You are the crown of virginity, You are the Virgin Mother! And who among the people is able to adequately praise the all-singing Mary? O miracle! She is both the Mother and the Virgin! Closing remarks at the III Ecumenical Council (113, 252).
From the prince of this age, the virginity of Mary, Her birth, and also the death of the Lord were hidden, the loud mysteries that took place in the silence of God. Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-bearer (113, 253).
The power of God, which found on the Virgin, overshadowed her and made the Virgin fruitful. Martyr Justin the Philosopher (113, 253).
The Mother and the Virgin are one and the same: neither virginity prevented Her from giving birth, nor birth violated her virginity. Saint Gregory of Nyssa (113, 253).
She who said the words: “Behold the Servant of the Lord; be it to me according to your word” (Luke 1, 38) and after she conceived in the womb, Virgin, and after she gave birth, Virgin, for the prophet also announced not only that the Virgin will conceive, but also what the Virgin will give birth to (Is. 7, 14) St. Ambrose of Milan (113, 253).
Ever-Virgin Mary is the Mother of God. The Blessed Virgin Mary gave birth to Him Who, being true God, at the very moment of conception in Her womb, took human nature into the unity of His Hypostasis. So that in the incarnation from Her He was, and after the incarnation invariably remains the one Divine Person, as He existed from eternity until the incarnation. She gave birth to the Lord Jesus Christ – not according to His Divinity, but according to humanity, which, however, from the very moment of His incarnation, became inseparably and hypostatically united in Him with His Divinity. From the very moment of His incarnation, it was deified by Him, and became His own Divine Face. So that both the conception, and the stay in the womb of the Virgin during a certain period of gestation, and the birth from Her belonged to His Divine Person proper. She gave birth not to a simple man, but to true God, and not just to God, but to God in the flesh, who did not bring a body from heaven and passed through Her as through a canal, but who took from Her flesh consubstantial with us, which in Himself received a hypostasis. Saint John of Damascus (113, 253).
The Holy Spirit shone in a pure mirror, in the immaculate body of the Virgin, forming a perfect Man not according to the law of nature, not in time, not from human seed, but by one appearance, by spiritual and holy power moved the Virgin to birth, inexplicably draining the Embryo in Her, as if what fabric to save people. Saint John Chrysostom (42, 913).
From His Immaculate Mother, the Lord borrowed pure flesh, and gave Her the Divinity instead of the flesh that She gave Him. Oh, wonderful and wonderful exchange. Saint Simeon the New Theologian (60, 398).
The Virgin Mother is, as it were, the only boundary between the created and uncreated Divine nature. And all who see God will recognize Her as the place of the Uncontainable. And all those who praise God will also sing of Her after God. She is the cause of the blessings and gifts that were before Her to the human race, and the Giver of the present, and the Intercessor of the eternal ones. She is the foundation of the prophets, the beginning of the apostles, the foundation of martyrs, the foundation of teachers. She is the glory of those who are on earth, the joy of those who are in heaven, the adornment of all creation. She is the beginning, the source and the root of the hope prepared for us in heaven, which may we all be honored to receive through Her prayers for us, to the glory of Jesus Christ, our Lord, who was born before the ages from the Father and in recent times became incarnate from Her. Saint Gregory Palamas (65, 144).
Speaking of the Uncorrupted and Unartistic, it is impossible to use the word “conception” in the proper sense, because the words “virginity” and “carnal conception” are incompatible in the One and the Same.
But just as the Son is given to us without a father (earthly), so the Child is born without a carnal conception. Just as the Virgin did not know how a God-acceptable body was formed in Her body, she did not feel birth. According to the testimony of prophecy, Her birth was without illnesses: “before her pains came, she was born with a son” (Is. 66, 7). Saint Gregory of Nyssa (19, 336).
… The Virgin (Eve) expelled us from paradise, through the Virgin (Mary) we found eternal life – by what we are condemned, by that we are crowned. St. John Chrysostom (39, 196).
