The Most Holy Virgin Is Our Unfailing Hope

    

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit!

“O protection of Christians which cannot be put to shame, O unfailing intercession with the Creator, disdain not the suppliant voices of sinners; but Thou be swift, O Good One, to help us who in faith cry to Thee; hasten to intercession and speed Thou to make supplication, O Theotokos Who dost ever protect those who honor Thee.” This is how we often sing in honor and praise of the Most Blessed Virgin Theotokos with special tender emotion, offering up all our unworthy prayers to Her and crediting Her alone with all the timely help that we receive from above.

Why do we have such complete devotion to our All-Holy Lady Theotokos and what does the author of this hymn want to suggest to us by this most vivid sense of his zeal for Her? Here the Church expresses its faith and conviction that the first, all-powerful and quickest Help and Intercessor for all before God is truly the All-Blessed Virgin Theotokos, that She, standing face to face before the Throne of Her Son and our God, incessantly prays for the salvation, blessing, and protection of His heritage. Thus the Church suggests to us that, having become the Mother of the Son of God and our Redeemer, the Most Holy Virgin became the Mother of all the righteous and the unfailing hope of sinners. Her most pure hands are spread out all over the Christian world with wholesome miracles and signs—obvious and manifest tokens and proofs of Her mercy and intercession, so frequent that we can hardly enumerate them. The infinite glory with which She is praised in heaven higher than the Cherubim and the Seraphim, is indeed equal to the ineffable mercy with which She appears around the world among Christians.

Therefore, it is meet and right that the Holy Church unceasingly extol the Mother of God, prompting us, unworthy as we are, to glorify Her as well. And we are all beneath Her all-powerful protection and shield, and She embraces us with Her great mercy. With our worthlessness, it is precious to us to have a good and true helper in our everyday needs, and particularly in perils. And it is more pleasant and comforting for us to set our hopes on the Most Holy Virgin Mary and Her intercession for us before the Throne of the Most High. We have a whole range of needs, both spiritual and physical, which cannot be satisfied by anything but Him; likewise, we face manh dangers, which cannot be averted by anything but His all-powerful help. Meanwhile, our prayers and entreaties often do not reach the Heavenly King due to our sins and our extreme unworthiness. We often implore and cry to God, but the Lord does not heed us because we beseech Him without faith and beg without hope. We are often drawn to goodness but are unable to do good; quite the contrary, we often do the things that we loathe in the heart of our hearts. We want to be virtuous, but still remain sinners. We give vows to abandon sin, but cannot part with sinful habits and stop ourselves from enjoying sin. And, according to the Holy Scriptures, we still drink iniquity like water (cf. Job 15:16).

In our weaknesses, needs, and spiritual dangers like these the Most Holy Virgin intercedes for us, who are very feeble in faith, hope, and love, and She inclines the mercy of Her Son and our God on us, unworthy as we are, beseeching Him to be merciful to us, to shield and guard us. Knowing our weaknesses, She extends Her merciful gaze even to our smallest needs and requirements. Having the same nature as us, She loves us with complete holy love; and, knowing many wants, sorrows and humiliations from Her own experience, She is especially close to those who are unhappy, those with contrite hearts, the orphans, the sick, the helpless, the persecuted, and the hurt. Open books on Church history, look intently at the life of the pious faithful in the past, and the boundlessness of benefaction and miracles, poured out by the Mother of God on the human race, will appear in front of you in its entirety. Amen.

Archimandrite Kirill (Pavlov), 1961
Translated by Dmitry Lapa

Azbuka Very

4/13/2019

See also
The Saturday of the Akathist Hymn. Laudation of the Most Holy Theotokos The Saturday of the Akathist Hymn. Laudation of the Most Holy Theotokos The Saturday of the Akathist Hymn. Laudation of the Most Holy Theotokos The Saturday of the Akathist Hymn. Laudation of the Most Holy Theotokos
At first the feast of the Akathist was celebrated in Constantinople in that same Blachernae Church, but later the feast was entered into the Typicon of the monasteries founded by St. Savva the Studite and later into the service books of the Church, and from that time on it became a common practice for the entire Eastern Church.
Wondrously Near to Those Who Call Upon Her Wondrously Near to Those Who Call Upon Her
Igumen Nektary (Morozov)
Wondrously Near to Those Who Call Upon Her Wondrously Near to Those Who Call Upon Her
A Homily for the Laudation of the Mother of God
Igumen Nektary (Morozov)
Let us have hope that the Queen will not despise our humble praise, but that she will be merciful to us and vouchsafe us that joy that is never taken away from those who have found it, which she desires for every one of us from her loving, mother’s heart.
‘Hail, passage through the gates of Paradise…’ ‘Hail, passage through the gates of Paradise…’
Sotirios Sarvanis
‘Hail, passage through the gates of Paradise…’ ‘Hail, passage through the gates of Paradise…’
Sotirios Sarvanis
From all of this, we may understand that it is no accident that the Salutations have been placed within Great Lent. What we will experience shortly is the most tremendous experience, and our soul must be pure if we are to live through the Holy Passion and the splendid Resurrection of Our Lord. This is why we ask Our Lady to support us at this time with her maternal affection and love, to pray for us to Our Father and for us to complete both this struggle which we are undertaking this Lent, peacefully and sinlessly, and also every other struggle for our salvation, so that we may enjoy the Kingdom of God.
Comments
Anthony4/13/2019 9:41 am
My dearly beloved friends! Αγαπημένοι φίλοι και φίλες! I greet you- για σας! I'm not sure if you are aware of this fact, but did you know that our own Άγιος Γέροντας Παΐσιος says that our Παναγία looks most like the icon Παναγία η Ιεροσολυμίτισσα. Here's more info should you be interested:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDhIptjDooc

και

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hcAVqFYG50

Rejoice always - πάντοτε χαίρετε!
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