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...]
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...]
The Theotokos Speaks a Parable
Our Lady, the Theotokos, then spoke to them saying,
“My beloved children, hearken to my brief words and small instruction for this I wish and seek. My children, do you see this world? It is a festival. God is as a king, and you, His servants, are the merchants of my beloved Son. Now listen to this parable: There was a great and powerful king who had two servants. The kind then heard that there was a great fair where there would be very many goods and products that would bring great gain. Therefore, the king summoned these two servants and said, ‘Make great haste to go into this country where the festival is being held and, for one month, do business. If any of you delay, he will lose his life!’ Straightway, the two servants took money and went to the fair. However, one of them was senseless and foolish; he purchased items that were useless to the kind, such as houses, shops and fields. All these things the kind had no need of, nor would they bring him any gain. Moreover, the undiscerning servant delayed in returning because it took time to sow the fields, and to refurbish and complete these shops and houses, because they were in disarray. Thus it took him about three to four months to return to the king. Now the other servant was prudent and purchased precious stones, and returned punctually to the king. [Read more...]
We read in various accounts how Christ hastened to grant the requests of His mother. In His first miracle in Cana, the Virgin asked Christ to, “show that Thou canst do all things, Thou Who has in wisdom created all things.” And Christ replied, “Woman (My Lady), what is it to Me and thee?” (John 2:4)
First I want to point out that the term “woman” is inaccurate. The Greek word that was used is Gynai which in those days translated to a term usually reserved for royalty meaning madame or my lady. So contrary to explanations used in many non-Orthodox circles, Christ was in no way disrespecting or degrading His own mother (which doesn’t make sense to me anyway and I don’t see how someone can believe He would do such a thing. But that’s a whole ‘nother post. :))
Near the end of Theotokos’ life she prayed for three things:
- To not see the vile and wicked faces of the demons.
- To be told 3 days before she was to repose in order to prepare. (If she needed 3 days to prepare I truly need a lifetime!)
- For the apostles to be present at her departure.
The Theotokos’ lived in the house of St. John the Theologian ever since the Crucifixion when Christ appointed St. John to be her caretaker. It is written that he never left her side except for short periods of time. St. Mary Magdalene also lived with them. The apostles would seek counsel from her often and she offered words of comfort to them and thus they had a very close relationship with her.
As usual Christ did not let His mother’s prayers go unanswered and three days before she was to depart this life, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to her while she was praying on the Mount of Olives. He told her, “Thy Son and our God, with the Angels, Archangels, Cherubim and Seraphim, and all the heavenly spirits and the souls of the righteous will receive thee, His Mother, into the heavenly Kingdom that thou mayest live and reign with Him forever.”
Tradition has is that this occured on a Friday. The Archangel then told her the hour of her death and as a sign of all this he gave her a date palm branch from Paradise, which shone with the light of heavenly grace. It signified that bodily death would not have power over her. She would merely fall asleep for a short time and, then, as if waking from sleep, would rise and shake off death like sleep from the eyes. The Archangel told her that the branch was to be carried before the bier of her most honorable and pure body.”
The Theotokos hastened quickly to her home where she gave the news of her impending departure to the rest of the household which included, St. Mary Magdalene, Sepphora, Abigail and Jael, who began to mourn their orphanhood. But she consoled them promising to interceded for them and all the world. She then ordered that her bed and room should be decorated and incense and and many lamps as possible be lit in it. She then changed her clothes and basically made all necessary preparations for her burial.
While the Theotokos was making all of these arrangements, all of a sudden a noise was heard, similar to a clap of thunder. A cloud then encircled the home of St. John the Theologian. By the command of God, angels had seized the apostles that were scattered to the ends of the world and brought them on clouds to Jerusalem. All, save the Apostle Thomas, were then placed on Sion before the door of the house where the Theotokos dwelt.
Upon seeing one another, the holy Apostles rejoiced, but at the same time they wondered, saying, “Why has the Lord gathered us together in this place?” St. John then informed them of the speedy departure of the most holy Mother of God. Then the holy Apostles understood that the Lord had gathered them from to be present at the blessed end of His immaculate Mother, and for the honorable burial of her body. Nevertheless, her departure from among them brought intense sorrow to their hearts.
The Apostles then greeted her with these words, “Blessed art thou of the Lord Who made Heaven and Earth!” She then responded, “Peace to you, brethren, chosen by the Lord Himself.”
They told her of all that occured, that Peter came from Rome, Mark from Alexandria, Matthew on a boat, and where the others were carried from. Paul fell at her feet, praising and blessing her and saying, “Rejoice, Mother of my life and my preaching! Gazing on thee now, I think that I see thy Son.” Already the divine Paul’s close disciples had arrived, that is, St. Dionysios the Areopagite, St. Hierotheos, Apostle Timothey and other godly-wise hierarchs. Also present were the rest of the Seventy Apostles.
