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Author Topic: Re: The Theotokos  (Read 10072 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #135 on: May 25, 2013, 10:36:25 AM »

May Christ give peace and blessings upon you all my dear brothers and sisters for an loving discussion, i´ve been enjoying this thread really much, praise be to God!

One thought I might include in all this, when we distinguish between the Saints, the Theotokos or other righteous people. In mentioning their names, or asking with humility for their prayers, we do it because of one thing in the end. When these persons was here on earth, and now when they are rejoicing gladly in heaven, Gods grace is working through them. To say the the Theotokos is magnified just because her name was Mary and she had a child while yet being a virgin is not enough. We cannot focus on the specific names of people, and exclude the living and working grace of God in whoever we talk about. It is always 2 things that we notice in the Saints, the blessed Theotokos and other holy persons.

1: Their beautiful and exclusive will to live for God and make his name worthy, not theirs. Remember this, no Saint asked for anyones prayers, but we ask him/her to pray because we see Gods grace through him, in actions, words, truth or overall life.

2: The second and most outstanding thing when we refer to Saints or the Theotokos is this. That God explicitly through them has worked slightly and yet made tremendous changes, both spiritually and in history.

So the persons loving will for God and Gods explicit interaction with us humans through them are something that in perfect union made these persons very unique!

We cannot exclude one from the other.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2013, 10:39:45 AM by Jovan » Logged

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« Reply #136 on: May 25, 2013, 10:38:14 AM »

Quote
Good grief, there are folks in the Church who think they are martyrs cause they marry someone they are in love with. White martyrs or something ridiculous like that.

Your too-clever-by-half pronouncements are really getting tiresome, Orthonorm. Take it up with the sainted hymnographers who compiled the marriage services.

Selections:

Bless this marriage and grant to these Your servants, N. and M., a peaceful life, length of days, chastity, love for each other in the bond of peace, long-lived offspring, grace in their children and an unfading crown of glory.(from the first prayer before the Crowning)

Remember them, Lord our God, as You remembered the holy Forty Martyrs, sending down on them crowns from heaven. (from the second prayer before the Crowning)

Holy Martyrs, who fought the good fight and were crowned, intercede with the Lord to have mercy on our souls. (after the Dance of Isaiah, and before the removal of the crowns from the couple's heads)

O God, our God, who were present in Cana of Galilee, and blessed the marriage there, bless these Your servants also, who by Your providence have been joined in the communion of marriage. Bless their goings out and their comings in. Fill their life with good things. Take up their crowns in your Kingdom, unspotted and unblemished, and keep them without offense to the ages of ages. (prayer at the removal of the crowns)

May He who by His presence at Cana declared marriage honorable, Christ our true God, through the prayers of His all-pure Mother, of the holy, glorious and all-praised Apostles, of the holy Sovereigns crowned by God and Equals of the Apostles, Constantine and Helen, of the holy great Martyr Prokopios and all the Saints, have mercy on us and save us, for He is good and loves mankind.
(dismissal prayer)

The imagery of martyrs receiving crowns of glory in heaven is a constant and inescapable theme in their hymnography. The martyrdom of a married couple is the self-sacrifice each spouse is expected to show to the other, as expressed in the epistle reading from Ephesians: the wife lives for the husband, and does all she can for him; the husband lives for the wife, and does all he can for her, even to give his life for her as Christ did for His Church.

Thanks for the news. Oh, wait that text is looking at me in the face.

And so people who marry take on the terrible sacrifice of marrying someone they are giddy in love with are more a martyr than Mary the mother of God?

You need to learn some proportion and some rhetoric.

And you need to temper your glib pronouncements. I did not say anything about whether the Mother of God was or was not a martyr, but it was you who dismissed any notion that marriage is a form of martyrdom, yet the Church regards it as so, as expressed in her hymns and prayers.

I dismissed nothing. Rhetoric, look it up.

Rubbish. Here are your words:

Good grief, there are folks in the Church who think they are martyrs cause they marry someone they are in love with. White martyrs or something ridiculous like that.
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« Reply #137 on: May 25, 2013, 10:54:04 AM »

Quote
Good grief, there are folks in the Church who think they are martyrs cause they marry someone they are in love with. White martyrs or something ridiculous like that.

Your too-clever-by-half pronouncements are really getting tiresome, Orthonorm. Take it up with the sainted hymnographers who compiled the marriage services.

Selections:

Bless this marriage and grant to these Your servants, N. and M., a peaceful life, length of days, chastity, love for each other in the bond of peace, long-lived offspring, grace in their children and an unfading crown of glory.(from the first prayer before the Crowning)

Remember them, Lord our God, as You remembered the holy Forty Martyrs, sending down on them crowns from heaven. (from the second prayer before the Crowning)

Holy Martyrs, who fought the good fight and were crowned, intercede with the Lord to have mercy on our souls. (after the Dance of Isaiah, and before the removal of the crowns from the couple's heads)

O God, our God, who were present in Cana of Galilee, and blessed the marriage there, bless these Your servants also, who by Your providence have been joined in the communion of marriage. Bless their goings out and their comings in. Fill their life with good things. Take up their crowns in your Kingdom, unspotted and unblemished, and keep them without offense to the ages of ages. (prayer at the removal of the crowns)

May He who by His presence at Cana declared marriage honorable, Christ our true God, through the prayers of His all-pure Mother, of the holy, glorious and all-praised Apostles, of the holy Sovereigns crowned by God and Equals of the Apostles, Constantine and Helen, of the holy great Martyr Prokopios and all the Saints, have mercy on us and save us, for He is good and loves mankind.
(dismissal prayer)

The imagery of martyrs receiving crowns of glory in heaven is a constant and inescapable theme in their hymnography. The martyrdom of a married couple is the self-sacrifice each spouse is expected to show to the other, as expressed in the epistle reading from Ephesians: the wife lives for the husband, and does all she can for him; the husband lives for the wife, and does all he can for her, even to give his life for her as Christ did for His Church.

Thanks for the news. Oh, wait that text is looking at me in the face.

And so people who marry take on the terrible sacrifice of marrying someone they are giddy in love with are more a martyr than Mary the mother of God?

You need to learn some proportion and some rhetoric.

And you need to temper your glib pronouncements. I did not say anything about whether the Mother of God was or was not a martyr, but it was you who dismissed any notion that marriage is a form of martyrdom, yet the Church regards it as so, as expressed in her hymns and prayers.

I dismissed nothing. Rhetoric, look it up.

Rubbish. Here are your words:

Good grief, there are folks in the Church who think they are martyrs cause they marry someone they are in love with. White martyrs or something ridiculous like that.

LBK, you can curse at me all you want.

But if you stopped to think for moment, and here is a rare chance for me to attempt to explain internetz to you.

I say Mary is a martyr.
Some people argue about this using a very narrow definition of the word.
I suggest a more broad definition of the word harkening back to it most radical meaning and explain how Mary is the martyr par excellence.
The pocket dictionary responds (LKB this is rhetoric, literally a pocket dictionary didn't respond) with more of the same resting on the "Orthodox" notion of martyrdom.
Realizing they are out of their depth I point to a martyrdom that flies in the face of their "Orthodox" understanding. People in love just like everyone else on the planet do something like everyone else on the planet and it is called a form of martyrdom. (Note I am not snide about the text but about those who WOULD DO such a thing, marry someone they are in love and THINK (sometimes even TELL ME) they are martyrs.)
I place in obvious ridiculous notion of folks in conjunction with the notion Mary is not a martyr.

God knows she is and God knows not matter how many texts, liturgical or otherwise, I doubt during her life she would have told me she was or thought herself so.

So what did I say again? (with my emphasis)

Good grief, there are folks in the Church who think they are martyrs cause they marry someone they are in love with. White martyrs or something ridiculous like that.

Good grief indeed.

So learn to read what I say. Heck, here is a time when it ain't that subtle.

« Last Edit: May 25, 2013, 10:56:04 AM by orthonorm » Logged

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« Reply #138 on: May 25, 2013, 01:09:49 PM »

And who is the witness par excellence? In every meaning of the term.

John the Baptist, maybe Saint Paul. Who knows. But it wasn't Mary. You know why?

Yes, because of Rev. 3.14: Καὶ τῷ ἀγγέλῳ τῆς ἐν Λαοδικείᾳ ἐκκλησίας γράψον· τάδε λέγει ὁ ἀμήν, ὁ μάρτυς ὁ πιστὸς καὶ ἀληθινός, ἡ ἀρχὴ τῆς κτίσεως τοῦ Θεοῦ·

The "witness" par excellence is Christ, the "apostle" par excellence is Christ, the "prophet" par excellence is Christ, the "evangelist" par excellence is Christ, the "confessor" par excellence is Christ, the "virgin" par excellence is Christ, etc.  But we don't typically refer to Christ as any of these things as a common practice, even though he is all of those things.  It's all over Scripture if one has eyes to see and ears to hear.   

