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Donna Rose
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« on: May 24, 2004, 11:52:51 PM »

Is there an equivalent to the "Hail Mary" in the Orthodox Church? i.e. a prayer to the Theotokos that is standard that all Orthodox know?
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« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2004, 12:07:47 AM »

It is truly meet to bless you, O Theotokos, ever-blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim, without defilement you gave birth to God the Word. True Theotokos we magnify you!
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« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2004, 12:09:05 AM »

If you want something more in depth, there are several Akathist Hymns to the Theotokos.  I can provide links for a few if you like.
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« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2004, 12:55:41 AM »

Thanks David! I like the one you posted, but the links would be helpful too. Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2004, 01:03:46 AM »

Donna,

The brief prayer I included above is the OCA translation of the Hymn to the Theotokos.  You will hear this several times in any Orthodox service.  Here are a few Akathists to the Theotokos:

Akathist to the Holy Virgin
Akathist Hymn to the Most Holy Mother of God
Akathist to the Theotokos, Joy of All Who Sorrow
Akathist to the Most Holy Theotokos in Honor of the Icon of the Inexhaustable Cup This one is often used by alcoholics, as that icon has helped work miracles in the lives of many alcoholics.
Akathist to the Theotokos in Honor of Her Icon "The Queen of All"  Similar to the above but has helped those afflicted with cancer.  

There are others out there.  I'm sure other members will also have suggestions once they find this thread tomorrow.
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« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2004, 01:40:52 AM »

Rejoice O Virgen Theotokos, Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee.  Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb for thou hast born the savior of our souls.

There are others as well.

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« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2004, 08:39:19 AM »

Here's a similar hymn,

O Virgin Pure
by St. Nectarios
 
O Virgin pure, immaculate/ O Lady Theotokos
O Virgin Mother, Queen of all/ and fleece which is all dewy
More radiant than the rays of sun/ and higher than the heavens
Delight of virgin choruses/ superior to Angels.
Much brighten than the firmament/ and pure than the sun's light
More holy than the multitude/ of all the heav'nly armies.

Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride.

O Ever Virgin Mary/ of all the world, the Lady
O bride all pure, immaculate/ O Lady Panagia
O Mary bride and queen of all/ our cause of jubilation
Majestic maiden, Queen of all/ O our most holy Mother
More hon'rable than Cherubim/ beyond compare more glorious
than immaterial Seraphim/ and greater than angelic thrones.

Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride.

Rejoice, O son of Cherubim/ Rejoice, O hymn of angels
Rejoice, O ode of Seraphim/ the joy of the archangels
Rejoice, O peace and happiness/ the harbor of salvation
O sacred chamber of the Word/ flower of incorruption
Rejoice, delightful paradise/ of blessed life eternal
Rejoice, O wood and tree of life/ the fount of immortality

Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride.

I supplicate you, Lady/ now do I call upon you
And I beseech you, Queen of all/ I beg of you your favor
Majestic maiden, spotless one/ O Lady Panagia
I call upon you fervently/  O sacred, hallowed temple
Assist me and deliver me/ protect me from the enemy
And make me an inheritor/ of blessed life eternal.

Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride.

(Source and translation from: Holy Nativity Convent, Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)

(http://www.fr-d-serfes.org/spiritual/november1999.htm)
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« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2004, 10:45:27 AM »

Is there an equivalent to the "Hail Mary" in the Orthodox Church? i.e. a prayer to the Theotokos that is standard that all Orthodox know?

Orthodox venerate the Theotokos (Virgin Mary). But I dare say that some Roman Catholics placed the Virgin on a scale extremely close to Divinity. Some insisting that one must go through the Virgin Mary in order for Christ to hear our prayers. As Orthodox we ask the Theotokos to pray for us but still recognize that Christ is her savior as well as ours. Although Orthodox venerate the Theotokos, Roman Catholics have focused more and more on her in recent years and for a small minority, in my opinion as a former practicing Catholic for 35 years, the level and tone of their devotions to her approaches heresy. ( I will not defend this statement it is just my opinion from being a Roman Catholic for 35 years.)

Rather than pray the Rosary we use prayer ropes and pray the Jesus prayer.

