March 19, 2021

The Panagia, our True Mother (Archimandrite George Kapsanis)

 By Archimandrite George Kapsanis,
Former Abbot of Gregoriou Monastery on Mount Athos

Among the blessed and holy traditions of our Church is this beautiful typikon that we have: To read the Salutations of the Panagia every Friday night during the period of Great and Holy Lent and to gather all the Orthodox in the churches and to say "Rejoice" to our Panagia, a "Rejoice" that is not only a "poetic license", but mainly expresses the deepest gratitude of our soul to the Mother of God and Mother of us all, to whom we owe so much.

And if we did not have the holy and blessed Theotokos, we would not have our Lord and God and Savior. That is why our Church, as you know, pays great homage to our Panagia, and where Christians gather to praise the Savior Christ, they praise together with Christ our Panagia also.

In all the Services, in all the Mysteries, the Panagia is always at the right hand of Christ and is praised and glorified from the apostolic age until today. This is not something new. It is a tradition of the holy Apostles, who had the Panagia in their midst.

And when the Lord lived on earth, before He ascended to heaven, He had our Panagia with Him. And on the Cross, as you remember, but also after His Ascension into heaven, the Panagia was the Mother of the Apostles. She was the one who supported them, taught them, comforted them and guided them in their apostolic work.

And what took place with the Holy Apostles is happening over the centuries until today. In our holy Church we have the Redeemer who is our Christ, we have the Mother of the Redeemer, and we also have the Friends of the Redeemer who are the Saints.

They once asked a theologian of our Church: "What is the Church?" And he answered that the "Church is the Redeemer, the Redeemer's Mother and the Redeemer's Friends." This is the Church. So we have from the Ancient Church in the midst of us the Most Holy Theotokos.

Our Panagia is the manager of the Church of the Redeemed. Our Panagia is, after Christ, the holiest and most sacred person of the Church. She is the first of the saved. The first to be saved is our Panagia.

She is the first, as the Holy Fathers teach us, who died, was resurrected, ascended to heaven, is at the right hand of Christ, stands for all of us, for the whole world, and in the Second Coming, when all are resurrected, the Panagia will not be resurrected because she has already been resurrected. She is already the first human to be resurrected after Christ. And she will simply be an intercessor for us. She will always be at the right hand of Christ to intercede for us.

The blessing, the grace and the glory of our Panagia is therefore great. And how can it be otherwise, since in her holy womb she carried God? It became the Place In Which Was He Who Is Beyond All Places. And so she became the Mother of life.

Eve in Hebrew means "mother of life", but poor Eve was seduced by the devil and became the mother of death. She bequeathed us death. While our Panagia made the opposite move from Eve. Eve disobeyed God and lost God, while our Panagia completely obeyed the will of God and won God.

And not only did she win Him over, but she took Him in her holy womb, conceived Him, gave birth to Him, raised Him, according to His human nature, and delivered Him to the world, as the Mother of God. And because the Lord is life and resurrection, the Panagia is the Mother of Life. She is the one who gave birth to Life. She is the one who leads us to this day in the life that is Christ, and that is why she is the true Mother of Life.

The true Eve is our Panagia, who corrected the mistake of old Eve and became the true Eve herself, our true Mother.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.