The mother of God

The mother of God is superior to any human and to any angel. In hierarchy is at the top, no other creature who lived, is living and will live can surpass her. She is immediately below God, she is not God. She is beyond apostles, prophets, teachers and so on. She is beyond archangels and angels. As the hymn says :" more honorable than the cherubim and more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim...".

The question arises why is the mother of God supreme? Because she is the mother of God. Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ the God. When a woman gives birth to a son the greater her son the greater his mother will be. Jesus Christ is God. In addition, by honoring Virgin Mary we honor her Son. Furthermore, Jesus is sinless because He is God. Sinless means to keep all the commandments of God. Jesus keeps all the commandments of God. One of the ten commandments is to honor your father and mother, 5th commandment. Thus, Jesus honored His parents. He honored His Father by bringing His Father glory by finishing the work His Father gave Him to do (John 17:4). Jesus also honored His mother by making her maximum. God is first, mother of God is second.

The mother of God performs many miracles, Orthodox monks are witnesses.

Panagia Portaitissa

According to the Orthodox Church's Sacred Tradition, the icon was at one time in the possession of a widow in Nicea. Not wanting the icon to be seized and destroyed by the iconoclasts(destroyers of images used in religious worship), she spent all night in prayer and then cast the icon into the Mediterranean Sea. The widow's son later went to Mount Athos, where he became a monk and recounted the miracle of the bleeding wound, and how the icon had been placed in the sea. Much later, (ca. 1004) the icon was recovered from the sea by a Georgian monk named Gabriel (later canonized a saint in the Orthodox Church), who was laboring at the Iveron Monastery on Mount Athos. This occurred on Tuesday of Bright Week (Easter Week), and is commemorated annually on that day (as well as the fixed date of March 31). The icon was taken to the katholikon (main church) of the monastery from which the icon gets its name.

The tradition goes on to say that the following day, when the monks entered the church they could not find the icon. After searching they discovered the icon hanging on the gates of the monastery. This occurrence was repeated several times, until St. Gabriel reported that he had seen a vision of the Theotokos(Mother of God), wherein she revealed that she did not want her icon to be guarded by the monks, but rather she intended to be their Protectress. After this, the icon was permanently installed above the monastery gates, where it remains to this day. Because of this, the icon came to be called Portaitissa or "Gate-Keeper". This title was not new for the Virgin Mary, but comes from a verse of the Akathist to the Mother of God: "Rejoice, O Blessed Gate-Keeper who opens the gates of Paradise to the righteous." Orthodox monks and nuns throughout the world will often place an icon of the Theotokos Iverskaya on the monastery gates. It is also common in Orthodox temples (church buildings) to place an icon of the Theotokos Portaitissa on the inside of the iconostasis, above the Holy Doors, looking towards the Holy Table (altar table).




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