Edited from Arabic by Archdeacon
The Holy Virgin Saint Mary
By: HH Pope Shenouda III
No woman throughout all ages has ever been predicted by the prophets, who were inspired by the Holy Spirit
or has attained such great attention in the scriptures, as the Virgin Mary has!
Many symbols are related
to her in the Old Testament also her story, her glory, and many miracles are cited in the New Testament.
Behold, how many doxologies
and contemplations concerning her, have been quoted in the fathers books. And
how many honorable surnames inspired by the spirit of the Scriptures are offered to her by the church.
She is the Mother of
us all, the Lady of us all.. the pride of our race.. the queen who sits at the right hand of the Lord King, the perpetual
virgin.. the holy, pure, and full of grace Saint Mary.. the mighty, helpful, and merciful mother.. the Mother of the Light..
mother of pity.. of redemption.. the true vine.
She is the Saint whom
the church exalts above the ranks of the archangels, and to whom we sing saying: You
are exalted above the Cherubim, more honored than the Seraphim.
She is Saint Mary who
was raised in the temple, specifically the Holy of the Holies and pursued the life of prayers and meditation since her infancy. She is the vessel which the Lord selected to dwell in:
When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son born of a woman.
She is the lady who erased
Eves disgrace, and saved the womans reputation after sin. She is the Mother of God.. the perpetual virgin.
She is the Virgin who
came to our country (Egypt) during the infancy of Jesus Christ, and dwelt in our land for years through which she blessed
and sanctified it.
She is the Virgin who
transfigured in Zeitoon (Cairo, Egypt) in April 1968, and captured the peoples emotions through her illuminative apparition
and her visitation to us.
She is the Virgin who
performs many miracles everywhere and we used to celebrate its commemorization. The
amazing stories of her miracles are too numerous to be counted.
+ Copts are familiar
with the Holy Virgin. They revere her, not only for the faith factor but on the
grounds of their personal experience and intimacy. They commemorate the blessed
visit of the Holy Family to Egypt in the distant past in addition to the recent apparition of the Holy Virgin on the domes
of her church in Zeitoon.
No human being throughout
all ages of Christianity has ever attained such love of the people as did our Lady Saint Mary.
In Egypt, most churches celebrate her feast.
Our Coptic rites include
many Doxologies, praises, Psalis, and hymns offered to her, especially during the Coptic month Kiyahk.
The Catholic Church, also has assigned a month to honor and magnify Saint Mary, and called it The Marian
Some of our monasteries in Egypt carry her name: The Paramos,
The Syrian, Al Meharrak, i.e. almost a quarter of our whole current monasteries.
Also there is a nunnery which is called after the Virgins name, in Haret Zuela, Cairo.
Countless of convents
and schools in the Western World carry the Virgins name.
Most ancient churches were
built after her name
The oldest church on her name was built in Phillippi, during
the Apostolic era. While the oldest one carrying her name in Egypt was built
during the reign of Pope Theona the 16th . (274 A.D.)
One of the most renowned
of her churches is the church of the monastery of El Meharrak in Upper Egypt and which was consecrated during the reign of
Pope Theophilis the twenty third at the beginning of thecentury 5 th (6 th Hatour), in addition
to the churches which were built in the locations visited by the Holy Family in Egypt.
And by the way, we have two churches in Europe carrying the name:
The Virgin of Zeitoon : one of them is in Paris and the other is in Vienna.
The magnificence of the Holy
The Virgins magnificence
has been confirmed by the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (431A.D.) which was attended by two hundred bishops from all over
the world, and which established the introduction to the Creed: We magnify you, the Mother of the True Light. We glorify you, O Saint, the Mother of God (Theotokos) (()e`otokoc) for you brought forth unto us the Savior of the whole world. He came and saved our souls.
Whence, on what grounds
did the council establish this introduction??
This is what we shall
present in the following:-
+ The Holy Virgin is
the blessed Saint, who is to be beatified throughout all ages, as mentioned in her praise: Henceforth all generations will
call me blessed [Luke 1:46]
+ The church calls her
the queen whom the psalm predicted, at Your Right Hand stands the queen [Psalm 45: 9]
Whence, in trying to
draw her icon, painters place a crown on her head, while she appears at the right hand of our Lord Jesus Christ.
