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Author Topic: "Most Holy Theotokos, save us!"  (Read 6803 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: September 18, 2009, 01:47:01 AM »

I need some help understanding this phrase. It makes me a little wary, because it seems kind of off speaking of anyone but God as involved in saving us.

I expect there may be a legitimate explanation of an orthodox meaning, though.

Does anyone here know?
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« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2009, 02:09:01 AM »

Yes.  I can paraphrase, as best I can recall, what we were taught by Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh, many years ago, when a former chanter of ours was chanting "Most Holy Theotokos, 'Intercede' for us."

He explained that it is a traditional liturgical practice that we ask her to save us, even thought we know our theology teaches that only Christ can save us and we know when we ask her to save, we are asking for her intercession to save us.  If we were to liturgically ask her to "intercede," we draw attention to a practice that appears that we have a deficient tradition which we know is pure and not deficient. 

If I have erred in this reply, the error is due to my lack of retention of what His Eminence had taught years ago; it cannot be an error in his teaching.
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« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2009, 02:18:55 AM »

See reply 61, below:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,21890.msg337683.html#msg337683

I seem to recall it's been discussed elsewhere, but I can't recall where.
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« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2009, 03:10:49 AM »

Think of it as:

save = rescue, assist, help

We ask her to rescue us through her powerful prayers, not to give us the fullness of salvation and deification through her specially endowed powers.

But the simple fact is that Orthodox laity on the practical level do not make sharp theological distinctions, carefully only asking for the prayers of the saints of God.

They ask their patron or the Theotokos to act directly in their lives: to heal them, to protect them, et cetera.  This bothered me until I remembered that these servants of God are deified.  They are feasting upon the banquet of His energies, so anytime that they act 'directly' in our lives, this is only by the grace and power of God working through them.  They become active conduits of God's grace.
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« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2009, 05:17:54 AM »

Think of it as:

save = rescue, assist, help

We ask her to rescue us through her powerful prayers, not to give us the fullness of salvation and deification through her specially endowed powers.

But the simple fact is that Orthodox laity on the practical level do not make sharp theological distinctions, carefully only asking for the prayers of the saints of God.

They ask their patron or the Theotokos to act directly in their lives: to heal them, to protect them, et cetera.  This bothered me until I remembered that these servants of God are deified.  They are feasting upon the banquet of His energies, so anytime that they act 'directly' in our lives, this is only by the grace and power of God working through them.  They become active conduits of God's grace.

Is this the same meaning of the phrase "save us" in  "Help us; save us; have mercy on us; and keep us, O God, by thy grace."? Or is this referring to salvation of our soul here?


To the OP, a similar usage of this type of "save" is used in Romans 11:14:

"I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them."

Obviously Paul is not saying that he himself will save their souls. He is simply referring to keeping them from error or from falling along their spiritual journey by his guidance and direction. This is the proper meaning of "Most Holy Theotokos, save us!"
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« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2009, 06:07:00 AM »

For some reason I can't edit my other post anymore.  Other verses that illustrates this concept of "saving" are James 5:20, Luke 9:24, Jude 1:23, 1 Corinthians 7:16, and Proverbs 23:14,  just to name a few.  Hopefully this clears it up a bit.
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« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2009, 09:15:11 AM »

Yes.  I can paraphrase, as best I can recall, what we were taught by Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh, many years ago, when a former chanter of ours was chanting "Most Holy Theotokos, 'Intercede' for us."

He explained that it is a traditional liturgical practice that we ask her to save us, even thought we know our theology teaches that only Christ can save us and we know when we ask her to save, we are asking for her intercession to save us.  If we were to liturgically ask her to "intercede," we draw attention to a practice that appears that we have a deficient tradition which we know is pure and not deficient. 

If I have erred in this reply, the error is due to my lack of retention of what His Eminence had taught years ago; it cannot be an error in his teaching.

