The Mother of God

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 was to refer to all cousins as siblings, and none of the early Christians believed Mary had born any children other than Jesus. The veneration of the Virgin did not begin with Rome, but began in the Early Church.

The designation of Mary as Theotokos can be found on an Egyptian papyrus fragments from the year 250 A.D., proving it was not an invention of the fifth century. The problem with many of our protestant brethren is that everyone becomes the authority, and the memory of the teachings and practices of the Early Church are 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. 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 her way of worship, and her dogma, unchanged. No need for change, for the Church knows 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:

Under your
we take refuge
Mother of God;
may our petitions
not be abandoned
into temptation,
but from danger
deliver us,
only pure
& blessed.

It is liberating to discover we need not search the Bible to understand the meaning of the Word of God for ourselves. There is no need to reinvent Christianity for this modern age, in a feeble attempt to make Christianity relevant. We can even avoid the prideful arrogance of thinking we can 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 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 connection, unbroken, with the Early Apostolic Church.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photos: The first photo shows our temple’s patronal icon of the Protection of the Holy Virgin, painted by Matushka Ann Margitich of Saint Seraphim of Sarov Cathedral in Santa Rosa, CA. Our Reader Edward Pierson made two new Analogian for our monastery’s temple. We’ve placed our Patronal Icon of Christ the All-Merciful Saviour on one of them, and our icon of Saint Herman of Alaska, painted by John Swayne Swenson of Spokane, WA, on the other.

Friday May 1, 2020 / April 18, 2020
Second Week of Pascha. Tone one.
Fast. Fish Allowed
Venerable John, disciple of St. Gregory of Decapolis (820).
New Hieromartyr Bessarion priest (1918).
New Hieromartyrs Priests Nicholas (1937) and Basil (Derzhavin) (1930) and lay people of the city of Gorodets, Nizhni-Novgorod.
Virgin-martyr Tamara (1942).
Martyrs Victor, Zoticus, Zeno, Acindynus, and Severian of Nicomedia (ca. 303).
Venerable Cosmas, bishop of Chalcedon, and his fellow-ascetic Venerable Auxentius (815-820).
New Martyr John the Tailor of Ioannina, at Constantinople (1526).
“Maximov” Icon of the Mother of God (1299).
Venerable Euthymius the Enlightener of Karelia (1435), and Venerables Anthony and Felix of St. Nicholas Monastery in Karelia.
Monks John and Athanasius of Aegina (Greek).
St. Naucratius, abbot of the Studion (848).
St. Athanasia the Wonderworker of Aegina (9th c.).
St. Basil Ratishvili of the Holy Mountain (13th c.) (Georgia).
Martyr Sabbas the Goth (372).

The Scripture Readings

Acts 5:1-11

Lying to the Holy Spirit

5 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. 2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

5 Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. 6 And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.

7 Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?”

She said, “Yes, for so much.”

9 Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. 11 So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.

John 5:30-6:2

30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

The Fourfold Witness

31 “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. 32 There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true. 33 You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. 35 He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light. 36 But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. 37 And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. 38 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. 39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

41 “I do not receive honor from men. 42 But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. 43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. 44 How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God? 45 Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father;there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

Feeding the Five Thousand

6 After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. 2 Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased.


Abbot Tryphon

About Abbot Tryphon

The Very. Rev. Abbot Tryphon is Igumen of All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, Washington. Situated in the heart of a beautiful forest, surrounded by the Salish Sea, the monastery is reached by ferry from either Seattle, or Tacoma, Washington.


  1. Thankyou so much for the ancient prayer “Under your mercy…..” I have written it down and will surely use it daily. There are many prayers, rites, rituals that have been watered down in the new practices and denominations and this has only led us away from the Truth and traditions left to us by Christ and the Apostles. When I look back on my life before coming into Orthodoxy, the biggest frustration I had in another Church was a persistent longing to return to the beginning – the early times of Jesus and nothing would satisfy until finally I was led to Orthodoxy! Only looking back, can I see how I was being called to return by way of the whole path – I just didn’t know but had the hungering to search. There are many examples; too much to go into here, but I saw first-hand how modernism crept in and subtley took over. We don’t need any and all the changes being put in front of us – this is out of boredom and selfishness. Our Orthodox faith is so simple and uncomplicated while having so much beauty and mystery drawing us into the heart of Jesus.

    God bless! Take care & keep safe…..

  2. It was common and normal back in the day for people or communities to refer to one another as brother and sister – they thought of themselves as one family – a family of Christians who help one another, pray for one another, share food, troubles, stories, celebrations. They loved and treated their friend or neighbor like a brother and sister because of the love they shared for one another – a love that came from Christ.

    God bless! Take care & keep safe…..

  3. Many have heard of the Rosary Prayer – Hail Mary full of grace etc…..

    Well, just as I was coming into Orthodoxy, I found a prayer (in my prayer book) that was said in the early Church which preceded the wording I had been saying for years. Not that I saw anything wrong with the prayer I had been saying (the words being used) but just the fact that it was the original prayer to Mary, I preferred it right away and this is what I use now….
    O Theotokos and Virgin, rejoice, O Mary full of grace
    The Lord is with Thee
    Blessed art thou among women
    And Blessed is the fruit of thy womb
    For thou hast borne the Savior of our souls.

  4. As a life long wood worker I appreciate the skill and beauty of the Analogians. God bless the work of his hands and all there at the monastery.

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