+ Honoring the holy Virgin
is evident in the greeting of the Angel Gabriel to her: Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women. [Luke 1: 28] i.e. a special blessing which was acknowledged also by St. Elizabeth
who spoke out with a loud voice and said, Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. [Luke 1: 42] And addressing the magnificence of St. Mary, Elizabeth felt her lowliness, and although,
she was aware of the greatness of her son to be in the sight of the Lord and that He will go before Him in the spirit and
power of Elijah [Luke 1: 15, 17] Elizabeth said, Why is this granted to me that the mother of My Lord should come to me? [Luke
Perhaps one of the clearest evidence of the dignity of the
Virgin and of her elevated rank in the sight of the Lord, is that when Elizabeth heard the greeting of St. Mary, the babe
leaped in her womb and she was filled with the Holy Spirit. Whereupon she spoke
loudly, For indeed as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. [Luke 1:
Truly, it is an amazing majesty, that St. Marys mere greeting has filled Elizabeth
of the Holy Spirit, and made her ready to prophesy and for revelation;
She realized that the
Virgin was the Mother of God and that she (St. Mary) believed for there would be a fulfillment of those things which were
told her from the Lord. Elizabeth also knew that the babe leaped for joy and
that joy was due to the holy Babe Who was in the Virgins womb, Blessed is the fruit of your womb. [Luke 1:42]
The majesty of the Virgin is manifested in being
elected by the Lord from among all women
She is the only woman
whom the divine plan waited for thousands of years, until He came upon her and
found her worthy of the great honor which Gabriel the angel proclaimed as The Holy Spirit will overshadow you,: therefore
,also that Holy One Who is to be born will be called the Son of God.[Luke1:35]
In her greatness, the Virgin excels all women
Therefore the divine
inspiration says about her, Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all. (Proverbs
31:29) Maybe it is this verse which inspired the churchs hymn: Many women
attained honors, but none of them reached what you achieved.
This holy Virgin was in the Lords mind and plans since the beginning.
For the sake of salvation with which He promised our first Parents, He said that the Seed of the woman should bruise
the serpents head. (Genesis 3:15) This
woman is the Virgin Mary, and her Seed is Jesus Christ who bruised the Serpents head on the Cross
Life encompassed by miracles
Miracles started in the
Virgins life before her birth and continued after her departure as being cited in the following:
1- The miracle of her
being conceived with, of two barren parents, after the good tidings of the Lords angel.
2- The miracle of her
betrothal through a plan that elected Saint Joseph to take care of her.
3- The miracle of her
conception with Jesus Christ in her virginity, and her perpetual virginity after birth.
4- The miracle that happened
at her meeting with Elizabeth, who, at hearing the Virgins greeting the babe leaped for joy in her womb, and she was filled
with the Holy Spirit.
5- The innumerable of
miracles that occurred during her presence in Egypt, among which was the tottering of the idols of Egypt. (Isaiah 19:1)
6- The first miracle
performed by our Lord Jesus Christ at the wedding of Cana, was in response to her request.
7- The miracle of the
dissolution of the chains and releasing Saint Mathias the apostle, was performed through her intercession.
8- The miracle of the
Lords presence to receive her soul at her departures hour.
9- The miracle of the
plague which hit the Jews who violated her burial service at her departure.
10- The miracle of her
bodys assumption to heaven.
11- The countless of
miracles she has performed everywhere and which are cited in many books.
12- Her apparitions in
many places and in specific her apparition in Zeitoon and Papa Duplo in Cairo.
and more miracles that
occur currently everywhere, and will continue to witness for her honor.
The Virgins Fast
On the first of the Coptic
month Messra (August 7th) the church celebrates the Virgins fast which the Copts revere very much. They practice it in great devoutness. Some people fast more
days than the established period (15 days), due to their great love to the Virgin.
The Virgins fast becomes a field to lay plans of spiritual activities.
In most churches daily liturgies are performed and suitable sermons are daily scheduled.
