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Author Topic: Apparition of the Theotokos in Zeitoun  (Read 3452 times) Average Rating: 0
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EkhristosAnesti
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Pope St Kyrillos VI


« on: April 01, 2006, 09:47:47 AM »

From the Synaxarium:

On the eve of this day of the year 1684 A.M. which coincides with Tuesday the 2nd. of April 1968 A.D., during the papacy of Pope Kyrillos VI, the one hundred and sixteenth Pope of Alexandria, our Lady and the pride of our faith started to transfigure in luminous spiritual forms in and around the domes of the church dedicated to her Immaculate name in Zeiton, a suburb of Cairo.

This transfiguration continued in the following nights in a manner that had never been known in the East or the West. This transfiguration in some nights was as long as many hours, without stop, in front of tens of thousands of people from every race and religion, with every one seeing her, pointing at her and requesting her intecessions with songs, hymns, tears, and prayers and She looking at them compassionately, raising her hand at times to bless them in all directions.

The first one to notice this transfiguration was a workman at the garage of the Public Transit System which was across the street from the church. The watchman Abdel-Aziz Aly, who was in charge of guarding the garage at that night, saw a luminous body over the dome of the church. He started shouting: "There's a light over the dome!" and he called the other workers in the garage. They all came and saw the bright light over the large dome of the church. When they looked closely, they saw a young lady in white, kneeling by the cross at the top of the dome. Because the dome had a round, smooth, and very sloping surface, it held the men as though they were nailed in their places watching the fate of the lady. Few seconds passed then they saw the kneeling lady as she stood over the dome. They gave out a cry of fear that she might fall down. They thought she was a girl in despair trying to commit suicide and they cried warning that person not to jump down and some of them called the police. The pedestrians, men and women started to gather around. The view of the lady was getting more clear and she appeared as a beautiful girl in a bright gown of light and had branches of olive tree in her hand, and around her flew white doves. Then they realized that they were seeing a heavenly spiritual view. They directed flood light to the luminous picture to remove all doubt from their minds, but instead it became more clear and bright. They cut the electricity off all the area but the lady remained in her heavenly illumination and her bright gown of light became more clear. She started moving around in a circle of light radiating from her body to all the directions around her. All the people then realized that this lady in front of them, without no doubt is the Virgin Mary. They started to shout and cry saying: "She is the Virgin ...She is the Mother of Light ... " They prayed with songs, hymns and hails all the night until the next morning.

Since that night the pure Virgin had transfigured in different spiritual views in front of thousands and ten of thousands of masses, Egyptian and foreigners, Christians and non-christians, men, women and children. Spiritual beings formed like doves would appear before, during and after the transfiguration zooming through the sky in a way raising the human from a materialistic to a heavenly atmosphere.

This transfiguration was in different forms. One of the most significant ways this apparition took place was that; the head of St. Mary under the vail looking down as in the picture of the sad Virgin and she was looking toward the Cross and that view would stay like this at times or slowly bow before the Cross at other times. The Cross itself will shine and illuminate although it was made of concrete. And some times an angel would appear standing behind her spreading his wings. That view might stay as long as many hours.

Another view was the view of the Mother of Light standing as a great Queen in a beautiful spiritual portrait radiating dignity, elegance and beauty. On her head was a crown of a queen as if it were made of diamonds and some times there appeared on the top of the crown a small luminous cross. And some times she appeared in the same way but carrying Christ, to Him is the Glory, in the form of a child on her hand and on His head a crown. And on other times she raised her both hands as She was blessing the world moving to the right, to the front, and to the left in a dignified way.

Many spiritual signs appeared before, during, and after the apparition of the Virgin the mother of the Lord's transfiguration. The appearance of tongues of yellowish flame would flash over the church and then subside and that repeated several times. Another form of the signs were the spiritual beings formed like doves, larger than the doves that we know, appear about midnight or after, flying in the middle of darkness illuminating in a fast speed, appeared suddenly from no where, and also disappeared suddenly. These spiritual beings appeared in different formations and in varying numbers. A fact we should be aware of that pigeons do not fly during the night. Another sign was the shooting stars which were constantly falling and were seen very close to the apparition on many occasions as if coming down to glorify her from heaven. Another sign was the fragrance of incense. The smoke of the incense poured out of the domes in large quantities. Substance resembling clouds, thick fog or smoke would roll in toward the church and completely cover the church.

