This is the last post for the 15 Days for Panagia series! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the series; did you enjoy it? was it too long? not long enough? Are there other topics you’d like to cover? This was the first time I’ve done this on Adventures of an Orthodox Mom and am curious to hear your opinions. Please leave comments and let me know! [Read more…]
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That which took place when the Theotokos surrendered her soul to the Lord is absolutely amazing. I wish that I could relate all of it to you but it is quite long so you will have to order the book that I have taken most of the information used in the 15 Days for Panagia posts to read it.
We’ll continue at the point when the Lord took her soul into his hands…
St. Kosmas describes the scene in this manner. The angelic powers were amazed as they looked in Sion upon their own Master, bearing in his hands the soul of a woman: for as befitted a Son, He said to her who without spot had borne Him, “Come, honored among women, and be glorified together with they Son and God.” [Read more…]
They following story took place during the flight to Egypt and can be found on pgs 271-272 of The Life of The Virgin Mary, The Theotokos.
As the were journeying, they had to pass through an area that was infested with robbers. Therefore, the Virgin and Joseph purposed to pass by that territory under the cover of night. As they were journeying, they beheld two robbers that appeared to be asleep in the road, but there was a great number of their confederates also asleep in a place close by. The names of these two thieves were Dismas and Gestas. Dismas, roused from his sleep, arose and went across the road to the Mother of God to see what she held covered at her breast. Seeing the Christ child, he marvelled at His beauty and remarked, “If God were to take human flesh, He would be no more beautiful than this child!” Then Dismas turned to Gestas and said, “I beseech thee to let these persons go by quietly. Let not our comrades be roused and perceive the coming of these people.” However, Gestas would not consent. Again, Dismas turned to him and said, “I will give thee forty drachmas and, as a pledge, take my belt.” Dismas gave it to his companion before he finished speaking that he might not open his mouth or make a noise.
The Lady Theotokos, full of gratitude for the kindness rendered unto them by this robber, turned and said to Dismas, “My child will reward thee richly for having spared Him this day. The Lord God will receive thee to His right hand and grant thee pardon of thy sins.”
Indeed, more than thirty years later, at the Crucifixion of her Son and God, it was those very two thieves that were also crucified on either side of Jesus. Dismas would be to Christ’s right hand and Gestas to His left. Dismas, while on the cross, repented his whole life, and said, “This Man hath done nothing amiss” [Luke 23:41]; he even rebuked Gestas who had reviled the Lord. And, as we all know, Dismas was that same day with Christ in Paradise. [Luke 23:43]
This is one of my favorite stories from the entire book. What really amazed me when I first read it was my perception of the two thieves. I always envisioned them as being the same age as Christ, it was probably because that is they way they depict them in the movies. Jesus of Nazareth, The Passion, etc. However, holy tradition tells us that this is not accurate.
*Click here for previous posts from 15 Days for Panagia
I am going to skip ahead a bit because there is such an abundance of information concerning the Theotokos that it could not possibly all fit into 15 short days. I am just retelling some of my personal favorite stories from her life, along with some answers to questions some of you have asked.
Just to be clear again, none of the information posted is of my opinion. I am not worthy to give such opinions, but it is all taken from the book I mentioned, as well as several homilies by various priests of the Orthodox Church.
The midwife then went forth out of the cave and met Salome, another midwife, to whom Zelomi exlaimed, “Salome, I have a strange sight to relate to thee: a virgin hath brought forth, a thing which nature does not admit!”
The aged Salome was a kinswoman of Mary. Salome was Mary’s mother’s sister’s daughter; hence she was Mary’s first cousin. When she beheld the most holy Virgin in the shepherd’s cave, she did not believe that a virgin brought forth, to which she remarked, “As the Lord my God liveth, unless I receive proof of this matter, I will not believe that a virgin hath brought forth.” When Salome stretched forth her hand to the most holy Virgin’s body to examine it, after the manner of a midwife, Salome then believed. However, her hand was withered and she groaned bitterly, for she was punished for her impudence and unbelief.
Greatly lamenting, Salome made a supplication unto the Lord, until an angel stood by her and instructerd her to reach forth her hand to the child and to carry Him. Straightway, her hand was restored and Salome was filled with joy.
I had read this story years ago and did not fully understand it until a priest explained it to me. I thought that Salome simply didn’t believe the Panagia was a virgin when she conceived. I also always assumed that she gave birth the natural way. However, this is not what happened. She did not give birth the traditional way. Christ was supernaturally born without “breaking her seal of virginity.” So, this is why Salome wanted to examine her herself. Any mother knows there are natural signs that are quite obvious when a woman has just given birth. When Salome examined her, the Theotokos showed no such sign.