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Author Topic: The Mary thing.  (Read 6068 times) Average Rating: 0
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Nuckle
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« on: February 26, 2012, 01:44:40 AM »

This is one thing that bothers me as a Protestant, the Mary thing. I was long taught by other Protestants that Catholics worship Mary and I understand the Orthodox idea of Mary is not the same but still closer to Catholics than Protestants. I know Catholics do not really worship Mary (technically) but as a Protestant it still makes me feel a tad queasy. I don't think anybody would deny that even if the Roman Catholic Church does not articulate a theological position of Mary worship it is certainly true that many individual Catholics in the past have either danced this line or gone close to it. Louis de Montfort certainly danced about as close to the line as he could come and the previous Pope considered himself a follower of his!

There are five questions that I hope people can answer all or some of them.

1. What is the Orthodox perspective on Mary?

2. How does it differ from Catholicism?

3. Do Orthodox acknowledge that many Catholics including Louis de Montfort who is a canonized Roman Catholic saint danced the line of Mary worship or crossed it altogether?

4. Is this danger prevalent in Orthodoxy?

5. Give me some resources which show me Marian theology has its roots in the Paristics?
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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2012, 01:54:54 AM »

RE Question 4: The danger of offering adoration or divine service to something or someone other than God is, and will be, present no matter what until the end of this age.
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« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2012, 02:40:51 AM »

Regarding #3, I don't know any Orthodox who care or even know about Louis de Montfort or anything he wrote (I only know about him because I'm ex-RC; I didn't like him back then, either). I don't mean this in a snide way, it just doesn't really make sense that any Orthodox would have opinions about a specific non-Orthodox thinker, especially one who lived so long after the divide between East and West. It would be like asking a Protestant for their perspective on Tamav Irini or Savvas the New. If they knew, it would be an oddity, and if they had an opinion it wouldn't matter.

For an exposition of St. Mary in the Orthodox concept according to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria (non-Chalcedonian), please see Fr. Tadrous Malaty's book of the same name, available for free via Orthodox E-Books. I think the quoted portion from St. Ephrem the Syrian (d. 373) at the beginning of the book testifies as to the antiquity of the veneration of the Virgin Mary, and the great saint is not the first to have written on it.

Awake, O my harp, your chords
in praise of the Virgin Mary!
Lift up your voice and sing
the wonderful history of this Virgin,
the daughter of David,
who gave birth to the Life of the world!

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« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2012, 03:02:51 AM »

1. What is the Orthodox perspective on Mary?
The Orthodox position is that the Theotokos is an extremely holy woman, with many (most? nearly all?) Orthodox holding to the belief that she was, indeed, without sin.  She lived a holy life in complete obedience to, and service of, God.  It is for this that she was chosen by the Father to bear His Son.  She remained perpetually a virgin. 

2. How does it differ from Catholicism?
I do not care what the Catholics believe; I am Orthodox.

3. Do Orthodox acknowledge that many Catholics including Louis de Montfort who is a canonized Roman Catholic saint danced the line of Mary worship or crossed it altogether?
Orthodox do not care what the Catholics believe.  The Catholics are not Orthodox, hence the two different names.  You might as well be asking "Do the Orthodox acknowledge that the Catholics believe in purgatory?"  It is irrelevant to a discussion of the Orthodox view of the Mother of God.  I recommend asking the Catholics about Montfort.

4. Is this danger prevalent in Orthodoxy?
The danger, as Nicholas said, in worshiping as God that which is not God can - and does - exist in all times, climes, and faiths.  There are some Protestants, for instance, (and I have personally known some) who - if they do not actually do so, come very close to - place the Bible on par with, if not above, God.  That, too, is idolatry, yet we don't relegate the Bible to the trash-heap just because some people go overboard.  It is the same reason we don't disregard icons, even though some treat them as Christ Himself, and it is the same reason we don't hide our Crosses, even though some treat them like magical amulets.

5. Give me some resources which show me Marian theology has its roots in the Patristics?
Others who have incredible memories for precisely where, and in what works, each and every saint has ever spoken about anything at all - and where you can find it on the internet - will doubtlessly chime in before long (there are a great deal on this forum).
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« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2012, 03:19:45 AM »

So if Mary is without sin how do you reconcile this with the biblical admonition that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God? Does this imply Mary is excepted from all and if so how?
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« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2012, 04:08:48 AM »

Here is an excerpt from my book that may be helpful:

WHO IS MARY?
   
Some Christians diminish her importance, and others idolatrously worship her. But who is Mary? And why do those of us in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church properly venerate her?
   
In Orthodoxy, our devotion to the Virgin Mary is derived directly from what the Bible says about her. The Scriptures declare her to be the Mother of Our Lord (St. Luke 1:43), and thus we honor her as the “Theotokos”- The Mother of God. In affirming Mary as the “Theotokos,” we are in no way declaring her to be greater than God. What we are professing is the glorious Mystery of the Incarnation: God became a man and was born of the Virgin- the Virgin who was divinely chosen for her purity, faith, humility, and obedience.
   
Mary was the ladder reaching from earth to Heaven upon whom God descended in order to walk amongst humanity and redeem us from sin and death. Our Lady the Virgin Mary was the first person to receive Jesus Christ by faith, thus she is the supreme example of how we too should receive Christ into our lives. The Incarnation is the central doctrine of Christianity. If we dishonor or diminish the role of Mary in bringing forth the Savior of the world, then we dishonor and diminish the Savior Himself.
   