"Most holy Theotokos intercede for us" really grates on my ears for that very reason - it makes it sound like the tradition to say "save us" is somehow wrong. 
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« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2009, 09:54:08 AM »

I've heard many explanations for this, all pretty much the same... One explained like this:

Imagine someone were on the side of the road and had been bitten by a snake (though you aren't sure if it's poisonous or not) in the middle of  nowhere. You drive by, stop and the person asks for you to "save them" because they are afraid they will die without medical attention.
You accept their plea and take them to the nearest hospital where they discover the snake was poisonous and the proper antidote is given. The doctor comes out and thanks you, telling you that you saved the person's life.

Also think about if you were drowning and you could not swim... You would probably shout for help, asking others to "save you". Is this wrong?

In a similar way we are asking for the Theotokos to save us. Only Christ can save our souls and give us salvation. However, we can still save each other in important (yet not the same) ways.

"To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some."
- St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:22
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« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2009, 12:56:49 PM »

St. Paul, I believe, also says that a husband may save his wife and a wife her husband because of faith.  We don't vituperate Paul for using the word save (which is the same that we use when we ask both Christ and the Theotokos to save us) so why should we be apprehensive when we apply this to the Theotokos? 
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« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2009, 06:51:07 PM »

Thanks for the responses so far! I think this is making more sense to me now.
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« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2009, 04:03:46 PM »

Having been a Protestant for many years, I imagine part of our "hang up" with this phrase is our view of the word "save." I believe someone above mentioned her "assisting" us, which is a great point. Bottom line is, Christ is our salvation and the Orthodox surely know this!  angel
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« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2009, 04:26:38 PM »

Assist us in our Salvation , anyway i think Mary can save us trough Jesus Christ.After Most Holy Theotokos, save us , we say:"And let us give all our lives to Christ the Lord... To Thee oh Lord!".Mary has a place and a role into our Salvation , She was the Mother of Jesus and She is the Bride of God.Ephrem the Syrian says beautiful:" Jesus Christ,the Son of the Father is the Son of Mary".
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« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2009, 04:29:55 PM »

As St Irenaeus says, Mary is the "new Eve." The first Eve led Adam into sin and death for all creation, but the second and new Eve prays to her Son for our salvation, Who is the second and greater Adam.
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« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2009, 04:39:59 PM »

Mary is the advocate of Eve, the cause of our Salvation and the defender of the human race.
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« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2009, 06:55:43 PM »

Assist us in our Salvation , anyway i think Mary can save us trough Jesus Christ.

This sounds closer to a co-redemptrix role to me.   
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« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2009, 07:25:26 PM »

Perhaps someone here can elaborate on the Greek word for "save" used in these prayers? This should help clear up some misconceptions of non-Orthodox Christians, eg: Byzantine exaltation of Mary into a goddess.
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« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2009, 09:53:48 PM »

It sounds like some of the people in that forum are deliberately misunderstanding what the EO's mean in their prayers.  I'm not sure that the leadership of the ACE would be that uncharitable, or as Protestant-sounding as those individuals.

Neither the EO's, nor OO's, nor even the Catholics have made the Mother of God into a goddess.  If people are going to deliberately misconstrue what we mean in our prayers, that is their business.  We're not going to change how we address her in order to please some Protestants or some individuals in the ACE.
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« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2009, 12:45:52 AM »

This might be kind of off topic, but along the same vein.  What does "more spacious than the heavens" mean in relation to the Platytera Theotokos icon?
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« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2009, 12:53:26 AM »

All of heaven cannot contain Christ our God, and yet for nine months He was contained in the womb of His mother.
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« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2009, 12:57:42 AM »

This might be kind of off topic, but along the same vein.  What does "more spacious than the heavens" mean in relation to the Platytera Theotokos icon?

A fantastic question, and one that strikes at the heart of the matter.

The Theotokos received a privilege beyond that of any other human at any time in human history.  She received a greater honor than any of the great prophets of old or any of the apostles who walked and talked with the Lord.  She was allowed to carry the fullness of God within her womb.

This is a true miracle beyond comprehension, as we know that all of the created world is not enough to contain the fullness of the glory of God.  He is present everywhere and filling everything, but He is not contained within any of it.  And yet the mystery is this: that God allowed His fullness to be contained within the womb of a woman, when the heavens themselves were not spacious enough to contain His majesty.