"O Lord Jesus Christ Son of God Have Mercy on Me, A Sinner"


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« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2004, 10:47:22 AM »

ixcn, that is one of my favorites.  It is so beautiful.  I have the sheet music for it.
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« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2004, 11:35:27 AM »

Quote
Orthodox venerate the Theotokos (Virgin Mary). But I dare say that some Roman Catholics placed the Virgin on a scale extremely close to Divinity. Some insisting that one must go through the Virgin Mary in order for Christ to hear our prayers. As Orthodox we ask the Theotokos to pray for us but still recognize that Christ is her savior as well as ours. Although Orthodox venerate the Theotokos, Roman Catholics have focused more and more on her in recent years and for a small minority, in my opinion as a former practicing Catholic for 35 years, the level and tone of their devotions to her approaches heresy. ( I will not defend this statement it is just my opinion from being a Roman Catholic for 35 years.)

Rather than pray the Rosary we use prayer ropes and pray the Jesus prayer.

"O Lord Jesus Christ Son of God Have Mercy on Me, A Sinner"


Spartacus,

I am currently Catholic, born and raised, and sadly I'd have to say the opposite has been happening in recent years in "Catholic" parishes (from my more limited but still valid experience)...there is no devotion to our Holy Mother at all. Many churches don't even have her present in their statues, etc, and some pastors are scared to put her visibly in the church because the parishoners would complain. Ask many modern Catholics (especially the young and hip ones...I am a college student and this is from my experience as a young Roman Catholic for 20 years) what role our Holy Mother plays in their spiritual life, and the answer will be "Little or none."

As for myself, I make sure to understand the difference between Mary and her Son, but the "Hail Mary" has been a part of my life since the very beginning (I learned it alongside the Lord's Prayer and the "Glory be"), and its words are not heresy. She has helped me through many hard times, through my use of that prayer. I was just wondering if the Orthodox Church had something similar, since one of the things that felt wonderfully familiar when I first attended an Orthodox service was the devotion to the Theotokos.

As for the prayer rope, I have actually been making them (weaving them I should say) for about 5 months now. I'm a bit of a craft head, and when I learned about the Orthodox practice and the Jesus Prayer, I was immediately sold. Smiley Thanks to a website shown to me by our own Mor Ephrem with detailed instructions, I make them for my friends who are Orthodox or going to become Orthodox, as well as for myself (and yes, I say the Jesus Prayer on mine). And yet I just picked up from a Greek Festa (Italian word there Smiley) in Astoria, Queens on Saturday a pamphlet on the Comboschini (prayer rope in Greek), written by a Greek monk on the holy mountain Athos, and I was surprised by 2 things. 1) The pamphlet is a translation, and in one spot "Comboschini" is translated as "rosary," and 2) There are other short prayers besides the Jesus Prayer that the prayer rope is designed for, including "Most Holy Theotokos save us." Now this last one at first shocked me because, as you said, Christ ultimately saves us, not His Holy Mother. I'm still trying to reconcile this prayer, because I want to use it.

But my point is, I'd say the deep devotion to Mary occurs in both the RC and the Orthodox Church, as it should. Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2004, 11:36:44 AM »

As for everyone else, thank you so much for the links and prayers to the Theotokos! Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2004, 12:17:59 PM »

Donna --

Thanks for your post.  I think that there are some in the Catholic Church who have a strong devotion to the Theotokos and then there are some that do not.  It is a large church.  Therefore statements one way or the other are easily refuted by Catholics, I think.  

When I pointed out to Ben a few weeks ago here that my observations about the current state of the average RC vis-a-vis Mary were similar to what you have written, he reminded me that the official position of the Church vis-a-vis Mary is still very strongly devotional, especially at the level of the Pope.  And of course there are *some* very apparently radical Marian groups within the RCC, as Spartacus points out as well ... so there are both kinds of Catholic today within the RCC, which makes it harder to say anything about it, I think.

Ideally, the relationship of each church towards the Theotokos (dogmatic issues aside, I'm speaking devotionally) would not be a point of division between us.  I'm not sure that this is the case today, but it probably was 100 years ago the case.

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« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2004, 01:52:02 PM »

Donna Rose,

I was in your situation a couple of years ago and find Eastern prayers to be very spiritual fulfilling. Exploration into Eastern spirituality is a "eye" opener.

james, a old school Latin wandering in the desert with a purpose.
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« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2004, 02:00:44 PM »

James-

I concur! Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2004, 02:57:51 PM »

Donna Rose (What a pretty name!),

I posted this thread -- http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/newboard/index.php?board=2;action=display;threadid=3315 -- about the rosary a little while back.  The main difference, ISTM, wasn't the Marian prayers -- as Brendan03 said, East and West don't have a bone to pick here -- but rather the use of mentally picturing the mysteries while attempting to pray.  Eastern Orthodox hesychism (sp?) focuses more on emptying the mind of images, imaginations, distractions, etc.