A great festival for the Virgin is set up in her ancient church in Mostorod (Egypt). The commemoration of many other saints are celebrated as well during these fasting days:
Saint George the Prince of Martyrs commemoration is celebrated in Mitdamsis monastery during the second half
of August. Likewise the feast of Saint Macarius the Great, and the feast of saint
George in his monastery in Rozaikat. Also, at the same fasting period, we celebrate
the memory of many famous virgin saints, among whom:
Saint Paeesa (2nd Messra:
8th August), Saint Lulita (6th Messra: 12th August) and Saint Marina (15thMessra: 21st August).
Moreover, on 13th Messra:
19th Aug. we celebrate the great Transfiguration feast.
During the same month
(7th Messra: 13th Aug.) we also commemorate the Annunciation of the birth of the Virgin St. Mary to St. Joachim.
However, the Virgins fast is not the only occasion we celebrate her, but for most we celebrate her too, throughout
the Coptic month Kiyahk with abundant of Doxologies, Psalies and Praises.
The Copts, especially women, revere much the Virgins fast. Many
of them break their fast on nonfat foods. Others vow to abstain from food and
water until the show up of stars in the evening.
Whence, what is the significance of all this love and reverence for the Holy Virgin?
I. Copts venerate the Virgin who visited and blessed their country, leaving traces
of her presence in many locations, on which churches were built.
II. Through the intercession
of the Virgin, many miracles have been performed, and consequently many churches are built after her name.
And maybe the apparition
of the Virgin on the domes of her church in Zeitoon associated with many miracles, has amounted to the love which Copts carry
The Virgins Feasts
The good memory of each
Saint is celebrated in the church on one occasion every year: the day of his/her departure or his martyrdom, and sometimes
the discovery of his relics, or a miracle performed by him/her, or on the occasion of building a church after his/her name.
Yet Saint Mary has many
feasts, among which:-
(1) The Annunciation of her birth (7th Messra). The angel brought
the good news of her birth to her father St Joachim. He rejoiced together with
his wife Anna, and they both vowed her to the Lord.
(2) Her birthday, which the church celebrates on 1 Bashans.
(3) Her entry into the temple. (In the residence of the virgins to worship God.)(3rd Kiahk).
(4) Her entry into Egypt together with the child Jesus Christ and St. Joseph (24th Bashans)
(5) The feast of her
departure (21st Touba). The church also commemorates the miracles which were accomplished that day. All the Apostles (except St. Thomas who was then preaching the Gospel in India) were gathered around her.
(6) The monthly feast of the Virgin (the 21st of every Coptic month) to memorize the feast day of her departure.
(7) Her Assumption (16th
Messra: 22nd Aug.)..at the end of the 15 days of fasting devoted to her.
(8) The Feast of her
miracle: The (dissolution of the iron) (21st Baouna) when she released St. Matthias the apostle and his company by unbinding
the iron chains they were shackled with.
Likewise, we celebrate
the memory of building the first church after her name, in Phillippi.
Each of all these feasts has its special hymns, and Doxologies that quote many prophesies and symbols related to her in the Old Testament.
(9) The Feast of her Apparition in Zeitoon..on the domes of St. Mary Church (on the 2nd of April 1968) and
which continued for years.
Besides celebrating all these feasts, the church offers many praises and hymns
to honor the Virgin all along the Coptic month Kiahk.
The Virgin Mary According to our Churchs Dogma
The Coptic Orthodox church
offers the Virgin St. Mary the proper devotion and honor she is worthy of, without exaggeration or belittlement.
(1) The church believes
that she is the Mother of God (()e`otokoc) and not the mother of Jesus as the Nestorians
claim. Wherefore Saint Cyril of Alexandria fought them and they were excommunicated
by the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (431 A.D.)
(2) The church believes
that the Holy Spirit has sanctified the Virgins womb at her conception of Jesus Christ, according to what the Angel said to
her: The Holy Spirit will come upon you, therefore, also, that Holy one who is to be born will be called the Son of God. [Luke
Therefore the church
disagrees with the concept of the Immaculate Conception which the Catholic Church claims that the Virgin Mary was preserved
free from original sin by divine grace.
