St. Mary in the Orthodox Church

Queen of heaven, Holy Ark, Mother of God!
St.Mary is bestowed with many titles by the Orthodox Church.

Some of them are :Queen of the angels, Queen of the Saints, the Holy Ark, Mother of God etc.

St.Mary is the greatest of the saints.

References to St.Mary in the Old Testament.
1-A burning bush in the wilderness,
Seen by the prophet Moses
Is a symbol of St. Mary
Who conceived of the Most Holy.

2-A basket containing manna
Food to preserve and sustain life,
Resembles St. Mary the mother
Who contained the Bread of Life.

3-Two tables in the covenant ark
With ten commandments inscribed,
The ark resembles St. Mary,
She bore the Word of God in truth.

4-With gold denoting royalty,
The ark was covered in and out,
The power and grace on King of kings
Comprised the pure Virgin Mary.

5-Aaron’s rod which had bloomed,
Life brought forth out of dry wood,
Same like highly honored Virgin,
Bearer of the True Vine.

6-Jacob’s ladder, a link and a tie,
With angels praising the Most High,
Resembles Mary who bore Emmanuel
Through whom we are reconciled.

7-The censer in Aaron’s hand,
With glowing ember inside,
Is a symbol of Virgin Mary,
With the Divinity in her womb.

8- A gate in the east said to Ezekiel
Should remain closed forever;
A symbol of the ever virgin
Before and after and through birth.

We too are sons of the Theotokos.
“I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.”–Genesis 3:15

“The Lord has created a new thing upon the earth: A woman shall compass a man”-Jeremiah 31:22

Jesus calls St.Mary as “woman” on many occassions. It was not without meaning that the LORD called her so.

When Jesus is dying on the cross, He says to St. John and St. Mary, “Woman, behold your son,” then he said to his disciple, “son, behold your mother!” (John 19:27).

St. Mary was not St. John’s mother: thus, Jesus is speaking spiritually. As the Fathers and Doctors note, St. John is the type of the believer and St. Mary is both a type of the Church and Mother of the Church.

With this in mind, we see how it is that Rev. 12:17 refers to this “woman” and says that the Devil makes “war with her offspring, who keep the commands of God and have the testimony of Jesus.”

Thus we too are sons of the Theotokos.

St.Mary is the Holy Ark.
“1And he brought me back to the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary, which looked towards the east: and it was shut. 2And the Lord said to me: This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall pass through it: because the Lord the God of Israel hath entered in by it, and it shall be shut 3For the prince. The prince himself shall sit in it, to eat bread before the Lord: he shall enter in by the way of the porch of the gate, and shall go out by the same way” (Ez. 44:1-3).

Mary is the new Ark , but she’s also the new temple/tabernacle. And so, the Prince (Jesus) passes through the gate into this world (Mary), and yet the gate remains miraculously shut.

The OT Ark was;1) made of incorruptible wood and covered in gold, 2) had to be perfect in its dimensions, and 3) contained the pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that blossomed, and the Ten Commandments (Ex. 25:9, 39:42-43).

These three elements are symbols of the Lord Jesus, who is the true Manna (John 6), and is Himself the embodiment of the Law-the Word made flesh, and the rod of the priest Aaron that miraculously blossomed, signifying the High Priest Jesus’ miraculous birth.

Striking Similarity or Symbolism between St.Mary and the Holy Ark:-

1)The Shekinah glory cloud of the OT would overshadow this Ark. Guess what: this is exactly what St. Gabriel says to St. Mary-the Holy Spirit will overshadow you (Luke 1:35).

2) Inside this New Ark will be the real Rod, the Real Law, and the Real Manna: Jesus Himself. How do I prove that Mary is the Ark?
The Ark was carried before the Israelites and David leapt before it in OT liturgical dance (1 Chron. 15:27 -28).

When Our Lady reaches St. Elizabeth’s house, St. John the Baptist “leaps” in her womb-same Greek word from the LXX.

3) St. Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country of Judea and abides 3 months with Elizabeth (Luke 1:39, 56).

The Ark is carried through the country of Judea and abides in the house of Obed-Edom, “3 months” (2 Samuel 6).

Can we Venerate St.Mary?
Veneration is a form of honour. We bow in respect. We request their prayers. We remember them frequently.

Worship is the ultimate submissive act, one showing maximum honour and devotion.

