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"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

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Wednesday, 31 January 2018

FEBRUARY 2nd THE FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE LORD and CANDLEMAS


Ordinary Time: February 2nd

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

(from a Community Letter from Abbot Paul.)
            On Friday we will celebrate the 40th and last day of Christmas with the Feast of Candlemas. It’s a great pity that in Britain it has lost the importance it once had. In many countries of the world this is not the case, thank God. The very fact that it has four names underlines its importance. Today, in the Western Church, we tend to emphasise the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. It is the day on which the Child Jesus was offered to God in the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, effectively consecrating him as the first-born for the service of God.



It is also the Feast of the Purification of Our Lady, referring to the fact that Hebrew women lived a hidden life after giving birth, as they did in the Christian tradition until recent times and still do in many places. It was on the 40th day that they appeared in public and came to give thanks for a safe childbirth in the temple or synagogue. The rite of purification over, they could reincorporate themselves into society and family life. The rite of the Churching of Women only fell into disuse in the Catholic Church in the 1960s.


Then, of course, it’s the Feast of Candlemas, the day on which all the candles to be used throughout the year are blessed and some carried in procession. I’ll never forget the mountains of boxes filled with candles being blessed by my parish priest when I was a boy. Candlemas is, like Christmas and the Epiphany, like Easter, a festival of light, the light which is Christ and shines brightly in the darkness of our world as a sign of hope and fulfilment. In Latin countries, a special statue of Our Lady, known as the Candelaria, is carried in procession and there are symbolic dances, fireworks and feasting before the onset of Lenten austerities.


Fourthly, in the Eastern Churches, it is known as the Feast of Encounter or Meeting (Hypapanté in Greek), for today Christ meets with his people in the person of Simeon and Anna. They recognise him to be the promised Messiah, even though he is just a babe in his mother’s arms and they an old man and an even older woman. As they approach death. they encounter in Christ new life. In the temple on the 40th day, the representatives of the Old Covenant meet with the incarnate Son of God who is the embodiment of the New Covenant. This is why Simeon can say, “Now, Lord, let your servant go in peace according to your promise, for my eyes have seen the salvation, which you have prepared for all the world to see: the light of revelation for the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.” Simeon confesses that the God who comes to meet him in this Child comes to save not only the people of the Sinai Covenant, but that in the New Covenant of the Cross, the Sign of Contradiction, the Gentiles, the whole of mankind, will be saved as they are reconciled to God in Christ.


            Finally, though this is not an extra title for the feast, St John Paul II named 2nd February as the Day for Consecrated Life, so it has become in the Church a day of celebration for all those living the religious life, including Benedictine monks and nuns. The Presentation is now a day set apart for giving thanks to God for the grace of our vocation as consecrated men, consecrated by vows to God and to our community. Like Christ in the temple, we have been consecrated for the service of God and given grace to do his will and carry out his purpose, to become the people he wants us to be. At the same time, we serve in the Temple like Simeon and Anna and it is here that Christ comes to meet with us in that intimate encounter in which “heart speaks unto heart.” In order to remind myself why God, in his infinite goodness, has called me to the monastic life, I repeat each morning, when I awake, this little prayer of St Bede, which you know and also find helpful:

O Christ, our Morning Star,
Splendour of Light Eternal,
shining with the glory of the rainbow,
come and waken us
from the greyness of our apathy,
and renew in us your gift of hope. Amen.





COLLECT PRAYER

Almighty ever-living God, we humbly implore your majesty that, just as your Only Begotten Son was presented on this day in the Temple in the substance of our flesh, so, by your grace, we may be presented to you with minds made pure. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Old Calendar: Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Presentation of the Lord which occurs forty days after the birth of Jesus and is also known as Candlemas day, since the blessing and procession of candles is included in today's liturgy.

According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is referred to as the "Purification of Mary." This is known as a "Christmas feast" since it points back to the Solemnity of Christmas. Many Catholics practice the tradition of keeping out the Nativity creche or other Christmas decorations until this feast.

The Readings
Today's first reading gives us an important insight to understand profoundly the mystery of the Lord’s Presentation in the Temple by Mary and Joseph, in accordance with the canons of Mosaic Law. The text, taken from the Prophet Malachi says, ‘I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; and suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord who you seek’ (Mal 3:1). From all the Gospels, we know that it is the Precursor, St John the Baptist who was born 6 months before Jesus, that God sent to prepare His way. Putting these evangelical facts together, we can comprehend the words of the Prophet Malachi. The Lord God promised that He would send a Precursor to prepare His way. Since there is only 6 months between the birth of St John the Baptist and Jesus it is clear that the prophecy meant that suddenly after the Precursor, the Lord Himself will come. So, soon after the Baptist’s birth, God entered His temple. Jesus’ presentation signifies God’s entrance to His temple. God made man entered His temple, presenting Himself to those who were really searching for Him.

Today’s Gospel introduces us to different people and events that in themselves provide numerous lessons and themes for further reflection. First of all, Mary and Joseph respect the Mosaic Law by offering the sacrifice prescribed for the poor: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

Simeon and Anna were two venerable elderly people dedicated to prayer and fasting and so their strong religious spirit rendered them able to recognize the Messiah. In this sense we can see in the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple an extension of the ‘Pro Orantibus Day’ (For those who pray) that is celebrated on the feast of the Presentation of Mary (21 November). On this day, the Church demonstrates its gratitude to all those in the community that dedicate themselves in a privileged way to prayer, to those who have a particular religious vocation to the contemplative life. In the figure of the venerable Simeon, Jesus’ presentation in the temple, also reminds us that prayer and contemplation are not just a waste of time or an obstacle to charity. On the contrary, time could not be better spent than in prayer as true Christian charity is a consequence of a solid interior life. Only those who pray and offer penance, like Simeon and Anna, are open to the breath of the Spirit. They know how to recognize the Lord in the circumstances in which He manifests Himself because they possess an ample interior vision, and they have learned how to love with the heart of the One whose very name is Charity.

At the end of the Gospel Simeon’s prophecy of Mary’s sufferings is emphasized. Pope John Paul II taught that, ‘Simeon's words seem like a second Annunciation to Mary, for they tell her of the actual historical situation in which the Son is to accomplish his mission, namely, in misunderstanding and sorrow.’ (Redemptoris Mater, n16) The archangel’s announcement was a fount of incredible joy because it pertained to Jesus’ messianic royalty and the supernatural character of His virginal conception. The announcement of the elderly in the temple instead spoke of the Lord’s work of redemption that He would complete associating Himself through suffering to His Mother. Therefore, there is a strong Marian dimension to this feast and so in the Liturgical Calendar of the Extraordinary Form it is called the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This refers to the other aspect of the presentation that consists of the ritual purification of Jewish women after they had given birth. In Mary’s case this purification was not necessary, but it indicates the renewal of her total offering of herself to God for the accomplishment of His Divine Plan.