Therefore, she is more spacious than the heavens.  Likewise, she is more honorable that the cherubim and beyond compare more glorious than the seraphim for the same reason.  For who among the angels was given the honor of containing God within themselves?

This is why the Mother of God is also seen as an image of the Holy of Holies.
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« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2009, 01:24:26 AM »

REPLY to #15, Nazarene, The Greek word for "Save" is "Soson." Save is an accurate translation into English.

REPLY to #19, Alveus Lacuna, Your post is the best explanation of "Wider than the Heavens" I've ever seen and I've been looking around for inclusion in a "Tour of [my] Church" I'm preparing to publish very shortly. Thank you.

Near the end of this "Tour..." I have recommended "oc.net" for "Further Reading" as an exceptionally vast resource of information on the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #21 on: September 21, 2009, 02:06:30 PM »

Assist us in our Salvation , anyway i think Mary can save us trough Jesus Christ.

This sounds closer to a co-redemptrix role to me.   


“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel [Genesis 3:14-15].’”

"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. [Genesis 3:15]"

Two other women called blessed among all women and predicted to be praised by all generation, Jahel and Judith, both by the power of God strike at the head of the chief enemy.

Judges 4:9“Very well,” Deborah said, “I will go with you. But because of the way you are going about this,b the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will hand Sisera over to a woman.”

Judges 5:24 Blessed among women be Jahel the wife of Haber the Cinite, and blessed be she in her tent. 25 He asked her water and she gave him milk, and offered him butter in a dish fit for princes. 26 She put her left hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workman's hammer, and she struck Sisara, seeking in his head a place for the wound, and strongly piercing through his temples.

Judith 13:17 Judith said: Praise ye the Lord our God, who hath not forsaken them that hope in him. 18 And by me his handmaid he hath fulfilled his mercy, which he promised to the house of Israel: and he hath killed the enemy of his people by my hand this night. 19 Then she brought forth the head of Holofernes out of the wallet, and shewed it them, saying: Behold the head of Holofernes the general of the army of the Assyrians, and behold his canopy, wherein he lay in his drunkenness, where the Lord our God slew him by the hand of a woman. 20 But as the same Lord liveth, his angel hath been my keeper both going hence, and abiding there, and returning from thence hither: and the Lord hath not suffered me his handmaid to be defiled, but hath brought me back to you without pollution of sin, rejoicing for his victory, for my escape, and for your deliverance. 21 Give all of you glory to him, because he is good, because his mercy endureth for ever. 22 And they all adored the Lord, and said to her: The Lord hath blessed thee by his power, because by thee he hath brought our enemies to nought. 23 And Ozias the prince of the people of Israel, said to her: Blessed art thou, O daughter, by the Lord the most high God, above all women upon the earth. 24 Blessed be the Lord who made heaven and earth, who hath directed thee to the cutting off the head of the prince of our enemies. 25 Because he hath so magnified thy name this day, that thy praise shall not depart out of the mouth of men who shall be mindful of the power of the Lord for ever, for that thou hast not spared thy life, by reason of the distress and tribulation of thy people, but hast prevented our ruin in the presence of our God. 26 And all the people said: So be it, so be it.

How much more than , the Mother of God, trough whom the head of the serpant is crushed, by the offspring of the women(Jesus)?
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« Reply #22 on: September 21, 2009, 08:05:32 PM »

I think we have to draw the line somewhere. The only One who has saved, is saving, and will save our souls is Jesus Christ. Only One died on the cross for our salvation.
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« Reply #23 on: September 21, 2009, 08:34:03 PM »

^I think that's a reductionist way of looking at it.

If we ourselves have a role in our own salvation, then why not the Saints? When we repent, we do in a sense work towards our own salvation. When a Saint intercedes on our behalf with the effect of drawing God's Grace to us in a way that saves us from temptation, that Saint in a sense works towards our salvation. Similarly if the relic of a Saint should permit us a unique burst of Grace that enlightens us to Truth in a way that allows us to pursue a direction in life, or make a decision that is conducive to our salvation. Needless to say, all such acts are empowered by the Grace of God; they operate within the context of synergy with that Grace.

