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Author Topic: Theotokion from 9th Ode Matins, First Friday in Lent  (Read 1082 times) Average Rating: 0
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elijahmaria
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« on: March 19, 2011, 12:07:29 PM »

Here is the Theotokion from the 9th ode or canticle from yesterday's matins:

http://www.ocf.org/OrthodoxPage/prayers/triodion/lent1fri

~Rejoice, Theotokos, the Mercy-Seat of the world!
We sinners, ever fleeing to you for refuge
gain reconciliation with God.~

The eastern Catholic version of the Triodion that I have reads the same except for one thing:

~Rejoice, O redemption of the world, O Mother of God,
in whom all sinners take refuge
to find reconciliation with God.~


Now I am curious here because in both cases, the phrase mercy-seat and redeemer are generally terms used to refer to Jesus Christ, yet here they are used with reference to the Theotokos.  Of course I am interested in this because there are always Orthodox willing to present the Roman rite understandings of co-redemptrix, and co-mediatrix as heretical teaching [I am not talking about apologists but the formal teaching and liturgy of the Roman rite]....

Yet when I am praying my hours from eastern texts it seems that I am always struck by the phrasing, "Most Holy Theotokos [Mother of God], save us!"...as well as this phrase "redeemer of the world" that is found periodically in a Theotokion.

I don't have any difficulty calling her either the mercy-seat, or redeemer of the world for I don't add more to those phrasings than is warranted by the reality of the Incarnation and the Mother of God...But I am curious to see how others might see things here....
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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2011, 12:14:44 PM »

My reading of this equates the Theotokos with the Ark of the Covenant, a metaphor which is entirely Orthodox.  As I'm sure you know, the Mercy Seat is where God sat (to use mundane terms) in the Temple when the High Priest came to sprinkle the blood of the bull on Yom Kippur.  If Christ is God, the His mother is a "mercy seat" for God "sat" in her.

Just my $0.02.
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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2011, 12:22:03 PM »

My dear sister, you absolutely must, I implore you, put away the lifelong habits of a Roman Catholic mindset and begin to approach things through the more fluid and allegorical understandings of your Byzantine Catholic Church.

One has only to think of the phrase which ends most Orthodox Services:  "Most Holy Mother of God, save us."  That term "save us" has as number of fluid meanings.  I assume your own Services end with the same phrase?

One thinks of the innumerable times that the Saints are praised as "divine" in the Services.

Much of this is metaphor and hyperbole.laugh   Both Orthodox and Eastern Catholics delight in it and never expect Roman Catholics to impose dogma on it or to extract  dogma from it.


The response of the Catholic Melkites at Vatican II to the new title for the Mother of God "Mother of the Church" is very similar to the Orthodox response and highlights what I am trying to say.

We have no problem with heaping an infinite number of praises upon the Mother of God.


The Melkite response is well worth the read. Here is an extract:


It will have been noticed that during the passionate debates that characterized
the Council’s discussion of this schema “On the Virgin Mary,” Patriarch Maximos
and the Melkite Greek Fathers refused to intervene. They were astonished to
their very depths at the importance that was attached to recognizing or refusing
this new title “Mother of the Church” to the Theotokos.

Accustomed to the poetic language of their liturgy, in which the Virgin is saluted
with a thousand titles, they had no trouble in accepting this new title, if it is
interpreted in a large, liturgical, and poetic sense, or in refusing it, if it is interpreted
in a sense that is too realistic and too literal.


Please go to (.pfd)
http://melkite.org/xCouncil/Council%20Chapter%204.doc

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elijahmaria
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« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2011, 12:23:57 PM »

My reading of this equates the Theotokos with the Ark of the Covenant, a metaphor which is entirely Orthodox.  As I'm sure you know, the Mercy Seat is where God sat (to use mundane terms) in the Temple when the High Priest came to sprinkle the blood of the bull on Yom Kippur.  If Christ is God, the His mother is a "mercy seat" for God "sat" in her.

Just my $0.02.

I can accept your .02 but it does not take away from the fact that it is Jesus who is most often equated with the Mercy Seat, and the Theotokos with the Ark itself...

So I am curious as to why this shift in position now and then...This clear exaggeration of the Mother of God...if taken without the added explanation.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us!!

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« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2011, 12:32:57 PM »

My dear sister, you absolutely must, I implore you, put away the lifelong habits of a Roman Catholic mindset and begin to approach things through the more fluid and allegorical understandings of your Byzantine Catholic Church.

One has only to think of the phrase which ends most Orthodox Services:  "Most Holy Mother of God, save us."  That term "save us" has as number of fluid meanings.  I assume your own Services end with the same phrase?

One thinks of the innumerable times that the Saints are praised as "divine" in the Services.

Much of this is metaphor and hyperbole.laugh   Both Orthodox and Eastern Catholics delight in it and never expect Roman Catholics to impose dogma on it or to extract  dogma from it.


The response of the Catholic Melkites at Vatican II to the new title for the Mother of God "Mother of the Church" is very similar to the Orthodox response and highlights what I am trying to say.

We have no problem with heaping an infinite number of praises upon the Mother of God.