Our Lord fulfills all the requirements of such categories, but also exceeds them.  If he didn't do the former, none of those categories would have the meaning they have in our tradition; if he didn't do the latter, he'd just be an over-achieving Boy Scout collecting merit badges.  All of those "titles" and "categories" are rooted in him, they derive their meaning from him.  It may not be common to call Christ a martyr, but if he's not, then martyrdom is meaningless.   

In a similar way, but in a way lesser than Christ, Our Lady "is" a lot of things we don't normally refer to her as.  Who brought the Word to all nations more than she did?  She didn't travel as much as the apostles did, but the Word they preached entered the world as the Son she brought forth: she is certainly "apostle" and "evangelist", even if not by the standard definition, because she fulfills its more fundamental meaning.  She didn't write any books of oracles she received from God, but her whole life was a proclamation of the Word of God which came to her, first through her obedience and then through her consent to the Angel's message, after which she proclaimed to Elizabeth and to all humanity the greatness of God her Savior: how is she not a "prophet"?  If we are limited in considering martyrdom as involving the shedding of one's blood as a witness to God, then Mary, having died peacefully at a good age, may not "count".  But if we consider the fundamental meaning of martyrdom, of witness, then she is certainly that. 

Did she not witness faithfulness to God in the face of darkness and death more than all the other martyrs?  Our liturgical texts (here, I specifically refer to Syriac texts, though I'm sure the same sentiments can be found in Greek and other texts) speak of the martyrs having seen Christ in the heavens holding crowns plaited by the Holy Spirit, waiting to crown them upon their death, and their response was "Let us die for him who died for us".  Even St Stephen gives up his life, after believing in the death and resurrection of Christ, and seeing him sitting at the right hand of God.  But Our Lady answers the Angel's lofty words in Luke 1 with obedience, and from then on, she's subject to people's doubts about her virtue, she flees to Egypt to save her Son, and when he enters into his ministry, you know the ridicule that fell on him was directed toward her (that's just how people are).  When she sees him die on the Cross, does anyone think she was there smiling and winking at the bystanders saying "We'll see who has the last laugh on Sunday"?  No.  We believe she had an invincible faith, in spite of the fact that nothing the Angel told her seemed to have come to pass: when he's taken down from the cross, no one thinks he's great or the Son of the Most High, he can't sit on the throne of his father David if he's dead, and so it seems like his kingdom has ended before it had a chance to begin.  Is it so easy to believe in the resurrection for us, even though we have the benefit of two thousand years' space and innumerable witnesses since it happened?  How much more difficult must it have been three days before it happened, how much it must've looked for all intents and purposes like all was lost and meaningless.  And yet, she had faith even when the sword prophesied by the Elder Simeon in Luke 2 had in fact pierced her own soul: not a physical martyrdom, but a martyrdom of the spirit, the very martyrdom that must necessarily precede one's willingness to suffer physically and shed blood unto death.   

Like her Son and because of her Son, Our Lady fulfills and exceeds all our categories.  She didn't shed her blood as a martyr, but if she's not a martyr, then none of the rest are either.  As long as we're stuck on the physical violence and blood of martyrdom, we'll not only misunderstand the "martyrdom" of Mary, but we already demonstrate a misunderstanding of the martyrdom of the martyrs we do accept.  So, with all due respect, I believe you're missing something in your analysis: the most important things are meant to be understood in the heart and not just in the mind, and this is one of them. 
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« Reply #139 on: May 25, 2013, 01:13:20 PM »

And who is the witness par excellence? In every meaning of the term.

John the Baptist, maybe Saint Paul. Who knows. But it wasn't Mary. You know why?

Yes, because of Rev. 3.14: Καὶ τῷ ἀγγέλῳ τῆς ἐν Λαοδικείᾳ ἐκκλησίας γράψον· τάδε λέγει ὁ ἀμήν, ὁ μάρτυς ὁ πιστὸς καὶ ἀληθινός, ἡ ἀρχὴ τῆς κτίσεως τοῦ Θεοῦ·

The "witness" par excellence is Christ, the "apostle" par excellence is Christ, the "prophet" par excellence is Christ, the "evangelist" par excellence is Christ, the "confessor" par excellence is Christ, the "virgin" par excellence is Christ, etc.  But we don't typically refer to Christ as any of these things as a common practice, even though he is all of those things.  It's all over Scripture if one has eyes to see and ears to hear.   

Our Lord fulfills all the requirements of such categories, but also exceeds them.  If he didn't do the former, none of those categories would have the meaning they have in our tradition; if he didn't do the latter, he'd just be an over-achieving Boy Scout collecting merit badges.  All of those "titles" and "categories" are rooted in him, they derive their meaning from him.  It may not be common to call Christ a martyr, but if he's not, then martyrdom is meaningless.   

In a similar way, but in a way lesser than Christ, Our Lady "is" a lot of things we don't normally refer to her as.  Who brought the Word to all nations more than she did?  She didn't travel as much as the apostles did, but the Word they preached entered the world as the Son she brought forth: she is certainly "apostle" and "evangelist", even if not by the standard definition, because she fulfills its more fundamental meaning.  She didn't write any books of oracles she received from God, but her whole life was a proclamation of the Word of God which came to her, first through her obedience and then through her consent to the Angel's message, after which she proclaimed to Elizabeth and to all humanity the greatness of God her Savior: how is she not a "prophet"?  If we are limited in considering martyrdom as involving the shedding of one's blood as a witness to God, then Mary, having died peacefully at a good age, may not "count".  But if we consider the fundamental meaning of martyrdom, of witness, then she is certainly that. 

Did she not witness faithfulness to God in the face of darkness and death more than all the other martyrs?  Our liturgical texts (here, I specifically refer to Syriac texts, though I'm sure the same sentiments can be found in Greek and other texts) speak of the martyrs having seen Christ in the heavens holding crowns plaited by the Holy Spirit, waiting to crown them upon their death, and their response was "Let us die for him who died for us".  Even St Stephen gives up his life, after believing in the death and resurrection of Christ, and seeing him sitting at the right hand of God.  But Our Lady answers the Angel's lofty words in Luke 1 with obedience, and from then on, she's subject to people's doubts about her virtue, she flees to Egypt to save her Son, and when he enters into his ministry, you know the ridicule that fell on him was directed toward her (that's just how people are).  When she sees him die on the Cross, does anyone think she was there smiling and winking at the bystanders saying "We'll see who has the last laugh on Sunday"?  No.  We believe she had an invincible faith, in spite of the fact that nothing the Angel told her seemed to have come to pass: when he's taken down from the cross, no one thinks he's great or the Son of the Most High, he can't sit on the throne of his father David if he's dead, and so it seems like his kingdom has ended before it had a chance to begin.  Is it so easy to believe in the resurrection for us, even though we have the benefit of two thousand years' space and innumerable witnesses since it happened?  How much more difficult must it have been three days before it happened, how much it must've looked for all intents and purposes like all was lost and meaningless.  And yet, she had faith even when the sword prophesied by the Elder Simeon in Luke 2 had in fact pierced her own soul: not a physical martyrdom, but a martyrdom of the spirit, the very martyrdom that must necessarily precede one's willingness to suffer physically and shed blood unto death.   

Like her Son and because of her Son, Our Lady fulfills and exceeds all our categories.  She didn't shed her blood as a martyr, but if she's not a martyr, then none of the rest are either.  As long as we're stuck on the physical violence and blood of martyrdom, we'll not only misunderstand the "martyrdom" of Mary, but we already demonstrate a misunderstanding of the martyrdom of the martyrs we do accept.  So, with all due respect, I believe you're missing something in your analysis: the most important things are meant to be understood in the heart and not just in the mind, and this is one of them. 

Amen
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« Reply #140 on: May 25, 2013, 01:13:29 PM »

And who is the witness par excellence? In every meaning of the term.

John the Baptist, maybe Saint Paul. Who knows. But it wasn't Mary. You know why?