With respect to the Theotokos in particular, her unique position amongst the Saints renders her most effective in this regard. A short while ago I wrote a piece on an Oriental Orthodox Saint's contemplation on the prophetic role of the Holy Theotokos. He explained how at the Wedding at Cana, the Theotokos and the Lord Christ were actually operating in unison and harmony for the sake of the salvation of those present. The Lord Christ had a plan, and the Theotokos was able to prophetically conceive of and assist enact that plan. She continues operating in that prophetic capacity till this very day. I'm going to quit linking people to my material lest I should be misinterpreted, but should anyone be interested in reading my article feel free to PM me.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us!
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« Reply #24 on: September 21, 2009, 08:48:05 PM »

"There is an indirect or unequal but important participation by the Blessed Virgin Mary in redemption. She gave free consent to give life to the redeemer, to share his life, to suffer with him under the cross and to sacrifice him for the sake of the redemption of humankind."

"Mary gave birth to the redeemer, who is the fountain of all grace. Therefore she participated in the mediating of grace. A second opinion states that Mary, assumed into heaven, participates in the mediating of divine graces of her son."

Are these statements in line with Orthodox belief?
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« Reply #25 on: September 21, 2009, 09:20:45 PM »

I need some help understanding this phrase. It makes me a little wary, because it seems kind of off speaking of anyone but God as involved in saving us.

I expect there may be a legitimate explanation of an orthodox meaning, though.

Does anyone here know?

1Timothy 4:16

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
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« Reply #26 on: September 22, 2009, 01:18:18 AM »

I think we have to draw the line somewhere. The only One who has saved, is saving, and will save our souls is Jesus Christ. Only One died on the cross for our salvation.
But we are not saved alone.  We are saved as a community, a community that includes all the saints from ages past and ages future.  In some way, our veneration of the Theotokos and prayers to her recognize this communal foundation of our faith.  In no small way, Mary is truly the mother of the Church.
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« Reply #27 on: September 22, 2009, 02:20:32 AM »

^I think that's a reductionist way of looking at it.

If we ourselves have a role in our own salvation, then why not the Saints? When we repent, we do in a sense work towards our own salvation. When a Saint intercedes on our behalf with the effect of drawing God's Grace to us in a way that saves us from temptation, that Saint in a sense works towards our salvation. Similarly if the relic of a Saint should permit us a unique burst of Grace that enlightens us to Truth in a way that allows us to pursue a direction in life, or make a decision that is conducive to our salvation. Needless to say, all such acts are empowered by the Grace of God; they operate within the context of synergy with that Grace.

With respect to the Theotokos in particular, her unique position amongst the Saints renders her most effective in this regard. A short while ago I wrote a piece on an Oriental Orthodox Saint's contemplation on the prophetic role of the Holy Theotokos. He explained how at the Wedding at Cana, the Theotokos and the Lord Christ were actually operating in unison and harmony for the sake of the salvation of those present. The Lord Christ had a plan, and the Theotokos was able to prophetically conceive of and assist enact that plan. She continues operating in that prophetic capacity till this very day. I'm going to quit linking people to my material lest I should be misinterpreted, but should anyone be interested in reading my article feel free to PM me.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us!

I'm linking the article because I think it's relevant and it will do people good to read it:


http://www.erkohet.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=83:mysticalprophetess&catid=45:smnunewtestament&Itemid=18
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« Reply #28 on: September 22, 2009, 02:24:58 AM »

Something else which is relevant is the prayer to the Mother of God by the Armenian Catholicos, Simeon Yerevantsi:

http://www.erkohet.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=127:aprayertothetheotokos&catid=29:mnuprayers&Itemid=22
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« Reply #29 on: September 22, 2009, 03:58:28 AM »

“The various forms of piety towards the Mother of God, which the Church has approved within the limits of sound and orthodox doctrine, according to the dispositions and understanding of the faithful, ensure that while the mother is honored, the Son through whom all things have their being Col 1:15-16 and in whom it has pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell Col 1:19 is rightly known, loved and glorified and his commandments are observed.”