Was Mary sinless? Did she remain a virgin all of her life? These questions are frequently disputed and debated by those outside of the Orthodox Faith. But they are questions best answered by simply proclaiming and affirming her titles and virtues as revealed in the Holy Bible and in the sacred Apostolic Teachings and Traditions of the Church.
   
Following are some of the titles and virtues that the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church ascribes to Our Lady the Holy Virgin Mary. They come from one of our ecclesiastical prayer books called THE WUDASSE MARYAM: Hymns of Praise to the Holy Virgin Mary.
   
My prayer is that by meditating on her virtues and proclaiming her titles, you will cultivate a deep and mystical relationship with Our Lady the Holy Virgin St. Mary. For she is the greater than all the Saints, more exalted than the angels, and holier than any person who has ever lived other than He to whom she alone was worthy to give birth.
   
Let us ask her to intercede on our behalf. Let us look to her as our shining example of Christian faith. Let us learn from her purity, her humility, and her obedience. And most of all, may she guide us to a deeper, richer, and fuller knowledge of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.   

   "Thou was called the 'Holy of Holies'"

   "Ever-pure Bearer of God"

   "Thou art 'The Sanctuary'"

   "Thou art the 'Urn of God' or the 'Holy Golden Pot'"

   "Thou art ‘The Golden Candlestick'"

   "Thou art ‘The Censer of Gold'"

   "Thou art ‘The Garden of Delight'"

   "Beautiful Dove"

   "Thou art ‘like the rod of Aaron’"

   "Thou art greater than the high priest and thou art more honorable than the prophets."

   "In thee there is majesty of appearance which is greater than the majesty of the Seraphim and Cherubim."

   "Thou art the 'Glory of Our Race.'"

   "Thou art 'She Who Must Beg for Life for Our Souls.'"

   "The Perfect (or absolute) Virgin."

   "Thou art 'The Ladder Reaching from Heaven to Earth' on which the angels of God do ascend and descend, which Jacob saw."

   "Thou art 'The Burning Bush'"

   "Thou art that 'Field Wherein no Seed was Sown,' and yet from thee came forth the Fruit of Life."

   "Thou art the 'Treasure House' which Joseph bought and found therein a pearl, a precious gem, that is Eyesus Kristos our Redeemer."

   "The Joy to the Angels"

   "Thou art worthy to be called the 'God-Bearer.'"

   "The Mother of All Living Beings"

   "The Spiritual Mountain"

   "The greatness of the Virgin whom God has chosen is beyond anyone to describe."

   "Thou art symbolized in the pure twig and true vessel representing the Right Faith of the saints, our Fathers."

   "The 'Mother of the Resplendent Light.'"

   "Pure Virgin, Mother of the Light"

   "The Throne of the King Whom the Cherubim Carry"

   "Second Heaven upon the Earth"

   "The Gate that Lets in the Rising Sun"

   "The Pure Bride Chamber of the Holy Bridegroom"

   "Country of God"

   "The Abode of All Who Rejoice"

   "Thou art the 'True Cloud' and hast shown us the water from the rain."

   "The Spotless Virgin"

   "O Pure Maryam in whom there is no blemish"

   "O undefiled Vessel that is perfect and spotless"

   "O Garden that is endowed with reason"

   "Thou art 'The Beauty of Praise.'"

   "O Thorn-bush, who was not consumed by the fire of the Godhead"

   "O Maid and Virgin Mother, heaven and the heavenly, who carried in thine own body Him Who is born aloft on the Cherubim."

   "The Glory of Maryam is greater than all of the saints."

   "She was worthy to receive the Word of the Father."

   "Greater is she than the Cherubim and superior to the Seraphim, for she became the Ark (or Tabernacle) of One of the Holy Trinity."

   "She is Jerusalem, the land of the prophets and the joyful habitation of all the saints."

   "Ezekiel the Prophet testified concerning her and said, 'I see a sealed door in the east, sealed with a great and wonderful seal, and no one save the God of Powers has entered through it. He has gone in through it and come out.' (Ezekiel 43:4-5; 44:13)"

   "The Virgin is the Door who brought the Redeemer to us, and after bringing Him forth, she remained a virgin."

   "Thou art complete and Blessed, for thou found grace from the King of Glory Who is God in Truth."

   "Praise and glory belong to thee all the more from all who dwell upon the earth."
   
   "The Bush which Moses saw burning in the desert with its wood remaining unconsumed signifies Maryam, the Spotless Virgin."

   "On account of Eve was the door of the Garden shut up, and through Maryam the Virgin it is opened to us again and we are permitted to eat of the Tree of Life in the Holy Body and Precious Blood of Christ."

   "After she brought Him forth, her virginity was not lost, and it became manifest that she was the Bearer of God."

   "From woman was given the Lord, the word of the Father, Who is called Emmanuel. On account of this we beseech her at all times to intercede on our behalf to her Beloved son for the forgiveness of our sins."

   "She was beneficent towards all the saints and patriarchs in that she brought to them Him for Whom they awaited; and she brought to the prophets Him Whose coming they prophesied; and to the apostles she brought Him in Whose name they were to preach to all the ends of the world. From her came forth Him for Whom the martyrs and the faithful were to undergo struggle, that is Eyesus Kristos (Jesus Christ)."

   "Thou alone, O Lady who brought forth God, art the 'Mother of Light.'"

   "Blessed art thou, 'Greater than the Heavens and Higher than the earth.'"

   "Thou transcends the conception of every mind, O Maryam the Virgin. Who is able to describe thy greatness, for there is none with whom thou may be compared. The angels magnify thee and the Seraphim praise thee."