The Virgin Mary became heaven for us, God’s throne, because the highest Divinity descended and dwelt in Her in order to exalt us… In Her the Divinity was clothed in a robe for us, in order to deliver salvation to us. Saint Ephraim the Syrian (29, 226).
When you see the icon of the Most Holy Theotokos, turn your heart to Her, the Queen of Heaven, and thank Her for appearing so ready for obedience to the will of God that she gave birth, nurtured and raised the Redeemer of the world, and that in our invisible warfare she never becomes impoverished intercession to help us. Saint Nicodemus the Holy Mountaineer (64, 95).
She was of average height, or, as some say, somewhat above average. Her hair was golden, her eyes were lively, her eyebrows were arched, dark, her nose was straight, elongated, her lips were flowering, her face was not round and not pointed, but somewhat elongated, her arms and fingers were long. Nicephorus Callistus (113, 255).
She was a Virgin not only in body, but also in soul: humble in heart, prudent in words, prudent, reticent, a lover of reading … industrious, chaste in speech, honoring not a person, but God as the Judge of Her thoughts. Her rule was not to offend anyone, to be well-disposed to everyone, to honor elders, not to envy equals, to avoid boasting, to be sane, to love virtue. Has She ever offended her parents with her facial expression or been in disagreement with her relatives, has she become proud in front of a modest person, laughed at the weak, evaded the poor? She had nothing stern in her eyes, nothing imprudent in her words, nothing indecent in her actions: her body movements were modest, her tread was quiet, her voice was even; so that Her appearance was a reflection of the soul, the personification of purity. Saint Ambrose of Milan (113, 256).
In conversation, She retained modest dignity, did not laugh, did not become indignant, and especially did not get angry. Absolutely artless, simple, She did not think in the least about Herself, and far from effeminacy, she was distinguished by complete humility. She was content with the natural color of her robes, which even now is proved by Her sacred head covering. In short, in all Her actions, a special grace was revealed. Nicephorus Callistus (113, 256).
We all know that the Ever-Virgin Mother of God is full of grace and all virtues. It is said that in persecutions and troubles she was always cheerful, in need and poverty she was not upset, she was not angry with those who offended her, but even did good to them. She was meek in well-being, merciful to the poor and helped them as much as she could, she was a mentor in piety and in every good deed. She especially loved the humble, because she herself was filled with humility. Many praises are given to Her by those who have seen Her. People worthy of trust told about Her, that according to Her holiness in Her appearance, angelic nature and human nature were united. Saint Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-bearer (113, 256).
When I was introduced before the face of the God-like, most luminous Virgin, a great and immeasurable Divine light shone around me from without and from within, and such a wondrous fragrance spread around me that neither my feeble body nor my spirit itself could endure such abundant and great signs and firstfruits. eternal bliss and glory. My heart has failed, my spirit has failed in me from Her glory and Divine grace! The human mind cannot imagine any glory and honor (even in the state of people glorified by God) higher than the bliss that I then tasted, unworthy, but rewarded by mercy and blessed beyond any idea. Saint Dionysius the Areopagite (113, 256).
Annunciation and the establishment of the sacrament of the Body and Blood. What a combination! We partake of the true Body and true Blood of Christ – the very ones that, in incarnation, are received from the immaculate blood of the Most Pure Virgin Mary. Thus, in the incarnation that took place at the hour of the annunciation, the foundation was laid for the sacrament of the Body and Blood. And now this is brought to memory by all Christians, so that, remembering this, they honor the Most Holy Theotokos as their true Mother, not only as a prayer book and intercessor, but also as a nourisher of all. Children feed on mother’s milk, and we feed on the Body and Blood, which are from the Blessed Virgin Mary. Bishop Theophan the Recluse (107, 96-97).