The Melkite response is well worth the read. Here is an extract:


It will have been noticed that during the passionate debates that characterized
the Council’s discussion of this schema “On the Virgin Mary,” Patriarch Maximos
and the Melkite Greek Fathers refused to intervene. They were astonished to
their very depths at the importance that was attached to recognizing or refusing
this new title “Mother of the Church” to the Theotokos.

Accustomed to the poetic language of their liturgy, in which the Virgin is saluted
with a thousand titles, they had no trouble in accepting this new title, if it is
interpreted in a large, liturgical, and poetic sense, or in refusing it, if it is interpreted
in a sense that is too realistic and too literal.


Please go to (.pfd)
http://melkite.org/xCouncil/Council%20Chapter%204.doc


Thank you, that is going into my recollection for good responses when asked about the Virgin and the Orthodox Church.

As my grandparents were pious Greek Catholics until the celibacy wars flared up in America, I can say that the 'peasant' mindset they possessed as immigrants from what is now rural,modern day Slovakia did possess a Greek Catholic understanding of the role of Mary in a very pious, non-dogmatic manner akin that of Orthodox peasantry of the same era much as you suggest in this post. Thanks again.
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elijahmaria
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« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2011, 12:44:34 PM »

My dear sister, you absolutely must, I implore you, put away the lifelong habits of a Roman Catholic mindset and begin to approach things through the more fluid and allegorical understandings of your Byzantine Catholic Church.

When I address things of the west to the east, I speak in one way.

When I address things of the east to the west, I speak another.

You will note that in both these cases, "east" and "west" are far more allegorical or metaphorical than they are literal so that I actually do have some capacity for seeing things out of more than one and literal lens...dear brother.

Did I make it clear that my difficulty is not with the phrasing but with the Orthodox who mock the Catholics for making the very kinds of references in the very same language for much the same reasons?  I think I did that.

And I don't believe for a moment that exaggeration is the primary mode of lex orandi, lex credendi.  There is a theological purpose to ALL of the liturgical language used.  Not just poetic hyperbole.  If the shoe were on the other foot you'd be stuffing an Orthodox lex orandi up my metaphorical nose...hyperbolically speaking.  Smiley

BTW have you ever read Pope Benedict's theological and spiritual reflections on Mary as Source of the Church [Mother of the Church].  They are quite beautiful and not much hyperbole at all  Smiley  I've read both the Melkite comments AND the Roman ones...How 'bout you?

« Last Edit: March 19, 2011, 01:13:40 PM by elijahmaria » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2011, 01:31:29 PM »

My reading of this equates the Theotokos with the Ark of the Covenant, a metaphor which is entirely Orthodox.  As I'm sure you know, the Mercy Seat is where God sat (to use mundane terms) in the Temple when the High Priest came to sprinkle the blood of the bull on Yom Kippur.  If Christ is God, the His mother is a "mercy seat" for God "sat" in her.

Just my $0.02.

I can accept your .02 but it does not take away from the fact that it is Jesus who is most often equated with the Mercy Seat, and the Theotokos with the Ark itself...

So I am curious as to why this shift in position now and then...This clear exaggeration of the Mother of God...if taken without the added explanation.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us!!



I find it very frustrating that you can use the bolded phrase with an Orthodox understanding and yet you cannot understand the Orthodox use of the Theotokos as "Mercy Seat".  Just as Jesus is really the only One who can "save us," the metaphor of the Theotokos as the Mercy Seat is employed in much the same manner as asking her to "save us".

Otherwise, I can only add my backing to what Fr. Ambrose posted.
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« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2011, 01:34:34 PM »

Here we go again....
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elijahmaria
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« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2011, 02:26:19 PM »



Did I make it clear that my difficulty is not with the phrasing but with the Orthodox who mock the Catholics for making the very kinds of references in the very same language for much the same reasons?  I think I did that.  In fact I am certain that I did that.


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« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2011, 03:51:35 PM »

I can certainly see your point, Mary.  I did not mean to imply that you were not clear; I apologize if that's how it came across.  However, I still echo Fr. Ambrose's post in a general manner.  Much of your gripe with how Orthodox Christians often view Roman Catholic teachings stem from what he pointed out, IMHO. 

I do not want to fight or argue with you about this, either.  It is Lent and I already have a hard enough time in real life not being contentious with friends, family, and co-workers.  I've offered my interpretation of the Theotokion and that's about all I should do.
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« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2011, 04:44:18 PM »

I can certainly see your point, Mary.  I did not mean to imply that you were not clear; I apologize if that's how it came across.  However, I still echo Fr. Ambrose's post in a general manner.  Much of your gripe with how Orthodox Christians often view Roman Catholic teachings stem from what he pointed out, IMHO. 

I do not want to fight or argue with you about this, either.  It is Lent and I already have a hard enough time in real life not being contentious with friends, family, and co-workers.  I've offered my interpretation of the Theotokion and that's about all I should do.

It is soothing to hear you say that you see my point.  That's more than enough.  Thank you.  I see your own as well.  Smiley
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Tags: Theotokos  co-redeemer  co-mediatrix 
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