The Panagia is a Throne. She is a glorified throne, in the words of Saint John of Damascus. “Rejoice, throne of God, glorified and pure; Rejoice, spacious palace.”
The Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos in the Temple is believed to be not among the most ancient festivals of the Church.
Since Jesus Christ died on the Cross and rose from the dead, conquering death for us, there is no reason why we cannot ask those in heaven to pray for us just as we ask those still living on earth for their prayers. After all, in Christ all are alive.
The hymns compiled by the hymnographers of the Church for Christians to celebrate feasts, as well as today’s feast of the Dormition of our Panagia, are masterpieces, as much in the structure, images and cosmetic adjectives they use, as well as in their content, which respond to the great existential problems of man, such as about life and death.
The holy and great Synod therefore says, that the only begotten Son, born according to nature of God the Father, very God of very God, Light of Light, by whom the Father made all things, came down, and was incarnate, and was made man, suffered, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven.
Our Most Holy Lady has been established in the minds of the Orthodox faithful as an intercessor who unites the earth with heaven, the perceptible world with the beauty of the things of the spirit.
It is right here, in attempting to answer this question so fundamental to genuine faith, that the image of the Virgin Mother almost unconsciously and involuntarily begins to grow before our spiritual eyes. Oh, this doesn’t mean that her image somehow eclipses the image of Christ, or that she is presented to Christianity as an additional object of faith set apart from Christ.
As we Orthodox continue our sojourn through the Dormition Fast, we remember that giving honor to the Mother of Jesus Christ is an idea that comes from the Scriptures themselves. In Luke 1:39-44 we find this description of Jesus’ Mother visiting her cousin, Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist:
All too often the “remembrance of the righteous which is accompanied by encomia” is an opportunity to censure the person praising if he falls short of expressing the worth of the person being praised- because the address is not always, nor in all circumstances, equivalent to reality. But how can I speak of the Mistress of all the righteous, the Mother of God Who is the King of Righteousness, or touch very lightly on even a part of her real worth, since it is my intention to praise her memory?
According to the ancient tradition of the Church, the Theotokos was born of barren and aged parents, Joachim and Anna, about the year 16 or 17 before the birth of Christ. Joachim was descended from the royal line of David, of the tribe of Judah. Anna was of the priestly tribe of Levi, a daughter of the priest Matthan and Mary, his wife.