The veneration of the Holy Virgin in the Ancient Church
All the early reformers, including Luther and Calvin, believed Mary to be Ever Virgin. The practice at the time of Jesus was to refer to all cousins as siblings, so none of the early Christians believed Mary had born any children other than Jesus. Furthermore, the veneration of the Virgin did not begin with Rome, but began in the Early Church. The problem with our protestant brethren is that everyone has become an authority, so the the teachings and practices of the Early Church have been forgotten, replaced with the mess that followed with individual interpretation of the Scriptures.
When we do not have Holy Tradition and Holy Scripture held side by side in importance we go astray. Thus the key to Orthodoxy’s claim to being the Ancient Apostolic Church preserved in all her purity can be seen in her insistence that Holy Tradition has kept our way of worship, and our doctrine unchanged from the foundation of the Church. There was no need for change, for the Church knew the truth of the words, “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 1:3)”.
The ancient practice for the veneration of the Holy Virgin can clearly be seen in the prayer found in Egyptian papyrus fragments from the year 250:
we take refuge
Mother of God;
may our petitions
not be abandoned
but from danger
It is liberating to discover we need not try to figure out the meaning of the Bible on our own, for the Church serves as our guide to understanding the scriptures. There is, therefore, no need to try and rediscover Ancient Christianity for this modern age, and we can avoid the prideful arrogance of thinking we have discovered the teachings and practices of the Early Church. We need not try to decipher the meaning of the Bible, for we need only look to the Church for the truth that has been preserved from the very beginning. We thus can say with certainty that we keep to the Faith of our Fathers. The veneration of the Holy Virgin Mary is but one example of our unbroken connection with the Ancient, Apostolic, Catholic Church.
With love in Christ,
Photos: Sunday was my last day offering a parish retreat at Saint Silouan Orthodox Church in Walla Walla, WA.
Monday March 20, 2017 / March 7, 2017
Fourth Week of the Great Lent: Adoration of Cross. Tone six.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
The Holy Hieromartyrs of Cherson: Basil, Ephraim, Capito, Eugene, Aetherius, Elpidius, and Agathodorus (4th c.).
New Hieromartyr Nicholas priest (1930).
New Hieromartyr Nilus, Virgin-martyrs Matrona, Mary, Eudocia, Ecaterina, Antonina, Nadezhda, Xenia, and Anna (1938).
Venerable Paul the Simple of Egypt, disciple of St. Anthony the Great (4th c.).
St. Paul the Confessor, bishop of Prusias in Bithynia (850).
Venerable Emilian of Rome.
Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos “Surety of Sinners” in Korets (1622), Odrin (1843) and Moscow (1848).
Sts. Nestor and Arcadius, bishops of Tremithus (Greek).
Venerable Laurence, founder of the monastery of the Mother of God on Salamis (1707) (Greek).
St. Ephraim, Patriarch of Antioch (546).
St. Dandus and all Saints of Thrace.
St. Eosterwine, abbot of Wearmount.
The Scripture Readings
24 The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying,
“Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass,
And as I have purposed, so it shall stand:
25 That I will break the Assyrian in My land,
And on My mountains tread him underfoot.
Then his yoke shall be removed from them,
And his burden removed from their shoulders.
26 This is the purpose that is purposed against the whole earth,
And this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations.
27 For the Lord of hosts has purposed,
And who will annul it?
His hand is stretched out,
And who will turn it back?”
28 This is the burden which came in the year that King Ahaz died.
29 “Do not rejoice, all you of Philistia,
Because the rod that struck you is broken;
For out of the serpent’s roots will come forth a viper,
And its offspring will be a fiery flying serpent.
30 The firstborn of the poor will feed,
And the needy will lie down in safety;
I will kill your roots with famine,
And it will slay your remnant.
31 Wail, O gate! Cry, O city!
All you of Philistia are dissolved;
For smoke will come from the north,
And no one will be alone in his appointed times.”
32 What will they answer the messengers of the nation?
That the Lord has founded Zion,
And the poor of His people shall take refuge in it.
21 And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.
22 “While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease.”
God’s Promise to Noah
9 So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. 2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. 3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. 4 But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. 5 Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man.
6 “Whoever sheds man’s blood,
By man his blood shall be shed;
For in the image of God
He made man.
7 And as for you, be fruitful and multiply;
Bring forth abundantly in the earth
And multiply in it.”
19 As righteousness leads to life,
So he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death.
20 Those who are of a perverse heart are an abomination to the Lord,
But the blameless in their ways are His delight.
21 Though they join forces,[a] the wicked will not go unpunished;
But the posterity of the righteous will be delivered.
22 As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout,
So is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.
23 The desire of the righteous is only good,
But the expectation of the wicked is wrath.
24 There is one who scatters, yet increases more;
And there is one who withholds more than is right,
But it leads to poverty.
25 The generous soul will be made rich,
And he who waters will also be watered himself.
26 The people will curse him who withholds grain,
But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.
27 He who earnestly seeks good finds favor,
But trouble will come to him who seeks evil.
28 He who trusts in his riches will fall,
But the righteous will flourish like foliage.
29 He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind,
And the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.
30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
And he who wins souls is wise.
31 If the righteous will be recompensed on the earth,
How much more the ungodly and the sinner.
12 Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge,
But he who hates correction is stupid.
2 A good man obtains favor from the Lord,
But a man of wicked intentions He will condemn.
3 A man is not established by wickedness,
But the root of the righteous cannot be moved.
4 An excellent[b] wife is the crown of her husband,
But she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.
5 The thoughts of the righteous are right,
But the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.
6 The words of the wicked are, “Lie in wait for blood,”
But the mouth of the upright will deliver them.