Archive for August 14th, 2007

The Dormition of the Mother of God

August 14, 2007

dormition.jpg

In giving birth you preserved your virginity,
In falling asleep you did not forsake the world, O Theotokos.
You were translated to life, O Mother of Life,
And by your prayers, you deliver our souls from death.
Troparion of the Feast – Tone 1

It is easy to be put off by Orthodox devotion to the Mother of God when coming at Orthodoxy from a Protestant background. Both because of a fear that anything should compete with God (she does not) and because of erroneous interpretation of Scripture by Protestants on the subject of Mary.

I cannot begin tonight to write an in-depth explanation and defense of Orthodox teaching regarding Mary, other than to say that her place in theology is a seamless garment with the doctrine of Christ’s incarnation and the proper reading of both Old and New Testaments. She is accorded the unique place she holds in the Church’s piety precisely because she holds a unique place in the economy of our salvation.

St. Maximus the Confessor correctly stated that the Incarnation is the Cause of Everything (this follows from Colossians 1:16 where it is stated that “all things were created for Him [Christ].” St. Maximus’ interpretation is the only possible correct one in light of Scripture’s teaching that the “lamb was slain before the foundations of the earth” (Rev. 13:8). The world was created for the Incarnate God, the Second Adam. It is also true that there is no Incarnate God apart from Mary. The Orthodox devotion to her stands precisely at that moment. She is united, bone of bone and flesh of flesh, with the very Cause of the universe.

The other side of our devotion to her, is, quite frankly, personal. We know her. She is the mother of the Church. How can we not love her who was given to us at the Cross itself? How can we not love the Mother of our Savior and God? How is it possible for Christians to ignore her?

“The Queen stood at Thy right hand, arrayed in golden robes, all glorious” (Psalm 44:9 LXX).

But today is not a day to argue such matters, but a day of feasting and celebration. It is her feast day.