Orthodox Christians from the beginnings of the early church until this day ask for not only the intercessions of Mary, but of all the saints. We pray directly to God and we ask for the intercession of His mother and all the saints, fulfilling Matthew 18:20, and knowing that He is in our midst.
It is common for visitors to enter an Orthodox church and think, “Wow! They really like Mary.” And we do really like Mary, but what a visitor first sees is not necessarily why we like Mary. When entering an Orthodox Church, it is common to see a large image of Mary above the altar. However,… Read more »
Up until recent centuries, the early church’s teaching that Mary remained a virgin for her entire life was unchallenged. The Orthodox hold firm to the teachings passed on to them from the Apostles, in accord with the Scriptures, that Mary was a virgin both before and after the birth of Christ.
Scripture is clear that those who keep God’s commandments are considered the children of this woman. The woman referred to in this scripture is Mary, making Mary the mother of all Christians.
The prophecy describes Mary in very grand terms pointing to her royal status. She wears a royal crown pointing to the 12 tribes or to the 12 apostles symbolizing her queenship in the new kingdom. The moon under her feet represents her dominion and victory over her enemies. Then finally clothed with the sun. This is an important woman! This is the Queen of Heaven!
The early church understood Mary to represent the new Ark of the Covenant. Like the Ark, Mary is a created thing that was capable of containing our uncontainable God. The New Testament scriptures about Mary mirror the Old Testament scriptures about the Ark of the Covenant. This is no coincidence.
Mary is not honored solely based on the fact the she physically gave birth to or nurtured Jesus. She is honored because she heard the word and kept it. It is her life of being completely surrendered to the will of God that she is honored.
References to Mary in Holy Scripture are admittedly sparse, but those instances are very strategic in the story of the Gospel.