Who will not be surprised that for all the time from the crime of Adam to the incarnation of the Word of God, who came to earth for the salvation of the human race in half the sixth thousand years, there was not a single such virgin on earth who would be pure not only in body, but also in spirit ? She alone turned out to be the first and last such Virgin, who, by her purity of body and soul, became worthy to be a church and a temple of the Holy Spirit. And just as then, thanks to her virginal purity, she ascended and drew near to God the Holy Spirit and was united into one spirit with God – as it is said in Scripture: “he who is united with the Lord is one spirit with the Lord” (1 Cor. 6, 17), so and in her most honorable Dormition, by the same step, she ascended to him, to heaven and beyond heaven. She ascended to God the Son on the level of humility, for through humility she became worthy to be His Mother. With the same step She ascended to heaven and surpassed in honor and dignity all the faces of the saints … With the same high step of the deepest humility, she reached the highest honor of the Birth of God, incorruptible motherhood, for during Her humble words: “Behold, the Servant of the Lord” (Lk 1:38) in Her most pure virginal womb “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). Humility is the foundation of everything, and all other virtues serve as a superstructure on this foundation. And in her life, the Most Pure Virgin most of all, through humility, approached God, Who says:
“On whom I will look: on the humble and contrite in spirit” (Is. 66, 2). With the same humility and in her Assumption, She ascended to heaven and was elevated with glory to the throne of the Heavenly Kingdom, for humility reigns by the Most Pure Virgin where pride is cast down.
To the third most important person of the Holy Trinity – God the Father, She ascended the third highest step – love, for according to the apostle “the love of them is greater” (1 Cor. 13, 13). Through her She became the Daughter of the Heavenly Father. How the Most Pure Virgin loved God, no language can explain this, no mind can comprehend, for love is one of the unknown secrets of the heart, known only to God, and to the testing heart, known.
… In people, love differs by type: in a special way they love their parents, otherwise a friend, otherwise a son. The love of the Most Pure Virgin had no differences, for the One whom She loved was for Her both the Father, and the only Son, and the imperishable Bridegroom. All Her all-encompassing love was directed to the one God, and for her sake She was called both the bride of the Holy Spirit, and the Mother of God the Son, and the Daughter, not by such communion as all become faithful children of God, according to the words of Scripture: “To those who believe in His name, He gave power be children of God” (John 1:12), and in another place: “And I will receive you. And I will be your Father, and you will be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:17-18) . The Most Pure Virgin became the daughter of God the Father in a different, incomparably higher, more honest and closest assimilation.
Let us imagine that a certain man took in two young orphaned girls, brought them up as daughters, and named them both his daughters, and then made one of them the bride of his half-blooded son. This maiden, combined with his son, becomes, according to the law of nature, his closest daughter, related to him to a greater extent than the maiden who was not combined with his son. For this one is only his named daughter, the first one becomes his daughter according to the law of nature, since she becomes one flesh with his son, according to the law of nature – the daughter of the same father. The same can be said about the Most Pure Mother of God. So with these three steps (I do not mention countless others), the Mother of God now ascends in the heavenly: to God the Holy Spirit – with virgin purity, to God the Son with humility, and to God the Father – love. I will say more: by all these steps She ascended to the one God in the Trinity. For by what pleased God the Holy Spirit, by the same it pleased both God the Son and God the Father; what pleased God the Son, the same pleased both God the Father and God the Holy Spirit; what pleased God the Father, the more pleased God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Saint Demetrius of Rostov (103, 681-686).
The divine body of the God-Man was conceived Divinely and born Divinely. Virgo. was born, being at the time of birth filled with the most holy spiritual joy. Sickness did not accompany this birth, just as illness did not accompany the taking of Eve from Adam (111, 403).
The Mother of God was the only verbal vessel into which God indwelled with His very being (111, 404).
With all the greatness of the Mother of God, Her conception and birth took place according to the general law of mankind, therefore, the general confession of the human race about conception in iniquity and birth in sin belongs to the Mother of God. The Mother of God confesses before all mankind in the Gospel … that the God born by Her is also Her Savior. If God is Her Savior, then She was conceived and born in sin according to the general law of fallen humanity (111:405-406).
