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TruthSeeker
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« on: May 20, 2005, 02:28:31 AM »

Does orthodoxy teach that Mary was sinless?

Does orthodoxy teach that Mary remained a virgin after the birth of Jesus?

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« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2005, 04:24:05 AM »

Yes
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« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2005, 08:15:21 AM »

"Does orthodoxy teach that Mary was sinless?"

Whoa.  I think we need to get behind what you mean by that question.  Are you referring to the RC doctrine of Immaculate Conception of Mary?
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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2005, 10:17:17 AM »

No ...I know that the orthodox do not believe in the immaculate conception because you, like I, believe that all are born sinless.

What I meant was.....does orthodoxy teach that she never sinned in her life.

If she never sinned then she was the only person in history to accomplish this and would have not needed a saviour. I am not saying that this is wrong. God could have decided that Mary would remain sinless...

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« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2005, 10:24:15 AM »

What I meant was.....does orthodoxy teach that she never sinned in her life.

There are differing opinions on this. I don't believe an "Orthodox dogma" on this has been agreed upon. Personally I believe that she did sin.
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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2005, 10:31:02 AM »

One other thing.......the orthodox believe that Mary actually died, unlike the Catholics who believe she was taken up into heaven without seeing death.

If a person did not sin then they would not die. So although I do not believe the Catholic view I do think they have their equation correct.

Surely she must has sinned in order to taste death.




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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2005, 10:34:57 AM »

If a person did not sin then they would not die.

Nah; Her "fallen" body was still mortal. Death in the biblical context refers to the spiritual, not corporeal.
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« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2005, 10:37:40 AM »

One other thing.......the orthodox believe that Mary actually died, unlike the Catholics who believe she was taken up into heaven without seeing death.

If a person did not sin then they would not die. So although I do not believe the Catholic view I do think they have their equation correct.

Surely she must has sinned in order to taste death.






I think you're confused about the difference between personal sin and the mortality of man caused by Adam's sin. And why wouldn't she need a saviour if she didn't sin? It seems you don't understand the idea of Christ's Incarnation divinising human nature.

James
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« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2005, 10:52:19 AM »

That's right on all accounts.

She had 1) a body with a fallen nature and 2) needed Christ for theosis.

What she did or didn't do won't affect either of these issues.
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« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2005, 12:04:58 PM »

I can see how she could have died without sinning by having a corrupted mortal body  .....BUT..... although personally I don't think her body would be mortal if she never sinned.




If she was sinless then how would she need a saviour?

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Rom 3:23

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« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2005, 12:42:30 PM »

Quote
If she was sinless then how would she need a saviour?

the understanding i have gleaned, and i think has come up in discussions here in the past, is that she was sinless only (ha, "only" is an understatement) in that she had the opportunity and ability to sin at any and every given moment of her life - but chose not to (using free will). in this way, she is all pure and sinless, but certainly in need of a savior just like the rest of us...but God saw this girl and said to Himself, "This is the only vessel by which I can become man" precisely because she was sinless... if that makes any sense Smiley

i am open to correction as well.
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« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2005, 12:44:55 PM »

I can see how she could have died without sinning by having a corrupted mortal body .....BUT..... although personally I don't think her body would be mortal if she never sinned. If she was sinless then how would she need a saviour?
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Rom 3:23

This is specious reasoning on two counts.
Firstly, sin is not a "natural" part of being mortal and having a mortal body. Sin is quite contrary and alien to the nature of mankind.
Secondly, the Theotokos did not need a Saviour necessarily because she committed voluntary sin. She needed a Saviour because, like all of us, she had inherited the results of the Ancestral Sin and was born under the conditions of the Fall. By virtue of this, she (like all of us) had "fallen short of the Glory of God". And yet, even the Angel of the Lord greets her before her Saviour was even conceived with the words: ""Rejoice, highly favoured one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!"
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« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2005, 01:13:48 PM »

According to St.Paul, we're born "children of wrath."  While there is certainly an ontological reality behind such "legal"/judicial language, the statement obviously stands.  I think too often people are trying to articulate the Orthodox stand on this topic (and on many others) in contrast to something else.  Well, that's no way to live - in comparison/contrast to others.

People most certainly are born into sin.  They are not what they are supposed to be - they're in a contra-natural state (via natural generation/birth) in which they're pre-disposed to keep on sinning, and it's a state which is not pleasing to God.  Christ reconciles men to God in "two directions" - by raising to God a sinless humanity, and offering His obedience as a man, even unto death - and by making possible the divization of human nature in the fullest degree, and making me members of Himself.  The word "sin" itself refers to "missing the mark" in the Biblical Greek language.  So obviously, being born graceless and in rebellion (goodness having to be added on later, in particular the grace of the second birth, in Holy Baptism), one is in sin.

