Veneration of Mary

You may or may not be able to answer this question but are you aware of any difference in the Veneration of Mary by the Oriental Orthodox Church as compared to the Eastern Orthodox Church?

I read some hymns in the Eastern Orthodox Church that seem to give Mary too high of a position or adorn her with language that, at least for a Protestant like me, would seem more appropriate for Christ Jesus. An example is:

Kontakion:
In your holy birth, Immaculate One, Joachim and Anna were rid of the shame of childlessness; Adam and Eve of the corruption of death. And so your people, free of the guilt of their sins, celebrate crying: "The barren one gives birth to the Theotokos, who nourishes our life." - Translation by Narthex Press


However when I read the Agpeya I find a picture of Mary as a blessed Saint, the Mother of God, who prays to Christ Jesus on our behalf, asking him to forgive us. An example is:

O Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God our God, through the intercession of Holy Mary and all Thy Saints, keep us, and let us start well. Have mercy upon us according to Thy will forever. The night has passed away, we give thanks unto Thee O lord, and we ask Thee to keep us this day without sin, and deliver us.

And:

Hail thee. We ask thee, O saint, full of glory, the ever-virgin, the Birthgiver of God, the mother of Christ; to lift up our prayers to Thy beloved Son that He may forgive our sins. Hail her, the Saint, the Virgin, who gave birth to the True Light, Christ Our Lord; ask the Lord to have mercy on us and forgive our sins. O Virgin Mary, Birthgiver of God, the faithful intercessor of the human race, intercede for us before Christ to whom thou gave birth, that He may grant us forgiveness of our sins. Hail thee, O virgin, the true queen. Hail her who is the pride of our race, who gave birth to Emmanuel. We ask thee to remember us, O faithful intercessor, before our Lord, Jesus Christ, that He forgive our sins.

This view of Mary I can agree with and can find to be Biblical but the language used by the Eastern Orthodox I find hard to accept.

Are you aware of any difference or would an Oriental Orthodox Christian agree with the hymn sung by the Eastern Orthodox?

Thanks!

Justin

Comments

  • Well i have to say, that Kontakion is disturbing to read except if the translator meant something else. I really don't have much to say concerning this but i sought to lead you to our Midnight Praise Theotokias where you'll see the best descriptions of the Theotokos in our Coptic Church: http://tasbeha.org/hymn_library/cat/214
  • it also seems to me that the EO churches venerate the virgin saint mary more than we do. but i don't know that much about the EO position. however it seems the EO position is closer to the catholic position.
    i know much more about the catholic position as i have discussed this often with catholics, including with my friend who is a catholic catechist (teacher in the catholic church)
    we have several eastern orthodox people on the forum here, maybe they can answer your question better.
    :)
  • I don't think our practices are as extreme as the Roman Catholic practice since they go as far as to say that the Theotokos is the co-redemtrix of Christ which we see as heretical. They also have other dogmas that we also consider wrong. They in a way make her divine and part of the Trinity.

    I don't see really what the issue of the hymn is. But I'll try my best to explain it.

    In your holy birth, Immaculate One, Joachim and Anna were rid of the shame of childlessness; Adam and Eve of the corruption of death. And so your people, free of the guilt of their sins, celebrate crying: "The barren one gives birth to the Theotokos, who nourishes our life.

    With her birth Joachim and Anna who were once barren were blessed by God with the birth of the Holy Virgin Mary. Adam and Eve were released from the corruption of death by her birth since she gave birth to Christ who delivered us from death so through her birth; she was blessed to give birth to Christ who would raise up creation with Himself after His Resurrection.

    The position of St. Mary the Theotokos is I believe the same as the Oriental Churches. We see her as a holy Saint who brought forth Christ into the world. She intercedes for us and pray to her Son and God to have mercy on us. She is also referred to by some as the Panagia (the All-Holy) since she is very close to God.
  • thanks, andrew, for clarifying the EO position. it does not seem fundamentally different to ours.
    on behalf of my catholic friends, yes, they use the term co-redemptrix, but they do not confuse her with the trinity.
    i also think, though that the catholic position on the virgin saint mary goes too far, as the rosary contains lots of 'hail mary's and less prayers directly to God.
    for me this skews the issue, and puts too much emphasis on saint mary.
    they also think she was conceived in a special way without having sin. i don't agree with this; it is the main reason i have not joined the catholic church.
    maybe, in the future, we can all come to a common understanding about this (God-willing), until then, a fundamental difference remains between the orthodox and catholic churches.
    may God give us all His light and understanding.
  • [quote author=andrew21091 link=topic=8319.msg106195#msg106195 date=1252693784]