As for, "Most Holy Theotokos, save us": this we ask of the Holy Mother, not as though it were on par with what Christ did, but rather on the level of what St. Paul told St. Timothy to do: "Some save as through fire," as well as when he told Christian spouses that they might actually "save" their pagan spouses.  She didn't die for us and rise from the dead for us, but her obedience was a cooperation with God, both for her benefit and ours.
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« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2004, 06:36:17 PM »

Quote
Orthodox venerate the Theotokos (Virgin Mary).

Very true, after attending the Akathist hym services this last lent, and getting to know Orthodox priests and Orthodox families, I know this to be very true.

Quote
But I dare say that some Roman Catholics placed the Virgin on a scale extremely close to Divinity.


Spartacus, in another thread you said you were a former Catholic apologist, I highly doubt you were if this crap comes out of your mouth! Please do tell how the Catholic Church places the Blessed Virgin Mary on a scale "extremely close to Divinity."

I sure hope your argument for this one isn't as stupid as the one you had against the use of ashes in the Catholic Church!

I don't mean to offend you, or be rude, but comments like these are truly absurd!

Quote
Some insisting that one must go through the Virgin Mary in order for Christ to hear our prayers.

We do not have to have a devotion to Mary to become close to Christ or to be rewarded eternal life with God in Heaven. But even the the Orthodox Church teaches that correct Marian devotion brings us closer to Christ.

We must remember though, that if it were not for Mary, the story of our salvation would be totally different! Through Mary, God came to us, and it only makes sense that we now go to God through Mary, the Blessed ever-virgin. And this is what the Catholic Church teaches. The Catholic Church does *not* teach you must have a devotion to Mary to enter Heaven or even have a relationship with Chirst, but it only makes sense to have a devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and only God knows how many miracles and conversions have been brought about by her powerful intercession.

Quote
As Orthodox we ask the Theotokos to pray for us but still recognize that Christ is her savior as well as ours.

And so does the Catholic Church! If you think that somehow the dogma of the Immaculate Conception means Mary needed no savior, then you truly don't understand the dogma! The whole point of the Immaculate Conception, is that God *saved* the Blessed Virgin form *all* sin, original and actual. And to be honest, this is not very different froom the Orthodox teaching on the matter.

The Orthodox Church teaches Mary, like all of us, is free from Adam's guilt, and that she never commited acutal sin. The vast majoirty of Orthodox priests I have spoken to have told me that the Orthodox Church believes the Virgin to chose not to commit actual sin, and by this choice and the grace of God, she was free from all sin.

The only difference is that the Orthodox Church doesn't make such things Dogma, for I have been told it would make Theosis to complex, when in reality it is very simple, and must reamin this way. The Catholic Church just likes to define everything, while the Orthodox Church doesn't.

Also, another huge differnce is that the Orthodox Church centers on Mary much more, liturgically speaking. I remember one Orthodox priest (OCA) telling me that the Western Church slowly took Mary out of the Liturgy, and Marian devotion turned into a private thing, and this where such practices as the Rosary comes in. While in the Orthodox Church the Blessed Virgin is invoked so many times in the Litrugy, and there are many Orthodox feast days devoted to her.

Quote
Rather than pray the Rosary we use prayer ropes and pray the Jesus prayer.

Both the Rosary and the Jesus Prayer are great prayers, but if we take your statement too far we end up saying "Rather than sing the Akathist Hym, we should sing Thrice-Holy Hym again and again" or "Rather than asking the Theotokos to pray for us, we should go straight to Jesus." If we take what you are saying to far, and apply it to all Marian devotion in the Church, we end up with something looking a lot like Protestantism.

Orthodox monastic manuals prescribe the recitation of up to 150 Our Fathers and the same number of the prayer "Rejoice, Virgin Mother of God" , accompanied by prostrations at the end of each prayer. The famous Saint Seraphim of Sarov had his special devotion of walking around the perimeter of the Monastery of Diveyevo, prayer rope in hand, reciting the 150 Our Fathers and Hail Marys for all one's relatives and friends, living and dead. At the end, one was to ask for a special grace and it would be granted on condition that the person truly needed it.

The use of a form of the Rosary was in vogue among certain Orthodox Bishops, including meditation on the mysteries. Such forms of prayer are to be found among the devotions of Saints of the Kyivan Baroque period such as St Dmytry Tuptalo, who adopted rosaries in honour of the "Joys and Sorrows of Our Lady" and who also recited a "Hail Mary" at the beginning of each and every hour of the day!

