. In some of the Reformation Churches, Mary is also honored. Even John Calvin refers to Mary as the “most holy virgin”. However, neither in Catholicism nor in the Eastern Church is Mary regarded as the Redeemer. Christ alone is the Redeemer. Because she was the mother of a Person who was both God and man, Mary was given the title of “Godbearer” by the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD. I do not know who Ms. Green may be referring to when she says “How dare humanity believe that the earthly mother of Jesus can forgive their sins. . .?” Regardless of misunderstandings or misrepresentations of the teaching of the Catholic or any other church, the belief that Mary can “forgive sins” is not held by ANY church.
Ms. Green also states that “no human could endure the agony of the cross as did the Eternal Son of God”. Has she not heard that crucifixion was one of the means of execution used by the Roman Empire? After the revolution of Spartacus, the Apian Way (a Roman road leading out of Rome) was lined with the crosses of thousands of his [Jesus’] followers. They had no choice but to endure the “agony of the cross”.
In the first chapter of the Gospel according to St. Luke, the Bible states that Mary was “Blessed among women”. She was told by the angel that she was “highly favored” (in Greek, it is literally “the one receiving grace” – also translated as “full of grace”). She was told that “the Lord was with (her)”. Mary is said to have “found favor with God”. Mary’s soul is said to “magnify the Lord”. She prophesied that “all generations shall call me blessed.” Truly these were inspired and prophetic words. To say that people should “dethrone Mary” is hardly in keeping with what is recorded in the Bible. Rather, we should “call her blessed.” Would not all Bible-believing Christians want to do this? Mary is not the savior. No church teaches that she is. She too is part of the human family. It is fair, nonetheless, to ask what role she played in the saving plan of God.
Adam chose to disobey the command of God. He turned away from God. He and Eve were cast out of Paradise. They no longer lived in union with God. Adam was told that on the day he ate the forbidden fruit he would die! His biological death may have come later, but he did die on that day. Whatever death is, it is our separation from God. It is Paradise Lost. This is that sad inheritance of every person born. To restore that life to man, to bring man back into union with God, man had to be saved. He had to be brought back into union with God. He had to be healed. For that to happen – even before His death on the cross — the divinity of God and the humanity of man had to be brought back together in One person who was both human and divine. If that Person were not both human and divine, he would be powerless to achieve the restoration and the healing of man. And so God became man. The Word became flesh.
If God wished only to forgive man, He could have remained in Heaven. He could have declared our forgiveness from Heaven. But to truly save us, He had to become man. This required more than an attachment to humanity. Wearing our humanity like a cloak would not be enough. God’s Eternal Son, the Divine Word, had to truly become man. Otherwise, the separation between man and God, caused by the sin of Adam, would remain. But for God to become man, one thing was necessary. The only way to be born into this world is through a human mother. Mary of Nazareth, through her Divine motherhood, gave to the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity His humanity. The Second Person of the Trinity did not simply “pass through” Mary. She really was His mother. Because of this role, Christians have loved her and honored her from the earliest days of the church. This is her great honor. She was the woman who said yes to God. Truly we should “call her blessed”.