(3) The church also believes
in the intercession of the Virgin and place it prior to the angels and archangels intercessions, because she is the Mother
of God and she is the queen who sits on the right hand of the King.
(4) The Holy Bible calls her: Full of Grace
Nevertheless the Beirout
translation-in trying to belittle her status- expressed the term as highly favored.
For all people are favored, but the Virgin alone is full of grace..though grace does not mean infallibility.
(5) The church believes
in the perpetual virginity of St. Mary. And all the churches accept this belief
except the Protestants who claim that the Virgin gave birth to more children after Christ.
(6) The church believes in the assumption of the Virgins body to heaven.
And the church commemorates this event on the 16th of Messra.
The Virgins Surnames and Symbols
indicating her glory and her relation to the Lord:
Many are the surnames
that the church addresses the Holy Virgin with. The following are amongst those
1. The Queen
.. who sits on the right hand of God. At Your right hand stands
the queen [Psalm 45:9]. On that ground, in her icons, she is always shown on the right hand of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Likewise, in the holy liturgy, we address her: Our Lady and the queen of us all...
2. Our Mother the Holy Virgin ..
On the cross, Jesus Christ
said to His disciple Saint John: Behold, your mother. [John 9:27]
The ladder which our
father Jacob had seen in his dream and which was set upon the earth, and its top reached to heaven [Gen. 28:12] was a symbol
of the Virgin who gave birth to Jesus Christ Who leads all who believe in Him to the heavenly kingdom.
4. The Bride
For she is the true bride
of the Lord, who verified the Lords words in the Psalm: Listen, O daughter, Consider and incline your ear; Forget your own
people also and your fathers house. So the King will greatly desire your beauty. Because He is your Lord, worship Him. [Psalm 45:10, 11]
On that ground, she is
also called: The Friend of Solomon referring to the Virgin mentioned in the Song of Solomon.
In that same Psalm, the
Virgin is described as,: The royal daughter is all glorious within the palace. Her
clothing is woven with gold in robes of many colors.
5. The Beautiful
As the dove which came
to Noah carrying a freshly olive leaf, as a symbol of peace, carrying to him the good news of his deliverance from the flood,
[Gen. 8: 11] so the Holy Virgin brought the good news of salvation to the whole world through our Lord Jesus Christ.
6. The Cloud
The Holy Virgin is likened
to the cloud for her superiority in addition to the prophecy of Isaiah who predicted her coming into Egypt saying: Behold,
the Lord rides on a swift cloud. And will come into Egypt. The idols of Egypt will melt in its midst. [Isaiah 19:1]
The term Cloud stands
for elevation as well as for the second coming of The Lord on the cloud. [Matt. 16:27]
II. Surnames and symbols in related to her motherhood to the Christ
7. The Mother
of God (The Theotokos) (()e`otokoc)
A surname established
by the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (431 A.D.). It is the same surname to which St. Cyril the Great, held firm in his refutation
to the Nestorians claims. And it is also the same surname with which St Elizabeth
addressed her: the Mother of My Lord. [Luke 1:43]
8. The Golden Censor ( ti shoori) T2ovri
And sometimes she is
called: Aaron Censor. As for the embers of the censor, the coal symbolizes the Human nature of the Christ, and the fire symbolizes His Divinity,
as Our God is a consuming fire [Hebrew 12: 29].
So, the censor demonstrates
the Holy Virgins womb where His Divinity has united with His Humanity.
And being of gold, the
censor indicates the glory and superiority of the Virgin. Wherefore, due to her
purity and holiness we address her chanting: Ti shoori en noov.. T2ovri `nnovb i.e. The Golden Censor
9. The Second
For as the heaven is the house of the Lord, so the Virgin was the house of the Incarnated God during the
10. The City Of God (Psalm 87:3)
Glorious things are spoken of you O City Of God or The City Of The Great King [Matt 5:33]
Many prophesies in the
Psalm about Jerusalem or Zion were verified through the Holy Virgin: This one was born there. And of Zion it will be said,
This is one and that one were born in her. And the Most High Himself shall establish her. [Psalm 87:4-5]
11. The Vine
Who Bore the Cluster of Life: (cluster of life= Jesus Christ)
In the prayer of the
third hour of the Agpeya, the church addresses the Holy Virgin saying: O Mother Of God you are the true vine who bore the
Cluster of Life, we, ask you for the salvation of our souls
12. And in accordance with that motherhood to the Lord she has more surnames:
+ The mother
of the True Light
based upon the Scriptures word that Jesus Christ is The True Light which gives light to every man coming
to the world [John 1:9].