Also the illuminated cloud that appeared over the domes of the church in large volume and often proceeded the transfiguration of the Virgin or at times the cloud slowly formed in the shape of the virgin. Sometimes the apparition of the Virgin would appear from the clouds.

This transfiguration and all the spiritual signs were a forerunner and announcement for serious or important events to come in the near and far future. Or it might be a spiritual gesture from heaven to indicate the Lord's caring for His church and His people and our country.

May the mercy of God be upon us all. May the Lord keep His people and church in peace, with the intercession of Our Lady and the pride of our race the pure Virgin St. Mary. Amen.
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EkhristosAnesti
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Pope St Kyrillos VI


« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2006, 09:48:49 AM »

By Rev. Father Boutros Gayed
N.B.: Rev. Father Boutros Gayed, the late rector of the Virgin Mary Church at Zeitoun is the brother (in flesh) of H. H. Pope Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark. Father Boutros Gayed left our vanishing world on Saturday 20 July, 1996.

Exclusive: RealVideo clips on the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Zeitoun, Egypt (1968-1971) + Clip 1 (5 min - 20Kbps/Arabic) + Clip 1 in English (5 min - 34Kbps) + Clip 2 (2 min - 20Kbps) - Require RealPlayer G2 or later

The Apparitions Of Virgin Mary At Zeitoun Church, Egypt: Foreword

The Apparitions Of Virgin Mary At Zeitoun Church, Egypt: The Papal Delegation

The Virgin Mary's Church At El-Zeitoun

Inside The Virgin Mary's Church At El-Zeitoun

An Outline Of The History Of Virgin Mary * The Holy Family's Journey To Egypt

Why Has The Virgin Made Her Apparition? And Why At El-Zeitoun?

The Church And The Consideration Of Mary As Blessed

Symbols That Stand For Virgin Mary In The Old Testament * The Virgin's Picture

How The Virgin Made Her Apparition At El-Zeitoun

Unusual Phenomena Taking Place At The Time Of The Apparition

Miracles Performed By Virgin Mary In The Remote Past

The Miracles Of The Virgin's Apparition At Zeitoun (Part 1)

The Miracles Of The Virgin's Apparition At Zeitoun (Part 2)

Newspaper Scraps On The Apparition Of The Virgin Mary At Zeitoun, Egypt

The New Cathedral Of The Virgin Mary At Zeitoun * Zeitoun Church Activities ÂÂ
« Last Edit: April 01, 2006, 09:53:03 AM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

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Pope St Kyrillos VI


« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2006, 09:49:48 AM »

Exclusive: RealVideo clips on the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Zeitoun, Egypt (1968-1971) + Clip 1 (5 min - 20Kbps/Arabic) + Clip 1 in English (5 min - 34Kbps) + Clip 2 (2 min - 20Kbps) - Require RealPlayer G2 or later

The Apparitions of the Blessed Holy Virgin Mary to Millions in the Coptic Orthodox Church Named after Her, in Zeitoun, Cairo, Egypt (1968-1970)

What Did the Millions See at Virgin Mary Coptic Orthodox Church in Zeitoun, Cairo, Egypt (1968-1970)?

Mr. Wagih Rizk Collection of Photos of the Zeitoun Apparitions of Virgin Mary and the Story of the Great Miracle the Virgin Did to Him

Scraps and Photos from Arabic Newspapers on the Apparitions of Virgin Mary at Zeitoun, Egypt (Translated to English)

More Scraps and Photos from Arabic Newspapers on the Apparitions of Virgin Mary at Zeitoun, Egypt (in Arabic; PDF: 75 pages - 5.09 MB - right-click to save)

Scraps and Photos from English and French Newspapers on the Apparitions of Virgin Mary at Zeitoun, Egypt

More Scraps and Photos on the Apparitions of Virgin Mary at Zeitoun, Egypt (1968)

The Apparitions of the Blessed Holy Virgin Mary in the Church of Saint Demiana the Martyr, in Papadouplo, Shoubra, Cairo, Egypt (1986-1991)

Prayers to the Blessed Holy Virgin Saint Mary, Mother of God, from the Coptic Orthodox Agpeya (Book of Hours)

The Apparitions of Virgin Mary at Zeitoun Church, Egypt: An Account by the Late Rev. Father Boutros Gayed

