The Veneration of St. Mary the Virgin
(1) Our Protestant brethren
do not venerate our Lady the
Virgin nor do they ask for her intercession. Some of their
groups even go to the extent of likening her to the eggshell that
loses its value after the chick hatches. This exaggeration in not
venerating the Virgin Mary is probably a reaction to the
exaggerated veneration given her by the Roman Catholics.
Thus our Protestant brethren do not celebrate any of the
(2) Some Protestant groups call the Virgin Mary ‘our
(3) In addition, our Protestant brethren say that after the Virgin had given birth to the Lord Jesus she consumated her marriage to Joseph and begot children known as Jesus' brothers" or "the Lord's brothers".
(4) Our Protestant brethren also object to some of the titles which our Church gives to our Lady the Virgin.
One of the features which reveals the non-veneration of
the Virgin is that, in their translation of the Holy Bible, they have changed the title given her by the angel from 'full of grace" into "highly favoured".
(6) Our Protestant brethren frequently give our Lady the Virgin the title 'Mother of Jesus' instead of 'Mother of God' (Theotokos).
Venerating the Virgin Mary
suffices to mention the Virgin's words which are recorded
in the Holy Bible: "For behold, henceforth all generations will
call me blessed" (Lk.1: 48). The phrase "all generations"
means that venerating the Virgin is a universal dogma which commenced at the Nativity of the Lord Jesus Christ and will continue until the end of ages.
of the venerations of the Virgin Mary are recorded in
the Holy Bible. For example Elizabeth, who was about the same
age as saint Mary’s mother, said to her: "But why is this
granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in
my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy" (Lk1: 43,44).
What amazes us here in the Virgin's greatness is that when Elizabeth heard her greeting, she "was filled with the Holy Spirit" (Lk1: 41). The mere hearing of the Virgin's voice caused Elizabeth to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
only did the Virgin receive veneration from the human
race but she also received it from the angels. This is clear from
Angel Gabrielle’s greeting to her. He said: "Rejoice, highly
favoured one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among
women!" (Lk.1: 28) The phrase "Blessed are you among women" was repeated by Elizabeth in her greeting to the Virgin Mary (Lk.1: 42). In addressing Virgin Mary, Archangel Gabriel used more glorious and venerating manner of speech, more than what was used for Zacharias the priest (Lk1: 13).
are many prophecies in the Holy Bible that refer to the
Virgin Mary. Among them are "At Your right hand stands the
Queen" (Ps.45: 9). The Divine Inspiration also says of her: "The
royal daughter is all glorious within" (Ps.45: 13). Therefore,
the Virgin is the Queen and the daughter of the King. That is
why the Coptic Church, in all the icons of the Virgin Mary,
portrays her as a crowned queen and places her at the right
hand of the Lord Jesus Christ, glory be to Him.
Church, in her hymns, praises the Virgin, saying: "Many
daughters have done well, but you excel them all" (Prov.31:
Mary the Virgin was the desire of all generations. She is
the one whose Offspring was able to "bruise the Serpent's
head", thus fulfilling God's first promise of saving man
As the Virgin is the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ, so all the titles of the Lord can be attributed to her motherhood.
Lord Jesus Christ is the true Light (John.1: 9). He said
of Himself. "I am the light of the world" (John.8: 12)
Therefore, His mother the Virgin is the Mother of Light or the Mother of the True Light.
Since Christ is the Holy One (Lk.1: 35), thus the Virgin is the Mother of the Holy One.
Since Christ is the Saviour, as it was said to the shepherds:
"For there is born to you this day in the city of David a
Saviour, who is Christ the Lord" (Lk.2: 11), and since His name
is Jesus, that is, 'Saviour', because "He will save His people
from their sins", therefore the Virgin is the Mother of the
Since Christ is God (1John.1); (Rom.9: 5); (John.20: 28), therefore the Virgin is the Mother of God.
Since Christ is the Lord, according to Elizabeth's words to the Virgin Mary: "the mother of my Lord" (Lk1: 43), therefore the Virgin is the Mother of the Lord. In the same way, she is the Mother of Emmanuel (Matt.1: 24) and the Mother of the Word Incarnate (John1: 14).