There are three levels of reverence that we in this life offer. Latria is reserved for God alone. Hyperdulia is reserved for the Blessed Virgin. Dulia is reserved for all the rest of the heavenly host.

Dulia - The kind and degree of honor or veneration given to angels and saints. From the Greek root meaning "slavery" or, more broadly, "respect." Dulia is governed by ecclesiastical authority, and distinguished from hyperdulia and latria.

Hyperdulia - As its Greek roots suggest, hyperdulia is above and beyond the dulia. Hyperdulia, or extended praise, is reserved to Our Lady alone because of her role in salvation history.

Latria - This term is derived from a Greek root meaning "service," but in Christian thought, latria has come to denote specifically that kind and degree of praise which is reserved for God alone.
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« Reply #30 on: September 22, 2009, 04:36:23 AM »

“The various forms of piety towards the Mother of God, which the Church has approved within the limits of sound and orthodox doctrine, according to the dispositions and understanding of the faithful, ensure that while the mother is honored, the Son through whom all things have their being Col 1:15-16 and in whom it has pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell Col 1:19 is rightly known, loved and glorified and his commandments are observed.”

There are three levels of reverence that we in this life offer. Latria is reserved for God alone. Hyperdulia is reserved for the Blessed Virgin. Dulia is reserved for all the rest of the heavenly host.

Dulia - The kind and degree of honor or veneration given to angels and saints. From the Greek root meaning "slavery" or, more broadly, "respect." Dulia is governed by ecclesiastical authority, and distinguished from hyperdulia and latria.

Hyperdulia - As its Greek roots suggest, hyperdulia is above and beyond the dulia. Hyperdulia, or extended praise, is reserved to Our Lady alone because of her role in salvation history.

Latria - This term is derived from a Greek root meaning "service," but in Christian thought, latria has come to denote specifically that kind and degree of praise which is reserved for God alone.

Would you please provide the urls for these quotes.
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« Reply #31 on: September 22, 2009, 04:38:29 AM »

http://somanydevotions.blogspot.com/2007/06/spotlight-on-words-dulia-hyperdulia-and.html

http://www.secondexodus.com/html/catholicdefinitions/hyperdulia.htm
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« Reply #32 on: September 22, 2009, 05:20:22 AM »

^^ I'm wondering why you have provided Roman Catholic definitions regarding devotion to the Theotokos on a thread in Faith Issues, which is for discussion of issues and inquiries related to the Orthodox Christian faith. Perhaps you have a reason for this?
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« Reply #33 on: September 22, 2009, 05:46:40 AM »

the orthodox is the same; it`s because i did not find an orthodox source online;
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« Reply #34 on: September 22, 2009, 05:35:46 PM »

"There is an indirect or unequal but important participation by the Blessed Virgin Mary in redemption. She gave free consent to give life to the redeemer, to share his life, to suffer with him under the cross and to sacrifice him for the sake of the redemption of humankind."

"Mary gave birth to the redeemer, who is the fountain of all grace. Therefore she participated in the mediating of grace. A second opinion states that Mary, assumed into heaven, participates in the mediating of divine graces of her son."

Are these statements in line with Orthodox belief?

No one cares to address these statements?
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« Reply #35 on: September 22, 2009, 09:04:28 PM »

"There is an indirect or unequal but important participation by the Blessed Virgin Mary in redemption. She gave free consent to give life to the redeemer, to share his life, to suffer with him under the cross and to sacrifice him for the sake of the redemption of humankind."

"Mary gave birth to the redeemer, who is the fountain of all grace. Therefore she participated in the mediating of grace. A second opinion states that Mary, assumed into heaven, participates in the mediating of divine graces of her son."

Are these statements in line with Orthodox belief?


No one cares to address these statements?

Can you give us a source for them?
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« Reply #36 on: September 22, 2009, 10:18:23 PM »

"There is an indirect or unequal but important participation by the Blessed Virgin Mary in redemption. She gave free consent to give life to the redeemer, to share his life, to suffer with him under the cross and to sacrifice him for the sake of the redemption of humankind."