   "Greater art thou than all women who have received grace and honor."

   "O Maryam, the Bearer of God, 'The Spiritual City wherein God the Most High took up His abode.'"

   "Maryam the Virgin is 'The Vessel of Priceless Ointment,' 'The Fountainhead (or spring) of the Water of Life. The fruit of her womb has saved the whole world."

   "The Trusted Advocate of the Human Race"

   "Honored art thou by all, thou who hast become 'The Dwelling Place of the Word of the Father.'"

   "Thou art the tent which is pitched, which gathers together the Christian people and teaches them to worship the Life-giving Trinity."

   "Thou hast born the Pillar of Fire which Moses saw, even the Son of God Who came and dwelt in thy womb."

   "Thou became the Ark for Him Who created heaven and earth, which the earth cannot contain."

   "Thou art 'The Ladder which Leads to Heaven.'"

   "Thou art brighter than the sun."

   "Thou art the Eastern Horizon where rises the brilliant star Whose appearance the saints awaited with joy and gladness."

   "Pure and Bright art thou in everything, O Holy One, worthy of all praise. Thou who hast held the Lord in thine arms."

   "Rejoice, thou who art full of grace. We marvel at thy greatness, O devoted Virgin, and we ascribe joy to thee with the Angel Gabriel; for the Fruit of thy womb is the source of salvation for our race, and has brought us nigh unto God His Father."

   "Thou art 'The Young Shoot from the Root of David.'"

   "Thou became 'The Second Heaven on Earth' thou 'Spotless God-Bearer.'"

   "Thou art 'The Tent of the Holy of Holies' wherein the Ark which was covered all over with plates of gold and had therein the Tablets of the Covenant and the golden urn with the manna signifying the Son of God."

   "Rejoice thou 'Garden Paradise' which provides for the Lamb that speaks, even the Son of the Father who abides forever."

   "Thou art called 'The Mother of Kristos the King.'"

   "Thou art 'The Ladder' on which Jacob saw the Son of God; for thou carried in thy womb Him Who could not be touched."

   "Thou hast become 'Our Intercessor to Our Lord Eyesus Kristos,' Who was incarnate of thee for our salvation."

   "O Blessed and Undefiled Bride Chamber."

   "The Unblemished Virgin"

   "The Undefiled Vessel"

   "The Glory of All the World"

   "The Light which Shall Never be Put Out"

   "The Shrine which Shall Never be Abandoned"

   "Staff of the Faith"

   "The Never Failing Support of the Saints"

“Mary the virgin is found obedient, saying, ‘Behold the handmaiden of the Lord; be it unto me according to your word.’ In contrast, Eve was disobedient. For she did not obey when she was still a virgin. Having become disobedient, she was made the cause of death, both to herself and to the entire human race. Correspondingly, Mary, who was also a virgin (although betrothed to a man), by yielding obedience, became the cause of salvation, both to herself and the whole human race. This demonstrates the corresponding reference from Mary back to Eve. So it was that the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith.” -St. Irenaeus-

“It was while Eve was yet a virgin that the ensnaring word had crept into her ear. And this word was to build the edifice of death. In like manner, the Word of God must be introduced into a virgin’s soul – that Word who was to raise the fabric of life, so that what had been reduced to ruin by this sex, might by the self-same sex be recovered to salvation. As Eve had believed the serpent, so Mary believed the angel.” -Tertullian-


O Our Lady, the Virgin Saint Maryam,
in St. Gabriel’s greetings:
 "Peace be unto you."
Holy and pure, O Mother of the Almighty God:
"Peace be unto you."
Blessed art thou among women,
 and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
pray for us before Our Lord Jesus Christ
that He may forgive us for our sins.


         In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, One God, -Amen-


Selam, +GMK+
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« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2012, 04:15:13 AM »

Still, is Mary exempted from ever having sinned? If Paul says all have sinned how can all not apply to her?
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« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2012, 06:24:54 AM »

Still, is Mary exempted from ever having sinned? If Paul says all have sinned how can all not apply to her?

"All" does not include Christ. So we have to be careful about interpreting single verses of Scripture in an overly literal manner and outside of the context of the entire Scriptures and the Teachings and Traditions of the Church. St.Mary calls God "my Savior" (St. Luke 1:47), but this does not necessarily mean that she was a sinner. The Virgin Mary was still subject to death and the environment of sin that exists in a fallen world. So, in this sense, like all of us, The Virgin Mary needed salvation from death and sin. But there is no reason to assume that the Virgin Mary ever committed any actual sin herself. As my post above emphasizes, it is best to simply focus on and meditate upon what the Church says about Our Lady the Virgin St. Mary, and not become too obsessed with whether or not she actually sinned.


Selam
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« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2012, 08:45:30 AM »

So if Mary is without sin how do you reconcile this with the biblical admonition that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God? Does this imply Mary is excepted from all and if so how?

Do you think that every single statement in the Bible is meant to be 100% without exception?
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« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2012, 09:18:07 AM »

She is the Theotokos.  Wink

Enough said, no ?
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« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2012, 10:04:46 AM »

Still, is Mary exempted from ever having sinned? If Paul says all have sinned how can all not apply to her?

no
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« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2012, 11:51:41 AM »

This is one thing that bothers me as a Protestant, the Mary thing. I was long taught by other Protestants that Catholics worship Mary and I understand the Orthodox idea of Mary is not the same but still closer to Catholics than Protestants. I know Catholics do not really worship Mary (technically) but as a Protestant it still makes me feel a tad queasy. I don't think anybody would deny that even if the Roman Catholic Church does not articulate a theological position of Mary worship it is certainly true that many individual Catholics in the past have either danced this line or gone close to it. Louis de Montfort certainly danced about as close to the line as he could come and the previous Pope considered himself a follower of his!

