The Grandeur of the Mother of God

The Grandeur of the Mother of God

Monk Arsenios of the Skete of Koutloumousiou, the Holy Mountain   When the most glorious and richest kings on earth have in mind to build their throne and their royal palace as a whole, they don’t leave a stone unturned until they find the most precious material that nature is...

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The Dormition of the Mother of God – Transition to Life [2]

The Dormition of the Mother of God – Transition to Life [2]

Elder Efraim, Abbot of the Holy and Great Monastery of Vatopaidi, the Holy Mountain   After the Lord’s Resurrection, it was Our Most Holy Lady who was the support of the Apostles and the newly-founded Church of Christ. It was she who taught the new Christians, guided them and comforted...

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The Theotokos: An Example for All Women to Emulate

The Theotokos: An Example for All Women to Emulate

“A fervent prayer, and a wall most unshakable A merciful spring And shelter of all mankind; Fervently we cry to you, Theotokos, our Lady, come to us and from all dangers now deliver us….” — Small Paraklesis to the Theotokos As a little girl, I was always fascinated by my...

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The Dormition of the Mother of God – Transition to Life

The Dormition of the Mother of God – Transition to Life

Elder Efraim, Abbot of the Holy and Great Monastery of Vatopaidi, the Holy Mountain   Every time we celebrate the Dormition of the Mother of God it’s as though we have Easter again. The summer Easter. Our Lady the Mother of God prepares Easter for us. A glorious crossing ‘from...

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Our Mother Who Art in Heaven

Our Mother Who Art in Heaven

Now that I have your attention with the radically unusual title you see above, I want to assure you that no prayer within the corpus of Orthodox Christian writings begins with these words. The ‘paternal’ version of the “Our Father” prayer is well known to us all; and yet during...

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The Holy Dormition of our Most Pure Lady, the Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary

The Holy Dormition of our Most Pure Lady, the Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary

Saint Gregory Palamas   If ‘the death of the saints is precious and the memory of the righteous is blessed’, with how much greater praise should we keep the memory of the ‘saint of the saints’ through whom the whole of sanctity came to them, that is the memory of...

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Celebrating the Sweetness of the Theotokos

Celebrating the Sweetness of the Theotokos

It’s hard to believe we are almost at the Feast of the Dormition. Always, the Dormition Fast seems to arrive unexpectedly, dropping into the hot summer sloth of barbecued chicken, flank steak, frozen margaritas, and big bowls of dip and queso. (I think of December and March as the time...

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The Elevation of the Bread in Honour of the Most Holy Mother of God

The Elevation of the Bread in Honour of the Most Holy Mother of God

Saint Maximos the Greek   The Only-Begotten Son and Word of God, who became a human person for us (though He was sinless), voluntarily underwent the crucifixion, death and burial so that our human nature, which the father of evil had caused to be cast out of paradise in olden...

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Paraklesis and Finding Refuge in the Theotokos

Paraklesis and Finding Refuge in the Theotokos

In preparation for the Dormition, a supplication to the Theotokos called the Paraklesis is often chanted. (A longer title is “The Paraklesis Service with the Little Supplicatory Canon to the Theotokos.”) Father Thomas Hopko tells us paraklesis means comfort and encouragement. This beautiful service implores the Mother of God to...

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The Dormition of the Theotokos: Our Promise and Hope

The Dormition of the Theotokos: Our Promise and Hope

The Dormition of the Theotokos was not celebrated for the first five centuries of Christianity. There was silence regarding the holy mystery of the Mother of God’s “falling asleep”. In the beginning, God willed that the details of His mother’s death and glorified, or resurrected, state remain veiled from the...

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