Simeon’s prophecy also announces that Christ will be ‘a sign of contradiction’. St Cyril of Alexandria, in one of his homilies, interpreted the words ‘sign of contradiction’ like a noble cross, as St Paul wrote to the Corinthians ‘a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles’ (1 Cor 1:23) […] It is a sign of contradiction in the sense that those who loose appear as foolish while in those who recognize its power [the cross] reveals salvation and life’ (c.f PG 77, 1044-1049).

— Excerpted from Congregation for the Clergy

Presentation of the Lord
The feast was first observed in the Eastern Church as "The Encounter." In the sixth century, it began to be observed in the West: in Rome with a more penitential character and in Gaul (France) with solemn blessings and processions of candles, popularly known as "Candlemas." The Presentation of the Lord concludes the celebration of the Nativity and with the offerings of the Virgin Mother and the prophecy of Simeon, the events now point toward Easter.

"In obedience to the Old Law, the Lord Jesus, the first-born, was presented in the Temple by his Blessed Mother and his foster father. This is another 'epiphany' celebration insofar as the Christ Child is revealed as the Messiah through the canticle and words of Simeon and the testimony of Anna the prophetess. Christ is the light of the nations, hence the blessing and procession of candles on this day. In the Middle Ages this feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or 'Candlemas,' was of great importance.

"The specific liturgy of this Candlemas feast, the blessing of candles, is not as widely celebrated as it should be, except of course whenever February 2 falls on a Sunday and thus takes precedence. There are two ways of celebrating the ceremony, either the Procession, which begins at a 'gathering place' outside the church or the Solemn Entrance, celebrated within the church."

— From Ceremonies of the Liturgical Year

Until 1969, the ancient feast of the Presentation of Our Lord, which is of Oriental origin, was known in the West as the feast of the Purification of Our Lady, and closed the Christmas Cycle, forty days after the Lord's birth. This feast has for long been associated with many popular devotional exercises. The faithful:

gladly participate in the processions commemorating the Lord's entry into the Temple in Jerusalem and His encounter with God, whose house He had come to for the first time, and then with Simeon and Anna. Such processions, which in the West had taken the place of licentious pagan events, always had a penitential character, and were later identified with the blessing of candles which were carried in procession in honor of Christ, 'the light to enlighten the Gentiles' (Lk 2, 32);
are sensitive to the actions of the Blessed Virgin in presenting her Son in the Temple, and to her submission to the Law of Moses (Lk 12, 1-8) in the rite of purification; popular piety sees in the rite of purification the humility of Our Lady and hence, 2 February has long been regarded as a feast for those in humble service.
Popular piety is sensitive to the providential and mysterious event that is the conception and birth of new life. Christian mothers can easily identify with the maternity of Our Lady, the most pure Mother of the Head of the mystical Body — notwithstanding the notable differences in the Virgin's unique conception and birth.

These too are mothers in God's plan and are about to give birth to future members of the Church. From this intuition and a certain mimesis of the purification of Our Lady, the rite of purification after birth was developed, some of whose elements reflect negatively on birth.

The revised Rituale Romanum provides for the blessing of women both before and after birth, this latter only in cases where the mother could not participate at the baptism of her child.

It is a highly desirable thing for mothers and married couples to ask for these blessings which should be given in accord with the Church's prayer: in a communion of faith and charity in prayer so that pregnancy can be brought to term without difficulty (blessing before birth), and to give thanks to God for the gift of a child (blessing after birth).

In some local Churches, certain elements taken from the Gospel account of the Presentation of the Lord (Lk 2, 22-40), such as the obedience of Joseph and Mary to the Law of the Lord, the poverty of the holy spouses, the virginity of Our Lady, mark out 2 February as a special feast for those at the service of the brethren in the various forms of consecrated life.

The feast of 2 February still retains a popular character. It is necessary, however, that such should reflect the true Christian significance of the feast. It would not be proper for popular piety in its celebration of this feast to overlook its Christological significance and concentrate exclusively on its Marian aspects. The fact that this feast should be 'considered [...] a joint memorial of Son and Mother' would not support such an inversion. The candles kept by the faithful in their homes should be seen as a sign of Christ 'the light of the world' and an expression of faith.

— Excerpted from Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy

Abbe Dom Prosper Gueranger's reflections for the Feast of the Purification of Mary and Candlemas


On this final day of Christmastide the venerable Abbot Dom Prosper Gueranger presents inspiration and the reason for this great feast which holy Mother Church has alwasy considered as a feast of the Blessed Virgin. It is true, it is our Savior Who is this day offered in the Temple; but this offering is the consequence of our Lady's Purification. The honor thus paid by the Church to the Mother tends in reality to the greater glory of her Divine Son, for He is the Author and the End of all those prerogatives which we revere and honor in Mary. In harmony with this feast we have Candlemas in which the beeswax candles are blessed, representing the purity of the virginal flesh of the Divine Infant made possible by Mary's fiat to God. The wick of the candle represents what is within Christ's soul in order to light the flame of His Divinity.

    The Forty Days of Mary’s Purification are now completed, and she must go up to the Temple, there to offer to God her Child Jesus. Before following the Son and His Mother in this Their mysterious journey, let us spend our last few moments at Bethlehem, in lovingly pondering over the mysteries at which we are going to assist.

    The Law commanded that a woman who had given birth to a son should not approach the Tabernacle for the term of forty days; after which time she was to offer a sacrifice for her purification. She was to offer up a lamb as a holocaust, and a turtle or dove as a sin-offering. But if she was poor, and could not provide a lamb, she was to offer in its stead a second turtle or dove.

    By another ordinance, every first-born son was to be considered as belonging to God, and was to be redeemed by five sicles, each sicle weighing, according to the standard of the Temple, twenty obols (Lev. xiii; Num. iii: 47 - The Obol was about three halfpence of English money).

    Mary was a Daughter of Israel - she had given birth to Jesus - He was her First-born Son. Could such a Mother and such a Son be included in the laws we have just quoted? Was it becoming that Mary should observe them?