Yes, because of Rev. 3.14: Καὶ τῷ ἀγγέλῳ τῆς ἐν Λαοδικείᾳ ἐκκλησίας γράψον· τάδε λέγει ὁ ἀμήν, ὁ μάρτυς ὁ πιστὸς καὶ ἀληθινός, ἡ ἀρχὴ τῆς κτίσεως τοῦ Θεοῦ·

The "witness" par excellence is Christ, the "apostle" par excellence is Christ, the "prophet" par excellence is Christ, the "evangelist" par excellence is Christ, the "confessor" par excellence is Christ, the "virgin" par excellence is Christ, etc.  But we don't typically refer to Christ as any of these things as a common practice, even though he is all of those things.  It's all over Scripture if one has eyes to see and ears to hear.   

Our Lord fulfills all the requirements of such categories, but also exceeds them.  If he didn't do the former, none of those categories would have the meaning they have in our tradition; if he didn't do the latter, he'd just be an over-achieving Boy Scout collecting merit badges.  All of those "titles" and "categories" are rooted in him, they derive their meaning from him.  It may not be common to call Christ a martyr, but if he's not, then martyrdom is meaningless.   

In a similar way, but in a way lesser than Christ, Our Lady "is" a lot of things we don't normally refer to her as.  Who brought the Word to all nations more than she did?  She didn't travel as much as the apostles did, but the Word they preached entered the world as the Son she brought forth: she is certainly "apostle" and "evangelist", even if not by the standard definition, because she fulfills its more fundamental meaning.  She didn't write any books of oracles she received from God, but her whole life was a proclamation of the Word of God which came to her, first through her obedience and then through her consent to the Angel's message, after which she proclaimed to Elizabeth and to all humanity the greatness of God her Savior: how is she not a "prophet"?  If we are limited in considering martyrdom as involving the shedding of one's blood as a witness to God, then Mary, having died peacefully at a good age, may not "count".  But if we consider the fundamental meaning of martyrdom, of witness, then she is certainly that. 

Did she not witness faithfulness to God in the face of darkness and death more than all the other martyrs?  Our liturgical texts (here, I specifically refer to Syriac texts, though I'm sure the same sentiments can be found in Greek and other texts) speak of the martyrs having seen Christ in the heavens holding crowns plaited by the Holy Spirit, waiting to crown them upon their death, and their response was "Let us die for him who died for us".  Even St Stephen gives up his life, after believing in the death and resurrection of Christ, and seeing him sitting at the right hand of God.  But Our Lady answers the Angel's lofty words in Luke 1 with obedience, and from then on, she's subject to people's doubts about her virtue, she flees to Egypt to save her Son, and when he enters into his ministry, you know the ridicule that fell on him was directed toward her (that's just how people are).  When she sees him die on the Cross, does anyone think she was there smiling and winking at the bystanders saying "We'll see who has the last laugh on Sunday"?  No.  We believe she had an invincible faith, in spite of the fact that nothing the Angel told her seemed to have come to pass: when he's taken down from the cross, no one thinks he's great or the Son of the Most High, he can't sit on the throne of his father David if he's dead, and so it seems like his kingdom has ended before it had a chance to begin.  Is it so easy to believe in the resurrection for us, even though we have the benefit of two thousand years' space and innumerable witnesses since it happened?  How much more difficult must it have been three days before it happened, how much it must've looked for all intents and purposes like all was lost and meaningless.  And yet, she had faith even when the sword prophesied by the Elder Simeon in Luke 2 had in fact pierced her own soul: not a physical martyrdom, but a martyrdom of the spirit, the very martyrdom that must necessarily precede one's willingness to suffer physically and shed blood unto death.   

Like her Son and because of her Son, Our Lady fulfills and exceeds all our categories.  She didn't shed her blood as a martyr, but if she's not a martyr, then none of the rest are either.  As long as we're stuck on the physical violence and blood of martyrdom, we'll not only misunderstand the "martyrdom" of Mary, but we already demonstrate a misunderstanding of the martyrdom of the martyrs we do accept.  So, with all due respect, I believe you're missing something in your analysis: the most important things are meant to be understood in the heart and not just in the mind, and this is one of them. 

Very well done.
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« Reply #141 on: May 25, 2013, 02:10:23 PM »

All I'm saying is, she wasn't, so it really shouldn't be said that she is "the greatest martyr". She isn't a Martyr at all.

I think the key to it is not how much she suffered compared to other saints and martyrs (how can you quantify suffering?). I think the key is the statement about being totally obedient to God - she was, and that is why she can justifiably be called the greatest martyr.

The Theotokos isn't a martyr if that what the above exchange was discussing.  orthonorm refers to the Theotokos as a martyr in Reply #113.

Yes she is.

Please explain to mean who gave more of their life for Christ, literally witnessed Christ more, and is a witness to Him in virtue the perfect expression of the faith than the Mary.

Good grief, there are folks in the Church who think they are martyrs cause they marry someone they are in love with. White martyrs or something ridiculous like that.

Here's one definition for martyr:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/martyr

Quote
a person who sacrifices something of great value and especially life itself for the sake of principle

If the Theotokos didn't sacrifice her life, what "great value" did the Theotokos sacrifice to become a martyr?  Dying a natural death doesn't make one a martyr like St. Stephen, the first martyr.
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« Reply #142 on: May 25, 2013, 04:23:22 PM »

Remember this, no Saint asked for anyones prayers, but we ask him/her to pray because we see Gods grace through him, in actions, words, truth or overall life.

St. John asked in his anaphora.
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« Reply #143 on: May 25, 2013, 06:11:05 PM »

And who is the witness par excellence? In every meaning of the term.

John the Baptist, maybe Saint Paul. Who knows. But it wasn't Mary. You know why?

Yes, because of Rev. 3.14: Καὶ τῷ ἀγγέλῳ τῆς ἐν Λαοδικείᾳ ἐκκλησίας γράψον· τάδε λέγει ὁ ἀμήν, ὁ μάρτυς ὁ πιστὸς καὶ ἀληθινός, ἡ ἀρχὴ τῆς κτίσεως τοῦ Θεοῦ·

The "witness" par excellence is Christ, the "apostle" par excellence is Christ, the "prophet" par excellence is Christ, the "evangelist" par excellence is Christ, the "confessor" par excellence is Christ, the "virgin" par excellence is Christ, etc.  But we don't typically refer to Christ as any of these things as a common practice, even though he is all of those things.  It's all over Scripture if one has eyes to see and ears to hear.   

Our Lord fulfills all the requirements of such categories, but also exceeds them.  If he didn't do the former, none of those categories would have the meaning they have in our tradition; if he didn't do the latter, he'd just be an over-achieving Boy Scout collecting merit badges.  All of those "titles" and "categories" are rooted in him, they derive their meaning from him.  It may not be common to call Christ a martyr, but if he's not, then martyrdom is meaningless.   

In a similar way, but in a way lesser than Christ, Our Lady "is" a lot of things we don't normally refer to her as.  Who brought the Word to all nations more than she did?  She didn't travel as much as the apostles did, but the Word they preached entered the world as the Son she brought forth: she is certainly "apostle" and "evangelist", even if not by the standard definition, because she fulfills its more fundamental meaning.  She didn't write any books of oracles she received from God, but her whole life was a proclamation of the Word of God which came to her, first through her obedience and then through her consent to the Angel's message, after which she proclaimed to Elizabeth and to all humanity the greatness of God her Savior: how is she not a "prophet"?  If we are limited in considering martyrdom as involving the shedding of one's blood as a witness to God, then Mary, having died peacefully at a good age, may not "count".  But if we consider the fundamental meaning of martyrdom, of witness, then she is certainly that. 

Did she not witness faithfulness to God in the face of darkness and death more than all the other martyrs?  Our liturgical texts (here, I specifically refer to Syriac texts, though I'm sure the same sentiments can be found in Greek and other texts) speak of the martyrs having seen Christ in the heavens holding crowns plaited by the Holy Spirit, waiting to crown them upon their death, and their response was "Let us die for him who died for us".  Even St Stephen gives up his life, after believing in the death and resurrection of Christ, and seeing him sitting at the right hand of God.  But Our Lady answers the Angel's lofty words in Luke 1 with obedience, and from then on, she's subject to people's doubts about her virtue, she flees to Egypt to save her Son, and when he enters into his ministry, you know the ridicule that fell on him was directed toward her (that's just how people are).  When she sees him die on the Cross, does anyone think she was there smiling and winking at the bystanders saying "We'll see who has the last laugh on Sunday"?  No.  We believe she had an invincible faith, in spite of the fact that nothing the Angel told her seemed to have come to pass: when he's taken down from the cross, no one thinks he's great or the Son of the Most High, he can't sit on the throne of his father David if he's dead, and so it seems like his kingdom has ended before it had a chance to begin.  Is it so easy to believe in the resurrection for us, even though we have the benefit of two thousand years' space and innumerable witnesses since it happened?  How much more difficult must it have been three days before it happened, how much it must've looked for all intents and purposes like all was lost and meaningless.  And yet, she had faith even when the sword prophesied by the Elder Simeon in Luke 2 had in fact pierced her own soul: not a physical martyrdom, but a martyrdom of the spirit, the very martyrdom that must necessarily precede one's willingness to suffer physically and shed blood unto death.   

