Nektarios the Wonderworker: Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride! Wednesday, Jan 15 2014 

St NektariosRefrain: Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!

O Virgin pure, immaculate / O Lady Theotokos
O Virgin Mother, Queen of all / and fleece which is all dewy
More radiant than the rays of sun / and higher than the heavens
Delight of virgin choruses / superior to Angels.
Much brighter than the firmament / and purer than the sun’s light
More holy than the multitude / of all the heav’nly armies.

Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!

O Ever Virgin Mary/ of all the world, the Lady
O bride all pure, immaculate/ O Lady Panagia
O Mary bride and Queen of all/ our cause of jubilation
Majestic maiden, Queen of all/ O our most holy Mother
More hon’rable than Cherubim/ beyond compare more glorious
than immaterial Seraphim / and greater than angelic thrones.

Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!

Rejoice, O song of Cherubim / Rejoice, O hymn of angels
Rejoice, O ode of Seraphim / the joy of the archangels
Rejoice, O peace and happiness / the harbor of salvation
O sacred chamber of the Word / flow’r of incorruption
Rejoice, delightful paradise / of blessed life eternal
Rejoice, O wood and tree of life / the fount of immortality.

Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!

I supplicate you, Lady/ now do I call upon you
And I beseech you, Queen of all / I beg of you your favor
Majestic maiden, spotless one / O Lady Panagia
I call upon you fervently / O sacred, hallowed temple
Assist me and deliver me / protect me from the enemy
And make me an inheritor/ of blessed life eternal.

Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!

Nektarios of Aegina (Orthodox Church; 1846-1920): Source and translation: Holy Nativity Convent, Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.) @ http://www.serfes.org

Cyril of Alexandria: Mary, Theotokos, We Salute You Wednesday, Jan 1 2014 

cyril_alexandriaI see here a joyful company of Christian men met together in ready response to the call of Mary, the holy and ever-virgin Mother of God.

The great grief that weighed upon me is changed into joy by your presence, venerable Fathers.

Now the beautiful saying of David the psalmist: How good and pleasant it is for brothers to live together in unity (Psalm 133) has come true for us.

Therefore, holy and incomprehensible Trinity, we salute you at whose summons we have come together to this church of Mary, the Theotokos [Mother of God].

Mary, Theotokos, we salute you. Precious vessel, worthy of the whole world’s reverence, you are an ever-shining light, the crown of virginity, the symbol of orthodoxy, an indestructible temple, the place that held Him whom no place can contain, mother and virgin.

Because of you the holy gospels could say: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

We salute you, for in your holy womb was confined him who is beyond all limitation.

Because of you the Holy Trinity is glorified and adored; the Cross is called precious and is venerated throughout the world; the heavens exult;

the angels and archangels make merry; demons are put to flight; the devil, that tempter, is thrust down from heaven;

the fallen race of man is taken up on high; all creatures possessed by the madness of idolatry have attained knowledge of the truth;

believers receive holy baptism; the oil of gladness is poured out; the Church is established throughout the world; pagans are brought to repentance.

What more is there to say? Because of you the light of the only-begotten Son of God has shone upon those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death;

prophets pronounced the word of God; the apostles preached salvation to the Gentiles; the dead are raised to life, and kings rule by the power of the Holy Trinity.

Who can put Mary’s high honor into words? She is both mother and virgin. I am overwhelmed by the wonder of this miracle.

Of course no one could be prevented from living in the house he had built for himself, yet who would invite mockery by asking His own servant to become His mother?

Behold then the joy of the whole universe. Let the union of God and man in the Son of the Virgin Mary fill us with awe and adoration.

Let us fear and worship the undivided Trinity as we sing the praise of the ever-virgin Mary, the holy temple of God, and of God Himself, her Son and spotless Bridegroom.

To Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Cyril of Alexandria (c. 376-444): Homily given at the Council of Ephesus, 361 @ Orthodox Martyria.

Proclus of Constantinople: O Awesome and Wondrous Mystery! Wednesday, Dec 26 2012 

Proclus_of_ConstantinopleAmong the things celebrated at yesterday’s feast, was there anything which was not miraculous and wondrous, or awesome and glorious?

What was the marvel of yesterday’s feast day?