If the Virgin Mary is
the Mother of Christ, then
unquestionably, she is the spiritual mother of all Christians. It
suffices that when the Lord Jesus Christ was on the cross, He
said to St. John, the beloved Apostle, of her: "Behold your
mother!" (John.19: 27) If the Virgin is mother to St. John who
addresses us, saying: "My little children" (1John.2: 1),
therefore she is the mother of us all. Consequently, the title
"our sister" is not welcomed and does not deserve a reply
because it is unacceptable and illogical to consider the mother
of Christ the sister of His children who believe in His name!
Whoever venerates the Virgin
is in effect venerating Christ
Himself. If to honour one's mother is the first commandment
with a promise (Eph.6: 2); (Ex.20: 12); (Deut.5: 16), should we
not venerate our mother the Virgin, the mother of the Lord
Jesus Christ and the mother of the Apostles? The Virgin is the
one to whom the angel said: " The Holy Spirit will come upon
you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you;
therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called
the Son of God" (Lk1: 35). She is the one who was praised by
Elizabeth who said: "Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfilment of those things which were told her from the Lord" (Lk.1: 45).
phrase 'Blessed are you among women', which was said
by Angel Gabriel and by St. Elizabeth, means that if the Virgin
is compared with all the women of the world she will be the
blessed one because none of the women of the world received
the glory which she had received through the Divine
Incarnation. Undoubtedly, God chose our Lady the Virgin from
among all women, because no other woman has ever had the
Virgin's qualities. This shows her exaltation and elevated
position. That is why Isaiah the Prophet named her 'a cloud' in
his prophecy of the Flight into Egypt (Is. 19: 1).
With regard to God's indwelling in the Virgin during the Incarnation, the Church calls her the Second Heaven and the Tabernacle or the Dome of Moses.
The Church also calls the Virgin the City of God or Zion, as it is said in the psalm: "And of Zion it will be said, 'This one and that one were born in her; and the Most High Himself shall establish her"' and "Glorious things are spoken of you, 0 city of God!" (Ps. 87)
Since the Lord Jesus said
that He resembles the manna
because He is the Living Bread that came down from heaven
(John.6: 58), therefore, the Church calls the Virgin the Manna
Regarding St. Mary's virginity, the Church calls her Aaron's Rod which blossomed (Num.17).
Ark of Testimony (Ex.25:10-22) is a type (resemblance)
for Virgin Mary because firstly, the Ark was overlaid with gold on the inside and the outside, symbolising her purity and elevation. Secondly because the Ark was made of Acacia wood which does not decay, symbolising her sanctity. Thirdly because the Ark contained the manna, which symbolises Christ the Living Bread who came down from heaven, and lastly because the Ark contained the two tablets of the Law which symbolise Christ the Word of God (John.1: 1).
The ladder reaching from
earth to heaven which Jacob saw
in his dream, is a type (resemblance) for Virgin Mary. Being this
conjunction between earth and heaven in the Incarnation of
Christ; She was the earth in which heaven dwelt and whilst she
was on earth she bore heaven within her (Gen.28: 12).
The burning bush that was
not consumed and which Moses
saw (Ex.3), is a type (resemblance) for Virgin Mary, upon
whom came the Holy Spirit with His Divine fire and she was
Since the union of Divinity and Humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ resembles the union of coal and fire, therefore, St. Mary the Virgin, who bore within her that Union, resembles the censer. She is called Aaron's Censer or the Golden Censer, signifying her exaltation.
The Church also gives the Virgin the title 'The Good Dove’ because:
1. In her meekness she resembles the dove.
2. The Holy Spirit, Who appeared in the form of a dove (Matt.3: 16), came upon her.
The Virgin is also
likened to the Church and many
prophecies apply simultaneously to the Virgin and to the
The symbols and resemblances of Virgin Mary in the Church rituals and in the Holy Scriptures are numerous. She is venerated because:
1. the Holy Spirit came upon her,
2. she is the mother of God,
3. she is of perpetual virginity,
4. she is holy,
5. the Holy Bible testifies of her,
6. the Lord Himself venerated her, and
7.because of her miraculous signs and sacred appearances.
This veneration is expressed
in the Church rituals, hymns and
songs, in the Church prayers asking for her intercession, in
celebrating her many feasts and in consecrating one of our fasts in
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