Like her Son and because of her Son, Our Lady fulfills and exceeds all our categories.  She didn't shed her blood as a martyr, but if she's not a martyr, then none of the rest are either.  As long as we're stuck on the physical violence and blood of martyrdom, we'll not only misunderstand the "martyrdom" of Mary, but we already demonstrate a misunderstanding of the martyrdom of the martyrs we do accept.  So, with all due respect, I believe you're missing something in your analysis: the most important things are meant to be understood in the heart and not just in the mind, and this is one of them. 

AMEN!!! Sweetness for the soul!


I humbly ask You O'Theotokos, the Queen and Lady, remember the smallest fraction of this prayer before our Lord, the Holy One, Your Son.  I am not worthy to ask Thee our Lady. Grant Mor Ephrem the peace of knowing that he is on Your loving and humble prayers before the Lord. May our God and Savior Jesus, Your Son, Bless him in tons, through your loving prayers. Amen.
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« Reply #144 on: May 25, 2013, 06:13:51 PM »

Remember this, no Saint asked for anyones prayers, but we ask him/her to pray because we see Gods grace through him, in actions, words, truth or overall life.

St. John asked in his anaphora.

I´m sorry dear brother, what I meant was that no Saint in total pride asked for others to deliver their prayer request to him/her. Please forgive me for not including that.
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« Reply #145 on: May 26, 2013, 02:01:23 AM »

And who is the witness par excellence? In every meaning of the term.

John the Baptist, maybe Saint Paul. Who knows. But it wasn't Mary. You know why?

Yes, because of Rev. 3.14: Καὶ τῷ ἀγγέλῳ τῆς ἐν Λαοδικείᾳ ἐκκλησίας γράψον· τάδε λέγει ὁ ἀμήν, ὁ μάρτυς ὁ πιστὸς καὶ ἀληθινός, ἡ ἀρχὴ τῆς κτίσεως τοῦ Θεοῦ·

The "witness" par excellence is Christ, the "apostle" par excellence is Christ, the "prophet" par excellence is Christ, the "evangelist" par excellence is Christ, the "confessor" par excellence is Christ, the "virgin" par excellence is Christ, etc.  But we don't typically refer to Christ as any of these things as a common practice, even though he is all of those things.  It's all over Scripture if one has eyes to see and ears to hear.   

Our Lord fulfills all the requirements of such categories, but also exceeds them.  If he didn't do the former, none of those categories would have the meaning they have in our tradition; if he didn't do the latter, he'd just be an over-achieving Boy Scout collecting merit badges.  All of those "titles" and "categories" are rooted in him, they derive their meaning from him.  It may not be common to call Christ a martyr, but if he's not, then martyrdom is meaningless.   

In a similar way, but in a way lesser than Christ, Our Lady "is" a lot of things we don't normally refer to her as.  Who brought the Word to all nations more than she did?  She didn't travel as much as the apostles did, but the Word they preached entered the world as the Son she brought forth: she is certainly "apostle" and "evangelist", even if not by the standard definition, because she fulfills its more fundamental meaning.  She didn't write any books of oracles she received from God, but her whole life was a proclamation of the Word of God which came to her, first through her obedience and then through her consent to the Angel's message, after which she proclaimed to Elizabeth and to all humanity the greatness of God her Savior: how is she not a "prophet"?  If we are limited in considering martyrdom as involving the shedding of one's blood as a witness to God, then Mary, having died peacefully at a good age, may not "count".  But if we consider the fundamental meaning of martyrdom, of witness, then she is certainly that. 

Did she not witness faithfulness to God in the face of darkness and death more than all the other martyrs?  Our liturgical texts (here, I specifically refer to Syriac texts, though I'm sure the same sentiments can be found in Greek and other texts) speak of the martyrs having seen Christ in the heavens holding crowns plaited by the Holy Spirit, waiting to crown them upon their death, and their response was "Let us die for him who died for us".  Even St Stephen gives up his life, after believing in the death and resurrection of Christ, and seeing him sitting at the right hand of God.  But Our Lady answers the Angel's lofty words in Luke 1 with obedience, and from then on, she's subject to people's doubts about her virtue, she flees to Egypt to save her Son, and when he enters into his ministry, you know the ridicule that fell on him was directed toward her (that's just how people are).  When she sees him die on the Cross, does anyone think she was there smiling and winking at the bystanders saying "We'll see who has the last laugh on Sunday"?  No.  We believe she had an invincible faith, in spite of the fact that nothing the Angel told her seemed to have come to pass: when he's taken down from the cross, no one thinks he's great or the Son of the Most High, he can't sit on the throne of his father David if he's dead, and so it seems like his kingdom has ended before it had a chance to begin.  Is it so easy to believe in the resurrection for us, even though we have the benefit of two thousand years' space and innumerable witnesses since it happened?  How much more difficult must it have been three days before it happened, how much it must've looked for all intents and purposes like all was lost and meaningless.  And yet, she had faith even when the sword prophesied by the Elder Simeon in Luke 2 had in fact pierced her own soul: not a physical martyrdom, but a martyrdom of the spirit, the very martyrdom that must necessarily precede one's willingness to suffer physically and shed blood unto death.   

Like her Son and because of her Son, Our Lady fulfills and exceeds all our categories.  She didn't shed her blood as a martyr, but if she's not a martyr, then none of the rest are either.  As long as we're stuck on the physical violence and blood of martyrdom, we'll not only misunderstand the "martyrdom" of Mary, but we already demonstrate a misunderstanding of the martyrdom of the martyrs we do accept.  So, with all due respect, I believe you're missing something in your analysis: the most important things are meant to be understood in the heart and not just in the mind, and this is one of them. 

What Joy! You explained this very well. If martyrdom can be seen as sacrificing all and persevering in the face of great evil and suffering, than I can agree that in this sense the Theotokos could be called a martyr. And since she is the prototype for all Christians and an icon of the Church, I think the steadfastness and self-sacrifice of the martyrs is reflecting of the qualities and virtues that we see exemplified beyond measure in her. Thank you.

And I apologize, orthonorm for antagonizing you. I just thought I sensed some condescension in your cyber-tone and reacted inappropriately. Forgive me. 
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« Reply #146 on: May 26, 2013, 02:10:11 AM »

I just thought I sensed some condescension in your cyber-tone and reacted inappropriately. Forgive me. 

I still don't get what is wrong with condescension. It is what God did after all.

It is probably my stock tone. No big deal. I speak internet. Mor speaks from the heart. It takes all kinds. Nothing to forgive.

It was a very compelling post.
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« Reply #147 on: May 26, 2013, 08:23:51 AM »

Even leaving aside the sheer inexpressibility of the greatness of this woman bearing and raising God Incarnate, she is exalted also as the Queen and Mother, being by far the closest to the "ear of God", as it were. This idea is also biblical
I would be grateful if you would quote where you think you find such an idea in the bible.
Such an idea is idolatrous.
The Queen of Heaven originated from pagan Babylonian goddess worship. Jeremiah speaks about the Babylonian Queen of Heaven (Jeremiah 7 and 44).  Jeremiah 7:18 plainly states that God hates idolatry and it provokes Him to anger.
Jeremiah 7:18
The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.
Exodus 34:14
for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God

God will not share his glory with another.
Mary is a sinner in need of a saviour just like the rest of mankind.
Romans 3:23
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.





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« Reply #148 on: May 26, 2013, 08:37:12 AM »



The decisions He makes regarding the prayers and petitions which reach him, whether made directly to Him by us, or through the intercessions of the saints and the Mother of God, are His. However, in His compassion and love for mankind, He considers the prayers and petitions received through His saints, who stand before the throne of God. And His Mother is the most effective of these saintly intercessors, by virtue of being His Mother
Could you please show where  in God's word it suggests such a thing?

Quote
In icons of the Dormition of the Mother of God, we see the soul of the reposed Virgin, not carried by angels, but in the arms of her Son, as is fitting and proper. Just as she gave Him earthly life, He takes her soul away to life eternal, with the greatest love and reverence.
Where in the bible do you read of this?