    In your holy birth, Immaculate One, Joachim and Anna were rid of the shame of childlessness; Adam and Eve of the corruption of death. And so your people, free of the guilt of their sins, celebrate crying: "The barren one gives birth to the Theotokos, who nourishes our life.

    With her birth Joachim and Anna who were once barren were blessed by God with the birth of the Holy Virgin Mary. Adam and Eve were released from the corruption of death by her birth since she gave birth to Christ who delivered us from death so through her birth; she was blessed to give birth to Christ who would raise up creation with Himself after His Resurrection.

    The position of St. Mary the Theotokos is I believe the same as the Oriental Churches. We see her as a holy Saint who brought forth Christ into the world. She intercedes for us and pray to her Son and God to have mercy on us. She is also referred to by some as the Panagia (the All-Holy) since she is very close to God.


    Andrew,

    Thank you for your response.  I agree that the Eastern Orthodox are different in regards to their doctrine of the Theotokos.  I understand also that the Eastern Orthodox in no way worship Mary; worship is reserved for God alone.

    However the language used within that hymn can be seen, by outsiders to the EO, that the Theotokos is being credited with the works of Christ.

    Whereas the Coptic liturgy, at least from my reading, is explicit in its reasoning for the praises of Mary and those praises point to the work and person of Jesus Christ.

    For example:

    Coptic Doxology of St. Mary - Midnight Praises
    Your greatness O Mary, the undefiled Virgin, is likened to the height of the palm tree, spoken by Solomon.  You are the spring of living water, that flows from Lebanon, for out of you sprang unto us, the grace of the Divinity.

    Does this comparison make sense?  The EO hymn can only be understood by those "in the know" whereas a stranger that would walk into a Coptic Orthodox divine service would have a clear understanding of the veneration attributed to Mary.  I just find that the Coptic Orthodox explicitly state within its hymns and liturgy why the Theotokos is worthy of veneration as compared to the Eastern Orthodox where the language has a great ability to be confused with doctrines that are closer to those of the Roman Catholic Church.

    Does any of that make sense?

    Thanks again for your response.  :)
  • As part of the standard morning prayers in the Greek and Russian churches are three Troparia to the Holy Trinity that I have stopped saying because they would be difficult to justify doctrinally, sounding, as they do like a vindication of Mary, Mediatrix of all Graces.

    As we arise from sleep, we fall down before Thee, O Good One, and we cry unto Thee with the hymn of the Angels, O Mighty One: Holy, Holy, Holy art Thou, O God. Through the Theotokos, have mercy on us.

    How does this sound to Coptic ears?

    In Christ
  • I think Copts would more likely say 'through the intercessions of the Theotokos', have mercy..

  • In the Watos Psali of St Mary, she's called pan-agia (all holy) as well.
    In the Saturday Theotokia we call her "holy in all things".

    In the first watch of the midnight prayers of the Agpeya we say in the troparia (litanies):

    Behold, the Bridegroom is coming at midnight, blessed is the servant whom He finds watching. But he whom He finds sleeping is unworthy of going with Him. Therefore, take heed, O my soul, that you may not fall into deep sleep, and then be cast out of the Kingdom. But watch and cry out saying “Holy, Holy, Holy are You, O God; for the sake of the Theotokos, have mercy on us.”

    I wonder how different this is from the EO prayers...
  • [quote author=Godislove260 link=topic=8319.msg106258#msg106258 date=1252923672]
    I think Copts would more likely say 'through the intercessions of the Theotokos', have mercy..




    this doesn't only apply for her put for all the heavenly and Saint John the Baptist.
  • [quote author=Hos Erof link=topic=8319.msg106259#msg106259 date=1252926078]

    In the first watch of the midnight prayers of the Agpeya we say in the troparia (litanies):

    Behold, the Bridegroom is coming at midnight, blessed is the servant whom He finds watching. But he whom He finds sleeping is unworthy of going with Him. Therefore, take heed, O my soul, that you may not fall into deep sleep, and then be cast out of the Kingdom. But watch and cry out saying “Holy, Holy, Holy are You, O God; for the sake of the Theotokos, have mercy on us.”

