Did the Lord Rebuke His Mother?

St. Marina

Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,


We thank you, Lord God of our salvation, that You do everything to benefit our life, so that in everything we may look to You, the Savior and Benefactor of our souls. For in the course of the night You gave us rest, and now raised us up to stand in worship of Your precious Name. Wherefore we pray to You, Lord, give us both grace and strength that we may be found worthy to praise You with full understanding, and pray without ceasing, in fear and trembling working out our own salvation through the grace of Your Christ. Lord, remember also those who cry out to You in the night; hear them and show them mercy, and let invisible and warring enemies be crushed under their feet. For You are the Prince of Peace and Savior of our souls, and to You we offer Glory: Father, Son and Holy Spirit , now and forever and unto ages of ages. Amen.


On July 17th Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honors and entreats the holy intercessions of the following Saints, Forefathers, Fathers, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Preachers, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, Ascetics and Teachers of Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Holy and Great Martyr Marina of Antioch; Holy Martyrs, Speratus, Cittinus, Nartzalus, Felix, Veturius, Aquilinus, Laetantius, Januaria, Generosa, Donata, Secunda, and Vestia; Saint Timothy, fool-for-Christ of Svyatogorski; Saint Euphrasios of Ionopolis; Saint Irenarchus of Solovetsk; Transfer of the holy relics of Lazarus of Mt. Galesion.

THE HOLY AND GREAT MARTYR MARINA OF ANTIOCH. Born in Pisidian Antioch of pagan parents, St. Marina only heard of the Lord Jesus at the age of twelve, of His Incarnation of the Most Pure Virgin, His many miracles, His death by crucifixion and His glorious Resurrection. Her little heart was inflamed with love for the Lord, and she vowed never to marry and, further, desired in her soul to suffer for Christ and be baptized with the blood of martyrdom. Her father hated her for her faith, and would not regard her as his daughter. The imperial governor, Olymbrius, hearing of Marina and learning that she was a Christian, at first desired her for his wife. When St. Marina refused, he ordered her to sacrifice to idols. To this, St. Marina replied: "I shall not worship nor offer sacrifice to dead idols, lacking the breath of life, which have no awareness of themselves and are not even aware of our honoring or dishonoring them. I will not give them that honor that belongs to my Creator alone." Then Olymbrius put her to harsh torture, and threw her into prison all wounded and bleeding. Saint Marina prayed to God in the prison, and, after she had prayed, there appeared to her first the devil in the form of a terrible serpent, which twined itself about her head. When she made the sign of the Cross, the serpent split asunder and disappeared. Then she was bathed in heavenly light; the walls and roof of the prison disappeared and a Cross was revealed, resplendent and lofty. On the top of the Cross was perched a white dove, from which there came a voice: "Rejoice, Marina, thou dove of Christ, daughter of the Sion that is on high, for the day of thy joy is drawing near!", and Saint Marina was healed by the power of God of all her wounds. The demented judge tortured her the next day by fire and water, but Saint Marina endured it all as if not in her own body. She was finally sentenced to death by beheading. At the moment of her death, the Lord Jesus appeared to her, accompanied by Angels. She was beheaded in the time of the pagan emperor Diocletian, but remains alive in soul and in power in heaven and on earth. One of her hands is preserved in the Monastery of Vatopedi on the Holy Mountain (Mt. Athos). Even in Albania, in the Langa mountains overlooking Lake Ochrid, there is a Monastery of Saint Marina with some of her wonderworking holy relics. Numerous miracles have been wrought in this Monastery and still are, witnessed not only by Christians but also by Muslims. The Turks have such veneration for this holy place that they have never laid hands on either the place or the Monastery's possessions. At one time, a Turk was caretaker of the Monastery.

+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints and Holy and Great Martyrs, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.


Holy Epistle Lesson: Galatians 3:23-29, 4:1-5
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Mark 5:24-34


"The sons of the world consider distraction to be something innocent, but the holy Fathers recognize it to be the origin of all evils. The person who has given up to distraction has, concerning all subjects and even the most important ones, a very light most superficial understanding. One who is distracted is usually inconstant. The feelings of his heart usually lack depth and strength; and therefore, they are not solid but transitory. As a butterfly flies from flower to flower so also a distracted person passes from one earthly satisfaction to another, from one vain care to another" [St. Ignatius Brianchaninov].

by Saint Nikolai Velimirovich [source: Missionary Letters]

At the wedding in Cana, the wine ran out. The Theotokos saw the guests astonished and the host ashamed. Moved with mercy and compassion, she asked her Son for help or advice, saying, "They have no wine." And Jesus answered, "What have I to do with thee woman?" These words of Christ appear as a rebuke to you, and so you write and ask the question.