There are five questions that I hope people can answer all or some of them.

1. What is the Orthodox perspective on Mary?

2. How does it differ from Catholicism?

3. Do Orthodox acknowledge that many Catholics including Louis de Montfort who is a canonized Roman Catholic saint danced the line of Mary worship or crossed it altogether?

4. Is this danger prevalent in Orthodoxy?

5. Give me some resources which show me Marian theology has its roots in the Paristics?
I know where you are coming from here. The three biggest issues for most Protestants as they consider Orthodoxy are Mary, Mary, and Mary. The difficulty regarding Mary for Protestants is that much of the evidence for various Marian doctrines is found in Tradition but outside of Scripture. If you follow Sola Scriptura, there is much of historic Christianity that is important-eg fasting-that your epistemology will not pick up.

The good news: there are only two Marian "dogmas" that you would need to accept as an Orthodox, namely the title "Theotokos" and the perpetual virginity of Mary. Unlike the Roman Catholics, Orthodoxy has not dogmatised the Immaculate Conception, the Ascension, or the Sinlessness of Mary.

The title Theotokos is an important Christological distinction and many Evangelicals have affirmed this. So that leaves the perpetual virginity, which does enjoy patristic support. For example, Athanasius, who saved us from Arianism, wrote "Let those, therefore, who deny that the Son is by nature from the Father and proper to his essence deny also that He took true human flesh from the ever-virgin Mary" (Discourses against the Arians 2:70 [A.D. 360]).

Jerome, who translated the Bible, wrote "But as regards Victorinus, I assert what has already been proven from the gospel—that he [Victorinus] spoke of the brethren of the Lord not as being sons of Mary but brethren in the sense I have explained, that is to say, brethren in point of kinship, not by nature". (Against Helvidius: The Perpetual Virginity of Mary 19 [A.D. 383]).

Augustine also addressed the subject "In being born of a virgin who chose to remain a virgin even before she knew who was to be born other, Christ wanted to approve virginity rather than to impose it. And he wanted virginity to be of free choice even in that woman in whom he took upon himself the form of a slave (Holy Virginity 4:4 [A.D. 401]).

The Reformers also accepted the perpetual virginity of the Theotokos

Regarding the sinlessness of Mary, note that this is not dogma and that several prominent Orthodox saints have not accepted that Mary was always sinless, though this may be the default view of many Orthodox. For example, several of the Early Church Fathers (e.g., Origen, John Chrysostom, Cyril of Alexandria, and Basil) held that Mary, although outstandingly holy in character, had nonetheless been guilty of some sins. St. John Chrysostom, whose liturgy we celebrate most Sundays, mentions the Wedding at Cana where she presumed to instruct Him. A modern saint, St John Maximovitch, rejected the absolute sinlessness of the Theotokos and was nevertheless canonized. St John Maximovitch pointed out to the fact that a very important prayer in the Divine Liturgy calls Jesus Christ "the only sinless one."

The bad news for Protestants is that many Orthodox liturgical texts and prayers include references to Mary such as "save us" that can be difficult and confusing. I would suggest that any inquirer into Orthodoxy consider if you can accept that which is truly dogma--the title "Theotokos" and the perpetual virginity And then, I would just put this on hold for a while and come experience Orthodoxy. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Then, speak to a priest about any further concerns you may have.





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« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2012, 11:53:11 AM »

She is the Theotokos.  Wink

Enough said, no ?
Um, no.
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« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2012, 11:56:10 AM »

So if Mary is without sin how do you reconcile this with the biblical admonition that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God?
I never thought this passage of Scripture was intended to establish a mathematical "all" defined as every individual member of a set. Besides, the verse was written so that we may apply it each to him/herself, not to some other person.
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« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2012, 12:46:47 PM »

So if Mary is without sin how do you reconcile this with the biblical admonition that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God?
I never thought this passage of Scripture was intended to establish a mathematical "all" defined as every individual member of a set. Besides, the verse was written so that we may apply it each to him/herself, not to some other person.

In support of what Peter says here, there are many verses where "all" does not literally mean every individual ever.  For instance, 2 Corinthians 3:2 - "You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men."  Yet not every man had or has read the epistle.  Is. 24:7 - "The new wine fails, the vine languishes, All the merry-hearted sigh."  There are many other examples

Also, another way to think about this is with regards to the difference between intentional and unintentional sin.  I tend to think about it this way, to be honest.  I think it would be perfectly reasonable, in light of various Scripture passages I've read, to believe Mary may have unintentionally sinned at some point(s) from the time she was an infant to when she fell asleep but just never intentionally sinned.  Who am I to say?

This isn't something I think much about to be honest.  The traditions that honor highly her are early and seem to be Apostolic.  Among women, she is most blessed.  She was chosen to bear the Christ child and raise him in motherly-kindness.  It is healthy and good to honor her.  The Scriptures do, the early, holy, Apostolic church Fathers do, and Christ honored her very highly when he started his public ministry at her request.
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« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2012, 01:31:21 PM »

Here is a short book available online that will give you an Orthodox perspective and response to some questions you may have on Mary.