Online Book: When Millions Saw Mary - Zeitoun (1968-1971) by Francis Johnston

Online Book: Our Lord's Mother Visits Egypt in 1968 & 1969 by Pearl Zaki

Zeitun and Papadouplo 2003 Photo Album: A photographic tour of Zeitun and Papadouplo Churches today (2003),
plus scanned newspaper scraps and testimonies in English and Arabic - 70 high-resolution slides for Microsoft® Windows® 98/Me/2000/XP (Arabic version not necessary) - 6.37 MB

A place of pilgrimage: Report on the restoration work carried out recently (in 2000) on Virgin Mary Coptic Orthodox church of the apparitions in Zeitun - By Rehab Saad (Al-Ahram Weekly, 28 June - 4 July 2001, Issue No.540)

The Apparitions of Virgin Mary in Edfu, Egypt

The Apparitions of Virgin Mary in Shentena El-Hagar, Egypt (August/September 1997)

August/September 2000: Our Lady Appears in Assiut, Egypt

Spiritual Phenomena at Gabal Dronka, Assiut (August 2001)

Holy Virgin Mary Miracles in Egypt (By Fr. Youanes Kamal - Arabic mp3 audio, 1 hr: 8 min: 32 sec - right-click to save, 7.84 MB)
« Last Edit: April 01, 2006, 09:54:11 AM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2006, 09:52:03 AM »

[Online Book: When Millions Saw Mary by F. Johnston]

[Online Book: Our Lord's Mother Visits Egypt in 1968 & 1969 by Pearl Zaki]

[Zeitun and Papadouplo 2003 Photo Album]
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« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2006, 12:42:59 PM »

Why can't our intercessions to ask for her to come here to the US to appear like in Zeitoun and she would appear to the unbelieving and agnostic. Or is our country a disgusting brothel that her purity would never touch? Was Zeitoun a much humbler town for her to come?
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« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2006, 10:28:33 PM »

I’d say she appears more subtly, in your freedom to worship her Son in peace and without fear, in the education that you properly receive etc. etc. all such things which the majority of your brothers and sisters in Egypt are deprived of.
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« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2006, 06:22:49 PM »

I would also say the will of God must be at hand.  Sometimes people, like those in the History Channel skeptics, have found ways of explaining apparitions as if they weren't really apparitions.  One of the things a certain skeptic "refuted" was Zeitoun, which he explained as some sort of spontaneous horizantal lightnings that can appear for many minutes at times.

What does this prove?  Well, Christ gives us a story about a rich man who went to Hades and saw in heaven Lazurus in the bosom of Father Abraham.  When requesting that Lazarus may appear to the ignorant, Abraham simply exposed that they will never believe.

So, whatever God may will, we must always be thankful.

God bless.
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« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2006, 07:07:59 PM »

Mina

But what of the about Lourdes?  The miracles taking place there, as well as the first miracle (Bernedette seeing Mary, and eventually digging a well) seem to be quite true.  Yet, Orthodox Christians try to explain this away with "oh, the miracle can't be true, since 'immaculate conception' wasn't taught since the earliest times."  Yet, what of these miracles.  On top of this, what of the stigmata.  I will admit there have been cases of fraud, but reading the lives of modern stigmatics (most famous, Padre Pio) I wonder why Orthodox deny these miracles, yet automatically accept something such as Zeitun.  Sorry, just blabbling...
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« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2006, 08:31:04 PM »

Hi, remember that Satan can appear as an angel of light.  There's much to read about discernment, but specific to this topic this book by Heg. Fr. Athanasius Iskander is good:

http://www.stmarycoptorthodox.org/intor-abomination_of_desolation-introduction.htm

http://www.stmarycoptorthodox.org/5-antitheotoks.htm

Mina

But what of the about Lourdes?  The miracles taking place there, as well as the first miracle (Bernedette seeing Mary, and eventually digging a well) seem to be quite true.  Yet, Orthodox Christians try to explain this away with "oh, the miracle can't be true, since 'immaculate conception' wasn't taught since the earliest times."  Yet, what of these miracles.  On top of this, what of the stigmata.  I will admit there have been cases of fraud, but reading the lives of modern stigmatics (most famous, Padre Pio) I wonder why Orthodox deny these miracles, yet automatically accept something such as Zeitun.  Sorry, just blabbling...
shawn
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« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2006, 09:15:25 PM »

Well,

I am not anyone to say that the Apparitions to the Catholics were false or not.  Maybe other Orthodox have, such as the ones on orthodoxinfo.com, who did indeed say the Zeitoun apparitions on the Coptic Church were that of Satan or comparable to the UFO sitings.  Perhaps, it is these Orthodox who are saying such, but I never really heard a Coptic bishop (or OO bishop for that matter) that denounced miracles/apparitions in the RC Church.  They only encourage discernment and the keeping of the faith.