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« Reply #149 on: May 26, 2013, 08:39:50 AM »

And yet the Gospels don't instruct us to sing hymns of praise, glorify and extol her, or any such thing.
That's because we're not supposed to do such a thing. It is idolatry. God will not share his glory with another.
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« Reply #150 on: May 26, 2013, 08:45:36 AM »

To understand the veneration for the Mother of God, I think you just have to love here and enter into a relationship with her. Most likely it won't make sense until you become part of the Church.
Where are we told to enter into a relationship with her?
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« Reply #151 on: May 26, 2013, 08:46:51 AM »

Rachel, dear sister, not these kind of questions again XD

I´ve asked twice on the biblical reference for masturbation being a sin. I might add abortion to that as well.

And pay a lot of attention to this now. I DON`T want a remix of your interpretation and explanation of sexual immorality or the true worth of life.

I want word for word as you´ve probably asked for many times, and now are asking regarding the blessed Virgin and Mother.

If you can´t provide that from Gods word then you´ve given me and other christians no reason to believe your sola scriptura.

Take notice: No remixing on interpretation, word for word. Abortion is a sin, masturbation is a sin. I´m not using my standard dear sister in fatih, but yours.


With all respect and love, forgive me if I sounded embittering in any way. But the huge discussion on a other thread was based on the exact same basis you put forth now, and there is no need to go through that again.

Please pray for me a sinner, and forgive me.

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« Reply #152 on: May 26, 2013, 08:48:37 AM »

In the OT, the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the jar of manna, the budding rod of Aaron, and the tablets on which the Law (Ten Commandments) were written, were the holiest objects to the Hebrews, and were treated with the utmost respect and honor. To even touch the Ark meant instant death, so great was its holiness.

The Ark, and all it contained, were, in God's wisdom, prefigurations of the immense and incomprehensible mystery, that of the Mother of God. She is the true Ark (in whom the infinite and immaterial God was contained), the Burning Bush (the fire of Divinity she carried in her body not only did not destroy her, but it purified her and preserved her virginity), the rod of Aaron (budded and sprung forth from barren and aged parents), the jar of manna which is fulfilled in the fruit of her womb, the very Bread of Life, Christ our God.

If the ark of old was so sacred, then how much more glorious and holy is the woman who is the very fulfillment of the type and shadow?
It is Christ himself who is that fulfilment NOT Mary.
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« Reply #153 on: May 26, 2013, 09:14:53 AM »

How exactly do intercessions work? One of the big problems people have with veneration of Saints--especially the Theotokos--is the notion that their prayers are more affective than our own, as if they had some "special" connection with God or something that we don't have. Does the prayer of a righteous person mean more than the prayer of a not-so-righteous person? My thoughts are that yes, it does, however, most people would feel discomforted by that fact--probably due to pride.

God hears our prayers. But consider this. Go to an earthly authority or try getting a bank loan. Do you think you'll get what you ask just for your own sake? You have people make introduction for you. You make connections. You bring letters of reference. You get to know people who are well known to the person from whom you're seeking a favor or money.

The saints do have a special connection with God. They are his friends. He has greatly honored them because in their lives they served and honored him. They repented, they were purified, deified, and illumined. They cooperated with divine grace.
The biblical view of a saint is that all those who have accepted Christ as Saviour are called saints. There are numerous verses that show this. You become a saint by accepting Christ as Saviour not by being purified, deified and illumined.
Neither are we told to pray to the dead nor that the dead can pray for us. Indeed we are told that communication with the dead is against scripture.

Quote
Now look at us. What do we have to show for ourselves? What do we bring the King of all? Nothing like what the saints bring
And the saints have, in cooperating with the will of God, entered into the saving work of Christ.
It is Christ alone who saves us through his atoning work at Calvary.

Quote
As for how exactly the intercession of the saints work, it's a mystery. But the spiritual realm is real and is in our midst. Just as there are demons around, so too are there angels and saints.
There is biblical evidence for demons and angels being around us but where is your evidence that the saints are around us?

Quote
Only God can know the heart of each person, since it is his dwelling place. He knows our prayer before we even ask.
Quite so, so speak to him directly as he tells you to.
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« Reply #154 on: May 26, 2013, 09:54:34 AM »

[Taken from Fr. Matthew the Poor.]When the Virgin intercedes for our aid, healing, or repentance, she draws us into the realm of her relationship with Christ. In Orthodoxy, intercession raises us to the level of the intercessor, bringing us into the presence of Christ, then the mediator disappears.
Where does God's word tell you this? If this were so Christ would need Mary's help to save us. This is blasphemous. Christ said of his work on the cross - "It is finished." The veil of the temple was ripped from top to bottom to show that we, through Christ's death and resurrection have direct access to himself.

 
Quote
This is to say that intercession is a communion with Christ by grace; the Virgin grants us all the powers granted to her so that so that we might come before Christ.
Where do you think God says this in his word? Where do you get all this stuff from? We can come before Christ because of what he did and only because of what he did. He paid the price for our sins. Refer above.
Quote
We then stand before Him as the Virgin, that is, in the spirit and grace of purity and holiness granted to us in her.
It is nothing to do with her 'grace of purity and holiness.' You are elevating her to a position that she does not hold. Mary was equally in need of Christ's atonement for sin. She was not sinless. We have direct access to God because when we are his we are clothed in Christ's righteousness.
 
Quote
We take from the Virgin the courage that derives from her purity and the audacity that derives from her motherhood and her unique love for Christ. All these things are considered to have been granted to her for our sake, and she, in her great confidence before God, is able to transfer them to us, just as a stronger member in the body grants its strength to a weaker one.
I ask again, where in scripture does it tell you this?  Mary is not able to help in our salvation. This notion is not scriptural.

Quote
Second, this kind of intercession removes all the barriers between us and Christ. We approach Him unhindered and unimpeded by our weakness, to take from Him help or a particular request or healing or repentance.
Where does it tell you this in scripture?
Scripture tells us:
Ephesians 3:11-13
11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,  12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.



Quote
But intercession can only take place if one is able to step forward in the spirit of the intercessor and be prepared to take or borrow those qualities which make him able to intercede. Otherwise there can be no intercession. The Virgin demonstrates for us the first quality, the essential character required for us to meet with God. Those who deny the role of the Virigin in the incarnation or in intercession, or who deny the importance of purity, do so only in theory, for in practice it is impossible to deny or eliminate them. As far as the incarnation is concerned, God could only be incarnate in purity. As far as intercession is concerned, it is equally impossible for God to reveal Himself or act outside the realm of purity. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Mt. 5:8 ).

God’s Righteousness Through Faith
Romans 3
21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,  22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all[h] who believe. For there is no difference;  23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,  25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,  26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.



Quote
Intercession requires a personal presence; the Virgin presents himself in the purity before Christ, on our behalf and within the sphere of our experience. In so doing she opens up before us a door that can lead to the spirit of purity and the awakening of a sense of holiness.

Where does God's word tell you this?



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Holy Father Patrick, pray for us!


« Reply #155 on: May 26, 2013, 09:59:35 AM »



The decisions He makes regarding the prayers and petitions which reach him, whether made directly to Him by us, or through the intercessions of the saints and the Mother of God, are His. However, in His compassion and love for mankind, He considers the prayers and petitions received through His saints, who stand before the throne of God. And His Mother is the most effective of these saintly intercessors, by virtue of being His Mother
Could you please show where  in God's word it suggests such a thing?


Gladly.

There is an Aramaic word, "Gebirah", which means "Queen Mother". Traditionally, next to the throne of the King was a second throne. Many would assume that the second throne belonged to the wife of the King, but in Israel it belonged to the mother of the king. The Gebirah was an official position, one with which everyone (Jesus and His disciples included) was entirely familiar. Her role was as an advocate of the people; anyone who had a petition or sought an audience with the King did so through her. She was an intercessor, presenting the wishes and concerns of the people to the King. This does not imply that the King was unapproachable, or that people were afraid or unable to speak to him. It merely means that the King honored his mother and took her requests into special consideration. On the part of the people, they felt close to her, as if they too were her children. This role is mentioned in:

1 Kings 15:13 " He also deposed his Maacah from her position as queen mother"
2 Kings 10:13 " "We are kinsmen of Ahaziah," they replied. "We are going down to visit the princes and the family of the queen mother.""
Jeremiah 13:18 " Say to the king and to the queen mother: come down from your throne"

Her specific place of honor and intercession is clearly illustrated in 1 Kings 2: 13-21:

"Adonijah, son of Haggith, went to Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon. "Do you come as a friend?" she asked. "Yes," he answered, and added, "I have something to say to you." She replied, "Say it." So he said: "...There is one favor I would ask of you. Do not refuse me." And she said, "Speak on." He said, "Please ask King Solomon, who will not refuse you, to give me Abishag the Shunamite for my wife." "Very well," replied Bathsheba, "I will speak to the king for you." Then Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah, and the king stood up to meet her and paid her homage. Then he sat down upon his throne, and a throne was provided for the king's mother, who sat at his right. "There is one small favor I would ask of you," she said. "Do not refuse me." "Ask it, my mother," the king said to her, "for I will not refuse you." So she said, "Let Abishag the Shunamite be given to your brother Adonijah for his wife."