"Mary gave birth to the redeemer, who is the fountain of all grace. Therefore she participated in the mediating of grace. A second opinion states that Mary, assumed into heaven, participates in the mediating of divine graces of her son."

Are these statements in line with Orthodox belief?



No one cares to address these statements?

Can you give us a source for them?

These are the wikipedia definitions of Mary's role as a co-redemptrix and mediatrix, respectively.  Can someone tell me what part of these statements Orthodox do not subsribe to specifically?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Co-Redemptrix

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mediatrix
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« Reply #37 on: September 22, 2009, 10:33:44 PM »

Those are articles about the Catholic veneration of St. Mary.  You need to be careful about attributing Catholic language and beliefs about the Mother of God to the Orthodox.  Even where our language may be similar, we may mean different things. 

These two threads may be helpful to you:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13075.0.html

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,15799.0.html

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« Reply #38 on: September 22, 2009, 11:06:51 PM »

No matter what, the prayers (e.g. Akathist), DO ask Mary to save us, and we are calling ourselves her servants, we have no other hope, etc.  We can say, oh, it doesn't really mean that, the intention is only to venerate, but, how can we blame non-Orthordox who would see these prayers and think otherwise? Jesus taught us to pray and that was to God. I completely honor and respect Mary and the lessons she gave us of following God's will so perfectly. But, something about praying in the way I'm 'supposed' to as an Orthodox, at times, does not feel right to me. I actually think Mary would cringe at some of it because she was so humble. Yes, I know I am a heretic, heterodox, apostate, etc, no one has to point that out, thanks. Wink  God is the best judge. I just think giving so much focus to others besides our God can have the effect of pushing him out of the focus. Yes the prayers are poetic and beautful and it is easy to cross a line. It really is. 
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« Reply #39 on: September 22, 2009, 11:18:17 PM »

No matter what, the prayers (e.g. Akathist), DO ask Mary to save us, and we are calling ourselves her servants, we have no other hope, etc.  We can say, oh, it doesn't really mean that, the intention is only to venerate, but, how can we blame non-Orthordox who would see these prayers and think otherwise? Jesus taught us to pray and that was to God. I completely honor and respect Mary and the lessons she gave us of following God's will so perfectly. But, something about praying in the way I'm 'supposed' to as an Orthodox, at times, does not feel right to me. I actually think Mary would cringe at some of it because she was so humble. Yes, I know I am a heretic, heterodox, apostate, etc, no one has to point that out, thanks. Wink  God is the best judge. I just think giving so much focus to others besides our God can have the effect of pushing him out of the focus. Yes the prayers are poetic and beautful and it is easy to cross a line. It really is. 

The veneration of the Mother of God brings us closer to her Son.  Think about her words at the Wedding of Cana.  She told the guys with the water jugs to do as her Son says.  That's what her veneration is all about.  We don't venerate her, or any other saints, for their own sake.  Being closer to certain Christians makes one feel closer to God.  The Mother of God is no exception, and since she was the closest one to Christ, she is best able to draw us to Him.

For an example, see my reply 35 in this thread:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,6917.msg95866.html#msg95866
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« Reply #40 on: September 23, 2009, 02:40:43 AM »

Yes the prayers are poetic and beautful and it is easy to cross a line. It really is. 

This is what i've been trying to determine. It is certainly a very gray area, but there is a line nonetheless.  How will we know if we have crossed such a line? We insist that the Supplicatory Canon is veneration and not worship, but what are the distinguishing words or characteristics that seperate the two from one another?
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« Reply #41 on: September 23, 2009, 05:00:02 AM »

If you look at the whole Supplicatory Canon, or the Akathist to the Mother of God, or the liturgical text for the Vigil of any of the feasts of the Mother of God, the Virgin is indeed extolled with high praise, yet, time and again in these services, one is never allowed to forget that it is because of Christ's incarnation that we venerate His mother so highly. This balance of exalting the Mother of God and being drawn to Christ is quite clear when looking at these texts as a whole. This balance cannot be seen if bits and pieces are picked out.
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« Reply #42 on: September 23, 2009, 08:12:11 PM »

Those are articles about the Catholic veneration of St. Mary.  You need to be careful about attributing Catholic language and beliefs about the Mother of God to the Orthodox.  Even where our language may be similar, we may mean different things. 