The Theotokos then called each apostle by name to herself to bid them farewell and she praised their faith and labors in the preaching of Jesus Christ. After much lamenting, she said to them, “Watch and pray with me, that when the Lord comes to receive my soul, He may find you watching. Then all promised and prayed the whole night with psalms and chants.” *This occurs at the death of monastics to this day.
Then the Apostle John said, “My Lady Mother of God and my Mother, they beloved Son had left thee as a consolation; and now thou shalt leave us? In all the world what will we humble apostles have as our consolation? Who will teach us and who will guide us? What else shall we have on earth to encourage us if thou should leave us?”
This, too, caused the Theotokos to weep, and she promised to be a ready help and intercessor for them and all who call upon her name with faith. She also promised that if the Lord willed, they would see her after her departure.
I thought it would be nice to post the Paraklesis (Supplicatory Canon) Service for those of you who may not have it. It is such a powerful service in the sense that Panagia seems to run to our aid whenever we ask her intercessions through these prayers. May she answer all of your prayers to the benefit of your salvation always… [Read more...]
Monastery of Philotheou on Mount Athos
Most pleased with her inheritance of Mount Athos, the Theotokos said this prayer in thanksgiving, ‘My Son and my God, bless this place, this lot of mine. Pour Thy mercy up on it and keep it free from harm till the end of this world, together with them that dwell therein for Thy holy name and mine. And, through their fatigue and through the struggle of repentance, may their sins be forgiven. Fill their lives with every good and necessity in this age, and with eternal life in the future age. Glorify this place above every other place and show Thy miraculous power in every way. Fill it with men from every nation under the sky, who are called by Thy name and extend their habitations in it from end to end. Exempt them from eternal punishment, save them from every temptation, from visible and invisible enemies and from every heresy, and pacify them in right worship (Orthodoxy).” [Read more...]
In the year 52 A.D. the Theotokos, St. John and several others were on a ship sent by St. Lazarus, who was now the bishop of Cyprus. She and her company were going to pay him a visit and she was bringing him gifts, an omophorion (bishop’s stole) and epamanikia (cuffs), that she had sewn for him.While they were at sea there was a terrible storm and the ship was thrown off course. During this storm she prayed to her Son to pilot their vessel, according to His will. When the storm finally subsided they found themselves outside the port of Clementos on Athos. [Read more...]
I wanted to post some of the different icons of Panagia and St. Joseph that Konstantina had sent me after my post on Day 2. She said the following in a comment,
“I am studying them for my masters degree I come across lots of material that is and is not Orthodox. The icon you have in this post, although nicely depicting St. Joseph with gray hair, is not Orthodox. It is influenced by the Roman Catholic idea of the holy family, which for reasons you mentioned in the post, is not how the Orthodox view of their betrothal. He was her guardian, not Christ’s earthly father and for this reason a strictly Orthodox icon would not depict the three of them as a family the way St. Anna and St. Joachim are depicted with Panagia.” [Read more...]
In honor of the Dormition feast which is rapidly approaching, I am giving away an incredible 2-disc lecture on The Life of the Theotokos by Fr. George Passias.
It is one of the most amazing sermons on . The first disc covers her life from Conception to her Betrothal and the second disc is from the Ascension of Christ to her Dormition.
Just leave a comment on this post telling me one of your favorite things about the Theotokos, it could be an icon, a memory, a miracles, anything. I just like hearing your stories. Then I’ll use a random number generator to choose the winner on Monday, August 10!
Here are a few links to some other great resources on The Theotokos!
Evlogia-I *love* this lesson plan for the Dormition Feast! It’s full of great ideas and projects.
Homily on The Mother of God by Fr. Demetrios Carellas. (another excellent sermon) Thanks Maria for this recommendation!
Coloring Sheets from Potamitis Publishing for your children. The kids love these!!
The Amolyntos is another one of my favorite icons. It is the one we have hanging in the main part of our home next to our kandili.
I’m not sure what the exact history of the icon is, I’ve looked it up but haven’t found much. If anyone knows, I’d love for you to share it with us.
What I do know about it is that Christ has his head turned towards the angels because they are telling him of his future Crucifixion. This is why one angel is holding a cross and the other holds a spear and a reed with a sponge on the end. Also, if you look closely, you will notice that one of the Lord’s sandals is hanging off of his foot, and this is because upon learning of his fate, he quickly ran into His Mother’s arms for protection.
This is yet another reminder of how Christ’s life was not the life of a typical child. He was only concerned with the things of God. How else could a child this age possibly understand something like His own Crucifixion?
GLORY TO GOD!!