The following is also significant:

    Adonijah assumed that the queen mother would approach the King on his behalf; he trusted her.
    The reaction of the King is noteworthy: he stood up to meet her and paid her homage.
    A throne was provided for her, and she sat at his right.
    Her power as intercessor is stressed by the repetition of the idea that the king "will not refuse her".

To this day, Orthodox Christians (and those non-Orthodox who believe in her intercession) continue to pray to the Mother of God in this light. We assume that she will approach the King on our behalf. Now, many Protestants will say "We don't need to go through anyone; we can speak to God directly." Well, of course we can, and we should. But I doubt that that same person NEVER asked a friend to say a prayer for or with him. We ask our friends to pray for and with us, not because we feel that we can't approach God directly, but because we are a family in Christ, and the more the merrier. We care about each other, and approach God on behalf of those we love all the time. Why limit that care and assistance to those living on this earth now?

Saint Paul tells us that we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses-- do we think that these witnesses care nothing for us? Revelation tells us that the prayers of the saints rise like incense before God. If we ask those we know here to pray for us, how should we refrain from asking those who are in the presence of God? James 5 says the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Who is more righteous than the Mother of God? And if we ask those who are in the presence of God to pray for us, how should we refrain from asking the very mother of the King? The issue is not "mediation" but intercession, which is something all Christians are called on to do for one another.

You see, Rachel, this and your subsequent questions such as praying for the dead can be answered from scripture. Praying for the dead, praying to saints or the Mother of God for their intercession, it's all biblical. You might not realize this, as you have never attended an Orthodox Church. Our services and prayers are simply groaning with scripture, and, more importantly, on making the effort to keep one's eyes and ears open during the services, the proper context and interpretation of all this scripture will be made clear.
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« Reply #156 on: May 26, 2013, 10:00:42 AM »


This speaks, in the first place, for the correctness of the Orthodox concept of intercession because, in the last analysis, it cancels out the distinction between the intercessor, that is the Virgin, and us. We take from the Virgin the courage that derives from her purity and the audacity that derives from her motherhood and her unique love for Christ. All these things are considered to have been granted to her for our sake, and she, in her great confidence before God, is able to transfer them to us, just as a stronger member in the body grants its strength to a weaker one.


OK, so this was very interesting, and kind of ties in with what I was saying about the greater elevating the lesser. There is however a possible objection, and I'll run it by the rest of you and see what resolutions can be offered to my conundrum.

First, lets look at the Apostolic doctrine as contained in Paul's epistle to the Hebrews:

Quote
"Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted."

Hebrews 2;17-18

And

Quote
"Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

Hebrews 3; 14-16

Now, you will find this idea in other places in the New Testament. Christ took human flesh so that he could participate with us in our weaknesses and sufferings. Because He was Man, he could suffer and be tempted, and even die, but because He was God, he overcame all, and emerged victorious. Thus in communion with Him, He imparts His own divine strength, His very own nature, thus enabling us also to overcome. He became what we are so that we can become what He is. And because he shared in our infirmities, he can fully empathize with us in all of our weaknesses and failures. Thus, By His Mercy, we can draw near to God, to Him, in boldness and with a degree of audacity, and find the grace we need to aid us in our struggle.

So in short:

Through Christ we have boldness before God.

Amen. This is indeed what God's word says.

Quote
Now look again at the above quote:

Quote

This speaks, in the first place, for the correctness of the Orthodox concept of intercession because, in the last analysis, it cancels out the distinction between the intercessor, that is the Virgin, and us. We take from the Virgin the courage that derives from her purity and the audacity that derives from her motherhood and her unique love for Christ. All these things are considered to have been granted to her for our sake, and she, in her great confidence before God, is able to transfer them to us, just as a stronger member in the body grants its strength to a weaker one.


What this essentially says is that Mary has boldness and audacity before Christ because of her special relationship with Him, and through her intersession she transfers that to us, so that we too can share in her boldness before God.

Again, in short:

Through Mary we have boldness before God.

Now lets compare these two models.

A: Through Christ we have boldness before God.

B: Through Mary we have boldness before God.

...Is this not problematic? Could it not be argued that because there is this idea that we need Mary to usher us into the presences of her Son, we're making Christ's own empathy for us out to be insufficient? Is it possible that His Divinity is being emphasized in such a way that it marginalizes the importance of His humanity, thus leaving us in a situation where we feel we need an extra mediator to bring us before Him in boldness?
That is precisely what such a belief does and it is NOT scriptural.

Quote
What is the resolution?
Take God at his word. The notion that we need Mary is found NOWHERE in scripture.

 


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« Reply #157 on: May 26, 2013, 10:09:22 AM »

"Imitate me, just as I imitate Christ."

So what is Paul teaching?

Through imitating Paul you obtain righteousness
Through imitating Christ you obtain righteousness
Please tell us where in God's word Paul says that through imitating him you can obtain righteousness? If this were so then there would be no need for Christ to have died for us. We could just imitate Paul and earn our own.

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« Reply #158 on: May 26, 2013, 10:14:18 AM »

Quote
Now lets compare these two models.

A: Through Christ we have boldness before God.

B: Through Mary we have boldness before God.

...Is this not problematic? Could it not be argued that because there is this idea that we need Mary to usher us into the presences of her Son, we're making Christ's own empathy for us out to be insufficient? Is it possible that His Divinity is being emphasized in such a way that it marginalizes the importance of His humanity, thus leaving us in a situation where we feel we need an extra mediator to bring us before Him in boldness? What is the resolution?

It is only problematic if one has to choose between the two. Orthodoxy does not teach this.
The difference is that the one is scriptural and the other isn't.

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« Reply #159 on: May 26, 2013, 10:21:46 AM »

Quote
Now lets compare these two models.

A: Through Christ we have boldness before God.

B: Through Mary we have boldness before God.

...Is this not problematic? Could it not be argued that because there is this idea that we need Mary to usher us into the presences of her Son, we're making Christ's own empathy for us out to be insufficient? Is it possible that His Divinity is being emphasized in such a way that it marginalizes the importance of His humanity, thus leaving us in a situation where we feel we need an extra mediator to bring us before Him in boldness? What is the resolution?

It is only problematic if one has to choose between the two. Orthodoxy does not teach this.
The difference is that the one is scriptural and the other isn't.



Nonsense. The prayer of a righteous man availeth much, as St James writes in his epistle. And who are the most righteous? The saints, and the Mother of God, who are alive in Christ.

Rachel, I suggest you read my previous post if you haven't done so already.
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« Reply #160 on: May 26, 2013, 10:45:13 AM »

Why do Marian devotees always insist upon blurring the line between her and God in their language? Why is it that in so many Marian hymns and prayers things are being said about her that should only appropriately be said about God? The more I think about it the more sickening it looks...
 the whole claim is based on the idea that the Orthodox Church has preserved the faith of the Apostles in it's fullness. And yet I'm just not seeing how the Apostles taught us any such thing about Mary or anyone else. All they talked about was the glory of God in Jesus Christ. It's not until the 3rd century, so far as we can tell, that people started writing prayers to Mary for her 'protection', and not until like the 8th century that someone decided hymns to Mary were needed in every single service of the Church. If it's all just the invention of man who wanted, then it means that in a huge way the Orthodox tradition has failed to preserve the truth, and has instead turned His mother into a near-goddess for no clear reason at all. We have no need of another deliverer. We have a perfect savior in Christ.

Why not rather praise Jesus and only Jesus for protection and deliverance and compassion? Why not rather throw yourself down before Him and only Him when asking for help and strength and encouragement? Why not instead call Him and only Him our strong tower and deliverer and help? He is God after all. Mary was the one he chose to be His means of incarnation. That doesn't make her the source of the Christian's hope and confidence and salvation. It was God who did it, not her, she only cooperated.      

