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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

 “Rejoice, O un-wedded (without-a-bridegoom) Bride! / Χαίρε, Νύμφη Α-νύμφευτε. / Радуйся, Невесто не-невестная.” (Refrain, Akathist-Hymn of the Theotokos)

     In this Akathist-Hymn, we praise the Theotokos not only for who/what she “is“ and “has,“ but also for what she is “not,“ i.e.,“wedded,“ and what she does “not“ have, which is a spouse or bridegroom. Hence we praise her as “Α-νύμφευτε,” or one “without a bridegroom” (without a “νυμφίος“).

     Is this cause for celebration, the fact that the Most-Holy Theotokos had “no bridegroom,” in the usual sense, in her specific vocation, of bringing our Lord into the world? Yes, apparently so, as this particular fact is praised repeatedly, in the refrain of the Akathist-Hymn. Because it was hard to be alone, as the only (human) parent...

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

 “…And Mary said to the angel, ‘How shall this be, since I have no husband?’ And the angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.’ And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.” (Lk 1: 34-38)

     The “mystery” or “sacrament” of the Virgin Birth, that is, of the Most Holy Virgin’s “vocation,” raises an understandable, human question: “How shall this be…?” It is similar to the question(s) raised by Nicode...

Friday, April 7, 2017

We have finished the spiritually-beneficial forty days! O Lover of Mankind, we ask: Grant us also to see the Holy Week of Your passion, that we may glorify Your mighty deeds, and Your ineffable dispensation for our sakes, as we sing with one mind: Lord, glory to You!” (Lenten Triodion, Friday of Week 6)

Today is a difficult day to write one of these reflections, because there is so much going on in our liturgical calendar(s). Some of us, on the Older Calendar, are celebrating the great feast of the Annunciation, or “the beginning of our salvation” (as this feast is called in its Troparion-hymn). At the same time, we are transitioning to the beginning of Holy Week, having “finished the forty days” of Lent, according to the Byzantine liturgical calendar. Today Lazarus rests in his tomb for t...

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