This is Part 7 of a seven (7) part series on The Veneration of the Virgin Mary, also called the Mother of God, or Theotokos (Greek for God Bearer) in the Orthodox Christian Church.
Related blog posts on Jesus Christ’s Geneology: Women in Jesus’ Geneology also, Old Testament Priesthood as compared to New Testament Priesthood.
The Virgin Mary is venerated in the Orthodox Church not because she is the greatest exception, but because she is the greatest example. (Unknown)
The Orthodox Faith venerates the Mother of God utilizing Old Testament prefiguring images of her in the hymnody of the Church to teach the faithful about God’s Divine Plan for the Redemption of His People through her. She is worthy of veneration because she is the beauty and excellency of all of the generations of Israel who in the fullness of time prepared herself so she could receive her own Salvation while accepting to bring salvation of all mankind into the world through the Incarnation of God, “Behold, the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word” at the Annunciation of God coming to Earth to save His people which prefigure the words of Rev. 22:20 of the Church awaiting the Second Coming of the Savior: “Amen ….. Come Lord Jesus”
Throughout these classes, we spoke of how the Virgin Mary is the perfect example of a person traveling the road to Theosis, union with God, and we also pointed out that this will only be fully realized at the Second Coming of the Lord. We learned that the essence of what we were created to be, our humanity, will not change at the Second Coming. It instead will still be entirely human…but in a new and glorious form. It will be the form in which God originally created man in the beginning. With regard to Theosis, St Anastasios says “….That which is of God is that which has been lifted up to a greater glory without its own nature being changed.”
In an Orthodox wedding service there are two parts, the first part is the Betrothal. In Old Testament Israel, the Betrothal was a legal and binding promise and the “couple” was considered married even though the consummation of the marriage (the Crowning) had not come to fruition. The Church of the present age is the betrothed of God awaiting the consummation of the marriage with Her Bridegroom (the crowning) in her life to come.
It is my hope that these lessons have been of some benefit in understanding how the Orthodox Tradition of the veneration of the Mother of God is a natural fulfillment of the Old Testament narratives as heard in the Liturgical tradition of the Orthodox faith.
The Theotokos is the Bride of God, the Mother of God, the New Jerusalem, the Church, the Mother of all Christians, the Protection of Christians, and the Mediatress of Christians before the throne of Her Son. She is worthy of veneration by the members of the Body of Her Son (the Church) because through her perfect obedience to the will of God, she freely cooperated with divine grace in order to be able to travel the road of union with God. Because of her perfect obedience to the will of God, our humanity was joined with God’s Divinity through the incarnation of His Son, Jesus Christ, and raised to the heights of God. Because of the Theotokos’ perfect obedience to God, we too may have the opportunity to freely cooperate with Divine Grace for the salvation of our souls.
|Scriptural Passages and Hymnody for this part
|New Testament||Old Testament||Hymnody|
1 Cor 5:7
1 Pet 4:13
1 Co 7:31
2 Pet 3:10-13
1 Jn 2:17
2 Cor 5:17
2 Pt 3:13
2 Cor 6:16
|Ninth Ode from Pascha
Excerpts from the Divine Liturgy, Matins and Vespers.
Glory to God for all things +
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GLORY TO GOD FOR ALL THINGS.