But first, I beg you, listen with forbearance, for a tongue of clay is trying to convey the mysteries of God.

What, then, was the marvel of yesterday’s feast?

The inexplicable mystery of divinity and humanity; a birth pang without pain; an enfleshment giving form to the one without shape;

an inconceivable birth; a beginning, but not the beginning of the One who was born.

For even though it was the beginning of His humanity, His divinity remained beginningless;

one form assumed another form, but the Trinity did not increase to a quaternity;

for this was a union of two natures, the birth of one Son, and the unconfused union of the Word with the flesh.

He who was born according to the flesh is God from the Father, and man from me. O awesome and wondrous mystery!

Who ever saw a king take on the appearance of a condemned man? Or when did the eye ever take in the sight of the entire sun?

And when was human flesh ever essentially united without change to God, if not yesterday?

When the Virgin was heavy with child, when the Word entered in through her sense of hearing,

when the Holy Spirit fashioned the living temple of the body,

when the Most High emptied Himself into the form of a servant (Phil. 2:7),

when the womb of a virgin contained within herself the mystery of the divine dispensation.

O womb wider than the heavens! O birth that bears salvation! O womb of clay and bridal chamber of the Creator!

O birth, a ransom for the sin of the world! O mystery, the manner of which I am unable to explain!

O birth, not the beginning of God’s existence, not a change of nature, nor a diminishing of power, neither a separation from the beginningless progenitor, but the essential union of God and flesh;

the blessing of birth; the advent of God; the wonder hidden by God from the ages; the indivisible mystery of divine and human natures;

the abolition of the curse; the overturning of the sentence which stood against us; the birth of the one and only Son,

His beginningless existence, His birth in the flesh from the Virgin and veneration by all creation, joyfully announced and freely given to all!

To Him be glory and dominion, unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Proclus of Constantinople (d. 446 or 447): On the Incarnation of the Lord; longer extract @ Mystagogy

Teresa Benedicta of the Cross: “The Marriage of the Lamb has Come and His Bride has Prepared Herself” Wednesday, Aug 3 2011 

“The marriage of the Lamb has come and his Bride has prepared herself” (Rev 19:7).

St John saw “the holy city, the new Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev 21:2 and 9ff.).

As Christ himself descended to earth from heaven, so too his Bride, the holy church, originated in heaven.

She is born of the grace of God, indeed descended with the Son of God himself; she is inextricably bound to him.

She is built of living stones; her cornerstone was laid when the Word of God assumed our human nature in the womb of the Virgin.

At that time there was woven between the soul of the divine Child and the soul of the Virgin Mother the bond of the most intimate unity which we call betrothal.

Hidden from the entire world, the heavenly Jerusalem had descended to earth.

From this first joining in betrothal, there had to be born all the living building blocks to be used for the mighty structure: each individual soul awakened to life through grace.

The Bridal Mother was to become the mother of all the redeemed.

Like a spore from which new cells stream continually, she was to build up the living city of God.

This hidden mystery was revealed to St John as he stood beneath the cross with the Virgin Mother and was given over to her as her son.

It was then that the church came into existence visibly; her hour had come, but not yet her perfection.

She lives, she is wedded to the Lamb, but the hour of the solemn marriage supper will only arrive when the dragon has been completely conquered and the last of the redeemed have fought their battle to the end.

Just as the Lamb had to be killed to be raised upon the throne of glory, so the path to glory leads through suffering and the cross for everyone chosen to attend the marriage supper of the Lamb.

All who want to be married to the Lamb must allow themselves to be fastened to the cross with him.

Everyone marked by the blood of the Lamb is called to this, and that means all the baptized. But not everyone understands the call and follows it.

There is a call to following more closely that resounds more urgently in the soul and demands a clear answer. This is the vocation to the religious life, and the answer is the religious vows.

They [those in religious life] want to belong pre-eminently to the Lamb for all eternity, to follow him wherever he goes, and to sing the song of the virgins that no one else can sing (Rev 14:1-5).

St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross [Edith Stein] (1891-1942): At the Foot of the Cross; Copyright ICS Publications. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, if this copyright notice is included. Maintained by the Austrian Province of the Teresian Carmel