I haven't read anything on the story of Lourdes.  All I did hear is St. Mary saying "I am the immaculate conception."  Did the Theotokos define what she meant by it?  Can it be interpreted into a contemplative expression rather than a dogmatic/heretical expression?  Perhaps, it was a true vision with a misinterpretation.

I've always wondered to myself where the dogma of Marian immaculate conception have originated from?  
Could the dogma have been developing earlier than Lourdes?  These are questions that I personally encounter for myself.

One thing I can add about the Zeitoun miracles is that I believe it, although it is not necessary to believe it to be Orthodox.  But I see it believable because of the media proof, visual (pictures posted here) and audio testimonies (many of my own uncles have seen it).  It was also at a time of a blessed and saintly Pope, Pope Kyrillos, who took the precautions not to believe it before he officially considered it genuine.  In addition to this, after much testing by local government to cut electricity, and the pressure to search every house and apartment rigourously and putting people to prisons, the Islamic President Gamal abd el Nasser also verified the miracle as genuine.

Now, a GOOD question from a man of faith is what is the point of the apparition?  This I have always asked.  To me, the "faith strengthener" argument is something I'm not buying, since my faith is not affected by something I did not see.  Thus, is it necessary for me to know or celebrate?  Why celebrate if it doesn't affect the faith?  Unless there's a reason for the apparition for me personally.  How does the Apparition affect me (I don't care about others)?

That's the question we should ask.  It only seems to me that the Virgin Theotokos only left a message to the people of Egypt that she is always interceding for them to Christ, and never left a clear message like the one at Lourdes (although I question the clarity of the message itself there).  There's a book I want to read, and I forgot the title, but it concerns on the reasons why St. Mary was crying in the Sitka icons.  This may personally help me on why St. Mary may have appeared to us in Zeitoun as well.

God bless.

Mina
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« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2006, 09:28:19 PM »

I always ask myself, why is it always the Theotokos? Is Jesus just too busy to put on a freak show?
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« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2006, 09:30:52 PM »

I always ask myself, why is it always the Theotokos? Is Jesus just too busy to put on a freak show?

I think with an apparition this huge, an equal huge media-coverage apparition of Christ would probably be interpreted as the "second coming" by almost all Christians.

I would personally question a public apparition of Christ.  I don't however question a personal/private apparition of Him.

God bless.

Mina
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« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2006, 09:34:26 PM »

I think with an apparition this huge, an equal huge media-coverage apparition of Christ would probably be interpreted as the "second coming" by almost all Christians.

Right. So Christ sits up in heaven and goes "Mom, go show yourself to those earthlings again, cause if I do, well, you know what would happen! Wouldn't want to get their hopes up!"
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« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2006, 10:29:12 PM »

Hello Mina and Johnathan

Johnathan, first my dear friend, is something not true just because a synod of Orthodox bishops proclaims it to be false?  If this is the case, OO and EO should abandon any formal talks of reunion, since synods from both sides have condemned the other.  On top of that, from an objective point of view (in the case of one who isn't Orthodox, nor a Christian in general), how is one to discern what apparitions are true.  Why accept Zeitoun and not Lourdes, Gautalope (err...sorry Pedro, horrible speller), or Fatima?  The only arguement I ever hear as to why not to accept it (that is Lourdes) is that it wasn't what the early Fathers taught, and thus invalid.  But if one honestly takes a look at church history and dogmatic development, he will see that even within Orthodoxy there is a "development of faith" (such as the trinity, christology, etc.).  It also seems highly dishonest to accept all apparitions within ones own canonical church, and any and everything that happens outside as "from the devil."  Perhaps as a side note, since leaving the Catholic church, I've decided to stay away from all "apparitions and so called 'holy men and women'"; that is, Zeitoun as well as books on the after death miracles of Pope Cyril the 6th.  I have nothing against them per se, but I will quite simply say, I honestly believe that the Catholic church has had more "signs of wonder" then I've ever found in Orthodoxy.  So, I've tried to devote myself to normal theological studies and how to reach perfection in prayer (which, I've failed so far at miserably), and turned away from being a modern "mystic" (haha, just read teh life of Francis of Assisi and Padre Pio; seems the harder you fast, the more times you beat yourself with a leather whip, beat your chest, etc. the more "mystical" you'll be).  I would suggest, however a few books on the life of Francis of Assisi and his early spiritual sons and Padre Pio.  Personally, I find these men to rival the early desert fathers in humility and holiness, if not surpassing them.  However, since they were of the See of Rome, sadly my outward devotions to them had to be put to an end (though, I still have a rather large statue of the Francis in my room).  To put it simply, like Gregory of Nazianzus, I've tried to find, as teh Buddha said "the middle ground."  Okay, lol, gotten off the subject a bit.  Now...Mina brings up a good point.