The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God by St. John Maximovitch
http://www.stmaryofegypt.org/library/st_john_maximovich/on_veneration_of_the_theotokos.htm

Also available on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Orthodox-Veneration-Mary-Birthgiver-God/dp/0938635689
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« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2012, 02:34:54 PM »

2. How does it differ from Catholicism?

Well, it doesn't differ too much. I think they have some dogmas in the Catholic Church that some Orthodox see as problematic such as the dogma of her being Co-Redemptrix. My knowledge of that particular dogma isn't very clear so I really couldn't tell you too much. However, I feel that the devotion assigned to St. Mary in the Orthodox Church and Catholic Church isn't very different at all. We Orthodox Christians have a very strong devotion to the Mother of God. Read any Akathist service or canon to her and you will see this very clearly. Orthodox wouldn't have any problem with the rosary for example. Some do, but it really centers around using the imagination during the rosary that Orthodox Christians find problems rather than the prayers themselves.

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« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2012, 02:40:32 PM »

Quote from: Nuckle
I was long taught by other Protestants that Catholics worship Mary and I understand the Orthodox idea of Mary is not the same but still closer to Catholics than Protestants. I know Catholics do not really worship Mary (technically) but as a Protestant it still makes me feel a tad queasy. I don't think anybody would deny that even if the Roman Catholic Church does not articulate a theological position of Mary worship it is certainly true that many individual Catholics in the past have either danced this line or gone close to it. Louis de Montfort certainly danced about as close to the line as he could come and the previous Pope considered himself a follower of his!

Seriously, do you really think the Roman Catholics worship Mary? Give it a rest. How many times do you have to hear the word "No"? As someone who grew up Roman Catholic, I almost want to slam the door in someone's face when they say this. It gets more than a little ridiculous. Book after book, debate after debate, radio show after radio show, and so on, people say "No" and someone else wants to turn it into "Yes" because that's what they wish it meant.

No. And no. And no some more.

Please stop.
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« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2012, 03:35:29 PM »

2. How does it differ from Catholicism?

Well, it doesn't differ too much. I think they have some dogmas in the Catholic Church that some Orthodox see as problematic such as the dogma of her being Co-Redemptrix. My knowledge of that particular dogma isn't very clear so I really couldn't tell you too much. However, I feel that the devotion assigned to St. Mary in the Orthodox Church and Catholic Church isn't very different at all. We Orthodox Christians have a very strong devotion to the Mother of God. Read any Akathist service or canon to her and you will see this very clearly. Orthodox wouldn't have any problem with the rosary for example. Some do, but it really centers around using the imagination during the rosary that Orthodox Christians find problems rather than the prayers themselves.


To be fair, "Co-Redemptrix" isn't dogma yet in the Roman Catholic Church. But it, along with "Co-Mediatrix" could be declared dogma in the future, since there is certainly much popular support for such dogma.

These titles are not typically found in Orthodoxy and certainly not Orthodox dogma.
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« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2012, 03:43:46 PM »

Quote from: Nuckle
I was long taught by other Protestants that Catholics worship Mary and I understand the Orthodox idea of Mary is not the same but still closer to Catholics than Protestants. I know Catholics do not really worship Mary (technically) but as a Protestant it still makes me feel a tad queasy. I don't think anybody would deny that even if the Roman Catholic Church does not articulate a theological position of Mary worship it is certainly true that many individual Catholics in the past have either danced this line or gone close to it. Louis de Montfort certainly danced about as close to the line as he could come and the previous Pope considered himself a follower of his!

Seriously, do you really think the Roman Catholics worship Mary? Give it a rest. How many times do you have to hear the word "No"? As someone who grew up Roman Catholic, I almost want to slam the door in someone's face when they say this. It gets more than a little ridiculous. Book after book, debate after debate, radio show after radio show, and so on, people say "No" and someone else wants to turn it into "Yes" because that's what they wish it meant.

No. And no. And no some more.

Please stop.
Yes, officially you are right; their veneration of the Theotokos is called hyperdulia. But often popular Roman Catholic hyperdulia is rather indistinguishable from worship reserved for God. Orthodox leaders have also denounced Roman Catholic Marian "hypertrophy", so be careful whom you are slamming the door on...
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« Reply #20 on: February 26, 2012, 03:48:27 PM »

Clemente, I think your approach is too mercenary. Trying to find the bare minimum of Tradition we'd be required to accept does not seem like a good idea to me.

The saints you cited were simply wrong, as many saints have been. Orthodox liturgics make it pretty clear what the Orthodox believe about Our Lady's sinlessness.

I agree with Andrew on this. But maybe it's just our bias as former Catholics showing.
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« Reply #21 on: February 26, 2012, 03:51:02 PM »

Quote from: Nuckle
I was long taught by other Protestants that Catholics worship Mary and I understand the Orthodox idea of Mary is not the same but still closer to Catholics than Protestants. I know Catholics do not really worship Mary (technically) but as a Protestant it still makes me feel a tad queasy. I don't think anybody would deny that even if the Roman Catholic Church does not articulate a theological position of Mary worship it is certainly true that many individual Catholics in the past have either danced this line or gone close to it. Louis de Montfort certainly danced about as close to the line as he could come and the previous Pope considered himself a follower of his!

Seriously, do you really think the Roman Catholics worship Mary? Give it a rest. How many times do you have to hear the word "No"? As someone who grew up Roman Catholic, I almost want to slam the door in someone's face when they say this. It gets more than a little ridiculous. Book after book, debate after debate, radio show after radio show, and so on, people say "No" and someone else wants to turn it into "Yes" because that's what they wish it meant.

No. And no. And no some more.

