My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
+ In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Glory to You, our God, glory to You. Come, let us bow down and worship God our King. Come, let us bow down and worship Christ our God and King. Come, let us bow down and worship Christ Himself, our King and our God.
Receive, O Lord, the doxologies and praises, the blessings, thanksgiving and petitions of Your sinful and unworthy servants, such as we able to make at this time. And grant to us the remission of our transgressions. Overshadow us with the protection of Your wings. Expel from us every enemy and adversary. Bring peace to our life. Deliver us from the darkness of the destructive passions. Dispel from us the gloomy desire of mortal pleasures. You Who know the content of our heart, heal the latent wounds of our souls, which You alone observe, and strengthen the resolved of our mind to do Your Holy Will. Have mercy on us, help and protect us, O God, by Your grace, through the intercessions of our All-Pure Lady, the Theotokos, and of all Your Saints. For You are blessed unto the ages. Amen.
ONE MEDIATION OF THE MEDIATOR AND THE MEDIATRESS
By Dr. George S. Gabriel (A graduate of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological School, Brookline, MA, Dr. Gabriel received the doctorate degree in Orthodox theology from the Academie de Paris' Saint-Denys Institut de Theologie Orthodoxe de Paris, France.) (Source: MARY: The Untrodden Portal of God)
"She did not mediate only on behalf of certain chosen races, but between God and the entire human race. Standing between both, she made God the Son of Man and men the sons of God" (Saint Gregory Palamas, Homily 53: On the Entry of the Theotokos). Her mediation is more than a parallel to her Son's; it is the same mediation because she is the mother of His humanity. And Christ's mediation belongs to the humanity of the Son of Man and High Priest. He is the Mediator because her mediation came first. "Through her mediation, He saved and vivified the human race" (St. Modestus of Jerusalem, Encomium on the Dormition). The meaning of the "one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself a ransom for all" (1 Timothy 2:5), therefore, includes Jesus' mother. For it was through her that He became the Mediator of the eternal communion of God and creation. Her mediation became His mediation, and He became our "high priests in the heavens" (Hebrews 4:14). "He did not take on Him the nature of Angels, of course; rather He took on the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself suffered being tempted, He is able to aid them that are tempted" (Hebrews 2:16-18).
This mediation operates unceasingly through the Theotokos. Divinized by grace in the image of Christ's theandric energy, her human energy also became one (but unconfused) with His Divine will because, from childhood, "she shunned human pursuits and surrendered to God the mind's reigning faculty and place it in obedience to Him in all things" (St. Gregory Palamas). In a relative sense, Angels and Saints also enjoy oneness with God. Regarding the Theotokos, however, it is incomparably and infinitely greater: "The difference between His friends and His mother, however, is infinite" (St. John of Damascus, Second Encomium on the Dormition, ch. 10). "She alone among all others was worthy and received all gifts of the Spirit collectively" (St. John of Damascus). She is the "Queen Mother," (First Ode, Canon of the Akathist Hymn), the "Queen at the right hand of God" (Psalm 44:10) in Heaven, interceding "with motherly boldness" (From the Compline prayer to the Theotokos. The original Greek word (παρρησία) translated here as "boldness" also means "candidness" or, more precisely, "freedom to speak.").
The New Testament give us the following vivid example of the power of her mediation with motherly boldness before the Lord. When the Savior attended the marriage at Cana, the appointed time had not yet come according to the Divine plan for His public miracles to begin. Therefore, replying to His mother's mediation to Him because the host's wine had been exhausted, He said, "Woman, what hath this to do with Me and with thee? For My hour is not yet come" (St. John 2:3-4). [Our translation of the passage is accurate and refutes the Protestant Bibles (King James, SRV, etc.) that present Christ as disdainful of His mother.] Nevertheless, through her motherly boldness and intercession, the Divine plan and will granted that the first public miracle of the Incarnate Logos (Word) be the changing of water into wine. The narrative also repeats to us her sublime admonition to all who would ask for her intercession, "Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it!"
Chosen from before the ages and generations to be mother of the Creator, she is also the Mediatress of His unceasing energies of love, rule, will, mercy, and sustaining power and providence in the universe unto eternity. She "has honors second after the Trinity and directly receives the fullness of the gifts of God, transporting them to all, to Angels and to men" (St. Andrew of Crete). As the "provider of life, the life of the living, the co-cause of life" (St. Andrew of Crete), she mediates every energy or operation of God to His creatures. And before this stunning mystery the minds of men, even of the greatest fathers, are insufficient; the wise are shown unwise, and "philosophers are made fools" (Akathist Hymn, Third Stasis).
