Carrying Your Creator: The Dismissal-Resurrectional Theotokion in Tone One

Genesis 1-3, 1 Chronicles 16:8-36, Genesis 22:18 This week, we have had several feastdays, including October 31st, a day to remember the Hieromartyr John of Chicago.  His hymn, in tone one, leads to the dismissal-resurrectional Theotokion in tone one, as well. What a mysterious, provocative and joyful hymn this is!  It brings to life that great icon, frequently placed prominently over the apse, and commanding our attention. This icon, which typically includes…

Jesus in First Place: The Dismissal-Resurrectional Theotokion in Tone 8

Genesis 1-2; Hosea 8-13, Daniel 13, Colossians 1:15-20 For the next two weeks, we repeat, for dismissal, the beloved resurrectional Theotokion in tone four.  Since we have already looked closely at this hymn, we will look back to another of this series of hymns that concern Mary.  I am referring to the one that we heard a few weeks ago in worship:  the hymn in tone eight.  Alone, of the eight resurrectional-dismissal…

Even to the Angels Unknown! The Resurrectional-Dismissal Theotokion in Tone Four

That which was hidden from eternity, Even to the angels, a mystery unknown, Through you, Theotokos, is revealed to those on earth: God incarnate by union without confusion. Who even voluntarily accepted the Cross for us, By which, resurrecting the first-created, He saved our souls from death. I wonder whether we Christians realize how privileged we are?  The dismissal-resurrectional Theotokion in tone four reminds us that we are privy to the greatest…

Gate, Temple, Palace, and Throne: Theotokion after the Aposticha, Tone Five

The Psalter, Ezekiel 33-35, Isaiah 6 We have had several weeks of worship in which other hymns have pre-empted the usual resurrectional-dismissal hymns to the Theotokos.  This week in our worship, we repeat the “Theotokion” in tone three, which I considered in this blog several weeks ago! I have decided, then, to delve into another stunning hymn used this week that concerns the Theotokos and her relationship to our Redeemer. For those…

All Beyond Thought! The Dismissal-Resurrectional Theotokion in Tone 2

Psalm 44 (Hebrew text 45), Song of Solomon, and other OT passages The dismissal Theotokion in the second tone, sung during the liturgy for the Forerunner John the Baptist this week, is both exalted and intimate.  It is sung both as a paean of praise to our Lady, and a song of great love to our Mother.  The song begins by addressing her in her great splendor, then describes her in terms…

Mediatrix of our Salvation: The Dismissal Theotokion in the Third Tone

(With help from Jeremiah 31, Genesis 3, Isaiah 6) The dismissal hymn for the Theotokos this week (in tone three), though quite brief, prompts many questions for those who are not Orthodox.  It also suggests some points for deep meditation even for those who have been following in the Orthodox way since birth, or for a considerable time.  Since it is one of the eight resurrectional hymns (of the group addressed to…

The Demolition of Death: the Resurrectional Hymns in the Seventh Tone

Ezekiel 7,  Jeremiah 7, Psalm 125 (MT 126) A demolition is not usually an occasion for joy.  The summer before I turned eleven, I stared forlornly out the kitchen window with my mom onto what had been my haven since moving into our new house: an abandoned and perfectly wonderful apple orchard.  That past year I had explored every nook and cranny of the orchard, and taken to disappearing up a large…