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Today I write of Mary, the greatest woman who ever lived.  She is known to the Orthodox as the Theotokos.  I hope, even if you are not Orthodox, you will read this to find out why we Orthodox Christians highly honor this blessed lady.

A vast majority of Protestants are under the impression Orthodox Christians worship Mary (Theotokos).  This is simply not true.  She is honored greatly.  She is not worshipped.  Worship is for God. And while I know I am one person that cannot sway the mind of someone who has committed to this thought the majority of their lives', I hope that I can at least put a thought into their mind...that perhaps this idea is inaccurate and perhaps he or she could do a little further research before deciding to stick to this conclusion.  And maybe, just maybe, he or she will have a little better understanding of why we do honor Mary and why he or she  should as well.

Theotokos is a Greek term meaning 'birthgiver of God'.  This is the Virgin Mary.  This is the woman who was the first to accept Christ into her life. This is the woman who played an immense role in man's redemtion by her consent to bear Christ. This is the woman that leads us to Christ.  This is the woman the bible has shown us that we should honor. This is she who contained Christ, God who is uncontainable, within her womb.

The bible tells us that Mary was a virgin when the angel Gabriel appeared to her.   The prophet, Isaiah, predicted this conception.  It is written, "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:  Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14).

We honor Mary because she is the mother of Jesus Chrsit.  Mary was not just any random young girl.  Mary had found favor with God.  "Do not be afraid, Mary," said Gabriel, " for you have found favor with God"( Luke 1:30). Mary was chosen by God for an honor that will always be hers alone. And Mary accepted the task given to her.  Mary had free will.  Mary could have run and hid from the angel.  Mary could have protested.  But Mary was willing.  She answered the angel, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38).   In this action, Mary was the first to accept Christ into her life.

In accepting Christ into her life, accepting her role of the incarnation, Mary played an immense part of man's redemtion:

"Christ saves men, who have fallen through their own fault into the power of the devil, by breaking that power. He became Man for this purpose; He lived and died and rose again that He might break the chains by which men were bound. It is not His death alone, but the entire Incarnation, of which His death was a necessary part, that freed men from their captivity to Satan."           ~ Fr. John Romanides

The Holy Bible shows us that it is, indeed, fitting to honor Mary and that she is the mother of our Lord.  The angel Gabriel honored Mary,"Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you, Blessed are you among women"Luke 1:28).  Gabriel told Mary that God had found favor with her (Luke 1:30). Mary herself, in offering one of the most magnificent prayer of praise to God, "My sould magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.  For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;  For behold, henceforth all generation shall call me blessed." Her favor was further established upon meeting with her cousin, Elizabeth, when the woman, upon seeing her, exclaimed,                " Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord shuld come to me?" (Luke 1:42-43)

The icons of Mary you will find in Orthodox Christian churches and homes never depict an image of Mary alone.  All icons of Mary are with her son, Jesus Christ.  Mary is honored because of her son and the icons reflect that. The icons of Mary display the mother leading us closer to Him. She led us to him in her acceptance of her part in the incarnation and she lead people to follow him in her life (John 2:5) and she continues to lead us to Him in our life by her example.  She is often seen pointing in his direction or gazing adoringly into his eyes while holding the child out to us to behold with our own.

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Mary held our Lord and Savior in her womb for 9 months.  God, who is uncontainable, was contained within her.  For this and all of the above reasons given and so much more, Mary was the greatest woman who ever lived.  Mary was his mother, giving birth to our Lord.  He honored her and so should we.

Sources Used and Further Sources That May Interst You:

Books:

Other:

"He who is devout to the Mother of God will certainly never be lost."   ~St. Ignatius of Anticoh

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I got the idea from someone else’s blog that perhaps I should just post some random stuff on here since I am new as a way for people to get to know me a little bit better. So here goes:

RANDOM STUFF ABOUT ME

1. I was raised by my grandparents. To me, they are my parents….my dad and my mom. Because they were there to do all the things that dads and moms do. While I have strong feeling for my still living father and my biological mother who passed away almost 9 years ago, my strongest attachment is with the parents that guided me and stood by me through all of life’s ups and downs.

2. I miss my grandfather (PapPap) To me he could walk on water. He was my rock. When he died, I felt like a piece of me went with him. I felt weaker.

3. I have three children. My daughter is almost 17 (WOW!), my oldest son is 13 and my youngest is 2! #3 was a BIG surprise but is loved just the same! He brings a lot of laughter to all of us.

4. I am an Orthodox Christian. I am dedicated to my faith and fully believe in it being the Truth, The Way and The Life. It is the original apostolic church still in its original form. I love the way we worship our Lord.

5. I have been married for almost twenty years. I love my husband. He is a wonderful man and I am truly blessed. We have days of not communicating well, but who doesn’t? We’ve been through a lot…and we are stronger because of it.

6. I used to have bipolar disorder….yep, you read that right. USE TO. I know. Most conventional doctors will say, wait, that’s not possible. Either you had it and you still have it or you never had it. But I did. Now I don’t. About 6 years ago, through some accidental discoveries, my family discovered that our illnesses were being caused by artificial ingredients in foods. This led to a radical shift in the way we eat…..and our health. There’s enough info on this one to be several blogs long…. I’ll write more about this another day.

7. I make a lot of our foods from scratch. I still buy already made noodles and canned and frozen fruits and vegetables (mostly organic if it’s financially affordable) but work on gardening and learning to can my own.
I sometimes make my own breads too but not always do I have time.

8.We own a dog, 2 cats and 2 guinea pigs.

9. I live in the country. The house is between two important spots: my husband’s work and our church. The hospital where he works is about 35 minutes north and our church (Holy Cross Orthodox Church of Williamsport, PA) is about 25 minutes south.

10. I am an introvert. I was incredibly shy as a child and had incredible low self esteem. I have come a long long way from that. I have a higher self esteem and can at least carry on a conversation when spoken too but still tend to be a sort of recluse. I need to MAKE myself go out and socialize. It does NOT come naturally at all.

11.I’ve had red or reddish brown hair all my life but seem to be becoming overtaken with these strands of hair that seem to be a much stranger color….gray I believe it’s called……ugh

12. I tend to have very random thoughts…..of which I will probably share some of on this blog. I hope you enjoy them! That’s enough randomness for now though. More another time!