October 11, 2022

Homilies on the Great Litany of the Divine Liturgy - Mary the Theotokos (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

Homilies on the Great Litany of the Divine Liturgy

Mary the Theotokos  

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

Every time we celebrate the Divine Liturgy and every Sacred Service, and we pray to God, either to the Triune God - the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit - or to the God-man Christ, we also ask for the intercessions of Mary the Theotokos, our Panagia. This is because the Panagia played an important role in the incarnation of the Son and Word of God and our salvation. The "homeless" God acquired a "home", that is, he entered the world through our Panagia.

Thus the known prayer: "Commemorating our most holy, pure, most blessed, and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary, with all the saints, let us commend ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God."

In this supplication we can see two points:

The first is the cosmetic epithets we attribute to our Panagia, which are not superficial, devoid of substance and content, but perfectly correspond to her person and work.

We call the Mother of Christ the "Panagia" ("Most Holy"), because she is superior to all the Saints, she is "the pinnacle and perfection of all saints." She did not commit any sin in her life, since from the age of three until she conceived Christ "by the Holy Spirit", she lived in the Holy of Holies and reached theosis. She is "Achrantos", that is, "Pure", clean from all sin and impurity, in body and soul. The Panagia is "most blessed", because she received great Grace from the fullness of God's Grace. She is "Glorious", because she is full of the glory of God, and her Dormition is also glorious. She is the "Despina" ("Lady"), because she gave birth to Christ, the Despot (Master) of all. In this sense, she is also characterized as "Lady", in that her intercessions and her prayers have a strong power and she is the "Unashamed Protection of Christians". She is "Theotokos", because she did not give birth to a simple man, but to the Second Person of the Holy Trinity who is God. And she is "Ever-Virgin Mary", since she is a Virgin before giving birth, during birth and after giving birth, as the iconographer presents her in the holy icons, with the three stars on the forehead and the two shoulders.

The second point is that we ask the Panagia, with so many cosmetic epithets and glory, to be an intercessor for us. This is what "commemorating" means. We commemorate her to glorify her and to beg her to speak to God for our salvation, because Christ promised her before her dormition, that is, those for whom she prays will be saved. That is why all the Saints have a great affinity with the Panagia and feel her close to them, they love her very much, they are Theotokophiles.

We love her right after God. Christ is the mediator between us and God the Father, but the Panagia is the mediator between us and Christ. How this is done is a mystery understood by those who walk the path of salvation.

This is the reason why we ask for the intercessions of the Theotokos, but we also offer our entire life and that of our fellow human beings to Christ. We don't just pray, but we completely entrust ourselves to God. When one prays, but does not leave themselves to God's Providence, they are not really helped.

On the occasion of today's great Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos and her metastasis to heaven, I wish you all many years with peace, tranquility, health and blessing, through the intercessions of Mary the Theotokos.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.