Thus this poor mother taught her children who the Mother of God is, and she taught them with her whole heart that the Mother of God is their true Mother. Therefore, the children, rising in the morning, even before speaking with their mother, would run to the Mother of God, make several prostrations, pray the Lord’s Prayer and prayers to the Mother of God, honoring her according to the strength of their childish understanding.
“You! An angel?!” the hermit scoffed disdainfully. “You are a real devil! Those good people showed you hospitality you repaid them all with black ingratitude. You were a thief, an arsonist, a murderer, and a sacrilegious desecrator. And you even wear monastic clothing!”
The elder Archimandrite Cleopa (Ilie, April 10, 1912-December 2, 1998) is widely known as a great spiritual father of Romanian monasticism and a guide for many laymen, thousands of whom went to him for spiritual aid. We offer here a fragment from the Russian publication of his book The Soul’s Worth, published by the Sretensky Monastery Publishing House.
Beloved faithful! Although the heretic Arius, that greatest heretic in Christendom, and his heresy disappeared, the Church of Christ has been constantly struck by new sects and heresies throughout the ages, some more dangerous than others.
Their great zeal, sacred reverence, and courage of soul passed over all the Jews’ obstacles, and all the guards at the Tomb did not shake their resolve. But one thought, but one desire led their minds and hearts— to serve the funeral of their dear Savior with fullness of faith and with reverence.
This king committed so many sins that it is even beyond expression. But the Most Holy God, wishing to demonstrate the depth of His mercy and the boundless compassion towards people, in His providence led Manasseh to repentance. How did it come to pass?
In order to praise the Child and Virgin Mary, we must have good-natured hearts, as have infants, and a pure life untainted by carnal sins. To praise Her Who was to become the Mother of the Son of God we must have the heart of a mother, the tenderness and patience of a mother, and the love and compassion of a mother for all. Otherwise our prayers and our gifts, if they come from a heart full of sins, hatred and evil, will not be received by the Most Holy Virgin Mary.
We Orthodox Christians honor the Theotokos Mary more than all the saints and angels of heaven for she was found worthy to give birth to Christ, the Savior of the world by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. The honor we render to the Mother of the Lord is exceptional, most honorable and most revered, for she is not only "a friend of His,” as are the other saints, but she is Most Holy (Panagia) above all the saints and all the angels.
"This kingdom of Christ, derived not from this world, constitutes the Church, or the Body, of Christ, of which the head is Christ Himself (Eph. 1:22). The adoption and entrance into this kingdom takes place only through the laver of regeneration (Titus 3:5) or birth from above (Jn. 3:3)."
The Apostle Paul shows us who believe in Christ that we must seek after the power of faith and not the perception of our material eyes, saying, we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). The prowling demons, however, instruct certain men not to be satisfied with the teaching of the Saviour and of His Apostle—to walk with trust in the faith of Christ—but rather to seek by every means to view with their sensible eyes that which is accessible only to the eyes of faith.
Holy Tradition is the teaching of the Church, given by God with a living voice, a portion of which was later written down. Like Holy Scripture, Holy Tradition also contains Holy Revelation, and is therefore fundamental for our salvation. Holy Tradition is the life of the Church in the Holy Spirit; and, in concord with the enduring life of the Church, it is a wellspring of Holy Revelation, and thus it possesses the same authority as Holy Scripture.