What did Mary mean by "I am the Immaculate Conception."  Personally, even when I was a Catholic, I had my doubts as to the Catholic understanding of Mary being born w/o sin.  It seems that Mary didn't even have to try to obtain salvation, since it was given to her before her birth (that is, born without sin).  On top of that, it appears to deny the idea of  "free will", since Mary seems that she wasn't able to sin.  However, from my limited study in patristics, I'd say that some fathers did believe Mary was sinless; and this I personally believe.  Mary was sinless, due to the grace of God, yet still had the free will to sin.  What are your thoughts Mina?  

shawn

Johnathan, suggested readings and movies:
*The Little Flowers of St. Francis   http://www.franciscanfriarstor.com/stfrancis/Little_Flowers_St_Francis/introduction.htm
*The Song of Berndette (movie)
*The Perfect Joy of St. Francis of Assisi (personally, reading the discourse between Brother Leo and Francis on what perfect joy truly is nearly brought me to tears everytime I read it when I was strongly considering becoming a son of Francis myself.  Chapter 8 in "The Little Flowers...").
*Francis of Assisi, a Biography
*http://www.ewtn.com/padrepio/index.htm
*Padre Pio, a Man of Hope
*Padre Pio the Stigmatist

On top of that, as more objective readings, I would suggest the Carmelite saints (well, the 3 biggies): Therese of Liseux (the Autobio. of a Saint), Teresa of Avila (Interior Castle was lovely), and John of the Cross (read all his works, but "Dark Night of the Soul" was my favorite).
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« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2006, 01:52:28 AM »

Right. So Christ sits up in heaven and goes "Mom, go show yourself to those earthlings again, cause if I do, well, you know what would happen! Wouldn't want to get their hopes up!"

Or more like St. Mary saying "My Son and my Lord.  If you will that I may show myself to those wonderful faithful of the Church again, those who love me and love and worship You, to show that I do not forget their prayer requests to You, so that they may look forward for the day You come again."

Dear Shawn,

This is all just personal assumptions and speculations on my behalf.  I haven't done any reading on the matter, so I may be wrong, but here are my thoughts.

I remember a story where Sts. Joachim and Anna could not bear a child, and they prayed dearly to the Lord promising the first fruits to the temple.  The first fruit was St. Mary, who was born by the grace of God on the parents who were without child for a while.  In this case, she may be praised as "immaculately conceived" just as Samuel the prophet or Isaac the Patriarch, son of Abba Abraham.  But this does not mean that she was not partaking of the corrupt human nature all humanity must partake of.  This is simply a contemplative praise for her.

In addition, indeed, many Fathers have called her immaculate only on the basis that she had not sinned, that she kept herself pure from sin regardless of the corruption she bore.  She was chosen therefore because of her strong personality against sin.  She even grew up in Nazereth, where it is considered very easy to fall into sin, and yet she was not pressured into societal corruption either.  Thus, it was fitting indeed that she be "highly favored" in the eyes of the Father to be chosen as the Mother of His Only Begotten Son through the cleansing and incarnational power of the Holy Spirit, cleansing for she was bodily corrupt.  Even Leo I of Rome believed in the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit before the incarnation.

These are my thoughts.  Perhaps I may be wrong.