    If she considered the spirit of these legal enactments, and why God required the ceremony of Purification, it was evident that she was not bound to them. She was the chaste Spouse of the Holy Ghost, a Virgin in conceiving and a Virgin in giving birth to her Son; her purity had ever been spotless as that of the Angels; but it received an incalculable increase by her carrying the God of all sanctity in her womb, and bringing Him into this world. Moreover, when she reflected upon her Child being the Creator and Sovereign Lord of all things—how could she suppose that He was to be submitted to the humiliation of being ransomed as a slave, whose life and person are not his own?

    And yet the Holy Ghost revealed to Mary that she must comply with both these laws. She, the holy Mother of God, must go to the Temple like other Hebrew mothers, as though she had lost something which needed restoring by a legal sacrifice. He that is the Son of God and Son of Man must be treated in all things as though He were a servant, and be ransomed in common with the poorest Jewish boy. Mary adores the will of God, and embraces it with her whole heart.

    The Son of God was only to be made known to the world by gradual revelations. For 30 years He led a hidden life in the insignificant village of Nazareth; and during all that time men took Him to be the Son of Joseph (St. Luke iii: 23). The earth possessed its God and its Savior, and men, with a few exceptions, knew it not. The Shepherds of Bethlehem knew it; but they were not told, as were afterwards the Fishermen of Genesareth, to go and preach the Word to the furthermost parts of the world. The Magi, too, knew it; they came to Jerusalem and spoke of it, and the City was in a commotion; but all was soon forgotten, and the Three Kings went back quietly to the East. These two events, which would, at a future day, be celebrated by the Church as events of most important interest to mankind, were lost upon the world, and the only ones that appreciated them were a few true Israelites, who had been living in expectation of a Messias Who was to be poor and humble, and was to save the world.

    The same Divine plan which had required that Mary should be espoused to St. Joseph, in order that Her fruitful Virginity might not seem strange in the eyes of the people, now obliged her to come, like other Israelite mothers, to offer the sacrifice of Purification for the birth of the Son, Whom she had conceived by the operation of the Holy Ghost, but Who was to be presented in the Temple as the Son of Mary, the Spouse of Joseph. Thus it is that Infinite Wisdom delights in showing that His thoughts are not our thoughts, and in disconcerting our notions; He claims the submissiveness of our confidence, until the time that He has fixed for withdrawing the veil, and showing Himself to our astonished view.

    The Divine Will was dear to Mary in this as in every circumstance of her life. The Holy Virgin knew that by seeking this external rite of Purification, she was in no wise risking the honor of her Child, or failing in the respect due to her own Virginity. She was in the Temple of Jerusalem what she was in the house of Nazareth, when she received the Archangel's visit; she was the Handmaid of the Lord. She obeyed the Law because she seemed to come under the Law. Her God and her Son submitted to the ransom as humbly as the poorest Hebrew would have to do; He had already obeyed the edict of emperor Augustus in the general census; He was to be obedient even unto death, even to the death of the Cross. The Mother and the Child both humbled themselves in the Purification, and man’s pride received, on that day, one of the greatest lessons ever given it.

    What a journey was this of Mary and Joseph, from Bethlehem to Jerusalem! The Divine Babe is in His Mother’s arms; she had Him in her heart the whole way. Heaven and earth are and all nature are sanctified by the gracious presence of their merciful Creator. Men look at this Mother as she passes along the road with her sweet Jesus; some are struck with her appearance, others pass her by as not worth a look; but of the whole crowd, there was not one that knew he had been so close to the God Who had come to save him.

    St. Joseph is carrying the humble offering, which the Mother is to give to the Priest. They are too poor to buy a lamb; besides, their Jesus is the Lamb of God, Who taketh away the sins of the world...

    At length the Holy Family enters Jerusalem. The name of this holy City signifies Vision of Peace, and Jesus comes to bring her Peace. Let us consider the names of the three places in which our Redeemer began, continued and ended His life on earth. He is conceived in Nazareth, which signifies a Flower; and Jesus is as He tells us in Canticle ii: 1, the Flower of the field and the Lily of the valley, by Whose fragrance we are refreshed. He is born at Bethlehem, the House of Bread; for He is the nourishment of souls. He dies on the Cross in Jerusalem, and, by His Blood, He restores peace between Heaven and earth, peace between men, peace within our own souls; and, on this day of His Mother's Purification, we shall find Him giving us the pledge of this peace.

    Whilst Mary, the Living Ark of the Covenant, is ascending the steps which lead up to the Temple, carrying Jesus in Her arms, let us be attentive to the mystery; one of the most celebrated of the prophecies is about to be accomplished in this Infant. We have already seen the other predictions fulfilled: of His being conceived of a Virgin, and born in Bethlehem; today He shows us a further title to our adoration — He enters the Temple.

    This edifice is not the magnificent Temple of Solomon, which was destroyed by fire during the Jewish captivity. It is the second Temple, which was built after the return from Babylon, and is not comparable to the first in beauty. Before the century is out, it also is to be destroyed; and Our Savior will soon tell the Jews that not a stone shall remain upon a stone that shall not be thrown down (Luke 21: 6). Now the Prophet Aggeus, in order to console the Jews, who had returned from exile and were grieving that they were unable to raise a House to the Lord equal to that built by Solomon, addressed these words to them, which mark the time of the coming of the Messias: Take courage… for thus saith the Lord of Hosts: Yet one little while, and I will move the heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land. And I will move all nations, and the Desired of all nations shall come; and I will fill this House with glory. Great shall be the glory of this House, more than the first; and in this place I will give Peace, saith the Lord of Hosts (Agg. ii: 4, 7, 8, 10).

    The hour has come for the fulfilment of this prophecy. The Emmanuel has left Bethlehem; He has come among the people; He is about to take possession of His Temple, and the mere fact of His entering it will at once give it a glory, which is far above that of its predecessor. He will often visit it during His mortal life; but His coming to it today, carried as He is in Mary's arms, is enough for the accomplishment of the promise, and all the shadows and figures of this Temple at once pale before the rays of the Sun of Truth and Justice. The blood of oxen and goats will, for a few years more, flow on its altar; but the Infant, Who holds in His veins the Blood that is to redeem the world, is at this moment standing near that very altar. Amidst the Priests who are there, and amidst the crowd of Israelites, who are moving to and fro in the sacred building, there are a few faithful ones, who are in expectation of the Deliverer, and they know that the time of His manifestation is at hand; but there is not one among them who knows that at this very moment the Messias has entered the House of God.

    But this great event could not be accomplished without a prodigy being wrought by the Eternal God as a welcome to His Son. The Shepherds had been summoned by the Angel, and the Magi had been called by the Star when Jesus was born in Bethlehem; this time it is the Holy Ghost Himself Who sends a witness to the Infant, now in the great Temple.