Bishop Seraphim Zvezdinsky, martyred by the Bolsheviks in 1937, prayed fifteen decades of the rosary, that is, fifteen groups of ten Hail Mary's headed with an Our Father.

He meditated on the following mysteries at the beginning of each decade of prayers:

1) Nativity of the Mother of God - for families
2) Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple - for bad Christians
3) Annunication - for those who are depressed
4) Visit to St Elizabeth by the Theotokos - for the unification of persons who are separated from one another
5) Nativity of Christ - for the rebirth of our souls
6) Meeting of the Lord in the Temple --for a good death
7) Flight to Egypt - to flee from temptations
8 ) Finding in the Temple of the boy Jesus - for the Grace of constant repetition of the Jesus Prayer
9) the Miracle at Cana - for the constant assistance of the Mother of God
10) the Mother of God under the Cross of Her Son - for fortitude
11) the Resurrection - for strngth and persistence in spiritual exercises
12) Ascension - for the grace to transcend worldly things and live for heavenly ones;
13) Pentecost - for a clean heart and the Gift of the Holy Spirit
14) the Dormition - for a peaceful and happy end
15) the Protection of the Mother of God - for the grace of constant protection by the Mother of God.
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« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2004, 07:47:57 PM »

As for myself, I make sure to understand the difference between Mary and her Son, but the "Hail Mary" has been a part of my life since the very beginning (I learned it alongside the Lord's Prayer and the "Glory be"), and its words are not heresy. She has helped me through many hard times, through my use of that prayer. I was just wondering if the Orthodox Church had something similar, since one of the things that felt wonderfully familiar when I first attended an Orthodox service was the devotion to the Theotokos.

Dear Donna,

Others have posted two of the most commonly used EO prayers to the Mother of God: "It is truly meet" and "Rejoice, O Virgin Theotokos".  However, the "Hail Mary" itself is an Orthodox prayer.  Indian and Syrian Orthodox use it, as well as  the Western rite Orthodox (I would presume they use this prayer, anyway).  It's a good prayer, don't lose it.  Wink

Quote
2) There are other short prayers besides the Jesus Prayer that the prayer rope is designed for, including "Most Holy Theotokos save us." Now this last one at first shocked me because, as you said, Christ ultimately saves us, not His Holy Mother. I'm still trying to reconcile this prayer, because I want to use it.

I am not 100% certain, but I think the proper understanding of this short prayer is that we are asking Our Lady to save us by her powerful intercession.  Perhaps there is more that could be said about this, but I don't know it.  Regardless, it is a perfectly fine prayer to use, as it is in use in various liturgical prayers.
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« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2004, 08:37:18 PM »

Pedro, Phil and everyone else,

Thank you all for the responses and links. Pedro - I will definitely read through the thread you pointed me to when I have a bit more time! It looks like it discusses things I am very interested in regarding my current faith and the Orthodox faith. Smiley

Thanx all!
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« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2004, 10:10:20 PM »

My local Western rite Orthodox Parish has a time each week, if not each day, for the congregation to gather and pray the rosary. I felt right at home!
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« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2004, 11:04:57 PM »

Donna Rose,

One more link for you -- I think this takes Ben's post of Orthodox use of the Latin rosary and gives it a bit more background info:

http://www.westernorthodox.com/rosary
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« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2004, 01:59:10 AM »

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My local Western rite Orthodox Parish has a time each week, if not each day, for the congregation to gather and pray the rosary. I felt right at home!

Ben,

There is a Western-Rite parish close enough to you to be referred to as being local? Man, are you lucky!

From your posts as well as conversing with you, it seems as if you do feel an attraction to the Eastern Orthodox Church and at the same time you also appear to be very devoted to the western forms of piety and devotion.

What I am getting at is - have you considered being brought into the Orthodox Church through the Western Rite?

That does of course depend on whether or not you feel that you should stay RC.

Just wonderin',
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« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2004, 11:51:42 AM »

If I become Orthodox, I will enter the Eastern Orthodox Church, I have great love for Byzanitne Chant, Icons, the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, the list can go on and on.

lol...I think "local" was the wrong word....it's 3 hours from me, but so is the EO Cathedral I attend. And since my RC parish is 4 hours away....I guess I'm just used to going long distances for church.
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« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2004, 02:38:45 PM »

I definitely feel blessed to be near a WR parish -- when I converted to Orthodoxy, the only parishes where I was then living were ER, so I felt as though I were giving up my preferred method of worship..."taking the wrapping with the package," so to speak.

I've since come to adore the ER just as much as, if not more than, the WR, though I still LOVE going to Evensong at St. Peter's most every weekend I can.
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