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 ΗΝΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
THE WOMAN IN THE TWELFTH CHAPTER OF THE APOCALYPSE (REVELATION) OF SAINT JOHN (Part II)
Therefore, Saint Methodios believes that the Woman who has brought forth continues to bring forth a male child, the Logos/Word, in the hearts of the faithful; and this same Woman went forth into the desert undefiled and unharmed by the wrath of the beast. This Woman is our Mother, the Church. He then explains that the seven heads of the dragon, the devil, signify the seven vices.
Saint Andrew of Caesarea explains that the Church (Ecclesia) is pained for each one who is reborn by water and the Spirit until Christ shall be formed in them. The same also writes that the devil always arms himself against the Church and increasingly strives to make those reborn by her his food. Concerning the man-child, Saint Andrew concurs with Saint Methodius, that "in the person of those who are baptized, the Church ceaselessly gives birth to Christ, just as, according to the Apostle, we come 'unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.'" (Ephesians 4:13).
Saint Ambrose writes that most authors seem to interpret the moon, as representing the Church (Ecclesia) when referring to certain passages [Ps. 135:8-9; Ps. 103:21]. The Church (Ecclesia), like the moon would have her seasons, namely of persecution and peace. Though the moon seems to lose light, she does not. She can be cast in a shadow, but she cannot lose her light. The Church (Ecclesia), for example, is weakened by the desertion of some in time of persecution, but is replenished by the witness of Her martyrs. In fact, the moon undergoes a diminution of its light, not, however, of its mass...so that it may borrow from the sun.
Who was clad with Christ, the Sun of Righteousness? Who had the moon as footstool? Who was crowned on the head with the Twelve Stars? Who else but the Most Holy Mother, the Virgin Mary. This is the Virgin woman the beloved disciple saw clad with the Sun, and crowned by Twelve Stars, namely, the Holy Apostles, and under her feet the moon, the Sacred Church (Ecclesia) of God, imploring her intercessions for the salvation of her children.
If we examine the work of the hymn-writers of the two Akathist Hymns for the Dormition (Koimisis) of the Mother of God (Theotokos), they see in the Evangelist's divine revelation the Holy Theotokos at the right of Her Son as a great sign in heaven.
The Twenty-Four stanzas of the Akathist written in commemoration of her Dormition, as celebrated on the Holy Mountain, explain Saint John's vision as a type of her glory: "The heavenly sign was a type of thy glory, O Mother, which I beheld in the Revelation; for thou didst then appear unto me at a woman clad with the intellectual Sun. Who illumines and enlightens all, crying unto thee: Rejoice, thou who art clad with the Lord. Rejoice, thou that art embroidered before Him. Rejoice, thou that bearest the twelve-stars crown on thy head. Rejoice, thou that hast the moon as a disk by thy feet. Rejoice, thou Mother of Christians."
Arethas Caesaria writes: "That woman some accepted as the Mother of the Lord...others, too, say she is the Church, clothed in the Sun of Righteousness, and of the moon, they synagogue...under her feet."
Thus, the icons depicting the Apocalypse (Revelation) of Saint John, the Painter's Manual or ifermeneia illustrates the Twelfth Chapter of the Revelation with the Virgin upon clouds, wearing a purple robe and with Angel's wings; around her crown are twelve stars and the rays of the sun surrounded her from her head to her feet. Under her feet is the moon, and before her is a red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and wearing seven crowns; out of its mouth pours water, like a river, and the land opens up and swallows the river. Behind it is a mass of stars, and above the Virgin are two Angels holding the Child Christ is a veil; many clouds surround them.
REJOICE, THOU WHO ART CLOTHED IN THE Sun, WHO DOST IRRADIATE GRACE AND GLORY UPON ALL THE UNIVERSE.
[Akathist to the Most Holy Theotokos in Honor of Her Dormition (Koimisis), Ekos 12)
"Hail, Thou art full of grace, the Lord is with Thee! Thus does the Holy Church invoke the Most Holy Virgin, the Mother of God. But the Lord is also with every pious soul that believes in Him. The Lord's abiding with the Virgin Mary before she conceived the Savior is not a particularity proper to the Most Pure Virgin alone. The Lord is with every believing soul: "The Lord is with thee." These words may be said to everyone who keeps the Lord's Commandments. And the Lord is near unto all; only men themselves are far from Him by their hearts, by their thoughts, their intentions, and the inclinations of their hearts, as well as by their words and deeds, which are contrary to the Law of God. "Behold, I am with you all days," says our Lord, Who was born of the Most Holy Virgin, "even to the consummation of the world," that is with every one of us, at every time, throughout all generations, all ages, upon the whole space of the earth, unto the end of the world." (Saint John of Kronstadt----"My Life in Christ.")
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostom
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God