    There was then living in Jerusalem an old man whose life was well-nigh spent. He was a man of desires (Dan. x: 11), and his name was Simeon; his heart had longed unceasingly for the Messias, and at last, his hope was recompensed. The Holy Ghost revealed to him that he should not see death without first seeing the rising of the Divine Light. As Mary and Joseph were ascending the steps of the Temple, Simeon felt within himself the strong impulse of the Spirit of God: he leaves his house and walks towards the Temple; the ardor of his desire makes him forget the feebleness of his age. He reaches the porch, and there, amidst the many mothers who had come to present their children, his inspired gaze recognizes the Virgin of whom he had so often read in Isaias, and he presses through the crowd to the Child She is holding in Her arms.

    Mary, guided by the same Divine Spirit, welcomes the saintly old man, and puts into his trembling arms the dear object of Her love, the Salvation of the world. Happy Simeon! a figure of the ancient world, grown old in its expectation, and near its end. No sooner has he received the sweet Fruit of Life than his youth is renewed as that of the eagle, and in his person is wrought the transformation which was to be granted to the whole human race. He cannot keep silence; he must sing a Canticle; he must do as the Shepherds and the Magi had done, he must give testimony: Now, O Lord, Thou dost dismiss Thy servant in Peace, because my eyes have seen Thy Salvation, which Thou hast prepared—a Light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel (St. Luke ii: 29 and following verses)

    Immediately there comes, attracted to the spot by the same Holy Ghost, the holy Anna, Phanuel’s daughter, noted for her piety and venerated by the people. Simeon and Anna, the representatives of the Old Testament, unite their voices, and celebrate the happy coming of the Child Who is to renew the face of the earth; they give praise to the mercy of God, Who in this place, in this second Temple, gives Peace to the world, as the Prophet Aggeus had foretold...

    ...Simeon gives back to Mary the Child she is going to offer to the Lord. The two doves are presented to the Priest, who sacrifices them on the Altar; the price for the ransom is paid; the whole law is satisfied; and after having paid homage to Her Creator in this sacred place, where She spent Her early years, Mary, with Jesus pressed to Her bosom, and Her faithful Joseph by Her side, leaves the Temple. Such is the mystery of this fortieth day, which closes, by this admirable Feast of the Purification, the holy Season of Christmas. Several learned writers...are of the opinion that this Solemnity was instituted by the Apostles themselves. This much is certain, that it was a long-established Feast even in the 5th century.


(taken from pages 462-69, The Liturgical Year, Book III)

PRESENTATION OF CHRIST IN THE TEMPLE
February 2/15

    
INTRODUCTION
This feast, celebrated on February 2, is known in the Orthodox Church as The Presentation of Christ in the Temple. Another name for the feast is The Meeting of our Lord. Roman Catholic and Protestant Christians call the feast, The Purification of the Holy Virgin. About 450 AD in Jerusalem, people began the custom of holding lighted candles during the Divine Liturgy of this feast day. Therefore, some churches in the West refer to this holy day as Candlemas. The Feast of the Presentation concludes the observances related to the Nativity of Christ, a period that opened on November 15 with the beginning of the Nativity fast.

BIBLICAL STORY
Joseph and Mary were not wealthy, so they took two turtle doves with them to offer as a sacrifice at the Temple.
Joseph and Mary were not wealthy, so they took two turtle doves with them to offer as a sacrifice at the Temple.
The story of the Presentation is told in Luke 2:22-29. Mary and Joseph were faithful Jews and observed their religious customs. An important custom was for the couple to take their first-born son to the Temple. The baby was taken to the Temple forty days after his birth and was dedicated to God. In addition, if the parents were wealthy, they were to bring a lamb and a young pigeon or a turtle dove to be offered as a sacrifice at the Temple. The custom provided that if the parents were poor, they were to offer two pigeons or two turtle doves for the sacrifice.
When Jesus was forty days old, Mary and Joseph took Him to the Temple in Jerusalem. They were not wealthy, so they took two turtle doves with them to offer as a sacrifice at the Temple. As they arrived at the Temple, Mary and Joseph were met by a very old man named Simeon. He was a holy man and was noted as a very intelligent scholar. Simeon spent much time studying about the prophets of Israel. It was during his studies that he learned of the coming of the Messiah. The Jewish people were waiting for the Messiah to come and deliver Israel from their conquerors. From that time on, Simeon spent his time praying for the Messiah to come. He spent many years in prayer. Finally, while Simeon was praying he heard the voice of God. God promised Simeon that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah.

Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God.
Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God.
When Simeon saw Jesus, he took the baby in his arms and blessed the Lord and said:
"Lord, now let Your servant go in peace according to Your promise, because my eyes have seen Your salvation which you have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory to your people Israel."

Also, in the Temple was Anna the Prophetess. She had been a widow for many years. Anna was about eighty-four years old and spent her time in the Temple worshiping, fasting, and praying. When she saw the Christ Child she praised God and spoke of him to all who were awaiting the Messiah.

After Jesus was presented in the Temple, the family returned to Galilee to the town of Nazareth. The Bible tells us that Jesus grew and became strong, and was filled with wisdom.

ICON OF THE FEAST



The Theotokos is holding out her hands in a gesture of offering and humility.
The Theotokos is holding out her hands in a gesture of offering and humility.
The Holy Icon shows that the meeting takes place inside the Temple and in front of the altar. The altar has a book or a scroll on it and is covered by a canopy. The Theotokos stands to the left and is holding out her hands in a gesture of offering. The one hand of the Theotokos is covered by her cloak or as it is known, the maphorion. She has just handed her Son to Simeon.
Christ is shown as a child, but He is not in swaddling clothes. He is clothed in a small dress and his legs are bare. Jesus appears to be giving a blessing. Simeon holds Jesus with both hands which are covered. This shows the reverence Simeon had for the Messiah. Simeon is bare headed and there is nothing to show that he is a priest. Some biblical scholars say that Simeon was probably a priest of the Temple or a Doctor of the Law.

Joseph offers the sacrifice of a poor family while Anna the Prophetess praises God and "speaks about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem." Luke 2: 38
Joseph offers the sacrifice of a poor family while Anna the Prophetess praises God and "speaks about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem." Luke 2: 38
Joseph is behind the Theotokos. He is carrying the two turtle doves for the sacrifice. Anna the Prophetess is also standing behind the Theotokos and is pointing to the Christ child.
The words Simeon spoke when he saw the Christ Child are known as "St. Simeon's Prayer." This prayer is sung daily at the evening Vespers services of the Orthodox Church.