No, it is not a rebuke. Had it been a rebuke, the Mother of God would have felt it at that moment more than we would today. And had she understood it as a rebuke, she would not have said another word. However, she immediately said to the servers, "Do whatever He tells you to do."

What have I to do with thee woman? These words are the words of enlightenment and not rebuke. The Lord wants to enlighten His Mother, not rebuke her. Out of compassion, she thought of lower, bodily needs of those present, and He thought of the higher, spiritual needs. She wanted everything to be in order, according to custom, without anybody being disappointed or ashamed, and He wanted to wake the sleeping and heal the ailing human souls. He came down among the people in order to turn our watery being into wine; our ashes into fire. The Mother of God, true, would like her Son to do a good deed for the people, but the good deed that she has in mind is very small. He wants to do a good deed for the people-in that, His heart is in agreement with His Mother's-but a deed that is too great, according to His greatness and beneficial for all generations until the end of the world. For the need of the wedding party at the moment, wine could have been borrowed in the neighborhood. Wine is not scarce in that country. But wine is not important; the miracle is. People drink the wine and forget about it, but a miracle they do not forget. Wine, as a bodily need, belongs to the kingdom of the world, while a miracle, as a spiritual need, belongs to the Kingdom of Heaven. The Theotokos thought of the former for a moment; the Lord thought of the latter. The Seer, seeing clearly that His Mother's thoughts were distant from His own, wanted to raise her from the lower kingdom to the higher. This is why He said mildly, "What have I (in common) with thee, woman?" Saint John Chrysostom writes the following about this, "These were not the words of rebuke of the Mother, but of divine domestic arrangement", that is, arranging of the Kingdom of Heaven in the Mother's soul, as well as in the souls of all those who would read these words. Remember how Christ told Lazarus' sister, "Martha, Martha, you worry and labor over much, but only one thing is needed." These words were also not words of rebuke but enlightenment. The Kingdom of Heaven is above all, and all human worries and cares need to be directed toward that kingdom.

But why did the Lord say woman and not mother? In order to more clearly distinguish between His thoughts and Her thoughts. Because if He had said "mother", we would not pay as much attention to the above discussed words, nor would we feel the difference between their thoughts at that moment. He had to give Peter a much harsher lesson, saying, "Get away from me Satan! You do not think what is of God, but what is of men." But had He told him, "Get away from me Peter (or man), neither Peter nor we would notice the abyss which was between him and the Lord.

Did the Theotokos understand her Son at that moment, and did she receive the lesson? Completely. She immediately stopped advising the Advisor and directing the Director, and she obediently and meekly returned to her role-to prepare the path for Him among people. That is why she talks to the servers and tells them, "Do whatever He says." And when the servers did all that He told them to do, then she, along with everyone else expected the unexpected with trembling.

Brother, let us also listen to the Most Holy Mother. Let us do everything that Her Son has commanded. It is within our power. And when we do everything we were told to do, let us expect the unexpected with trembling. Namely, let us expect a miracle from Him the miracle of turning the bodily man into a spiritual one, earthly into heavenly, water into wine.

Peace and joy of the Lord to you.


St. John 2:3: Here is an example of Mary's gift of intercession. The Orthodox Church believes that the Mother of God continually speaks and entreats her Son on our behalf.

Please note: 2:4: "Woman" is a title of respect and distinction. Jesus addresses His Mother from the Cross in the same way (St. John 19:26) as He does the woman at the well (4:21), the adulteress (8:10) and Mary Magdalene (20:13, 15) thus giving great dignity to womanhood. "What does your concern have to do with Me?" is literally, "What to Me and to you?" A better translation is, "What concern is that to Me and to you?" or, "Why do you intervene?" In His answer to His Mother, Jesus is neither refusing Mary's request nor embarrassing her that the time for His full and public self-disclosure has not yet arrived. "My hour" refers primarily to the time of His "glorification"--His Passion, death, Resurrection, and Ascension. {Orthodox Study Bible).

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

+Father George