Yes, obviously this is different than personal guilt - but then again, I'm not quite sure just who teaches that infants are born with this type of "guilt", so to speak.  Very often I hear people saying this is the papist teaching, but I can say quite certainly it is not.  Thus, I'm somewhat at a loss...perhaps this caricture of things is taught by some Protestant groups, as it does smack of the coldness of Calvinism.  Or perhaps it's a perception based on popular piety, which I find in the west (such as in Roman Catholicism) often does embody a lot of the cliches which Orthodox Christians believe/sense are true of western heterodoxy, Roman Catholicism in particular.

As for the Mother of God, Orthodox do not believe She was conceived "immaculatly", precisely because it's not true.  It's not because on this point Orthodoxy has some completely weird, esoteric, mystifying teaching on this topic that is radically different than that offered by Papism - Orthodoxy simply doesn't accept the idea.  Our Lady was born mortal, and fallen just like everyone else.  That She never sinned (certainly not grievously), and that Hers was a life of providence from the earliest stages, is quite different than insisting that She is somehow just shy of Christ in Her make-up as a human being.

A big problem with the "Immaculate Conception" (I.C.) position, is that it basically requires one of two completly unacceptable possibilities...

1) the Mother of God never died (which the Church's Tradition makes abundantly clear did in fact happen - that this just kind of got forgotten by the Latins, is only evidence of their lack of catholicity and shortness of memory on many important topics)..

2) the Mother of God did die, but this was a choice of Her own, much like Christ Himself (which smacks of the "co-redemptrix" heresy, also popular, understandably, in Papism.)

Christ was free from sin.  He was free from original/ancestral sin.  That He died, that He even experienced the non-blameworthy passions and could taste the bitterness of sufferings (which are not experienced by even the Saints when they're in the state of theoria) is the result not of His simply becoming Incarnate, but rather by His decision - He humbled Himself, not in simply becoming a man, but in becoming a man of great meekness and suffering.  This is the kenosis spoken of by St.Paul.

The I.C. "dogma", if it recognizes that the Mother of God did in fact die, requires one to believe She somehow "submitted" to death, in parallel to Christ.  This is simply wackiness, and completely out of the blue.

Unfortunately, many Roman Catholics are sorely misled (mainly by their apologists), because the term "immaculate" does appear for the Mother of God in many Orthodox prayers.  Of course, what is left out is that being "immaculate" (by ascesis and grace, culminating in the great grace of becoming the true Mother of God) does not equal "immaculatly conceived" or anything like this.

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« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2005, 01:18:45 PM »

I have enjoyed your replies.....

BUT...... is it theologically correct in orthodoxy to say that Mary never sinned. Is there a definate answer in orthodoxy on this subject.

Can anyone back up TomS comment that there is differing opinions in orthodoxy on this subject.



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« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2005, 01:52:31 PM »

I have enjoyed your replies.....
BUT...... is it theologically correct in orthodoxy to say that Mary never sinned. Is there a definate answer in orthodoxy on this subject.
Can anyone back up TomS comment that there is differing opinions in orthodoxy on this subject.

One reason I hesitate to answer you is because I think you are using a Catholic/Protestant judicial understanding of "sin". Another reasonis that when people ask for a "definate" (sic) answer, what they want is a "yes" or "no", but often, without explanation, this is very open to misunderstanding.
The word "sin" in the original New Testament Koine is "Armatia"- which means, "to miss the mark", in the way that an archer misses the target. The best sense of this is given by the quote you made from Romans: namely, that "all have fallen short". This may be difficult for you to accept, but Orthodoxy, while it recognises the existence of the Ancestral Sin and it's consequences, it does not believe that there is a culpability attached to it. In other words, while I have inherited the sin of Adam and Eve, I am not culpable (at personal fault). In this sense, the Theotokos did "sin" by inheriting the consequences of the Fall, but she is not culpable, not guilty of sin.
In our Liturgical prayers, we call the Theotokos "Spotless", "Immaculate", "Sinless", "Pure". She is the "Purest of creatures that ever lived". No creature is purer than she, AND YET, at every Divine Liturgy, in every Eucharist when the Priest cuts particles of the Prosforo (Bread of Offering) in memory of the Living and the Dead, he also cuts a piece for the Theotokos. She is one of us. She was not saved "under her own steam", but like us, she was saved by Christ's Sacrifice which we proclaim and perform in a bloodless manner at every Eucharist.
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« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2005, 03:05:54 PM »

I agree with ozgeorge - the Panagia was without sin - but not free of ancestral sin. I think that the Orthodox teaching is that at the moment of CHRIST'S conception, when the Panagia said to Archangel Gabriel 'Behold the handmaiden of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.' (Luke 1:38), she was cleansed of Original Sin.