    I wonder how different this is from the EO prayers...


    We actually use that same troparia during Holy Week. It is sung three times on Holy Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday Bridegroom Orthros and they have different endings. On Holy Monday it ends as "through the intercessions of the incorporeals, have mercy on us" and then the other two are through the intercessions of the patron Saint of the church and then the Theotokos. On Tuesday the first one in through the intercessions of the Forerunner, then the patron Saint and then the Theotokos. On Wednesday the first one says “By the power of Thy Cross, have mercy on us” and then the ones to the patron Saint and to the Theotokos as usual.
  • There nothing wrong with living Christians interceding in prayer for one another. But can a DEAD person — even a dead Christian whose soul is 'asleep' and awaits the return of Christ — intercede for a Christian? God forbid! So then how is it scriptural to say that Mary who is fully DEAD, and remains so to this day, can intercede for Christians? And why Mary? Why not the Apostles? Let no one forget, ALL through Christ's ministry on earth she remained an UNBELIVER. She was refused Christ's audience on account of her disbelieve and lack of obedience to God. Who can deny this? So how then was/is she perfect?

    And how is it scriptural to call Mary EVER VIRGIN? Why does she have to be that? and for what purpose? The sins of men are not transferable through the woman. So there is no need for Mary to be PERFECT before or after the birth of Christ. She was fallen like all humanity EVEN when Christ was in her womb, and was, clearly, in need of a Saviour like any other human being. Mankind fell when Adam fell, NOT when Eve fell. Hypothetically speaking, had Adam not followed after Eve and remained obedient to God's commandment to refrain from the forbidden tree, humanity would have remained sinless.

    Any kind of veneration for Mary is nothing more that PURE IDOLATRY. Vatican is guilty of this. And so are ALL the Oriental and Byzantine-based churches guilty of the same. Repent and believe in Christ alone. FOR THE TIME IS SHORT.

    Rev 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
  • edited April 10
    But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken.” (Mark 12:26-27)
    +++
    But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.” (Luke 20:37-37)
    +++
    Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1)
    +++
    Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” (Matthew 17:1-4)
    +++
    “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

    “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’

    “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’” (Luke 16:19-31)
    +++
    When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed. (Revelation 6:1-11)
    +++
    For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:3-6)
    +++

    It seems to me the Bible is very clear those who die are living in the eyes of God and are not "soul sleeping" as you believe. Furthermore, after the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, while we do say they are fallen "asleep", it is no longer appropriate to say of the souls they are DEAD, because that makes a mockery of the salvation of Christ who destroyed death by His own death and bestowed life to those in the tombs. And when we say "asleep" that does not mean they're not conscious of what is going on in the world, but "sleep" alludes to the power of Christ's resurrection that they will rise from death reunited to their flesh. In other words, their whole human nature is asleep, but their soul is not asleep. They are our "cloud of witnesses." They are those who provide comfort to those who live righteously in Christ (bosom of Abraham). They are those who continually seek vengeance for the blood of the martyrs.

    Finally, to call them DEAD is to be a Saducee as is evident in your characterization of these saints in Christ. To call them DEAD is to deny the resurrection of the body of Christ, the Church, which the saints are an extension of that Body. Those who insult and persecute the saints in such manner insult and persecute Christ, as Christ rebuked Saul on the road to Damascus:

    +++
    As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”

    And he said, “Who are You, Lord?”

    Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” (Acts 9:3-5)
    +++

    Sounds like you need to repent from your devious ways in blaspheming God, His Christ, and His Church.

    Stand by for my next post on Mary, which you sadly show ignorance for.
  • I cannot for the life of me how you deduce Mary was an unbeliever when the Bible clearly states she was faithful to the END!

