Orthodox and Marian Beliefs

I know how you feel. In my journey back to Catholicism, I also looked at the East. Heck, even once I returned to Catholicism I still looked at the Orthodox Church.

Note: What I am about to write is just my take and I mean to disrespect to the Orthodox.

I found many things that bothered me about Orthodoxy. Just to name three, the nonchalant attitude toward Mother Mary, while on one side they call her the Theotokos, many are not bothered when more than few of their members say she committed sin. It doesn’t matter if she did or not I often heard some orthodox say. Some even on this board.

I also am very uneasy with the centrality of Palamism within the theology of the Orthodox. My uneasiness is mainly around depositing uncreated energies distinct from the person hood of the trinity

I also am bothered that the Orthodox deny the beatific vision.

These are just three. I was troubled by many more. Could it be that maybe the people I talked to were poorly taught? I don’t know, but I did seek to find dogmatic books to be able to understand Orthodoxy. But there were not many, there is something called the Rudder which I started to read. In short there is real vagueness about Orthodoxy on many things. If you want to know where the West stands on issues, the answers are easy to finds. There was also among the Orthodox a real double standard when it came to judging the Western Church, especially in terms of adding to the deposit of the faith. The East has added (doctrinal development) but deny and get mad when it is pointed out (Palamism).

There are also many beautiful things about the East. So let me make it clear, I do not wish to disparage the Orthodox but I wanted to let you know that I also went through the same thoughts as I returned to Catholicism. Keep praying to God, pray the Rosary, attend a TLM. You will be fine.

Talk to knowledgable people on this board, from both sides, there are some very fine traditional catholics and orthodox on this board.

On the other hand, many Catholics nowadays treat the Theotokos as if she is our savior. There is extreme devotion to her that you hardly hear about Christ anyway. That is why Protestants keeps accusing Catholics of worshiping Mary, and for some they might be right.

I think for both sides, we need to find the proper amount of devotion. We can’t go full on one way or the other. The middle is always the solution, more often than not.

true Constantine…agreed,

I recently read somewhere the belief going around that the Blessed Virgin Mary was not conceived in the normal, conjugal manner, but through the voices of her parents.

I am seeking confirmation of that.


I can’t imagine there is any mainstream belief of that.

I cannot speak for others, but i think my signature explains my view on blessed and Holy Theotokos.

I see the same thing. Raised Lutheran, and really that’s the one thing that bugs me and really keeps me back a bit from Rome. I read the prayers of JPII and fully half of them are to Mary – not at least in the sense of “pray to Jesus for me” but “Mary give me”. I don’t have a problem with “St. Whoever pray for me” but I think praying to Mary (or anyone else) as though she could personally give you anything is heretical. Another + for the East, I guess.

Would you say there is not enough devotion in Eastern theology?

I think you may find our prayers as uncomfortable as you do Catholic ones. You have to keep in mind that when we ask her for anything it’s understood to be through her prayers for Christ’s sake, not that she has the ability to do anything of her own. The prayers sometimes aren’t explicit on this point, it’s just understood in their context. Our veneration of the Most Holy Theotokos is something that can only really be understood if you’re in the Church. She is our Mother, the most dear one to our Lord, and our greatest example of humility and sanctity.

Agni Parthene (Gr. Αγνή Παρθένε) is a non-liturgical hymn composed in Greek by St. Nectarios of Aegina in the 19th century during his tenure as director of the Rizarios Theological School of Athens. St. Nektarios liked to compose hymns in honor of the Mother of God to deepen his personal prayer and relationship with her. The tradition passed down at the monastery of St. Nektarios, in Aegina, Greece, is that the Lady herself appeared before him and requested that he record on paper a particular hymn the angelic choirs were about to sing. This hymn was the “Agni Parthene”. The original script can still be viewed on his prayer table in his bedroom at this monastery.
The original melody to this hymn was composed by an Athonite hymnographer who is said to also have had a vision of the Virgin Mary prior to composing the work. The recording of this melody by the Monks of Simonopetra has contributed significantly to the popularization of the hymn.


“O Virgin Pure
by St. Nectarios
Plagal First Tone (Tone 5)
Refrain: Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!
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 Bride Unwedded!
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 Bride Unwedded!
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 Bride Unwedded!
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 Bride Unwedded!”



I can predict that a lot of people reading this post will see red, but my intention is not to attack, it is to reflect my concerns.

The problem as I see it is that there is so much of this kind of thing. Not just one thing, or another, but many little things like this and the church doesn’t address it, just looks the other way. We are going from immaculately conceived to unnaturally conceived in one short easy step.

This on top of the 15 promises to the BVM supposedly made to St Margaret Mary Alacoque, in which the BVM supposedly makes some [supposedly, though I don’t believe it] very arrogant claims for herself. Then there is also the notion that she is somehow the Mediatrix of all Grace (however that is supposed to work I can’t seem to get a clear consistent answer) and of course people like to call her the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. People combine all these notions into a complex of ideas, all pushing in the same way.