As for free will, it is not so much that she was unable to sin (at least that's what the Catholics believe, that it didn't take away her free will), but that because she was immaculately conceived, would she have known she was immaculately conceived in the first place?  And assuming that the immaculate conception doesn't affect her free will; if she rejected Gabriel's message, would she have been the only one "saved"?  And if she did know from her birth that she was immaculately conceived, then her free will is indeed impaired, not that she can't sin, but that she is pressured to choose to be the Mother of God for the salvation of the world.  These are the problems I find with the immaculate conception.  

In addition, the OT reveals to us a great mystery.  The OT vessels were first washed with water and anointed with oil, then the Shekinah glory came.  It wasn't until much later after the Shekinah glory came when the blood of bulls and goats were used to cleanse the vessels.  This is indeed the same that happened to the Theotokos, for she was cleansed and anointed by the Holy Spirit, and then the Logos came and took flesh from her, but she remained corrupt until Christ washed her with His blood of His Cross after His death and resurrection.

God bless.

Mina
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« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2006, 02:06:10 AM »

Or could she perhaps have said that "I bore the immaculate conception."  Inasmuch as we praise her sometimes as the salvation of Adam, although she is not the source of salvation, she bore salvation for us, that it was her "Yes" to the Archangel that opened the door of mercy to all humans.

God bless.

Mina
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« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2006, 03:07:44 AM »

Quote
However, from my limited study in patristics, I'd say that some fathers did believe Mary was sinless; and this I personally believe.  Mary was sinless, due to the grace of God, yet still had the free will to sin.


The Coptic Church admits to St Mary being sinless (it's a theme evident in the Theotokias of the Midnight Praise), but we certainly do not accept any notion of Immaculate Conception, according to the RC understanding of it at least.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2006, 04:00:32 AM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2006, 03:03:20 PM »

Hello Mina and Johnathan

Johnathan, first my dear friend, is something not true just because a synod of Orthodox bishops proclaims it to be false?  

Hi, sorry if I was unclear.  I never said that everything outside the OO church is false, only that you have to be careful with it.  Zeitoun was confirmed to be a true miracle by our church, so we don't have to worry.

There are many false, satanic miracles within our own church.  There are many examples where congregations and preists have been decieved into believing them only to be proved wrong later when the source became apparent.  Certainly there are false miracles outside the OO too.

For Lourds, maybe it was real, maybe she meant that Christ was conceived of her in an immaculate manner, I don't know, and I don't need to know for my salvation or for my relationship with Christ or His Mother, so I find it safer not to be too occupied with these questionable sources.

I personally don't think the stigmata thing makes sense.

As for the Immaculate Conception, it is not compatible with Orthodox theology.  St. Mary is without sin, however the natuer she received from her parents was Adam's fallen nature (not inherited sin, but a falled nature), and in fact this is the same human nature Christ took from her.  Christ never comitted a sin, but he became like us in all things but sin, taking on our very fallen natuer and defeating sin in the flesh.  If we accept the immaculate conception, than it's not our fallen nature that Christ took and restored, but like Adam before the fall, so that He's separate from us.  I'm not explaining it well, but if you read a bunch of books on it like St. Athanasius' & St. Cyril's books on the incarnation and compare that to the idea of the immaculate conception you'll get the idea of how they don't work together.
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« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2006, 10:33:38 PM »

Mina

hmm...it appears I've done a rather pathetic job on studing the "Immaculate Conception" when I was a Catholic.  I guess most of my conclusions were a misunderstanding of the Catholic teaching... Roll Eyes.

Johnathan

Concerning the stigmata (which I neither reject nor accept; however, the two stigmatists I've listed seemed to be truly humble persons who wouldn't afflict it upon themselves), I believe the Catholic idea revolves around the idea of "redeptive suffering."  This suffering can be accomplished by any man or woman in the Catholic church.  An example would be, a person fasting till 5 in the afternoon for the soul of a desceased family member or friend believed to be in purgatory.  So, the stigmata is a "continuous suffering for the souls in the purging flames", that was/is my understanding on the subject (I believe is revolves around the saying of St. Paul "I bear on my flesh the wounds of Christ..." sorry, to lazy to find the entire verse now).   I would agree that this understanding of suffering doesn't appear to be within Orthodox theology (which teaches a more postive view of the body and soul united as a man entirely; while Francis of Assisi taught that the body was like a cacoon, and that when we die our soul flies to heaven, as a butterfly leaving it's cacoon).

shawn

p.s.  next time I go to the library, I'll look through the catechism to see what exactly the CC teaches on the subject of IC.
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