+ And in the same course,
she is called: The Golden Lighthouse as she carries the Light.
of the Holy
in accordance with Archangel
Gabriels saying to her Therefore, also, that Holy One Who is to be born will be called the Son of God. [Luke 1:35]
+ The Mother
of The Savior
The angel of the Lord
said to St. Joseph, She will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. [Matt. 1: 21]
13. The Burning Bush
As the burning bush which
Moses had seen in the wilderness was not injured by the fire [Ex. 3:2], so the Holy Virgin who carried the Divine Ember nine
months in her womb was not injured although our Lord is said to be, A Consuming Fire [Heb. 12: 29]
The bush symbolized the
Holy Virgin, and the fire symbolized Our Lord Jesus Christ.
14. The Ark of the Covenant
The ark was made of acacia
wood that would not decay, overlaid roundabout with gold [Ex. 25: 10, 22] as a symbol of the Holy Virgins purity and glory.
The arks contents represented
Our Lord Jesus Christ. In the ark was kept: the golden pot where the Manna was hidden, the rod of Aaron that budded [Heb.
9: 4] and the tablets of the covenant (symbol of the Incarnated Word).
15. The Pot of Manna
As the Manna was a symbol
of Jesus Christ Who is the true Bread from Heaven, he who comes to Him shall never hunger and he who believes in Him shall
never thirst (John 6:35), so the Holy Virgin could be likened to the pot of Manna which carried the heavenly bread within.
16. The Rod
of Aaron that budded
Though the rod was lifeless
and was not apt for budding or producing blossoms or fruits, yet it Had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds (Numbers
Likewise, the Holy Virgin,
in her perpetual virginity gave birth to Jesus Christ our Lord.
Wherefore the Sunday
Psali refers to this fact.
17. The Tabernacle
of Meeting (Moses Tabernacle)
The Lord settled down
in Moses Tabernacle, as well as He came down unto the Holy Virgins womb. It was
in accordance with His love for his people, in both events. Wherefore we praise
the Holy Virgin in the Psalmody saying: You are likened to the Tabernacle which Moses had made on Sinai Mount...and the Lord
settled down in it.
18. The Gate
That Faces Towards The East
She is likened to the
gate which Ezekiel the prophet had spiritually seen and of which the Lord spoke: This Gate shall be shut; it shall not be
opened, and no man shall enter by it; therefore it shall be shut (Ezekiel 44:1,2). And
at that gate Ezekiel saw the glory of the Lord filling the temple. (Ezekiel 43:5).
This represents the Virginity
of St. Mary who came from the East and preserved her body as a pure and untouched vessel.
(19). The gate
of Life... The Gate
Referring to the Holy
Virgin, it is said: The Lord God of Israel has entered by it... (Ezekiel 44:2)
And as the Lord is the
life, so she is the Gate of the Life. I am the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25).
And as the Lord is the
Salvation...Who came down to offer salvation to those who believe in Him... has come to seek and to save that which was lost
(Luke 19:10). So, the Virgin is the gate of Salvation.
However, it is not uncommon
to call her: Gate for the church is also called: Gate. How awful is this place! This
is none other than the house of God, and this is the Gate of heaven! Says Jacob pointing out to Bethel. (Genesis 28:17)
20. The Holy Of Holies
She is also likened to
the Holy of Holies which was entered by the chief priest once a year to perform atonement on the peoples behalf. Likewise, the Lord God came down once unto her womb for the worlds redemption.
