I agree that there is evidence some converts to the Christian East retain some residual Protestant prejudice against Marian devotion. I've never seen it in person but one example I can think of is the Orthodox Study Bible, which in its suggested daily prayers has no Marian prayers, IIRC.
Western or Eastern, true devotion to Mary (to cop an expression from Tridentine Catholicism) is grounded in the Church and always points to Christ, not to Mary as an end in herself.
And I think just about everybody here, including the Anglicans, can agree on the basic statement on Mary I describe on my Orthodox Tradition
page (under the heading 'There's Something about Mary' - I thought it was cute). Namely, the teaching of the Council of Ephesus that she is the Mother of God.
My take on the Immaculate Conception can be read here
(scroll down). I've skimmed the Maximovich (forward by Rose) book and found it a little lacking - the IC isn't part of Byzantine theology but to ridicule it while demanding one believe in pious legends not necessary to salvation seems pretty hypocritical. The IC isn't part of the Byzantine theological picture but the rite does call her 'immaculate'.
Don't get me wrong - such legends can be believed in (they might be true) and can be wonderful things.
My take in general on personal devotion to any saint is that one must accept that such devotion is acceptable, thanks to belief in the communion of saints, but at the same time one isn't required to practise it (except perhaps by default at Divine Liturgy if you're Byzantine Rite). Simply talking to God is just fine and always an option.
Eastern Orthodoxy rightly understood does keep Marian piety in a wonderful proportion to the rest of the faith (Trinity, Eucharist, episcopacy, etc.).
I can symbolically imagine caricature
Roman Catholicism, including the Novus Ordo
conservative kind, as one big, exaggerated picture or statue of the Pope on one side, in front, and one equally distorted image of Mary (probably standing alone without Christ) on the other side - in a mean little ’50s A-frame church that except for these grotesque distorted images might as well be Methodist. (A setting for a charismatic guitar Mass.) The things I see as central, like the things I named in the paragraph above plus old-fashioned liturgical worship, usually don't matter to such people.
While rarer than in Western Catholicism, there are
images of Our Lady by herself that are venerated by the Eastern Orthodox. There is the icon that St Seraphim of Sarov died in front of. Our Lady, Joy of All Who Sorrow is often shown without Christ in her arms - she resembes Our Lady of Grace (the Miraculous Medal image) or Our Lady of Fatima. There's Our Lady of Vilna (also called Our Lady of Ostrabrama), who is venerated by Lithuanians, Poles and Russians alike. And there's Our Lady of the Seven Swords, also called 'Softener of Evil Hearts', which is a Russian copy of the Polish devotion to Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows - she too is depicted alone.
As for a favorite veneration of Mary, I like the Akathist hymn the most
It's a winner. I use it.
Funny coincidence, Linus! Some of my RC relatives say the same thing about all of us who are their Orthodox relatives, i.e., that we're more Catholic than they are!
I describe this ironic feeling in my blog entry for May 16, 'What I believe'.