Please stop.
Yes, officially you are right; their veneration of the Theotokos is called hyperdulia. But often popular Roman Catholic hyperdulia is rather indistinguishable from worship reserved for God. Orthodox leaders have also denounced Roman Catholic Marian "hypertrophy", so be careful whom you are slamming the door on...

You can say what you want. I don't see it that way.
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« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2012, 04:07:35 PM »

Clemente, I think your approach is too mercenary. Trying to find the bare minimum of Tradition we'd be required to accept does not seem like a good idea to me.

The saints you cited were simply wrong, as many saints have been. Orthodox liturgics make it pretty clear what the Orthodox believe about Our Lady's sinlessness.

When you are talking about the common teaching of Sts. Cyril, Basil, and John Chrysostom and no Father contemporary with or earlier than them disagreed, you aren't talking about a 'bare minimum of Tradition'. You're talking about a pretty clear example of the Vincentian canon for establishing the 'Apostolic Tradition'. Especially since Orthodox liturgics actually agrees with them (not surprising given the liturgies of St. Basil and St. John are the core of our liturgics).

Every liturgy, Christ is addressed in absolute terms: "O Only Sinless One". The Theotokos, on the other hand, is addressed in comparitive terms ('most blessed', 'most pure', 'most immaculate')--that is, she is not the only blessed one, but of all blessed ones, she is the most.

But to focus for Nuckle, this is not a dogmatic issue because the sins (or lack thereof) of another human being are completely irrelevent to your salvation (or mine--I'm saying 'you' for the sake of the argument, but everything I imply about 'you' certainly applies to 'me'). If the Theotokos sinned/when the Theotokos sinned, if St. John the Baptist sinned/when St. John sinned, if your mother sinned/when your mother sinned, none of that is relevant to whether or not you have sinned, and if you have what you need to do in relationship to Christ and His Church to address that.
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« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2012, 04:12:29 PM »

Clemente, I think your approach is too mercenary. Trying to find the bare minimum of Tradition we'd be required to accept does not seem like a good idea to me.

The saints you cited were simply wrong, as many saints have been. Orthodox liturgics make it pretty clear what the Orthodox believe about Our Lady's sinlessness.

I agree with Andrew on this. But maybe it's just our bias as former Catholics showing.
I guess you know better than these saints then. St John Maximovitch was quite familiar with Orthodox liturgics, you know. He explains his thoughtful position with ample evidence from the Fathers in The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God. If his view is not acceptable in Orthodoxy, why was he canonised? And then, St. John Chrysostom knew a bit also about liturgics...

Since the sinlessness of Mary has never been dogmatically defined, I see no reason for a potential convert to assume a Roman Catholic understanding that Mary was sinless from conception when other understandings may be possible in Orthodoxy that are also consistent with our liturgics.

I also think it is not an issue to get hung up on. At least that is the advice I got from a priest when I was in a similar place. I would speak to a priest about it if necessary.
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« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2012, 04:17:56 PM »

When you are talking about the common teaching of Sts. Cyril, Basil, and John Chrysostom and no Father contemporary with or earlier than them disagreed, you aren't talking about a 'bare minimum of Tradition'. You're talking about a pretty clear example of the Vincentian canon for establishing the 'Apostolic Tradition'. Especially since Orthodox liturgics actually agrees with them (not surprising given the liturgies of St. Basil and St. John are the core of our liturgics).

Every liturgy, Christ is addressed in absolute terms: "O Only Sinless One". The Theotokos, on the other hand, is addressed in comparitive terms ('most blessed', 'most pure', 'most immaculate')--that is, she is not the only blessed one, but of all blessed ones, she is the most.

But to focus for Nuckle, this is not a dogmatic issue because the sins (or lack thereof) of another human being are completely irrelevent to your salvation (or mine--I'm saying 'you' for the sake of the argument, but everything I imply about 'you' certainly applies to 'me'). If the Theotokos sinned/when the Theotokos sinned, if St. John the Baptist sinned/when St. John sinned, if your mother sinned/when your mother sinned, none of that is relevant to whether or not you have sinned, and if you have what you need to do in relationship to Christ and His Church to address that.

I agree completely with you advice here.
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« Reply #25 on: February 26, 2012, 04:18:34 PM »

Clemente, I think your approach is too mercenary. Trying to find the bare minimum of Tradition we'd be required to accept does not seem like a good idea to me.

The saints you cited were simply wrong, as many saints have been. Orthodox liturgics make it pretty clear what the Orthodox believe about Our Lady's sinlessness.

When you are talking about the common teaching of Sts. Cyril, Basil, and John Chrysostom and no Father contemporary with or earlier than them disagreed, you aren't talking about a 'bare minimum of Tradition'. You're talking about a pretty clear example of the Vincentian canon for establishing the 'Apostolic Tradition'. Especially since Orthodox liturgics actually agrees with them (not surprising given the liturgies of St. Basil and St. John are the core of our liturgics).

Every liturgy, Christ is addressed in absolute terms: "O Only Sinless One". The Theotokos, on the other hand, is addressed in comparitive terms ('most blessed', 'most pure', 'most immaculate')--that is, she is not the only blessed one, but of all blessed ones, she is the most.

But to focus for Nuckle, this is not a dogmatic issue because the sins (or lack thereof) of another human being are completely irrelevent to your salvation (or mine--I'm saying 'you' for the sake of the argument, but everything I imply about 'you' certainly applies to 'me'). If the Theotokos sinned/when the Theotokos sinned, if St. John the Baptist sinned/when St. John sinned, if your mother sinned/when your mother sinned, none of that is relevant to whether or not you have sinned, and if you have what you need to do in relationship to Christ and His Church to address that.