The descent of the Holy Spirit on the Ever-Virgin happened twice. For the first time, the Holy Spirit descended on Her after the gospel uttered by the Archangel Gabriel, cleansed Her, pure according to the human concept, made her graciously pure, capable of receiving God’s Word into herself and becoming His Mother … The second time the Holy Spirit descended on the Virgin on the day of Pentecost … Then the Holy Spirit destroyed in Her the dominion of eternal death and original sin, elevated Her to a high level of Christian perfection, made Her a new person in the image of the Lord Jesus Christ (111, 407-408).
The Mother of God did not know the struggle with carnal desires: before lust could act in Her, the Holy Spirit descended on Her, sealed Her purity, bestowed upon Her spiritual pleasure, to which Her heart clung (111, 413).
The Ever-Virgin Mother is above all saints, both for the reason that she became the Mother of the God-Man, and for the reason that She was the most constant, most attentive hearer and performer of the teaching proclaimed by the God-Man (111, 423).
Just as the Lord replaced Adam with Himself, so He replaced Eve with the Mother of God. Eve, being created a virgin, transgressed the commandment of God and could not retain in herself the holy feeling of virginity… The Mother of God, being conceived and born in the sin of the forefathers, prepared Herself with a chaste and God-pleasing life into the vessel of God (111, 425).
The Mother of God on the third day, according to her blessed Dormition, resurrected and now lives in heaven in body and soul. She not only lives in heaven, She reigns in heaven … The Holy Church, turning with petitions to all the greatest saints of God, to all the Angels and Archangels, says to them: “Pray God for us”, she asks only the Mother of God: “Save us “. Bishop Ignatius (Bryanchaninov) (111, 428).
In the summer of 1395, Tamerlane invaded the Russian borders. He boasted that grass does not grow where his horse steps. Tamerlane had already taken the city of Yelets, beat up a lot of people and moved on to Moscow. Grand Duke Vasily Dimitrievich hastily gathered an army and waited for a formidable guest at Kolomna. Beleno was to transfer the famous Vladimir icon from Vladimir to Moscow. Weeping stood in Moscow churches, innumerable candles flickered in front of the icons … The inhabitants of Moscow with the grand-ducal family and with all the clergy went to Kuchkovo field, towards the icon, and a miracle happened. At the hour of the meeting of the icon in Moscow, Tamerlane was sleeping in his tent. In a dream he saw a high mountain. Hierarchs with golden wands descended from the mountain, above them in the air in indescribable grandeur, in the radiance of bright rays, stood the radiant Virgin. Dark Angels surrounded the Virgin and held fiery swords in their hands … Tamerlane woke up in horror and called the wise men. “This Virgin,” they said, “the Intercessor of the Russians, the Mother of the Christian God… Her power is irresistible.” Tamerlane ordered his hordes to turn back. “Tamerlane fled, says the chronicler, driven by the power of the Blessed Virgin.” Moscow Patericon (94, 6-7).
Once, in the dead of night, Saint Sergius was doing his cell rule and before the icon of the Mother of God he sang the Akathist, which he did daily… now to have a wonderful visit.” And immediately a voice was heard: “Behold, the Most Pure One is coming!”… The elder got up, went out into the hallway, and here a light brighter than the sun shone on him. He beheld the Most Blessed Virgin, accompanied by the Apostles Peter and John the Theologian… Unable to endure this wondrous radiance and the ineffable glory of the Mother of Light, St. Sergius fell on his face. But the good Mother touched him and said: “Do not be afraid, My chosen one. Your prayer for your disciples has been heard. Do not grieve any more about your monastery. From now on, it will have abundance in everything – not only during your lifetime, but also after that, how will you go to God. I will not leave this place and will always keep it “… Troitzkiy (Trinity) Patericon (90, 250, 253).
Photo by Ron Lach :