The Virgins Virtues
Life of Humility
Humility was a basic
attribute to the woman whom the Lord was to be born of. It is a must, to be born
of a humbled woman who can endure the glory of the Divine Incarnation through her.. the glory of the coming down of the Holy
Spirit upon her... and the glory of the Nativity... the glory of being blessed throughout all ages... endure the lowliness
of Elizabeth before her while saying, Why is this granted to me, that the mother
of my Lord should come to me? (Luke 1:43).
In addition to all the apparitions of the angels... and the worship of Magus before her Son... and the many miracles
performed by her Son in Egypt, and the luminance of her Son Who was in her bosom.
Therefore, The Fullness
of the time (Galatians 4:4) waited for that woman of whom the Son of God was to be born .
The Virgins lowliness
in heart was manifested in her life. She demonstrated it in many situations:
+ When the Angel of the
Lord brought her the good news of her becoming the Mother of God she said, Behold the maid-servant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word (Luke 1:38). Behold! his
servant and slave. The great glory which was offered to her, did not lessen her
In return, God granted
her that glory, For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me
blessed. (Luke 1:48, 49)
+ The Virgins humility
was witnessed in her going to Elizabeth to serve her during the period of her pregnancy.
Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste... and Mary remained with her about three months,
and returned to her house. (Luke 1:39, 56) Although she has conceived the Lord
+ Through her humility
she has never spoken of the glories of the Divine Incarnation.
Life of Submission to God
+ She lived a holy saintly
life in the temple.. Until it was time for her to leave.. She did not oppose or protest as many others do when they are requested
not to go to the church at certain times according to the churchs ritual, then they murmur, grumble and argue in protest.
+ She was planning to
live in celibacy, but she was requested to live in the fatherly protection of a man according to the traditions of her era.
+ She did not protest,
but accepted to quit the temple as well.
+ She pursued the life
of contentment without protest or argument, but however she accepted Gods will in content and satisfaction.
+ She had determined
to live in celibacy, and she never imagined to be a mother one day. But however,
when Gods will for her, was to be a mother through the descent of the Holy Spirit
on her [Luke 1: 35], she did not argue but replied unto her everlasting song:
Behold, the maid-servant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word [Luke 1: 38]..whence she was granted the motherhood, and she stayed in virginity and
became a mother.. an issue she had never reflected upon before.. Through contentment and submission she became the Mother
of God.. even the supreme mother throughout all ages.
+ She was commanded to
escape into Egypt.. and she did. Then she was requested to return back from Egypt..
and she submitted.
She was commanded to
relocate her place of living from Bethlehem to Nazareth.. and she did.
She was meek and gentle
living in contentment, without arguing. Whence the Almighty has done great things
for her..for He regarded the lowly state of His maidservant.
Life of Tolerance
She was orphaned of her
two parents, while she was only eight years old, and she endured the life of orphanage .
And she lived in the temple in her infancy, and tolerated the life of loneliness.
She left the temple to live in the care of a carpenter in poverty.
And when she gave birth
to her only child, there was no room in the inn, so she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, [Luke
2: 7] and she endured that also..
She carried on the responsibility
in her youth and endured the great glory which surrounded her without being tempted by thoughts of grandeur.
She was not able to proclaim
that she had brought forth a Son without knowing a man.. therefore she kept silent and endured that.
She endured the hardships
of traveling forth and back to Egypt.. and withstood being expelled from one city to another in consequence of the tottering
of the idols at the presence of Jesus Christ [Isaiah 19: 1].. she withstood alienation and poverty. She tolerated, a sword will pierce through your own soul [Luke 2: 35] arising form the suffering, persecution and insults that overtook her Son and the shame of crucifixion.
Not only did she tolerate
those hardships and situations, but she also rejoiced unto the Lord as she said in her song and my spirit has rejoiced in
God my Savior [Luke 1: 47]
Faith without murmur
Throughout all her tolerance
and suffering she has never murmured. And in spite of threatening her Son to
be killed, and His escape into Egypt, and His persecution by the Jews, she had never murmured in doubt of His future as the
Son of the Highest Who would reign over the house of Jacob forever and of His Kingdom, there shall be no end [Luke 1: 32]. Nevertheless, she was patient and trusted in the fulfillment of those matters which
were told to her from the Lord. [Luke 1:45]
She believed that she
would conceive and bring forth a Son while being Virgin. And that was fulfilled.