In the Orthodox Church, both baby boys and baby girls are taken to the Church on the fortieth day after their birth. This is done in remembrance of the Theotokos and Joseph taking the infant Jesus to the Temple.

ORTHODOX CELEBRATION OF THE FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION
This Feast of our Lord is celebrated with the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, which is conducted on the day of the Feast and preceded by the Matins service. A Great Vespers is conducted on the evening before the day of the Feast. Scripture readings for the Feast are the following: at Great Vespers – extracts from Exodus 12:15-13:16; Leviticus 12 and Numbers 8; Isaiah 6:1-12, and 19:1,3-5,12,16,19-21; at Matins – Luke 2:25-32; at the Divine Liturgy – Hebrews 7:7-17 and Luke 2:22-40.

HYMNS OF THE FEAST
Apolytikion (First Tone)

Hail Virgin Theotokos full of Grace, for Christ our God, the Sun of Righteousness, has dawned from you, granting light to those in darkness. And you, O Righteous Elder, rejoice, taking in Your arms, the Deliverance of our souls, who grants us Resurrection.

Kontakion (First Tone)

Your birth sanctified a Virgin's womb and properly blessed the hands of Symeon. Having now come and saved us O Christ our God, give peace to your commonwealth in troubled times and strengthen those in authority, whom you love, as only the loving one.


Sunday, 28 January 2018

ORTHODOXY AND ECUMENISM IN VIEW OF THE UPCOMING GREAT AND HOLY COUNCIL


This article is out of date in the sense that the "Great and Holy Council" that occasioned it is already in the past, but it is completely up-to-date in that it clearly expresses the principles that both the Orthodox and Catholic churches follow when they participate in the ecumenical dialogue.

It is part of the ecumenical tragedy that both Orthodoxy and Catholicism claim that their ecclesial structure is that of the universal Church mentioned in the Creed.   This is because, when the slit took place, neither side was conscious of having any break with the past, or of being unfaithful to the Apostolic Tradition that it was the task of each to embody.  Because there can only be one universal church, each accused the other of breaking away.   

Moreover, each sees grave shortcomings in the other.  The Orthodox see in the papacy an absolute monarchy for which there is no justification in Tradition, while Catholics see patriarchates jostling each other for a position like competing countries as a travesty of Christian unity.  Many Catholics and Orthodox accept that there is truth in both these criticisms.  Ecumenical dialogue has shown Catholics the need for synodality, a strong point with the Orthodox.  This is already causing changes to be made in Catholic governance.   Some Orthodox see the need for a universal protos or primate, and some even say that if the universal collegiality of bishops is of divine institution, then this implies the necessity for a universal primate.

   Meanwhile, "eucharistic ecclesiology", an understanding of the Church that Vatican II accepted from Russian Orthodox theologians in Paris, recognises the unbreakable, universal apostolic essence of the Church is realised and manifested in the eucharistic celebration of each local church because of the essential unity of the Mass which makes each local community "body of Christ".  Of course, this implies that, by its very nature, the Church should be one single body world-wide - so the problem of the papacy still remains, even if the context in which we discuss it is different.

ORTHODOXY AND ECUMENISM IN VIEW OF THE UPCOMING GREAT AND HOLY COUNCIL
by Will Cohen
Some members of the Orthodox Church, who regard ecumenism as a heresy, have been predictably critical of the pre-conciliar document “Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of the Christian World” since it was approved by the Orthodox primates at Chambèsy in October 2015.  In that document, the identification (¶1) of the Orthodox Church with the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church of the Nicene creed is entirely consistent with Orthodox ecumenism (¶4).  For anti-ecumenists, by contrast, this identification can only mean that all others that call themselves church are not church at all.  As the eminent Greek theologian Fr. Theodore Zizis in a recent talk on the upcoming Great and Holy Council said about Orthodox participation in the World Council of Churches, “The Church amidst 340 Protestant groups!  What business do we have there?  Are we a heresy?  Do we lump ourselves in with the heretics?”  The idea is that we know all we need to know what other Christian traditions think and believe.  There is no reason to pay it any further attention. 

Paradoxically, it is also characteristic of the very worst kinds of Christian ecumenists – and thankfully, few if any Orthodox participants in ecumenical dialogue fit the type – that they, too, proceed as if we already knew all we needed to know.  Only their conclusion is the opposite:  it’s that between any one Christian tradition and another all the differences are assuredly so minor we can blithely assert an essential unity without resolving them.  If Orthodox ecumenism were of this kind, those who categorically oppose it would be right to do so.  But it isn’t.  And the Council in June can do a great deal to foster greater internal consensus on Orthodoxy’s ecumenical engagement by clarifying that this caricature of Orthodox ecumenical involvement is just that, a caricature, and that what the Council supports is something theologically far more serious and profound.

In particular, the Council ought to emphasize that ecumenism, properly understood, is approached humbly as an ascetical task.  Unlike either the pseudo-rigorism of total disengagement or the pseudo-love of undifferentiated inclusion, it requires a profound receptivity and openness both to the possible joy of finding unexpected common ground and to the possible disappointment of finding a widening breach.  The preconciliar text recognizes this dual possibility; it aptly states about ecumenical dialogue that it may “identify common principles of the Christian faith”; and that it may “reveal possible new disagreements” (¶11).

Authentic ecumenism understands dialogue as taking place in the mystery of real time with real people.  It prays for the grace to see not just what it wants or has already made up its mind to see but what truly presents itself.  What another Christian tradition has said on paper is important, but not enough, to know the faith of those who inhabit it, because traditions, even schismatic or even outright heretical ones, are not static and frozen in time.  In imperceptible ways they may over the course of decades or centuries have been influenced by the Holy Spirit at work in them through any number of means, including, perhaps, seeds planted through direct or indirect encounter with persons of the Orthodox Church or their writings.  Fr. Georges Florovsky held that while it may not be possible to say, precisely, that schismatics remain in the Church – although St. Basil the Great did say this of some schismatics – it would be “truer to say that the Church continues to work in the schisms,” and Florovsky spoke affirmatively of the “validity” of sacraments outside the visible unity of the Church.

This perspective allows for an understanding of non-Orthodox Christian communities as living and dynamic, historically still in process. If a tradition like that of the Oriental Orthodox should come over the course of centuries to be able to affirm that the christological formulation of Chalcedon it once thought did not express its own faith turns out, after all, to do so, the Orthodox Church must rejoice in this, as then the pre-Chalcedonian formulation (of St. Cyril) used by the Oriental Orthodox would be able to be interpreted in a Chalcedonian key.  Similarly, if some Protestant traditions are discovering — in part through ecumenical encounter with the Orthodox — that such practices as icon veneration and intercessory prayer they had once considered inimical to the apostolic faith are authentic expressions of it after all, this has the potential to bring their lived ecclesial life and that of the Orthodox much closer to each other.  There is no guarantee that with time, separated communions will converge; they may drift farther apart.  But the historical fact of a division is not in itself enough to tell us the trajectory going forward.