Hope you will pardon the expression, but most people have heard of the term ‘sacred cow’, which of course originates with the cattle in India that cannot be touched no matter where they roam and what they eat. The term is often used to refer to something that can seemingly be embellished to any degree without restraint, but will brook no criticism even with a constructive intent.

We see that here all the time, people can claim the oddest belief about the BVM, due to some obscure and unlikely vision, or ‘just because it makes sense [to us]’, and *nobody says a word, *but any little objection to these embellishments can be met with howls of fury from many different people, to defend her ‘from attack’ …

As referenced in a post above many people (some people I have known closely too) are not asking the BVM for her prayers to God on our behalf so much as asking for her personal help directly, praying to her for her help, relying on her efforts to keep us out of hell and purgatory as if she herself controls these things. (Young and new Christians should be forgiven if they get that impression since the way these prayers are worded certainly supports the idea.) It is said how we pray reflects our beliefs … Lex orandi lex credendi.

To quote a snippet from a speech by Metropolitan Jonah [OCA] in 2009 …
" …we reject the papal ecclesiology and the theological distortions of papal infallibility, and some of the hypertrophy regarding Our Most Holy Lady Theotokos, the Ever-Virgin Mary. We love the Most Pure Mother of God, but I think we have to remember what is right and decent and in order. And it’s only by, only by the repeal of such doctrines that there is going to be any possibility of reconciliation of the Roman Church with the Orthodox Church… some don’t like that."

This has always been pretty disturbing, and even alarming to me. Is this how development of doctrine works, if these ideas become more popular are we going to see people clamoring for more new dogmas?

Two extremes one is the above the other is “As long as I can talk to my Father I can ignore the rest of my family” type of thinking.

Why wouldn’t Mary be Mediatrix, would She not have have access to the Throne of Grace? She certainly did from the start.

I suppose this is suitable to a thread of it’s own, but to answer your question, of course she mediates graced. We all do.

So the problem, as I see it, is that some people want to declare her Mediatrix of All Graces. Not just a mediatrix.

So you tell me, and all of us, what that means.

Does all graces mean some sampling of every type of grace (but not all of any one type) ?
Or does it mean every single grace of any type whatever?

From there we can pick this thing apart, and I will be more able to answer your question.

Well we have to start I suppose by the agreement all Grace passed through Mary at the Incarnation. No? Being she is the Mother of the Second person of the Trinity.

That was an event in time and place.

Did the other two pass through her as well?

Is she still pregnant? Do they all still pass through her?

Does the grace of the Holy Spirit pass through her at the altar when the Holy Eucharist is confected and the elements become the Body and the Blood of our Lord?

Is she there when I confess? When I am Confirmed?

Are we saying the Holy Spirit is unable to function except through the agency of Saint Mary?

Is the communion of saints ineffective without her input participation? Do their prayers matter? If I pray to my Guardian Angel or a saint for help do they have to pray to Saint Mary before God will hear their supplications?

All these thing may be implied by the terminology, and people are not making it clear that they are not what is meant when they advocate for this and sign their petitions.

I am sorry, but this is way off topic, but those are the kind of questions that need addressing. Tell us what it means and how it works and we shall both know and it can be understood in a very public way. :slight_smile:

LIke this…


Here’s another


These are great questions for a separate thread. I would love input from the East and West on the answer to these questions.

All of that has been bought up before. I don’t see Mary interferring with Gods Grace, but in line with it, no different than the Incarnation to the Cross/Redemption. I don’t agree with everything in Dr Taylors article above, however he brings up a few other interesting points.

Nevertheless Her situation increased in life till the foot of the Cross also. Where does this decrease? Where does God change His mind about any of this? I didn’t read that Biblical verse. dcointins hymn above sounds about right, very Catholic sounding to me. Queen of Heaven etc:eek: Leads back to the artical, what does the Queen of Heaven do? :shrug:


I believe that Mary controls the treasury of grace won by her Son on the Cross. These graces she distributes according to her will, which is always in conformity to her Son’s will, but is nevertheless her own.

In that sense, Mary has been delegated by her son to dispense grace, and I can ask for it and recieve it from her hands, if it be her Son’s will. AKA Mediatrix of Grace. So yes, I pray to Mary directly, and ask her to protect me by granting to me the grace that I need to achieve salvation, exactly as you describe.

No howls of fury Hesychios, but no shyness either. I am not trying to convince you, nor would I venture to attempt to convince a Metropolitan of an Orthodox Church. I personally find the doctrines neither odd nor without basis in scripture and theology.


Right, she doesn’t stand between God and man running the plays in and out for salvation. Her “cooperation” with God still in full effect. God still God.

I found the comment on Christ odd though Michael I was under the impression the EO was in line with Fully Divine/Fully Human? All Grace that would mean in the Fully Divine aspect passed through Mary, and of course we know she had to be Full of Grace for this to occur. :wink:

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