But what are we to make of services like the small paraklesis, where the Theotokos is called things like "only all-blameless one"?
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« Reply #26 on: February 26, 2012, 04:21:34 PM »

Clemente, I think your approach is too mercenary. Trying to find the bare minimum of Tradition we'd be required to accept does not seem like a good idea to me.

The saints you cited were simply wrong, as many saints have been. Orthodox liturgics make it pretty clear what the Orthodox believe about Our Lady's sinlessness.

When you are talking about the common teaching of Sts. Cyril, Basil, and John Chrysostom and no Father contemporary with or earlier than them disagreed, you aren't talking about a 'bare minimum of Tradition'. You're talking about a pretty clear example of the Vincentian canon for establishing the 'Apostolic Tradition'. Especially since Orthodox liturgics actually agrees with them (not surprising given the liturgies of St. Basil and St. John are the core of our liturgics).

Every liturgy, Christ is addressed in absolute terms: "O Only Sinless One". The Theotokos, on the other hand, is addressed in comparitive terms ('most blessed', 'most pure', 'most immaculate')--that is, she is not the only blessed one, but of all blessed ones, she is the most.

But to focus for Nuckle, this is not a dogmatic issue because the sins (or lack thereof) of another human being are completely irrelevent to your salvation (or mine--I'm saying 'you' for the sake of the argument, but everything I imply about 'you' certainly applies to 'me'). If the Theotokos sinned/when the Theotokos sinned, if St. John the Baptist sinned/when St. John sinned, if your mother sinned/when your mother sinned, none of that is relevant to whether or not you have sinned, and if you have what you need to do in relationship to Christ and His Church to address that.

But what are we to make of services like the small paraklesis, where the Theotokos is called things like "only all-blameless one"?

One can sin without blame.
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« Reply #27 on: February 26, 2012, 04:34:08 PM »

Really? You mean like an involuntary sin?  Huh
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« Reply #28 on: February 26, 2012, 04:36:48 PM »

When you are talking about the common teaching of Sts. Cyril, Basil, and John Chrysostom
I'd like to see a reference for Sts. Cyril or Basil.

Quote
and no Father contemporary with or earlier than them disagreed,
I doubt it. But even if that were true, no Father earlier than the Cappadocians taught that the Trinity is three hypostases subsisting in one ousia. Different facets of the faith get more explicit exposition at different times.

Quote
you aren't talking about a 'bare minimum of Tradition'.
Keep in mind that I was also referring to Clemente saying that Protestant converts are not required to accept the Dormition/Assumption.

Quote
Especially since Orthodox liturgics actually agrees with them (not surprising given the liturgies of St. Basil and St. John are the core of our liturgics).
Speaking of St. John Chrysostom's liturgy, what is chanted toward the end of the anaphora, again?

Quote
Every liturgy, Christ is addressed in absolute terms: "O Only Sinless One". The Theotokos, on the other hand, is addressed in comparitive terms ('most blessed', 'most pure', 'most immaculate')--that is, she is not the only blessed one, but of all blessed ones, she is the most.
I've also heard "all-pure," "all-immaculate" and other things like that. I'm not sure how your argument would hold up in the original Greek.
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« Reply #29 on: February 26, 2012, 04:42:33 PM »

I guess you know better than these saints then.
And I guess you know better than all the Orthodox who believe that Mary was, indeed, sinless.  Roll Eyes

Can we avoid the indignant, "I guess you know better than x" posts? It doesn't really get us anywhere.

Quote
St John Maximovitch was quite familiar with Orthodox liturgics, you know. He explains his thoughtful position with ample evidence from the Fathers in The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God. If his view is not acceptable in Orthodoxy, why was he canonised?

Augustine, Theodoret of Cyrrhus, Isaac the Syrian, etc.

Quote
Since the sinlessness of Mary has never been dogmatically defined, I see no reason for a potential convert to assume a Roman Catholic understanding that Mary was sinless from conception when other understandings may be possible in Orthodoxy that are also consistent with our liturgics.

I also think it is not an issue to get hung up on. At least that is the advice I got from a priest when I was in a similar place. I would speak to a priest about it if necessary.

I just don't like seeing Orthodox tradition getting trampled on and marginalized in order to pander to certain demographics of converts.
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« Reply #30 on: February 26, 2012, 05:13:14 PM »

I guess you know better than these saints then.
And I guess you know better than all the Orthodox who believe that Mary was, indeed, sinless.  Roll Eyes

Can we avoid the indignant, "I guess you know better than x" posts? It doesn't really get us anywhere.

Quote
St John Maximovitch was quite familiar with Orthodox liturgics, you know. He explains his thoughtful position with ample evidence from the Fathers in The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God. If his view is not acceptable in Orthodoxy, why was he canonised?

Augustine, Theodoret of Cyrrhus, Isaac the Syrian, etc.

Quote
Since the sinlessness of Mary has never been dogmatically defined, I see no reason for a potential convert to assume a Roman Catholic understanding that Mary was sinless from conception when other understandings may be possible in Orthodoxy that are also consistent with our liturgics.

I also think it is not an issue to get hung up on. At least that is the advice I got from a priest when I was in a similar place. I would speak to a priest about it if necessary.

I just don't like seeing Orthodox tradition getting trampled on and marginalized in order to pander to certain demographics of converts.
I just don't like dogma being declared by Internet posters. I'll leave that to Ecumenical Councils.

Why are you insisting on a particular dogma when no such has been declared? I'm not insisting on a particular view, but rather just recognising that there are a variety of legitimate views about the sinlessness of the Theotokos within Orthodoxy.