This is why Archbishop Nicetas of Nicomedia and Patriarch John X Camateros were both able to refer to the Church of Rome — even in the 12th century, with the East-West schism already a century old — as a “sister church” of the Orthodox.  It is also why St. Mark of Ephesus, three centuries later, could attend the Council of Florence with the hope expressed in these words:

“There is truly a need for much investigation and conversation (πολλῆς ἐρεύνης δεῖται καί συζητήσεως) in matters of theological disputation (ὃσα τῶν δογμάτων ἀμφισβητήσιμα), so that the compelling and conspicuous arguments might be considered. There is profound benefit to be gained from such conversation if the objective is not altercation but truth, and if the intention is not solely to triumph over others; . . .  [I]nspired by the same spirit [as the apostles at the council of Jerusalem] and bound to one another by love, the goal should be to discover the truth, and we should never lose sight of the purpose that lies before us (μή ἁμαρτήσεσθαι τοῦ προκειμένου σκοποῦ); even when its pursuit is prolonged, we should still always listen carefully to and address one another amicably so that our loving (ἀγαπητικῶς) exchange might contribute to consensus (συντείνοντι πρός ὁμόνοιαν).” (Patrologia Orientalis XV [Brepols, 1990], pp. 108-109)

St. Mark would never have attended the Council had he not seen the relationship between Orthodoxy and the Latin West as still in need of “much investigation and conversation”.  His rejection of the Council’s conclusions did not shut the door on future dialogue but rather indicated the need for it.  Orthodoxy’s relationship with the rest of the Christian world remained then, as it does now, a question, to be explored through “loving exchange,” with truth and not triumph as its objective.

This essay was sponsored by the Orthodox Theological Society in America’s Special Project on the Holy and Great Council and published by the Orthodox Christian Studies Center of Fordham University.

Will Cohen is Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Scranton.

This week is my last week in Peru, so I am a bit emotionally churned up and much occupied with farewells etc.  For this reason, I shall be borrowing several articles to present in this blog during this week.  Apologies and an appeal for your prayers!

Thursday, 25 January 2018

THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION AND THE ORTHODOX CHURCH by Father Lev Gillet

The Immaculate Conception and the Orthodox Church
Posted on 1 September 2015 by Fr Aidan Kimel in Eclectic Orthodoxy

by Father Lev Gillet



I. It is generally agreed, I think, that the dogma of the Immaculate Conception is one of the questions which make a clear and profound division between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Is this really the case? We shall try to examine quite objectively what Orthodox theological history has to teach us on this matter. Leaving aside the patristic period we shall start on our quest in the time of the Patriarch Photius.

II. It seems to me that three preliminary observations have to be made.

First, it is an undeniable fact that the great majority of the members of the Orthodox Church did not admit the dogma of the Immaculate Conception as it was defined by Pius IX in 1854.

Secondly, throughout the history of Orthodox theology, we find an unbroken line of theologians, of quite considerable authority, who have explicitly denied the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Among them I shall refer to Nicephorus Gallistus in the fourteenth century and Alexander Lebedev in the nineteenth, these two representing the extremities of a chain with many intermediary links. There is even an official document written against the Immaculate Conception: the letter of the Patriarch Anthimus VII, written in 1895; we shall come later to a discussion of its doctrinal value.

Thirdly, we recognize the fact that Latin theologians very often used inadequate arguments in their desire to prove that the Immaculate Conception belonged to the Byzantine theological tradition. They sometimes forced the sense of the poetic expressions to be found in the liturgy of Byzantium; at times they misinterpreted what were merely common Byzantine terms to describe Mary’s incomparable holiness, as a sign of belief in the Immaculate Conception; on other occasions they disregarded the fact that certain Byzantines had only a very vague idea of original sin. Speaking of the Theotokos, Orthodox writers multiplied expressions such as “all holy”, “all pure”, “immaculate”. This does not always mean that these writers believed in the Immaculate Conception. The vast majority – but not all – Orthodox theologians agreed that Mary was purified from original sin before the birth of Our Lord. By this, they usually mean that she was purified in her mother’s womb like John the Baptist. This “sanctification” is not the Immaculate Conception.

The question must be framed in precise theological terms. We do not want to know if Mary’s holiness surpasses all other holiness, or if Mary was sanctified in her mother’s womb. The question is: Was Mary, in the words of Pius IX, “preserved from all stain of original sin at the first moment of her conception” (in primo instanti suae conceptionis)? Is this doctrine foreign to the Orthodox tradition? Is it contrary to that tradition?

III. I shall begin by quoting several phrases which cannot be said with absolute certainty to imply a belief in the Immaculate Conception but in which it is quite possible to find traces of such a belief.

First of all – the patriarch Photius. In his first homily on the Annunciation, he says that Mary was sanctified ek Brephous. This is not an easy term to translate; the primary meaning of Brephos is that of a child in the embryonic state. Ek means origin or starting point. The phrase seems to me to mean not that Mary was sanctified in the embryonic state, that is to say, during her existence in her mother’s womb, but that she was sanctified from the moment of her existence as an embryo, from the very first moment of her formation – therefore – from the moment of her conception. (1)

A contemporary and opponent of Photius, the monk Theognostes, wrote in a homily for the feast of the Dormition, that Mary was conceived by “a sanctifying action”, ex arches – from the beginning. It seems to me that this ex arches exactly corresponds to the “in primo instanti“ of Roman theology. (2)

St Euthymes, patriarch of Constantinople (+917), in the course of a homily on the conception of St Anne (that is to say, on Mary’s conception by Anne and Joachim) said that it was on this very day (touto semerou) that the Father fashioned a tabernacle (Mary) for his Son, and that this tabernacle was “fully sanctified” (kathagiazei). There again we find the idea of Mary’s sanctification in primo instanti conceptionis. (3)

Let us now turn to more explicit evidence.