    Consider Luke chapter 1:

    +++
    26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

    29 But when she saw him,she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.
    +++

    The Archangel is sent from God to tell her she is "highly favored" and "blessed among women". What did she do? She questioned the greeting that praised her. She wasn't afraid of the angel. She was afraid of undue praise of which she did not feel worthy, "what manner of greeting this was". That is called humility. She didn't even care that an angel was doing this! I'm sure Gabriel was shocked and pleased at her response that shows she is truly worthy to give birth to the eternal Son of God!

    +++
    35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”

    38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
    +++

    Again, look at the humility. The archangel has told her she will give birth to the Son of God! She did not respond with arrogance, but with humility. She calls herself the slave (Greek word doula) of the Lord, and that "thy will be done" echoing Christ's teachings in His prayer.

    +++
    And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”
    +++

    Again, Elizabeth after receiving inspiration from the Holy Spirit which caused her baby to leap in her womb, cries out to Mary "Blessed among women...Mother of my Lord". Read that last verse: "Blessed is she who BELIEVED". Indeed brother James, how can you bear Christ in your heart if you do not believe. How much more Mary whose flesh Christ took from!!!


    +++
    46 And Mary said:

    “My soul magnifies the Lord,
    47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
    48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
    For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
    49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
    And holy is His name.
    50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him
    From generation to generation.
    51 He has shown strength with His arm;
    He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
    52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
    And exalted the lowly.
    53 He has filled the hungry with good things,
    And the rich He has sent away empty.
    54 He has helped His servant Israel,
    In remembrance of His mercy,
    55 As He spoke to our fathers,
    To Abraham and to his seed forever.”
    +++

    This reads like one of the Psalms of David. She shows herself to be a true and humble daughter of David and a worthy mother to Christ. Even though she is a slave, she realizes because of who is in her womb, all generations will call her blessed.

    She believed very clearly according to Luke chapter 1.

    And if you James are truly a man of the Bible you do not need me to show references how unlike most of Christ's disciples, His mother was right there at the Cross, not denying Him, but bearing with Him the pain and suffering He was feeling. Only one disciple, John, was there to bear witness of the love of this mother Mary, and Christ told John to take care of her!

    You give an obscure passage from the book of Revelation somehow showing she allegedly was a non-believer? Let me give you another passage that shows another more worthy woman mentioned in the same book:

    +++
    1 Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. 2 Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.

    3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. 5 She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. 6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

    ...

    13 Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. 14 But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15 So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. 16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
    +++ (Revelation 12)

    It seems like James you are this dragon who is bearing false witness against Mary, the Blessed among women, the most faithful woman in Christ's life.

    So I tell you, repent!

    God bless you! Mina



  • " She was refused Christ's audience on account of her disbelieve and lack of obedience to God. Who can deny this? So how then was/is she perfect?"

    What does "She was refused Christ's audience on account of her disbelieve and lack of obedience to God." even mean? Did St Mary every tell Christ "I forbid you to be the Christ"? Or "I forbid anyone to come see you"? Or "I will not share you with anyone"? Or "Send these people away regardless of what you or your Father say"? Or "If you continue to tell people you are God, I will disown you?" Or "Stop lying to people that you are God"? Where was her "disbelieve"? Seeing that the actual word is "disbelief", I love to see how you can defend your claim of a non-existing concept against St Mary. Where was her lack of obedience to God? You made this claim, the onus is on you to prove it - which you neither have done nor can do from scripture. Rather it is your disdain for Orthodoxy, not St Mary that has prompted you to troll an Orthodox site.

    What are you talking about James? If you, as a Protestant who believes in sola scriptura, can't even provide scriptural references to your claim, how do you expect us to even take your claim that no one can deny St Mary was an unbeliever seriously? Or how can we take anything you say seriously?

    Your lack of clarity only proves your inability to even communicate at all. Your lack of response to Mina's posts only proves you came here to troll, curse us, and leave like a coward. If you can't even do these things, how do you expect us to show you that St Mary was, is and will always be perfect? 

    That's ok. We forgive you. St Mary will be perfect whether or not you agree. Repent, don't repent - whatever. It's between you and God. Your trolling has no effect on us and our faith, because we defend it with our blood constantly. 
  • May God be with you all!
     
    I am Greek Orthodox,and I can afirm that we don't worship Holy Mary more than Our Lord,Jesus Christ.We consider a sin the Mariology in the Catolic Chrurch,and we pray Mary for intercession of our prayers .
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