You are right to be sceptical of what Orthodoxy teaches. Indeed the apostles did not teach any such thing about Mary. Such concepts are lies of Satan who wishes always to take glory away from Christ and to suggest that Christ's death and resurrection alone are insufficient. God says we can trust his word.  Do you not recognise when his Spirit is speaking to you and showing you where there is error? I think you are uneasy because you sense in your spirit that this teaching is not of God.
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« Reply #161 on: May 26, 2013, 10:48:44 AM »

, since the ever-virginity of Mary is the only Marian dogma we have (along with her being Theotokos).
Please provide biblical reference for this.
Quote
Yet, along with the title Theotokos, her ever-virginity is ultimately Christological, for it confirms this: she is the Ark of the New Covenant that could not be touched. She is exalted because she carried the salvation of the world.
Christ himself is the Ark of the New Covenant.
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« Reply #162 on: May 26, 2013, 11:19:30 AM »


 But the real problem is that I can't prove anything one way or another. I've always operated under the assumption that what the Apostles and Prophets said was true, but everything else was suspect. And believing that, I've always been essentially sola-scriptura, and so the traditions about Mary's ever virginity, or that she lived in the Temple from age 3, or that she was mysteriously nourished by an Angel, which all first appears in writing in the mid-second century (fairly early, granted), and then of course the belief in her bodily assumption which only appears in writing centuries later--all of these ideas are suspect to me, because there is no first century evidence that they were taught by the apostles... You see what I'm saying? I can't deny them, as such, but an argument can be made that they were made up later on, after Marion ideas began to evolve, especially the Dormition/Assumption belief. And the veneration of Mary is intimately bound up in these beliefs.
And do these beliefs concur with scripture or are they just human constructs? Do the apostles speak of them? No. Does that not strike you as strange? Some of the beliefs about Mary as mentioned on this thread by yourself are in direct contradiction to what the apostles taught. So which is the truth? If God's word is not absolute truth then we can discount all of it.
So who do you chose to place your faith in? The word of God or the constructs of man?

Quote
In other words, there's no proof, but they have to be accepted by faith...faith in the Church. Faith that the Holy Spirit was guiding the Church into all truth.
The Orthodox church makes all sorts of claims and yet many of their doctrines, of which that about Mary is only one, run counter to God's word. So which is infallible? Everyone ultimately has to make a leap of faith. Is God a man that he should lie? What does he say about his word?

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« Reply #163 on: May 26, 2013, 11:21:28 AM »

, since the ever-virginity of Mary is the only Marian dogma we have (along with her being Theotokos).
Please provide biblical reference for this.
Quote
Yet, along with the title Theotokos, her ever-virginity is ultimately Christological, for it confirms this: she is the Ark of the New Covenant that could not be touched. She is exalted because she carried the salvation of the world.
Christ himself is the Ark of the New Covenant.

Again, gladly:

On the ever-virginity of the Mother of God, and this list is not exhaustive:

Ezekiel 43:27-44:4, which is one of the appointed OT readings for Vespers for the feasts of the Mother of God:  

And when they have completed these days, then from the eighth day onward the priests shall offer upon the altar your burnt offerings and your peace offerings; and I will accept you, said the Lord God. Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, which faces east; and it was shut. And he said to me: This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it; for the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut. Only the prince may sit in it to eat bread before the Lord; he shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gate, and shall go out by the same way. Then he brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple; and I looked, and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple of the Lord; and I fell upon my face.

Psalm 67:

The mountain of God is a fertile mountain, a bedewed mountain, a fertile mountain; why gaze you with envy, O bedewed mountains? for this is the mountain in which God has deigned to dwell
.

Song of Solomon:

The garden is enclosed -- O My sister, My bride, -- the fountainhead is sealed, -- the fountainhead of the garden and the well-spring of living water.

Your garden is enclosed, O Virgin Mother, and your fountainhead is sealed by the Spirit of God, thus did the most-wise one sing in his songs.

On her being the Ark of the Covenant:

I have written about this in posts connected with the iconography of St Joseph the Betrothed. I'll add that the ark of the OT contained the tablets of the Law handed down to Moses by God, as well as several other items, such as Aaron's rod which budded, and the jar of manna, priceless in their holiness. The ark was so sacred that to touch it could result in death:

Samuel 6:6-7: And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God.

The tablets of the Law were, to use your parlance, Rachel, the word of God, and the ark its protective enclosure. These prefigurations are fulfilled with utmost clarity: the true Word of God, Jesus Christ, incarnate in the womb of the Virgin. The ark imagery, of course, also speaks of the ever-virginity, purity and supreme among mortals holiness of the Mother of God.
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« Reply #164 on: May 26, 2013, 11:34:48 AM »


If it's in the hymnography, the whole Church believes it, teaches it and proclaims it. It's a semantic moot point whether we call it dogma or doctrine. Just as the Church proclaims the death and burial of the Mother of God, it also proclaims her bodily translation to heaven.

From the feast of the Dormition:

... she who is higher than the Cherubim hastened towards heaven. With them we venerate her as she intercedes for our souls...
 come, let us garland the Church with songs as the Ark of God goes to her rest...
 For today heaven unfolds its bosom as it receives the one who gave birth to Him whom nothing can contain...
 while she who gave birth to the Prince of life is translated from life to life. Let us all worship her as we beg: ‘Sovereign Lady, do not forget your ties of kinship with those who celebrate with faith your all-holy Dormition’...
 by your prayers you deliver our souls from death.

Where in scripture does it tell you this? Where in scripture are you told to worship her? We are to worship God alone. Just that should tell you that this is not sound doctrine.

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« Reply #165 on: May 26, 2013, 11:47:16 AM »

Where in scripture are you told to worship her?

Where in that hymn are you told to worship her?
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« Reply #166 on: May 26, 2013, 11:50:14 AM »

God will not share his glory with another.

Praising you or anyone else but God is a dangerous thing, then?

Christ himself is the Ark of the New Covenant.

Christ is the New Covenant.
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« Reply #167 on: May 26, 2013, 11:53:58 AM »

Feast of the Annunciation + March 25

Verily, Gabriel did come to thee, disclosing the purpose which was before the ages, hailing thee and saying, Rejoice O unseeded land! Rejoice, O unburning bush! Rejoice, O depth inaccessible to vision! Rejoice, O bridge leading to the heavens! Rejoice, O lofty ladder whom Jacob did behold! Rejoice, O jar of divine manna! Rejoice, O dissolution of the curse! Rejoice, O recall of Adam! The Lord is with thee.
Vespers of the Feast, Tone 6

Rejoice, O Theotokos, O deliverance of Adam from the curse! Rejoice, O chaste Theotokos! Rejoice, O living bush! Rejoice, O lamp! Rejoice, O throne! Rejoice, O ladder and door! Rejoice, O divine chariot! Rejoice, O bright cloud! Rejoice, O temple, O most-gilded jar! Rejoice, O mountain! Rejoice, O tabernacle and table! Rejoice, O deliverer of Eve!
Orthros of the Feast, Tone 2
Nowhere does God's word suggest that Mary is these things. Much of this usurps Christ's position.
God's word says in Luke Chapter 1:
Christ’s Birth Announced to Mary
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,  27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.  28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!








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« Reply #168 on: May 26, 2013, 11:58:06 AM »

Someone is unfamiliar with Byzantine rhetorics  Smiley
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« Reply #169 on: May 26, 2013, 12:00:45 PM »

Rachel didn´t answer my question for the 3rd time Sad

Truth doesn´t deserve that, but I, a great sinner do.
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« Reply #170 on: May 26, 2013, 12:16:03 PM »

Quote
Priest: Our most gracious Queen, our hope, O Theotokos, Who receivest the orphaned and art the intercessor for the stranger; the joy of those in sorrow, protectress of the wronged, see our distress, see our affliction! Help us, for we are helpless. Feed us, for we are strangers and pilgrims. Thou knowest our offences; forgive them, and resolve them as Thou dost will. For we know no other help but Thee, no other intercessor, no gracious comforter, only Thee, O Theotokos to guard and protect us for ages of ages. Amen. 
Where in God's word does it say that Mary is:
queen?
our hope?
our intercessor?
our protectress?
Where does it say:
that she sees our distress?
that she can help us?
that she can feed us?
that she knows our offences?
that she can forgive sins?
that we have no other help but her?
that we have no other intercessor?
that we have no comforter than her?
That she can guard and protect us?