So both veneration and worship are different

Veneration can and should be afforded to St.Mary because it becomes an occassion for God to be magnified since all well-instructed faithful know that it’s through God that Mary has what she has-all by grace, and none by her own merit.

Here we can find the Jews venerating the living Judith ( a heroic woman who had saved the israelis from a pagan king):-

“And Ozias, the prince of the people of Israel , said to her, ‘Blessed art thou, O daughter, by the Lord of the most high above all the women on the earth [exactly what St. Elizabeth says to St. Mary Luke 1:42 ]. Blessed be the Lord who made heaven and earth, and who hath directed thee to the cutting off of the head of our enemy. Because He hath so magnified thy name this day, that thy praise shall not depart out of the mouth of men that shall be mindful of the power of the Lord forever…
But after he had recovered his spirits, he fell down at her [Judith's] feet and reverenced her, saying, “Blessed art thou by thy God in every tabernacle of Jacob; for in every nation which shall hear thy name, the God of Israel shall be magnified on occasion of thee” (Judith 13:22-31).

If this much veneration can be afforded by the Israelis to a Judith who was walking the earth, we can surely afford the same to the Queen of the Saints.

Jesus’s first miracle and St.Mary’s intercession.
The Book of John says Jesus Christ’s first miraculous sign was at the request or intercession of St.Mary.

“On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied, “My time has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.[a]

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them,”Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.” – John 2:1-11

It is interesting that even the disciples didnt have much faith in Jesus’s powers almost around till his death.
Most of the time they were doubtful and not aware of his full powers.
But St.Mary knew from the beginning what Jesus Christ was capable of.

St.Mary tells Jesus that “they have no more wine”, a request to help them.
Then she tells the servants “Do whatever he tells you”.

St.Mary knew her Son more than anyone. She knew God and trusted his infinite powers and she constantly intercedes for us.

The Woman in Revelations.
“One is my dove, my perfect one is but one. She is the only one of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her.

The daughters saw her and declared her the most blessed; the queens and the concubines they prasied her.

Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?” (Songs 6:8-9).

Elizabeth calls St.Mary blessed in Luke 1:42.

Recall that Rev. 12 pictured her clothed in the sun standing on the moon!

“1And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

2And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

…………………………………………………

17And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” –Revelations 12: 1,2, 17.

The Woman’s seed.
The daughters saw her and declared her the most blessed; the queens and the concubines they prasied her.
Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?” (Songs 6:8-9).

Remember that Elizabeth calls St.Mary blessed in Luke 1:42.

And also that that Rev. 12 pictured her clothed in the sun standing on the moon!

“1And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

2And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

…………………………………………………

17And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” –Revelations 12: 1,2, 17.

How do we know that the “woman” is St.Mary? “{“Dear woman” –Jesus calls St.Mary thus in John 2, and in many other places including at the time of his death}

The symbolism with moon and sun clothed on her is recurring in both Songs and Revelations.
In Songs it is said she will be called the “most blessed”.
St.Mary is called the blessed by Elizabeth.

Revelations 12:17– “the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed”

[See the similarity in revelations 13:
"6He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in HEAVEN. 7He was given power to make war against the SAINTS and to conquer them.. "]

The dragon wages war with the Saints, and is “wroth with the woman”. The Woman is none else than the Queen of the Saints and the Angels, the Heavenly Gebirah–Mother Mary.

Jesus always calls St.Mary by the name “Woman” in the NT.

“The remnant of her seed” refers to Jesus Christ and all christians who are one Body.
(Thats why St.Mary is called the Mother of Christians)

Crowned with the 12 stars.
Revelations 12 says the “woman” was CROWNED with 12 stars, clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet.

How do we know this “woman” is St.Mary?

1) The same Revelations 12 says the woman’s son would rule nations with an iron rod and would be caught up to GOD’s throne!.
Who would sit at God’s throne except Jesus Christ?And the woman who gave birth to Him is ofcourse St.Mary.

2) Jesus always calls St.Mary as the “Woman”.