(St) Gregory Palamas, archbishop of Thessalonica and doctor of the hesychasm (+1360) in his 65 published Mariological homilies, developed an entirely original theory about her sanctification. On the one hand, Palamas does not use the formula “immaculate conception” because he believes that Mary was sanctified long before the “primus instans conceptionis“, and on the other, he states quite as categorically as any Roman theologian that Mary was never at any moment sullied by the stain of original sin. Palamas’ solution to the problem, of which as far as we know, he has been the sole supporter, is that God progressively purified all Mary’s ancestors, one after the other and each to a greater degree than his predecessor so that at the end, eis telos, Mary was able to grow, from a completely purified root, like a spotless stem “on the limits between created and uncreated”. (4)

The Emperor Manuel II Paleologus (+1425) also pronounced a homily on the Dormition. In it, he affirms in precise terms Mary’s sanctification in primo instanti. He says that Mary was full of grace “from the moment of her conception” and that as soon as she began to exist … there was no time when Jesus was not united to her”. We must note that Manuel was no mere amateur in theology. He had written at great length on the procession of the Holy Spirit and had taken part in doctrinal debates during his journeys in the West. One can, therefore, consider him as a qualified representative of the Byzantine theology of his time. (5)

George Scholarios (+1456), the last Patriarch of the Byzantine Empire, has also left us a homily on the Dormition and an explicit affirmation of the Immaculate Conception. He says that Mary was “all pure from the first moment of her existence” (gegne theion euthus). (6)

It is rather strange that the most precise Greek affirmation of the Immaculate Conception should come from the most anti-Latin, the most “Protestantizing” of the patriarchs of Constantinople, Cyril Lukaris (+1638). He too gave a sermon on the Dormition of Our Lady. He said that Mary “was wholly sanctified from the very first moment of her conception (ole egiasmene en aute te sullepsei) when her body was formed and when her soul was united to her body”; and further on he writes: “As for the Panaghia, who is there who does not know that she is pure and immaculate, that she was a spotless instrument, sanctified in her conception and her birth, as befits one who is to contain the One whom nothing can contain?” (7)

Gerasimo, patriarch of Alexandria (+1636), taught at the same time. according to the Chronicle of the Greek, Hypsilantis, that the Theotokos “was not subject to the sin of our first father” (ouk npekeito to propatopiko hamarte mati); and a manual of dogmatic theology of the same century, written by Nicholas Coursoulas (+1652) declared that “the soul of the Holy Virgin was made exempt from the stain of original sin from the first moment of its creation by God and union with the body.” (8)

I am not unaware that other voices were raised against the Immaculate Conception. Damascene the Studite, in the sixteenth century, Mitrophanes Cristopoulos, patriarch of Alexandria and Dosithes, patriarch of Jerusalem in the seventeenth century, all taught that Mary was sanctified only in her mother’s womb. Nicephorus Gallistus in the fourteenth century and the Hagiorite in the eighteenth century taught that Mary was purified from original sin on the day of the Annunciation. But the opinions that we have heard in favour of the Immaculate Conception are not less eminent or less well qualified.

It was after the Bull of Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, of 8 December, 1854, that the greater part of the Greek Church seems to have turned against belief in the Immaculate Conception. Yet, in 1855, the Athenian professor, Christopher Damalas, was able to declare: “We have always held and always taught this doctrine. This point is too sacred to give rise to quarrels and it has no need of a deputation from Rome”. (9)

But it was not until 1896 that we find an official text classing the Immaculate Conception among the differences between Rome and the Orthodox East. This text is the synodal letter written by the Oecumenical Patriarch, Anthimes VII, in reply to the encyclical Piaeclara Gratulationis addressed by Leo XIII to the people of the Eastern Churches. Moreover, from the Orthodox point of view, the Constantinopolitan document has only a very limited doctrinal importance. Although it should be read with respect and attention, yet it possesses none of the marks of infallibility, nor does ecclesiastical discipline impose belief in its teachings as a matter of conscience, and it leaves the ground quite clear for theological and historical discussions on this point.

IV. Let us now consider more closely the attitude of the Russian Church towards the question of the Immaculate Conception.

Every Russian theological student knows that St Dmitri, metropolitan of Rostov (17th century), supported the Latin ”theory of the epiklesis” (10); but young Russians are inclined to consider the case of Dmitri as a regrettable exception, an anomaly. If they knew the history of Russian theology a little better they would know that from the middle ages to the seventeenth century the Russian Church has, as a whole, accepted belief in the Immaculate Conception. (11)

The Academy of Kiev, with Peter Moghila, Stephen Gavorsky and many others, taught the Immaculate Conception in terms of Latin theology. A confraternity of the Immaculate Conception was established at Polotsk in 1651. The Orthodox members of the confraternity promised to honour the Immaculate Conception of Mary all the days of their life. The Council of Moscow of 1666 approved Simeon Polotsky’s book called The Rod of Direction, in which he said: “Mary was exempt from original sin from the moment of her conception”. (12)

All this cannot be explained as the work of Polish Latinising influence. We have seen that much was written on the same lines in the Greek East. When as a result of other Greek influences, attacks were launched in Moscow against the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, a protest was made by the Old Believers – a sect separated from the official Church by reason of its faithfulness to certain ancient rites. Again in 1841, the Old Believers said in an official declaration that “Mary has had no share in original sin”. (13) To all those who know how deeply the Old Believers are attached to the most ancient beliefs and traditions, their testimony has a very special significance. In 1848, the “Dogmatic Theology” of the Archimandrite Antony Amphitheatroff, approved by the Holy Synod as a manual for seminaries, reproduced Palamas’ curious theory of the progressive purification of the Virgin’s ancestors, a theory which has already been mentioned and which proclaims Mary’s exemption from original sin. Finally, we should notice that the Roman definition of 1854 was not attacked by the most representative theologians of the time, Metropolitan Philaretes of Moscow and Macarius Boulgakov.

It was in 1881 that the first important writing appeared in Russian literature in opposition to the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. It was written by Professor A. Lebedev of Moscow who held the view that the Virgin was completely purified from original sin at Golgotha. (14) In 1884, the Holy Synod included the question of the Immaculate Conception in the programme of “polemical”, that is to say, anti-Latin theology. Ever since then, official Russian theology has been unanimously opposed to the Immaculate Conception.

This attitude of the Russians has been strengthened by a frequent confusion of Mary’s immaculate conception with the virgin birth of Christ. This confusion is to be found not only among ignorant people, but also among many theologians and bishops. In 1898, Bishop Augustine, author of a “Fundamental Theology”, translated “immaculate conception” by “conception sine semine“. More recently still, Metropolitan Anthony then Archbishop of Volkynia, wrote against the “impious heresy of the immaculate and virginal conception of the Most Holy Mother of God by Joachim and Anne.” It was a theologian of the Old Believers, A. Morozov, who had to point out to the archbishop that he did not know what he was talking about. (15)

V. There are three principal causes which provide an explanation for the opposition with which the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception has been met in the Orthodox Church.