These ideas usurp Christ's place and are therefore blasphemous. God says, " I will share my glory with no one."
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« Reply #171 on: May 26, 2013, 12:17:11 PM »

Someone is unfamiliar with Byzantine rhetorics  Smiley
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« Reply #172 on: May 26, 2013, 12:41:54 PM »



The decisions He makes regarding the prayers and petitions which reach him, whether made directly to Him by us, or through the intercessions of the saints and the Mother of God, are His. However, in His compassion and love for mankind, He considers the prayers and petitions received through His saints, who stand before the throne of God. And His Mother is the most effective of these saintly intercessors, by virtue of being His Mother
Could you please show where  in God's word it suggests such a thing?


To this day, Orthodox Christians (and those non-Orthodox who believe in her intercession) continue to pray to the Mother of God in this light. We assume that she will approach the King on our behalf.
You assume an awful lot. Where does scripture tell you that she will do this?
Quote
Now, many Protestants will say "We don't need to go through anyone; we can speak to God directly."
And why do we say this? Because that is what God's word tells us to do.
Quote
Well, of course we can, and we should. But I doubt that that same person NEVER asked a friend to say a prayer for or with him. We ask our friends to pray for and with us, not because we feel that we can't approach God directly, but because we are a family in Christ, and the more the merrier. We care about each other, and approach God on behalf of those we love all the time. Why limit that care and assistance to those living on this earth now?

But we do not pray to that friend. Both the friend and myself pray directly to God. This is scriptural. What is not scriptural is to ask the dead to pray for us.

Quote
Revelation tells us that the prayers of the saints rise like incense before God.
Quite so - the saints are all those who accept Christ. So if you have accepted Christ then your prayers do this. Nowhere in scripture does it suggest that those who have died pray for us. Nor are we to ask them to do so. Are they God that they can hear us?
Quote
If we ask those we know here to pray for us, how should we refrain from asking those who are in the presence of God?
Because God does not sanction this.
Quote
James 5 says the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Who is more righteous than the Mother of God?
There is only one who is righteous enough and that is Christ. You can boldly approach the throne of God if, and only if, you stand clothed in his righteousness.

Quote
You see, Rachel, this and your subsequent questions such as praying for the dead can be answered from scripture. Praying for the dead, praying to saints or the Mother of God for their intercession, it's all biblical.
Then please cite where.
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« Reply #173 on: May 26, 2013, 12:48:25 PM »

Quote
Now lets compare these two models.

A: Through Christ we have boldness before God.

B: Through Mary we have boldness before God.

...Is this not problematic? Could it not be argued that because there is this idea that we need Mary to usher us into the presences of her Son, we're making Christ's own empathy for us out to be insufficient? Is it possible that His Divinity is being emphasized in such a way that it marginalizes the importance of His humanity, thus leaving us in a situation where we feel we need an extra mediator to bring us before Him in boldness? What is the resolution?

It is only problematic if one has to choose between the two. Orthodoxy does not teach this.
The difference is that the one is scriptural and the other isn't.



Nonsense. The prayer of a righteous man availeth much, as St James writes in his epistle. And who are the most righteous? The saints, and the Mother of God, who are alive in Christ.
Who do you think is righteous enough?
The answer is no-one. Not the apostles, not Mary. We can stand before God clothed only in Christ's righteousness that he purchased for us at Calvary. We are told that our righteousness is as filthy rags.

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« Reply #174 on: May 26, 2013, 12:53:31 PM »

Why would the apostles write down that the prayer of a righteous man avails much when such a thing doesn't even exist?
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« Reply #175 on: May 26, 2013, 12:58:38 PM »

, since the ever-virginity of Mary is the only Marian dogma we have (along with her being Theotokos).
Please provide biblical reference for this.
Quote
Yet, along with the title Theotokos, her ever-virginity is ultimately Christological, for it confirms this: she is the Ark of the New Covenant that could not be touched. She is exalted because she carried the salvation of the world.
Christ himself is the Ark of the New Covenant.

Again, gladly:

On the ever-virginity of the Mother of God, and this list is not exhaustive:

Ezekiel 43:27-44:4, which is one of the appointed OT readings for Vespers for the feasts of the Mother of God:  

And when they have completed these days, then from the eighth day onward the priests shall offer upon the altar your burnt offerings and your peace offerings; and I will accept you, said the Lord God. Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, which faces east; and it was shut. And he said to me: This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it; for the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut. Only the prince may sit in it to eat bread before the Lord; he shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gate, and shall go out by the same way. Then he brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple; and I looked, and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple of the Lord; and I fell upon my face.

Psalm 67:

The mountain of God is a fertile mountain, a bedewed mountain, a fertile mountain; why gaze you with envy, O bedewed mountains? for this is the mountain in which God has deigned to dwell
.

Song of Solomon:

The garden is enclosed -- O My sister, My bride, -- the fountainhead is sealed, -- the fountainhead of the garden and the well-spring of living water.

Your garden is enclosed, O Virgin Mother, and your fountainhead is sealed by the Spirit of God, thus did the most-wise one sing in his songs.

On her being the Ark of the Covenant:

I have written about this in posts connected with the iconography of St Joseph the Betrothed. I'll add that the ark of the OT contained the tablets of the Law handed down to Moses by God, as well as several other items, such as Aaron's rod which budded, and the jar of manna, priceless in their holiness. The ark was so sacred that to touch it could result in death:

Samuel 6:6-7: And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God.

The tablets of the Law were, to use your parlance, Rachel, the word of God, and the ark its protective enclosure. These prefigurations are fulfilled with utmost clarity: the true Word of God, Jesus Christ, incarnate in the womb of the Virgin. The ark imagery, of course, also speaks of the ever-virginity, purity and supreme among mortals holiness of the Mother of God.
None of the above suggests that Mary is the Ark of the covenant.
 I suggest you read Hebrews chapter 9

Hebrews 9
The Earthly Sanctuary

9 Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary.  2 For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary;  3 and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All,  4 which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant;  5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

Limitations of the Earthly Service

6 Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services.  7 But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance;  8 the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing.  9 It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience—  10 concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation.

The Heavenly Sanctuary

11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come,[a] with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.  12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.  13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,  14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?  15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

The Mediator’s Death Necessary

16 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.  17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.  18 Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood.  19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,  20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.”  21 Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry.  22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

Greatness of Christ’s Sacrifice

23 Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.  24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;  25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another—  26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.  27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,  28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
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« Reply #176 on: May 26, 2013, 01:07:35 PM »

God will not share his glory with another.

Praising you or anyone else but God is a dangerous thing, then?
Well God says:
Isaiah 42:8
I am the Lord, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images
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« Reply #177 on: May 26, 2013, 01:08:51 PM »

Why would the apostles write down that the prayer of a righteous man avails much when such a thing doesn't even exist?
It does exist. We stand in Christ's righteousness.
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« Reply #178 on: May 26, 2013, 01:10:54 PM »

Quote
Now lets compare these two models.

A: Through Christ we have boldness before God.

B: Through Mary we have boldness before God.

...Is this not problematic? Could it not be argued that because there is this idea that we need Mary to usher us into the presences of her Son, we're making Christ's own empathy for us out to be insufficient? Is it possible that His Divinity is being emphasized in such a way that it marginalizes the importance of His humanity, thus leaving us in a situation where we feel we need an extra mediator to bring us before Him in boldness? What is the resolution?

It is only problematic if one has to choose between the two. Orthodoxy does not teach this.
The difference is that the one is scriptural and the other isn't.



Nonsense. The prayer of a righteous man availeth much, as St James writes in his epistle. And who are the most righteous? The saints, and the Mother of God, who are alive in Christ.
Who do you think is righteous enough?
The answer is no-one. Not the apostles, not Mary. We can stand before God clothed only in Christ's righteousness that he purchased for us at Calvary. We are told that our righteousness is as filthy rags.



Christ instituted the Holy Mystery of Baptism whereby we are born again and clothed in righteousness. To believe that our righteousness is now nothing but a bunch of menstrual rags is heresy now that we have been redeemed, born again, and clothed in righteousness.

The Holy Mystery of Chrismation fills us with the Holy Spirit and illuminates us so that we can be victorious over the devil and strive toward theosis. Holy Communion unites us with Christ where we become one with Christ.

You have been spouting the insidious heresy of Calvinism, which does not believe that man can be redeemed. If man cannot be redeemed through Holy Baptism, Holy Chrismation and Holy Communion, then why did Christ die for us?
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« Reply #179 on: May 26, 2013, 01:12:52 PM »

And yet the Gospels don't instruct us to sing hymns of praise, glorify and extol her, or any such thing.
That's because we're not supposed to do such a thing. It is idolatry. God will not share his glory with another.

Is your Bible missing the Gospel of Luke?

'My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me
, and holy is his Name.'
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