Isnt it strange that a man calls his mother as “Woman”?..he was either being disrespectful..or wanted to convey something.
Jesus titled her as the “woman” exactly because she represented something greater.
“Dear Woman”–John 2
“Woman, behold, your son!”–John 19: 26

3)”the Queen takes her place at your right hand in the gold of Ophir….So shall the King desire your beauty, for He is your Lord, and you must worship Him…I will make your name (the Queen’s) MEMORABLE THROUGHOUT ALL GENERATIONS, and all nations shall praise you forever and ever.”
Now read this verse below to see who is this “Queen” who was made “memorable throughout all generations”:
Luke 1:48 Mary says, “From henceforth all generations shall call me blessed”.

4)”One is my dove, my perfect one is but one. She is the only one of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her.
The daughters saw her and declared her the most blessed; the queens and the concubines they prasied her.
Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?” (Songs 6:8-9).

Here a woman is described as the “morning rising”, “fair as the moon”, “bright as the sun”, and “terrible as as army set in array”.
Songs also says “the daughters declared her the most blessed”.
{Who was declared the blessed by the daughters?
“God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed.”–Luke 1:43, Elizbateh says to St.Mary}

And the description of being clad with the sun and moon under her feet bears striking resemblance(revelations 12) to the verses in Songs 6.

Are there thrones in heaven?
“Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads.”–revelations 4:4

Beside the Throne of Jesus Christ, there will be thrones of the 24 elders.

Where is the throne of St.Mary?

“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.”–1 Kings 2:19

In Israel the Queen mother sat at the right hand side of the King.

The heavenly throne of St.Mary will be beside that of Christ.

“A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.”–revelations 12:1

St.Mary is crowned with 12 stars.

What do these 12 stars represent?

The 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 Apostles.

In Genesis 37:9, Joseph dreams that the “sun, moon and the eleven stars” are bowing down to him.

” Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”–Genesis 37:9

The eleven stars were the other 11 tribes of Israel.

Queen of Heaven.
Scripture makes it clear that this is a BIBLICAL title, not a political ploy by the early Church to synchretize the Faith.

Its so arrogant that the new age christians consider themselves above the holy church and acts so self righteous.
The early christian fathers did everything from a cohesive and complete understanding of scripture.

In the Magnificat there are several OT references, but this one is particularly interesting from Psalm 45:6-18, a Messianic prophecy:

“…the Queen takes her place at your right hand in the gold of Ophir….So shall the King desire your beauty, for He is your Lord, and you must worship Him…I will make your name (the Queen’s) memorable throughout all generations, and all nations shall praise you forever and ever.”

Luke 1:48 Mary says, “From henceforth all generations shall call me blessed”.

“Gebirah”–Queen Mother in Israel.(peoples advoc)
http://www.forthelife.org/a7.htm

Mary as the Queen Mother

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 iINTERCESSOR, 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”

In Israel the Gebirah (Queen Mother) had a special status, well loved by the people.
The King (her son) was certainly more powerful than her.

But her role was that of an advocate for the people, she was more approachable…

And the King would never reject her requests.

Everything in the Old Israel was a shadow of the things to be in the NEW ISRAEL…

Christ is the King of Kings who adores the Throne in heaven, and the Gebirah is St.Mary, the Queen of the Saints and the most powerful intercessor.

Gebirah or the Queen Mother’s status.
Her specific place of honor and intercession is dramatically illustrated in the following passage from 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.”

These are some important lessons:

1.Adonijah assumed that the queen mother would approach the King on his behalf. She was an intercessor to the King.

2. The reaction of the King is noteworthy: he stood up to meet her and paid her homage. This is a picture of Christ’s regard for Mary. Can we or should we regard Mary LESS than Christ Himself regards her?

3. A throne was provided for her, and she sat at his right hand.

4. Her power as intercessor is stressed by the repetition of the idea that the king “will not refuse her”.

5. The Queen Mother was the second most powerful person in the kingdom.

Highly misunderstood title..
“Queen of heaven” doesnt mean St.Mary rules heaven above everyone else.

When Jesus rules on His Throne, St.Mary too would have a throne on His right hand side, crowned as the Queen Mother.

Just like how King Solomon sat on the central throne and his mother Bathsheba sat on his right hand side throne.
The Queen Mother in Israel was mostly an honorary title with no great powers.

Her power was derived from that of the King, secondary to the King and depended on the King.
The Geribah or Queen Mother had no power except what was given to her by the King.

She would routinely plead the cause of people who interceded to her to the King.
The King most often would accept her intercession and judge favourably to those people.

The King-Queen Mother relationship in ancient Israel was a shadow of the New Israel.