I think, though I may be wrong, the problem with Protestant teaching and this understanding of the Virgin Mary has to do with the Protestant understanding of sin. In orthodoxy, Original sin is not man's sinful nature (this is personal sin), original sin is the guilt of Adam. Mankind fell - the whole of Nature fell when Eve succumbed to the temptation. Unfortunately, we are not created perfect (we are created spotless - free from personal sin), we all contain Adam's flaw - and that flaw is found in death. Original Sin is death. The Virgin Mary, like us all, was cursed to die. Although sinless in and of herself, her 'physical' nature was still fallen. She still needed the promise of the Resurrection. She needed a Saviour, because she would die.

But she was sinless. Of that, there is no doubt in my mind. And she definitely remained a Virgin. How could God allow a man to enter where Christ dwelt? She is the Living Temple of the Word, and that Temple was never profaned. Blessed is she!
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« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2005, 04:43:07 PM »

Why do people think that Catholics deny that our Lady died? The relevant document MUNIFICENTISSIMUS DEUS (http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/P12MUNIF.HTM) makes no such denial, far from it~

Now God has willed that the Blessed Virgin Mary should be exempted from this general rule. She, by an entirely unique privilege, completely overcame sin by her Immaculate Conception, and as a result she was not subject to the law of remaining in the corruption of the grave, and she did not have to wait until the end of time for the redemption of her body....

 Christ's faithful, through the teaching and the leadership of their pastors, have learned from the sacred books that the Virgin Mary, throughout the course of her earthly pilgrimage, led a life troubled by cares, hardships, and sorrows, and that, moreover, what the holy old man Simeon had foretold actually came to pass, that is, that a terribly sharp sword pierced her heart as she stood under the cross of her divine Son, our Redeemer. In the same way, it was not difficult for them to admit that the great Mother of God, like her only begotten Son, had actually passed from this life. But this in no way prevented them from believing and from professing openly that her sacred body had never been subject to the corruption of the tomb, and that the august tabernacle of the Divine Word had never been reduced to dust and ashes..

. In the liturgical books which deal with the feast either of the dormition or of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin there are expressions that agree in testifying that, when the Virgin Mother of God passed from this earthly exile to heaven, what happened to her sacred body was, by the decree of divine Providence, in keeping with the dignity of the Mother of the Word Incarnate, and with the other privileges she had been accorded. Thus, to cite an illustrious example, this is set forth in that sacramentary which Adrian I, our predecessor of immortal memory, sent to the Emperor Charlemagne. These words are found in this volume: "Venerable to us, O Lord, is the festivity of this day on which the holy Mother of God suffered temporal death, but still could not be kept down by the bonds of death, who has begotten your Son our Lord incarnate from herself."..

Thus St. John Damascene, an outstanding herald of this traditional truth, spoke out with powerful eloquence when he compared the bodily Assumption of the loving Mother of God with her other prerogatives and privileges. "It was fitting that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death...

 In like manner St. Francis of Sales, after asserting that it is wrong to doubt that Jesus Christ has himself observed, in the most perfect way, the divine commandment by which children are ordered to honor their parents, asks this question: "What son would not bring his mother back to life and would not bring her into paradise after her death if he could?" And St. Alphonsus writes that "Jesus did not wish to have the body of Mary corrupted after death, since it would have redounded to his own dishonor to have her virginal flesh, from which he himself had assumed flesh, reduced to dust."
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« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2005, 04:00:16 AM »

Why do people think that Catholics deny that our Lady died?

Well, from my own point of view, it's because when I've discussed the Immaculate Conception with RCs and pointed out that if she was truly free of all taint of Adam's sin then she must have been immortal (which is clearly not the case), I've received the answer that, 'That's correct, she didn't die but was assumed bodily into Heaven'.

Now, if this is not official teaching in the Roman Catholic church then it is certainly a very common (and wrongheaded) belief. It wouldn't surprise me if it's not, though, as I've found that very many lay RCs I've spoken to seem to believe things that other more educated RCs have shown me are contradictions of the catechism. It often makes me wonder just what RCs are taught.

Of course, given that the RC ecclesial model seems to phrase unity as 'submission to the Pope' rather than as 'unity of faith' I don't suppose this is too surprising. I've never met a lay RC that didn't believe in Papal supremacy but the number of other weird and contradictory beliefs I've come across beggar belief. I know that some Orthodox laiety have similarly unorthodox beliefs, but I have never seen this phenomenon expressed to the same degree. More often it's just mild ignorance.

James
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« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2009, 07:40:11 AM »

One other thing.......the orthodox believe that Mary actually died, unlike the Catholics who believe she was taken up into heaven without seeing death.





Glory to Jesus Christ

Catholics are divided  on this the dogmatic documents of the assumption do not say weather she was alive or dead when assumed into heaven. many believe she was not yet some like myself believe what the orthodox do that she died and was burried yet I can see why some believe she didn't die because death is a concequence of Original sin so if Mary was born without original sind did she need to die and my answer to this is yes so that her assumption would give us hope in the ressurection.

In Jesus and Mary
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« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2009, 04:07:45 AM »

I don't know anything about the Theotokos but this thread surely did die...  Tongue Grin
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