These two threads may be helpful to you:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13075.0.html

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,15799.0.html



The more that I read these threads, the more I discovered how similar the teachings of Co-Redemptrix of Mediatrix are to Orthodox teaching on the matter. Is this merely a case of "Romophobia" where we are  denouncing a term because of it's apparent Latin origin, even if we agree with it in principle?
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« Reply #43 on: September 23, 2009, 09:44:26 PM »

Those are articles about the Catholic veneration of St. Mary.  You need to be careful about attributing Catholic language and beliefs about the Mother of God to the Orthodox.  Even where our language may be similar, we may mean different things. 

These two threads may be helpful to you:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13075.0.html

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,15799.0.html



The more that I read these threads, the more I discovered how similar the teachings of Co-Redemptrix of Mediatrix are to Orthodox teaching on the matter. Is this merely a case of "Romophobia" where we are  denouncing a term because of it's apparent Latin origin, even if we agree with it in principle?

Your suspicion of Romophobia runs deeper than you think. Here is a tangent I went on in another thread to explain how Prostestant reaction to Catholic teachings regarding the Theotokos and the saints has corrupted the very meaning of the word "worship" - and why it is even worse for you as an American. I've had this on my computer for a while, so I'm not sure where I got the information from; just reading bits and pieces, I suppose. The point is, I can't give references. And don't forget that my intention is not to criticise Protestants or Americans for this unfortunate evolution in the English language, but am simply stating a case for a broader understanding of something that has been forgotten in colloquial usage. I don't think it's a trend that can be reversed, but understanding some of the history might help the individual. I hope it's helpful. If it's not..... what can I say?  angel 

Quote
It's like one of the recent podcasts on Our Life In Christ... A guy contacted them saying the Orthodox worship Mary because a "western" dictionary says they do by definition... It just does not make any sense and is illogical.

Tangent alert!!

By definition it's completely logical. "Worship" is a Western word. It's English. Interestingly, Wycliffe, in his translation of scripture into the English of the pre-Reformation 1300s quotes; "Worschipe thi fadir and thi modir" (Mark 7.10). Today, this verse is translated as "honour your father and mother".

The guy you refer to, though no doubt confused, is actually correct. In the absolute and true sense of the word "worship", we Orthodox do worship Mary. The etymological origin and literal meaning of the English word “worship” is; wur’-ship (Anglo-Saxon: weorthscipe, wyrthscype, "honor," from weorth, wurth, "worthy," "honorable," and scipe, "ship" - in other words "conferring honour to those who are worthy of receiving it"). It's not an exclusively religious word (as seen in the examples of its use below) and it traditionally includes several definitions and applications with regard to conferring honour – including adoration. Whilst, theologically speaking adoration is the highest mode of conferring honour and is offered to God alone, it is still a definition of “worship”.   

During the English Reformation, certain Christian communities under influences from Europe began to reject the worship of the Mother of God, along with that of the saints, angels, icons and relics. In many places there were widespread outbreaks of iconoclasm. Sacred images which had been worshipped for centuries by devout Christians came to be seen, by the Reformers, as idols. The English Reformers, emulating their European counterparts, argued the same biblical texts to justify their beliefs as the Eastern iconoclasts had done back in the early centuries of Christian history; so it isn’t unexpected that these items came to be treated as abominations and destroyed. Communities which resisted the Reformation often hid their sacred images, and restored them to use when the opportunity arose. This was the case during the brief reign of Mary Tudor in England.

The English Reformation’s rejection of the worship of the Mother of God, saints, angels, icons and relics, had an odd consequence for the emerging Protestant usage of the English language. Since Protestants mistakenly assumed that God was the sole object of Christian worship, the word gradually began to be restricted in meaning and finally became treated solely as a synonym for "adore."

