I've been at work all day, and I haven't read all the responses but, Montalban:
The Catholic church is free to interpret the Virgin Mary's words as it pleases. Does that mean just because the Catholic church says it and just because this apparition occured in a Catholic country, then the words of the Theotokos are to be interpreted in a Catholic way?
Of course Catholics are free to interpret the appearence of this spectre (because it's not Mary) anyway they want. And I'm free to point out that
i) in the Orthodox context, the visitations are suspect
a)RCC has to invent a new category to explain why she visited kids "gratiae gratis datae" )http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/marian_apparitions.aspx
b) they gave false predictions (such as when the war would end)
ii) they should serve as a wake-up call to Orthodox who believe Catholics simply want to 'restore' the Catholic Church in Russia.
Not necessarily. The websites you quoted were Catholic sources so of course they will say that virgin Mary mean that Russia should become Catholic. In our point of view, perhaps the Panagia was really referring to the fall of communism being replaced by freedom of (Orthodox and truly "catholic") worship?
You seem to have partly understood those web-sites. Yes, they seek Russia to become Catholic. What you've missed is that this is a continual mission DESPITE the fall of Communism. The 'defence of the Church against godless Communism' was an excuse that they can't continue to use. It's like taking the cause bellum away, and one side still wants to fight.
As for the sacred heart, it may not be as popular in the East, but neither is devotion to the "Protection of the Mother of God" or the Veil of the Theotokos in the West. I would think that the Virgin Mary has chosen different ways in which to show herself to the West versus the East, in the manner in which each society woudl understand and accept her message. Please do not refute me by saying that "then in that case, people in India have had apparitions of the BVM because she is one of the many forms of Vishnu." Thats complete bs.
You've correctly argued against yourself, by showing the exact type of relativist argument that can be used vis a vie the Hindus. Let's expand this and say Jesus decided to 'appear' anyway He wished to the Hopi Indians, the Australian Aborigines and the Ainu of Japan.
You either believe that the Orthodox Church ios
the Church or not. If you think Jesus established one church and then undermined his own words by popping up all over the world in different manifestations (and He'd be more likely to, than Mary), then that's up to you.
As to what Orthodox believe...
Speaking for the "fanatics," certainly no traditionalist Orthodox believer has ever disputed the fact that the Roman Catholic Church professes to be Christian. We simply believe that it has an errant Trinitarian doctrine, an un-Orthodox Christology (e.g., the theology of the "Sacred Heart"), an incorrect Mariology, and a faulty ecclesiology. We believe that it is separated from our Church, has lost Grace, and is outside the sphere of Orthodoxy, the only place where "Sister Churches" can possibly exist. Since Roman Catholics are without the Grace of Orthodoxy, not only their baptisms, but all of their sacraments are invalid within the Orthodox Church. It is for this reason, and not for "pastoral considerations," that the Great Church has consistently received Roman Catholics into Orthodoxy by Baptism. Political ecumenism, not the correction of its errors by Rome, and this divisive lie alone, accounts for any change in the current practices of the ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢cumenical Patriarchate.http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/maximos_reply.aspx
And saying it's not 'popular' in the east is an unders-statement.
Also in Orthodoxy, Virgin Mary is often likened to the " mystical lamp stand" "the fiery throne" "the fiery bush" such a metaphor such as "sacred heart."
Maybe you need to brush up on what a Metaphor is.
If I say "Mary is like a mystical lamp stand" that is a figure of speech. If I say that prayers should be committed to Mary's big toe, then that's a command to dedicate prayers to a part of Mary; not what Mary represents - and if you can find Orthodox praying to a 'mystical lamp stand' let me know some citations.
I hope you don't want to argue that the "Body and Blood of Christ" in the Eucharist is a metaphor.