The King of Kings enthroned in heaven and the Queen Mother seated at his right, constantly interceding for the people of the kingdom to the King.

“Hail Mary full of Grace” (Kripa niranja mariame)
The prayer is said in the following manner:

* Leader: Hail Mary, full of grace,

* People: Our Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, our Lord, Jesus Christ.

O Virgin Saint Mary, O Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at all times, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

“Hail Mary full of grace ,Our Lord is with Thee. ” –Luke 1:28 (Archangel Gabriel’s salutation to St.Mary)

“Blessed art Thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, our Lord, Jesus Christ.”–Luke 1:42 (Elizabeth’s greeting to St.Mary)

“O Virgin Saint Mary, O Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at all times, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

St.Mary is the perpetual virgin according to Isaiah’s prophecy and according to new testament. Jesus had no “brothers”. The “brothers of jesus” referred in Nt are his cousins. If Jesus had brothers, why was St.Mary left all alone after Jesus death. It was John who took care of her after that.

She is the Mother of God. Since Jesus is God.

She is continously praying for us all. She became the mother of the human race when Jesus says “Son, behold your mother”.
Jesus first miracle in public life happens on her intercession.

So we Orthodox christians ask her intercession in the last line.

The Intercession of St.Mary.
http://www.forthelife.org/a7.htm

The Church, knowing this type and shadow of the Queen of Heaven and Queen Mother, regarded Mary as the fulfillment of that relationship in Christ. 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, Christ is our only Mediator between God and man.” Yes, Christ is our only Mediator, but we are all intercessors.

We ALL 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. We ALL have the ministry of intercession on behalf of others. We care about each other, and approach God on behalf of those we love.

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.

In all our genuine marian texts and hymns the church makes a clear distinction between Jesus Christ to whom worship is due, and St. Mary to whom veneration is due.

The Orthodox Church clearly knows and teaches the distinction between Marian veneration and Worship of God.
Our orthodox syrian promiyons also points to this fact.

St. Ambrose too says:

“Undoubtedly the Holy Spirit, too, must be adored when we adore Him, who is incarnated of the Holy Spirit.
But let noone apply this to St. Mary, for she was the Temple of God, not the God of the Temple. And therefore He alone is to be adored, who worked in the Temple”.

According to the words of St. Epiphanus of Salamis, in Cyprus:

“Let Mary be honoured, but let the Lord be worshipped”.

Let us Worship LORD our GOD alone and also not forget to give honour where it is due.
Noone gets honoured unless God gives it to them. St.Mary was crowned and raised by the Lord as the Queen of the Saints(revelations 12:1).

Biblical titles of St.Mary
These are some of the titles of St. Mary in the Orthodox Church:-

New Eve,

Second dome,

Holy of holies,

Golden vessel of manna,

Golden Lampstand,

golden censer,

True virgin,

Beautiful Dove,

holy flower,

Ever virgin,

precious stone,

Theotokos,

Mother of emmanuel,

Mother of the refuge,

Mother of the holy one,

Mother of the master,

Mother of the beloved,

Mother of Jesus Christ,

Mother of God’s Son,

rejoiced of eve,

joy of the generations,

boast of Jude,

preaching of Moses,

friend of solomon,

daughter of joachim,

burning bush seen by moses,

uncultivated field that has produced the Fruit of life,

rational mount of sinai,

the mount which daniel saw,

eastern gate,

undefiled,

treasure which Joseph bought and found with a pearl hidden in it,

she who gave suck to the Feeder of everybody,

chaste,

pure bride of the pure bridegroom,

chosen vessel,

handmaid,

factory of the inseparable unity,

Glory of all the virgins,

Mother of all living,

the woman of the book of revelations,

Mother of Christ.

The Hail Mary in Suriani
“Shlom lekh bthoolto Mariam.
Maliath taibootho
moran a’amekh
mbarakhto at bneshey
wambarakhoo feero dabkharsekh yeshue
O qadeeshto Mariam
yoldath aloho
saloy hlofain hatoyeh
hosho wabsho’ath mawtan.
Amin”

Hear in youtube:
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=f7MyqXdjhVA
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=Dg43NTytAt0&feature=related

St.Mary in the Orthodox Church, Related topics:-

http://www.ninesaintsethiopianorthodoxmonastery.org/id26.html

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