First and foremost, there is the mistrust felt a priori by many Orthodox about any doctrine defined by Rome since the separation of East and West. That, of course, is primarily a psychological reason.

There is also the fear of formulating a doctrine which might not seem to have sufficient foundation in Holy Scripture and the patristic tradition. We have left the patristic age outside the bounds of our discussion, limiting ourselves to the Orthodox theology of Byzantium: but it seems that (from St Andrew of Crete to St Theodore the Studite) much evidence can be produced from Greek sources in favour of the Immaculate Conception.

Finally there is the fear of restricting the redemptive work of Christ. Once you have exempted Mary from original sin, have you not exempted her from the effects of her Son’s redemption? Is it not possible for a single exception to destroy the whole economy of salvation? The Orthodox theologians who think on these lines have not given careful enough consideration, or indeed any at all, to the fact that according to Pius IX’s definition, Mary was only exempt from original sin in view of the merits of Christ: ”intuitu meritorum Christi Jesu Salvatoris humani generis“. Therefore, Christ’s redemptive action was operative in Mary’s case although in a quite different way from that of the rest of mankind.

We will add this, too. Orthodox theology has always insisted on the beauty of human nature in its integrity before the fall. Now it is the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception which alone can justify this ‘humanism’. It is only in Mary conceived without sin, that human nature has reached its fulfilment and actualized all its possibilities. Mary is the one and only success of the human race. It is through her and in her that humanity has escaped total failure and has offered to the divine a point of entry into the human. Mary, said Metropolitan George of Nicomedia (19th century) “was the magnificent first fruit offered by human nature to the Creator.” (16) “She is”, said Nicholas Cabasilas (14th century), “truly the first man, the first and only being to have manifested in herself the fullness of human nature.” (17)

VI. Let us draw our conclusions:

1. The Immaculate Conception of Mary is not a defined dogma in the Orthodox Church.

2. One can say that since the first part of the nineteenth century the majority of Orthodox believers and theologians have taken their stand against this doctrine.

3. Nevertheless. it is impossible to say that from the Orthodox point of view the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception constitutes a heresy; for canonically it has never been defined as such by an oecumenical council and in fact, it has never met with the disapproval of a universal and unchanging consensus of opinion.

4. There does exist a continuous line of eminent Orthodox authorities who have taught the Immaculate Conception.

5. Therefore the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception has every right to its existence in the Orthodox Church as an opinion of a school or as a personal theologoumenon based on a tradition worthy of respect.

6. It follows therefore that the Roman definition of 1854 does not constitute an obstacle to the reunion of the Eastern and Western Churches.

7. It is my own view that not only does the Immaculate Conception not contradict any Orthodox dogma but that it is a necessary and logical development of the whole of Orthodox belief. (18)

Regina sine labe concepta, ora pro nobis.



Footnotes

1. Photius, homil. I in Annunt., in the collection of St. Aristarchis, Photiou logoi kai homiliai, Constantinople 1901, t. II, p. 236.

2. Theognostes, hom. in fest. Dormitionis, Greek Cod. 763 of the Bibliotheque Nationale of Paris, fol. 8. v.

3. Euthemius, hom. in concept. S. Annae, Cod. laudianus 69 of the Bodleian Library, fol. 122-126.

4. Photius, In Praesentat. Deiparae, in the collection of Sophoclis Grigoriou tou Palama homiliai kb’, Athens 1861.

5. Manuel Paleologus, orat. in Dormit., Vatic. graecus 1619. A Latin translation is to be found in Migne P.G. t. CLVI, 91-108.

6. Scholarios, hom. in Dormit., Greek Cod. 1294 of the Bibliotheque Nationale of Paris, fol. 139 v.

7. Lukaris, hom. in Dormit., Cod. 263 of the Metochion of the Holy Sepulchre in Constantinople, fol. 612-613, and hom. in Nativ., Cod. 39 of the Metochion, fol. 93.

8. Hypsilantis, Ta meta ten alosin, Constantinople, 1870, p. 131. Coursoulas, Sunopsis ten ieras Theologias, Zante, 1862, vol. I, pp. 336-342.

9. Quoted by Frederic George Lee, in The Sinless Conception of the Mother of God, London 1891, p. 58.

10. See Chiliapkin, St Dmitri of Rostov and his times (Russian), in the Zapiski of the Faculty of history and philology of the University of St. Petersberg, t. XXIV, 1891, especially pp. 190-193.

11. See J. Gagarin, L’Eglise russe et L’immaculee conception, Paris 1876.

12. See Makary Bulgakov, History of the Russian Church (Russian) 1890, t. XII, p. 681. On the Polotsk brotherhood, see the article by Golubiev, in the Trudv of the Academy of Kiev, November 1904, pp. 164-167.

13. See N. Subbotin, History of the hierarchy of Bielo-Krinitza (Russian), Moscow, 1874, t. I, p. xlii of the Preface.

14. An article by M. Jugie, “Le dogme de l’immaculee conception d’apres un theologien russe,” in Echos d’Orient, 1920, t. XX, p. 22, gives an analysis of Lebedev’s monography.

15. Letter of Archbishop Anthony of Volhynia to the Old Believers, in the organ of the Russian Holy Synod, The Ecclesiastical News of 10 March 1912, p. 399. Morozov’s reply is contained in the same periodical on 14 July 1912, pp. 1142-1150.

16. Hom. III in Praesentat., Migne P.G. t. C, col. 1444.

17. Hom. in Nativ. B. Mariae, Greek Cod. 1213 of the Bibliotheque Nationale of Paris, fol. 3, r.

18. On the whole subject see M. Jugie, “De immaculata Deiparae conceptione a byzantinis scriptoribus post schisma consummatum edocta”, in Acta II conventus Velehradensis, Prague 1910; and article “Immaculee Conception,” in Dictionnaire de theologie catholique, Paris 1922, t. VII, col. 894-975. This last article by Jugie gives a complete bibliography of the subject. Much will also be found in P. de Meester, “Le dogme de l’immaculee conception et la doctrine de l’Eglise grecque”: 5 articles published in the Revue de l’Orient chretien, Paris, 1904-1905.

(From Chrysostom, Vol. VI, No. 5 [Spring 1983]: 151-159)


Bishop Robert Barron: The Incarnation

"On the Incarnation" by St Athanasius: 
a lecture by Father John Behr

2nd Lecture by Father John Behr

Feast of the Conversion of St Paul
January 25th, 2018 

Ecumenical Vespers


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