And she believed that
the Holy One who was to be born would be called the Son of God [Luke 1: 35] although He was born in a manger. All what she trusted and believed in, was established and confirmed through the apparitions and the angels
she had seen and through the miracles her Son had performed , in spite of the persecutions he encountered. She believed in Him while He was on the Cross...thereon she saw Him on His Resurrection. (Matthew 28)
Silence... Prayer and Contemplation
In accordance with Gods plan, she
was orphaned and lived in the temple where she learned how to live in solitude and silence and persevere in praying and contemplating. Also, as she lost the love and gentleness of her parents, she kept busy with Gods
love alone. Thus she bent on praying and praising and reading the holy Scriptures,
and memorizing many of its verses, as well as the Psalms. May be her song, at Elizabeths place was a plain evidence of
that, especially because the majority of its words were quoted of the inscriptions verses and Psalms.
Silence became one of
her major spiritual attributes. For, behold, in spite of what she had seen related
to the Divine Nativity and its coincident amazing events and miracles, and Magus, she nevertheless did not boast of these
glories, but instead kept all these things and pondered them in her heart (Luke 2:19).
Thereby, the Holy silent
and contemplating Virgin, set an example for us. May we pursue her: contemplate
more and speak less.
Nevertheless I figure
out that when the appropriate time came for her to speak, she became a reference for the churchs traditions, concerning the
news of which the apostles and the writers of the books of the Holy Gospel, knew the details of the miracles and the debate
between Jesus Christ in His youth and the Rabbis in the temple. [Luke 3: 46,47]
The Lord has elected this poor, orphaned girl to be the greatest woman all over the world. The virtues she possessed have exceeded all riches.
Her purity and holiness
were among her many virtues: chastity, virginity, spiritual knowledge, spirit of giving, and her spiritual motherhood to the
However, any attempt
to enumerate her virtues will fall short of surrounding them.
Many are the beatitudes which are offered to the holy Virgin, and which
are included in: the churchs hymns, and praises, glorifications, Doxologies, Theotokias.. through all her feast days, together
with the Kiahkian Psalmody and the Holy Psalmody.
the commemoration of Saints, and in all the canonical prayers the Virgins name is mentioned prior to the Archangels.
the beatitude of the holy Virgin, the church realizes the prophesy which she had predicted in her praise: Henceforth all generations
will call me blessed [Luke 1: 48]
Hence, the priest offers her the incense and the church praises her chanting: Shere Maria or Rejoice O Mary
and glorifies her with King David the Prophet who moved the ten strings of his
harp crying out saying the queen stood at Your Right Hand O King
Furthermore, we glorify
her through the prayers of the Agpeya and of the Liturgy and in all the churchs
the synaxarium.. the
Antiphonarion (Defnar)..the Katameros.. the Psalmody.. and the books of Hymns.
In the Agpeya (i.e. the Coptic book of hours) we appeal for her intercessions in the third passage of every prayer
Likewise, in the introduction
of the Orthodox Creed, we address the Holy Virgin saying: We magnify you, the Mother of the True Light. We glorify you O Saint the Mother of God Theotokos
Even at the final blessing
of the Liturgy, the priest starts saying: The supplications and prayers which the Lady of us all the Holy Theotokos, Saint
Mary makes for us, and those then he mentions the names of the Angels, Apostles, martyrs and saints, after which he ends the
blessing prayer saying, And the blessing of the holy Theotokos first and last
The Holy Virgins Icon
The images which are
planned for meditation differ from the ritual Icons.
In an Icon, the Holy
Virgin should be drawn as the Mother of God (Theotokos), who sits on His right hand, in accord with the Psalms words: At Your
right hand stands the queen, o King [Psalms 45:9]
And because she is a
queen, she should have a crown on her head, as well as our Lord Jesus Christ.
And being a Saint she
should have a luminous nimbus around her head, as God says: You are the light of the world. [Matthew 5:14]
And as she is called
the Second Heaven, so she is surrounded by stars, angels and clouds.
O Mother of God, intercede on our behalf, so that the Lord may have mercy upon us.