August 17, 2013

The Mother of God as "Sea" and "Mountain" (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

Today's feast, my beloved brethren, is one of the greatest feasts of our ecclesiastical festal calendar, which is why it is preceded by fasting and prayer, so that Christians can prepare to celebrate with their soul and body, as God wants. The throng of people this day, as well as all the preceding days at the Supplication Services, shows that they are deeply touched by the person of our Panagia.

On the occasion of today's feast I would like to present to your love two important images that describe the person and work of our Panagia, which derive from the homilies of Saint Germanos, Patriarch of Constantinople, who loved the Panagia very much.

One image is associated with the sea. Saint Germanos writes that Christ, the heavenly raindrop, glorified the Panagia, having showed her magnificence which is as a vast sea. This passage of Saint Germanos shows the relationship between Christ and the Panagia. Christ is the one who glorified her. He made her His Mother, He sent her His Grace. Whatever the Panagia has is a gift from her Son and we magnify the Panagia for the fruit of her womb, Christ. Of course, the Panagia synergized in this matter, since by her life she attracted Christ, and Christ, that blessed heavenly raindrop, made her into a brilliant sea, glorified her and honored her. And the miracles performed by the Panagia are the result of her having boldness before her Son.

The second image is associated with a mountain. Saint Germanos glorifies the Panagia as the fertile and shadow-filled mountain. And he goes on to say that on this mountain grew the reasonable lamb, Christ, who bore our sins and diseases. This passage shows the relationship between Christ and the Panagia, but also that the Panagia was instrumental by her life and obedience in the birth of Christ.

Here are two great facts which describe the work of the Panagia: the sea and a mountain. This also reveals what the Panagia gave to the world.

And we on these days enjoy the beauties of nature, such as the sea and the mountains, and we seek rest from our daily toils. Along with the rest which we all have need of, let us also think that the Panagia is the true sea of of the love of God, and the true mountain of our protection and hope. Let us swim in the cool sea of the love of the Panagia, and let us ascend to the mysteries of her magnificence, that we may find rest in our souls. Under these conditions, the Summer becomes salvific and not injurious.

I pray that you all have the love and protection of the Panagia in your lives, and that God will grant you her sleepless intercessions, for the health of both soul and body.

Source: Ekklesiastiki Paremvasi, "ΕΟΡΤΗ ΤΗΣ ΚΟΙΜΗΣΕΩΣ ΤΗΣ ΠΑΝΑΓΙΑΣ", August 1998. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.