THE ALL-HOLY VIRGIN

My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,

CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.

THE ALL-HOLY VIRGIN

By Metropolitan Augoustinos Kantiotes of Florina, Greece of
blessed memory.

"Who for us men and for our salvation, He came down
from heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the
Virgin Mary, and became Man."

Dear friends, humanity is the summit of earthly creation, and if God created nothing else, mankind would be enough to testify that there is a God, an All-Wise God, Omnipotent and Benevolent. What an excellent creation man is!

Man is a marvelous creation of God, a little bit less than the Angels, and is divided into MAN and WOMAN. Man and woman are equal. They have the basic characteristics of human personality, reason, conscience, will, and the rest. They do possess differences, but the differences between man and woman does not reduce, but rather enhance the admiration due to humanity. They add beauty and charm, making human life a pleasant thing. Since the first man until now, billions of people have been born… Mankind fell from the lofty height of honor and dignity into the slime of dishonorable passions and became like the wild beasts… Among billions of people, however, there are still some who, by their acts and virtues, have honored and continue to honor humanity, demonstrating that we were created for a higher purpose, making us aspire for heaven, for the Blessed Life which man lived in Paradise before the Fall…Our Church, having the Holy Scripture as a foundation, answers that, after Christ, who is not a mere man, but the God-Man and a Saint in the absolute sense, comes a woman. She is the All-Holy Virgin Mary.

The Virgin Mary, by God’s grace and through her virtues, came to such a high state of holiness that she surpassed not only every human being but even the Angels and the Archangels. The spiritual height and depth of the Virgin, to use the word of the Akathist Hymn, are unattainable: "Hail (Rejoice) Height insurmountable for the human mind, Hail (Rejoice) Depth inexplorable to Angelic eye."

The Virgin, as our Church praises her, is "MORE HONORABLE THAN THE CHERUBIM AND INCOMPARABLY MORE GLORIOUS THAN THE SERAPHIM.’ If mankind is a miracle of Divine creation then the Virgin Mary is THE MOST EXCEPTIONAL MIRACLE OF DIVINE GRACE…The ancient prophecy, the first prophecy after the Fall of the First Man and First Woman, the First Gospel as it was called, spoke about a woman, a woman whose son would fight and defeat satan, and would give the world new life. From careful study of this prophecy, it is apparent that the woman would not give birth in the usual way women give birth. This woman would give birth WITHOUT KNOWING MAN. She would bear AS A VIRGIN. This prophecy about the virgin is repeated more precisely and with different symbols in the Old Testament. The Book of Isaiah gives the clearest prophecy: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive in the womb and shall bring forth a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). Eight hundred years before the Star of Bethlehem shone, Isaiah saw the Virgin and her Son Emmanuel.

The Virgin gave birth to her Only-Begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. But how did the Virgin give birth? Unbelievers of every century have argued this and will continue to do so. What do we answer? We say "which is a greater miracle – a Virgin to give birth or the world to be created from nothing?" Certainly, the greater is the creation of the universe from nothing, and if this greater one took place, why not a lesser miracle, the Virgin Birth?

The All-Holy Mother of God was a virgin before giving birth, during birth, and remained a virgin after giving birth. Our Holy Lady is Ever-virgin. Our Church preaches this as A REVEALED TRUTH, and we proclaim this Truth each time we recite the Symbol of Faith (The Creed), saying: "and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary and became man."

We Orthodox Christians do NOT deify the Virgin, as some heretics like Protestants and Jehovah’s Witnesses accuse us. We do not believe that the Virgin is a Goddess, but we say that the Virgin is superior to the Angels, and that is why we call her Most Holy — that God SELECTED THE MOST HOLY MOTHER IN ORDER TO TAKE FLESH AND BE BORN. For this reason, we call her THEOTOKOS, God-birthgiver. Because of her exceptional virtues, SHE IS THE PERFECT EXAMPLE OF WOMAN.

But while the Holy Scripture and the Holy Church in its teaching elevate the Virgin to ineffable heights, and Angels and Archangels bow before her.

[Source: Orthodox Heritage]

_________________

"Glory Be To GOD
For
All Things!"

– Saint John Chrysostomos

+ + +

With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Fathe George

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