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Author Topic: Devotion to Mary in Orthodox Church ?  (Read 2528 times) Average Rating: 0
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Jonas Suender
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« on: May 31, 2007, 10:30:42 AM »

Hello,

How is devotion to Mary understood and expressed in the Orthodox Church ?

In the Catholic Church, there sometimes seems to be an emphasis on making her almost a substitute for the Holy Spirirt:  namely, the mediatrix of all graces, the co-remptrix with Christ, "true devotion" by pledging oneself to be a slave to her, "totus tuus," "to Jesus through Mary", the immaculate heart of Mary, etc., etc., etc.   I realize that all this is piously meant, but much of it rubs me the wrong way:  as getting too close to outright worship instead of veneration.

I can understand, respect and love Mary as the mother of Jesus Christ and thus as the Mother of God (Theotokos).  I can also accept that she is our spiritual mother. 

How, then do Orthodox understand and express devotion to Mary?  I like the prayer, "It is truly right to bless you, oh Theotokos..." and the Akathist.  Are there other prayers or devotions?  And how would the Orthodox understand the rosary, which is such a fundamental part of traditional Roman Catholic piety?

Thank you in advance for any responses.



« Last Edit: May 31, 2007, 10:31:23 AM by Jonas Suender » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2007, 02:41:21 PM »

For the most part, veneration of the Blessed Theotokos takes on the honoring of her with praise and the asking for intervention with her Son, Our Lord and saviour God.

The Akathist Hymn, I believe presents the most perfect  model of veneration for the Theotokos as it puts her into full prespective from an Orthodox viewpoint and is theologically correct.

There are Orthodox Christians who use the Rosary and this includes some Slavic, monastic saints in particular. The term Co-Mediatrix that is  popular among Roman catholics today is not used in Orthodoxy however you will find in certain translations that the term Mediatrix is used in relationship to asking her to intervene with her Son.

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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2007, 04:48:14 PM »

Jonas,

One very ancient Ukrainian Orthodox prayer says, addressing the Most Holy Theotokos, "donesy molytvy nashi Synovi tvojemu i Bogu nashomu, shchoby Vin spas zarady tebe dushi nashi" ("carry our prayers to thine Son and our God, so that He would save our souls for thy sake").

The way I understand it, it's not like she is a "mediatrix" between God and man but, rather, the first person, the leader in the long line of saints interceding for us. If the redeemed humankind can be imagined as a procession towards Heaven, - she is leading this procession. And I really imagine her almost literally "carrying" our prayers there.

George
« Last Edit: May 31, 2007, 04:48:34 PM by Heorhij » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2007, 06:47:32 PM »

Higher than the heavens above are you,
And you are much purer
Than the radiance of the sun;
You who have redeemed us
From the curse which is upon us;
The Lady of all people,
In hymns, do we honor you.

From the great multitude of my sins,
Ill am I in body, Ill am I also in my soul;
I am fleeing to you,
The one who is all-blessed,
The hope of all the hopeless,
Please come bring help to me.
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« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2007, 08:09:10 PM »

Higher than the heavens above are you,
And you are much purer
Than the radiance of the sun;
You who have redeemed us
From the curse which is upon us;
The Lady of all people,
In hymns, do we honor you.

From the great multitude of my sins,
Ill am I in body, Ill am I also in my soul;
I am fleeing to you,
The one who is all-blessed,
The hope of all the hopeless,
Please come bring help to me.
GiC,
Thanks for that blast from the past!  I remember singing these hymns from the Paraklis on Wednesday and Friday evenings during the Dormition Fast when I was a youngster.  Done in the traditional Carpatho Rusyn Chant with the whole congregation singing - it could bring tears to one's eyes.   The Paraklis has to be the most tender and beautiful devotion to the Theotokos in the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2007, 12:58:49 AM »

In the Coptic Church, there are many titles we give her in hymnology, such as the "salvation of our father Adam," or the "hope of Job," etc.  These are not to be taken as worship, but it is equivalent to when I hear EO's say "Save us" to the Holy Mother.

In a sense, anything could be misunderstood, but I don't see the veneration of the Theotokos in the RC Church any different from the Orthodox if understood properly.

One thing I did question was the "Co-Mediatrx," but when it was explained to me what that means, it seemed that they explained "co-" as we explain "sub-," or as Orthodox would say "Save us" or Copts would say "the salvation of Adam."  Perhaps, the fork of dissension is the view of her own conception for Christological and Soteriological reasions.

God bless.
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« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2007, 06:23:27 AM »

I apologize for the lengthy post following. I realize the hyperbole employed below might be confusing but I read this prayer often.

Following the Ambon Prayer and "Blessed be the Name of the Lord," the Priest (and Deacon) then kneels in front the icon of the Theotokos, the Faithful kneeling with, and the Priest (or Deacon) intones"

Kneeling in all humility, let us pray to the Lord.
Response: Lord, have mercy.

Priest:

O my most blessed Lady, Defender of the human race, Refuge and salvation of all who hasten to you: I know that I have sinned may times and angered the most Good God Who was born of you. But I have many examples of those who abused his loving kindness before I did: all were sinners who received forgiveness of their sins after confession and penance. Having before my sinful eyes the example of those pardoned, and beholding the great mercy of God in receiving them anew, I too a repentant sinner, dare to have recourse to your compassion, O my gracious Lady. Give me your helping hand, and obtain from your Son and our God the forgiveness of my grievous sins.