Power to do all that she wills
Mary's intercession and mediation, therefore, are not only incomparably greater but incomparably different in nature from those of the Angels and Saints. The intercessions of all other Saints are only supplicatory in nature. Without Mary the mother of the Incarnate Logos (Word), however, there can be no Saints. She is one of the two persons in the mystery of the Incarnation. By her words "Be it done to me" she became the co-cause of the sanctification of human flesh: "No one is filled with the knowledge of God except through you, All-Holy One. No one is saved but through you, O Virgin Mother. No one is redeemed but through you, O Mother of God. No one receives the gift of mercy but through you who contained God" (St. Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople, Second Homily on the Dormition). For "in birthgiving, you preserved virginity, and in dormition you did not abandon the world, O Theotokos" (Apolytikion of the Dormition Feast). It is natural, then, for the body of the Church to sing, "For it is you whom I have as Mediatress (Mesitria) before the man-loving God" (An Exapostilarion in the Service of Supplication in the Dormition fast period). And the faithful pledge to her, "We shall never silence our speaking of your powers, O Theotokos" (A Troparion of the Small Supplicatory [Paraklesis] Canon).
Her mediation and Christ's mediation operate as one in an unceasing, indivisible synergy in Heaven and in the world. Therefore, she remits sins, intercedes, saves, heals, enlightens, sanctifies, guides, guards, protects; she routs demons and barbarian hordes, delivers us from dangers, turns tides, calms storms. A profound vesper hymn clearly distinguishes the unique nature of the intercessions of the Theotokos: "Unveil to us the boundless sea of your mercy and goodness and thereby wash away our sins, O All-Blameless One, for as the Mother of God you have authority over creation, and by your power you bring all things to pass according to your will. For the grace of the Holy Spirit clearly abides in you, and unceasingly co-works with you in all things, O All-Blameless One" (Small Vespers, Saturday of the Fourth Tone, Apostichon of the Theotokos).
Among the Saints and Angelic hosts, the Theotokos alone, therefore, "has power to do all that she wills" (Theotokion of Tuesday of the Plagal First Tone). To her is given therefore, "authority over creation," not merely honorary or titular authority but authority with power. For the vesper hymn tells us she "brings all things to pass" by grace, and not by grace that is occasional or tentative, but by full and "unceasing" grace that abides in her. By unceasing grace, her creaturely energy becomes uncreated, as it were. Like the mystery of the Incarnation, it is the mystery of two persons, one created and one Uncreated, co-working in synergy that is as a single operation. For no creature is of its own nature "boundless." Only the uncreated, divinely energy is boundless, unfailing, undiminished, inexhaustible, eternally constant. The efficacy of this synergy, therefore, springs from the one power and one rule (or "kingdom") of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. An Entry Hymn of the Divine Liturgy invokes her "unchanging mediation" and her "constant protection of Christians." Elsewhere she is also described as "unresting in intercessions" (Kontakion of the Dormition), the constant and "ready reception" (Compline (Apotheipnos) of the Theotokos) of all who approach her seeking refuge.
Please note: Some years ago a Greek Orthodox Christian was asked by his wife who was Roman Catholic if the Orthodox Church honored and sought the intercessions of the Ever-Virgin Mary and his answer was "no we don't believe in all that." This true incident that was brought to my attention started me thinking about how many more Orthodox Christians feel the same way? How many more of our faithful do not know who Panagia (All-Holy) Mother of God is and her great contribution to our salvation and that of all mankind? I understand that the majority of our Orthodox Christians have never had any formal Catechism (religious instruction) but today the website of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and other genuine Orthodox websites have everything that one needs to know about the Orthodox Christian faith and, therefore, there is no excuse anymore not to know one's Orthodox Christian Faith and Holy Tradition. One does not have to leave home and attend an Adult Catechism class at church. While one is drinking his/her tea or coffee at the house, he can turn on the computer and find an authentic Orthodox website and learn what we believe and do not believe. Once this is accomplished then that person, husband or wife, can share the information with their children and others.
The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God