Is agreeing with prominent Fathers such St. John Crysostom or St. John Maximovitch trampling on Orthodox tradition? I think you are exaggerating just a tad. I don't think this is a matter for the Gran Inquisitor.
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« Reply #31 on: February 26, 2012, 08:08:22 PM »

Mary is not honoured because she's Mary. She is not honoured because of her sinlessness - whatever that may mean. She is honoured because she gave birth to God through her obedience. Without the Incarnation, we would have no salvation. She is worthy of an honour that cannot be given to any other human being.

As I grow in my understanding of the Incarnation, I realize more and more the importance of her role. It did take a while to reach that point. One of the best works I have read about her is "On the Mother of God" by Jacob of Serug (non-Chalcedonian). It's a beautiful and relatively short work that I try to read at least once a year.
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« Reply #32 on: February 26, 2012, 08:29:30 PM »

If "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" then every child born even a moment ago, is a sinner.
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« Reply #33 on: February 26, 2012, 08:38:34 PM »

Hi all. I've been following this thread with some interest. Until today I would have said "The Orthodox believe Mary was sinless"; but some here seem to be saying that it's not that simple.  Huh
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« Reply #34 on: February 26, 2012, 08:39:59 PM »

If "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" then every child born even a moment ago, is a sinner.

Well... we ARE all born 'fallen' short.
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« Reply #35 on: February 26, 2012, 08:42:41 PM »

2. How does it differ from Catholicism?

Well, it doesn't differ too much. I think they have some dogmas in the Catholic Church that some Orthodox see as problematic such as the dogma of her being Co-Redemptrix. My knowledge of that particular dogma isn't very clear so I really couldn't tell you too much. However, I feel that the devotion assigned to St. Mary in the Orthodox Church and Catholic Church isn't very different at all. We Orthodox Christians have a very strong devotion to the Mother of God. Read any Akathist service or canon to her and you will see this very clearly. Orthodox wouldn't have any problem with the rosary for example. Some do, but it really centers around using the imagination during the rosary that Orthodox Christians find problems rather than the prayers themselves.


To be fair, "Co-Redemptrix" isn't dogma yet in the Roman Catholic Church. But it, along with "Co-Mediatrix" could be declared dogma in the future, since there is certainly much popular support for such dogma.

These titles are not typically found in Orthodoxy and certainly not Orthodox dogma.

I was ready to cue the game-show buzzer when Andrew that Catholics have a "dogma of her being Co-Redemptrix".

As far as the possibility that it will be dogmatically defined in the future ... well, naturally I can't prove that it won't be, but I see no reason to expect it.
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« Reply #36 on: February 26, 2012, 08:44:29 PM »

Yes, officially you are right; their veneration of the Theotokos is called hyperdulia. But often popular Roman Catholic hyperdulia is rather indistinguishable from worship reserved for God.

Your assertion is simultaneously harsh and vague.
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« Reply #37 on: February 26, 2012, 08:46:07 PM »

Question for anyone here: is it fair to say that Orthodox are fine with the phrase "praying to Mary"?
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« Reply #38 on: February 26, 2012, 08:52:16 PM »

Question for anyone here: is it fair to say that Orthodox are fine with the phrase "praying to Mary"?

Through

It even rhymes and still a single syllable and you can write it thru or hows some says it: tru, so it is nearly as short and looks pretty much the same as well.
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« Reply #39 on: February 28, 2012, 01:32:36 AM »

Question for anyone here: is it fair to say that Orthodox are fine with the phrase "praying to Mary"?
Nah, of course.
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« Reply #40 on: February 28, 2012, 01:58:08 AM »

She is the Theotokos.  Wink

Enough said, no ?
Um, no.

That's right, he forgot the ever-virgin part  angel

As far as her "sinless status" this has no bearing on our salvation. This is always a controversial topic. I'm agnostic about the subject...I affirm what we say about her in the liturgy. I'm certainly not going to accuse her.
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« Reply #41 on: February 28, 2012, 02:35:54 AM »



There are five questions that I hope people can answer all or some of them.

1. What is the Orthodox perspective on Mary?

 You will get all sorts of answers from people who have not been properly catechized, unfortunately.  If you want the Churches 'official' dogmatic teaching on the Theotokos, may I suggest the following online catechism?

* These Truths We Hold

As for your other questions regarding what Roman Catholics believe about the Theotokos, you need to consult Roman Catholic teachings.
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« Reply #42 on: February 28, 2012, 02:38:49 AM »

Hi all. I've been following this thread with some interest. Until today I would have said "The Orthodox believe Mary was sinless"; but some here seem to be saying that it's not that simple.  Huh
About 50% of Orthodox posters here believe she was always sinless, according to this poll.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=28645.0

This has been treated in numerous threads.
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stanley123
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« Reply #43 on: February 28, 2012, 04:05:22 AM »

Yes, officially you are right; their veneration of the Theotokos is called hyperdulia. But often popular Roman Catholic hyperdulia is rather indistinguishable from worship reserved for God. Orthodox leaders have also denounced Roman Catholic Marian "hypertrophy", so be careful whom you are slamming the door on...
However, generally Catholics ask Mary to pray for us and to intercede for us. However, in the Orthodox Church there is a prayer: Most Holy Mother of God, save us. This Orthodox prayer appears to be somewhat stronger than most Roman Catholic prayers to Mary.
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WeldeMikael
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« Reply #44 on: February 28, 2012, 05:03:08 AM »

We Roman Catholic have a plenty of prayers to Mary too !
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