The English word "adoration" correctly translates from the Greek word "latreia" or the Latin "adoratio" or "adoratio latriae". Now, there can be no doubt that this is the utmost mode of worship; due to God and to God alone. Adoration as a mode of the utmost form of worship springs from the Christian’s acknowledgement of our absolute dependency on God as created beings. But let’s not forget that “adoration” is still a mode of worship; still a definition of "worship".

The English Reformation’s rejection of the worship of the saints, their relics and sacred images left no other definition of worship except for “adoration” in the Protestant mindset. Unfortunately, no distinction was made by Protestants between adoration and the other lesser, relative modes of worship, since none of them had survived in their religious practice.

Nonetheless, despite this manipulation of the English word, the older, broader concept of "worship" still survives to some degree in England. A mayor of a city is referred to as "your Worship," and, of course, this is completely without any suggestion that anyone is acknowledging that person as the Creator of the Universe. In the older version of the Anglican Marriage service the bride and bridegroom exchange rings, saying “with this ring, I thee wed, with my body I thee worship,". As we said these words, neither my husband nor myself were the slightest bit confused that either of us was acknowledging the other as Almighty God. 

Unfortunately, this useage hasn't continued with you, our American neighbours. You seem to have managed to completely obliterate the broader meaning of the English “worship”, and made it a word that can now only to be used in connection with God. How far you have succeeded in this linguistic manipulation is evident with the Episcopalians who, from what I understand, have completely removed the line “with my body, I thee worship” from the marriage vows in the Common Book of Prayer. Perhaps if this phrase had remained within the Episcopalian movement, you might have retained a broader understanding of the English word “worship”, and not fallen into the Protestant trap. Often I see someone deny our worship of the Mother of God, the saints and relics, with the insistance that we merely venerate” Her. Of course, this completely misses the point, for veneration is simply a definition of the word "worship".

Examples of usage.   

In Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) we find; Worship \Wor"ship\, n. [OE. worshipe, wur[eth]scipe, AS. weor[eth]scipe; weor[eth] worth + -scipe -ship…
     
     1. Excellence of character; dignity; worth; worthiness. [Obs.] (Shakespeare)
              A man of worship and honour. (Chaucer)
 
              Elfin, born of noble state, And muckle worship in his native land.  (Spenser)
 
     2. Honour; respect; civil deference. [Obs.]
 
              Of which great worth and worship may be won. (Spenser)                                             
 
              Then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat
    With thee. (Luke 14:10). (*King James Version)
                                           
     3. Hence, a title of honour, used in addresses to certain magistrates and others of
         rank or station.
 
              My father desires your worships' company. (Shakespeare)
 
     4. The act of paying divine honours to the Supreme Being; religious reverence and
         homage; adoration, or acts of reverence, paid to God, or a being viewed as God.
   
   “God with idols in their worship joined.'' (Milton)
 
              The worship of God is an eminent part of religion, and prayer is a chief part
              of religious worship. (Tillotson)
 
     5. Obsequious or submissive respect; extravagant admiration; adoration.
 
              'T is your inky brows, your black silk hair, Your bugle eyeballs, nor your
               cheek of cream, That can my spirits to your worship. (Shakespeare)
 
     6. An object of worship.
 
              In attitude and aspect formed to be at once the artist's worship and despair.
   (Longfellow)
 
Tangent ended.   



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« Reply #44 on: September 24, 2009, 03:46:21 AM »

Those are articles about the Catholic veneration of St. Mary.  You need to be careful about attributing Catholic language and beliefs about the Mother of God to the Orthodox.  Even where our language may be similar, we may mean different things. 

These two threads may be helpful to you:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13075.0.html

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,15799.0.html



The more that I read these threads, the more I discovered how similar the teachings of Co-Redemptrix of Mediatrix are to Orthodox teaching on the matter. Is this merely a case of "Romophobia" where we are  denouncing a term because of it's apparent Latin origin, even if we agree with it in principle?

I`d say yes.
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