I believe and confess that the One you have borne, your Son, is truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Judge of the living and the dead Who will deal with each one according to his deeds. I further believe and profess that you are truly the Theotokos, the Mother of God, and that in your deep love the for the Christian people, you area fountain of mercy, the consolation of the afflicted, a haven for the lost, a powerful and constant advocated before Christ, and the guarantee of my repentance. Truly, there is no help or refuge for humanity besides you, O merciful Lady: no one who hopes in you is ever disappointed, on one who implores God through you is ever forsaken.

For this reason, I beseech your inexhaustible goodness: open the gates of your mercy to me who have sinned and fallen into darkness. Sinful as I am, do not despise me nor reject my appeal; in my wretchedness, do not forsake me whom the enemy has seized for destruction. Beseech the merciful God, born of you, that He forgive my grievous sins and deliver us from ruin, so that we too, will all those who have been forgiven before, may praise and glorify God's boundless mercy and your unfailing intercession for us, both in this life and in the age to come.

With great humility, we appeal to your maternal boldness, as we pray for the protection of our country, and all Orthodox Christians worldwide, and all those who suffer from strife during these troubled times…..we pray for vocations to the Holy Priesthood, and to the Monastic profession in our diocese…..we pray for the health and salvation of our diocesan clergy ….and we also pray for our individual intentions (quietly mention private intentions):

We beseech your maternal, and tender, regard for our needs, O Most-Holy Theotokos and Mother of our God, that you might present our prayers to your Son and our God, to Whom, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit, are due all glory, honor and adoration, now and ever and forever.

Response: Amen.

Kondak to the Theotokos, Tone 6

We have no other help,

We have no other hope,

Aside from you

O Most-Pure Virgin:

Do you help us,

We hope in you

And we praise you,

For we are your servants,

Let us not be ashamed.
 

Ne imamy inyja pomošci,

Ne imamy inyja nadeždy,

razvi tebe precistaja Divo:

Ty nam pomozi,

Na tebe nad'ijemsja,

i toboju chvalimsja,

Tvoji bo jesmy raby,

da ne postydimsja.


(A Mother's Day tradition in the Aristokles home)
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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2007, 04:40:42 PM »

Brother Aristokles, you must be Slavic... I, a Ukrainian, understand every word of your Kontakion (Kondak). Is it Serbian, Macedonian, ...? Forgive me my ignorance. --George/Heorhij
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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2007, 06:35:29 PM »

Quote from: Jonas Suender
In the [Roman] Catholic Church, there sometimes seems to be an emphasis on making her almost a substitute for the Holy Spirirt:  namely, the mediatrix of all graces, the co-redemptrix with Christ, "true devotion" by pledging oneself to be a slave to her, "totus tuus," "to Jesus through Mary", the immaculate heart of Mary, etc., etc., etc.   I realize that all this is piously meant, but much of it rubs me the wrong way:  as getting too close to outright worship instead of veneration.

Sometimes the devotionalism does go too far but I should like to remind you that the Orthodox have prayers like 'Most Holy Mother of God, save us' and 'for thou are the salvation of Christians'. Things that are orthodox but need a lot of explaining particularly to Protestants!

Quote from: Heorhij
The way I understand it, it's not like she is a "mediatrix" between God and man but, rather, the first person, the leader in the long line of saints interceding for us. If the redeemed humankind can be imagined as a procession towards Heaven, - she is leading this procession. And I really imagine her almost literally "carrying" our prayers there.

That's fine and really what Western Catholicism teaches as well. There is an Orthodox prayer, the Theotokion in the post-Communion prayers, that calls her a mediatrix.

'Co-Redemptrix' can be spun to make it acceptable but I don't think it's worth the bother. Leave it as opinion.

Brother Aristokles, you must be Slavic... I, a Ukrainian, understand every word of your Kontakion (Kondak). Is it Serbian, Macedonian, ...? Forgive me my ignorance. --George/Heorhij

It's in Slavonic but written the way Ruthenian sometimes is, in Latin letters with accent marks like Slovak.
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« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2007, 07:44:34 PM »

There's no significant difference between the two sides that I can see.
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« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2007, 01:32:45 PM »

[quote author=The young fogey link=topic=11772.msg159824#msg159824 date=1180910129

It's in Slavonic but written the way Ruthenian sometimes is, in Latin letters with accent marks like Slovak.
[/quote]

Thank you, TYF. In modern Ukrainian, it would be like this:

"Ne majemo inshoji pomochi,
Ne majemo inshoji nadiji,
Til'ky tebe, Prechystaja Divo;
Ty nam dopomozhy,
Na tebe nadijemosya,
I toboju khvalymosya,
Tvoji bo (my) je raby,
Tozh ne postydajmosya."
« Last Edit: June 04, 2007, 01:33:33 PM by Heorhij » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2007, 05:02:25 PM »

Jonas,

One very ancient Ukrainian Orthodox prayer says, addressing the Most Holy Theotokos, "donesy molytvy nashi Synovi tvojemu i Bogu nashomu, shchoby Vin spas zarady tebe dushi nashi" ("carry our prayers to thine Son and our God, so that He would save our souls for thy sake").

The way I understand it, it's not like she is a "mediatrix" between God and man but, rather, the first person, the leader in the long line of saints interceding for us. If the redeemed humankind can be imagined as a procession towards Heaven, - she is leading this procession. And I really imagine her almost literally "carrying" our prayers there.

George

I like this very clear explanation. I will use it sometimes.

Thanks

The song is beautiful!
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