In this email
Message from Fr Alexander — The Mother of God
God’s Mother, Our Mother
Live stream information
News of Future Services
Saints and Feasts — 20th–27th August
Offer of help
Why do we honour God’s Mother? Can God even have a Mother? This is a question which is often placed before Christians, even by other Christians themselves, and it is one to which should respond, albeit delicately.
Christianity is different from all other religions—in this sense it is not a religion at all: Christianity is a Church. We are different because we claim that God became one of us. Not pretending to be human, like the tales of mythology, but in all things the same as us except sin. God became human.
His becoming human was not some random event but is tied fundamentally to the history of Israel—through our baptism into Christ this has become our history, our story. And it was the greatest that Israel could offer to God, the greatest that the whole of humanity could offer, who was chosen to be his Mother: the blessed Virgin Mary. She it was who could say in all humility, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)
The Mother of God interceded for the people. When at Cana the Lord told her, “My hour has not yet come,” she insisted and the Lord worked his first sign, his first miracle, because of her pleading (see John 2:1–11).
At this time of year we place the Mother of God at the centre of our thoughts: for she, like we will, died. We commemorate this every year on 15th August. Yet her death in time tells us something of ours: three days later her tomb was found empty. Ours, too, at the end of time will also be found empty. Our rising on the Last Day is shown to us now in her empty tomb. She is risen and stands beside the Lord interceding on our behalf.
If we believe that the dead are not dead but alive in Christ, if we believe that the prayers of the righteous are effective, if we believe that the Theotokos is highly favoured, has the Lord with her and is blessed then there is no greater advocate for us before the throne of God that she is. We pray to her, we ask her intercessions before the Lord that he will look down from on high and bless our new mission for his glory.
God’s Mother, Our Mother
In this Be the Bee #41 video, the place of the Theotokos is given some explanation. Like all their videos, I highly recommend it: please watch it and share with those who want to understand their faith more.
We should follow government advice whenever we can. We are not being asked to give up or deny our Faith, but many are being told to stay socially isolated and this will last, perhaps, for many months.
How can you respond? Pray. We pray because we love and because we know the power of prayer. We pray not as a last resort but as a first response.
Is there anything you need or anything you can offer? Let me know — my telephone number and email address are on each of the emails: please get in contact if you are feeling isolated: I am here for you.
Are you willing to contact isolated people via email or phone? Let me know! It would be good to match up those who need help with those who can offer it.
The Monastery of Saints Antony and Cuthbert, Shropshire, is live-streaming its services for all who are unable to go to their own churches. These are over YouTube and can be accessed here:
Usually Vespers on Saturday evenings at 5 pm and Matins and Liturgy on Sunday mornings from 7.30 am.
News of Future Services
We want to start to hold services together: things are difficult now but they remind us that we can do nothing by our own power. Only when we place our hope in the Lord—and not in our own skills, talents, ideas, imaginations—will we be able to build a house for the Lord.
Our Facebook Page, facebook.com/orthodoxeastleigh, too, has daily additions during the week as well as on feast days. Please do like and share our page and content so we may reach a wider group of people.
Do you receive the weekly (on Fridays) text message? If not, then let me know.
Saints and Feasts
Thursday 20th August — Afterfeast of the Dormition. Prophet Samuel (11th BC).
Friday 21st — Afterfeast of the Dormition. Apostle Thaddaios of the Seventy (c 44). Holy Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Saturday 22nd — Afterfeast of the Dormition. Martyr Agathonikos of Nicomedia and his companions (4th). St Sigrid, Abbot of Wearmouth (c 688).
Sunday 23rd — 11th after Pentecost. Leavetaking of the Dormition. St Irenaeus of Lyons (202). Martyr Tydfill of Merthyr (480). Martyr Ebba the Younger, Abbess of Coldingham (Northumbria 870).
Monday 24th — Repose of the New Hieromartyr Kosmas of Aetolia, Equal-to-the-Apostles (1779). Translation to Zakynthos of the relics of St Dionysios, Bishop of Aigina, the Wonderworker (1624).
Tuesday 25th — Return of the relics of the Apostle Bartholomew from Anastasiopolis to Lipari (6th). Apostle Titus of the Seventy, Bishop of Crete (1st). Translation of the relics of St Hilda of Whitby (680). St Ebba, Abbess of Coldingham (Northumbria 683).
Wednesday 26th — Martyrs Adrian and Natalia of Nicomedia (4th).
Thursday 27th — St Poemen the Great (c 450). Newly-revealed Great martyr Phanourios of Rhodes.
Can I help you?
I am here for you, you need only ask. Is there a way I can support your life of faith? Get in touch.
Can you help the mission?
Yes, absolutely. Offer yourselves to the Lord: pray! Make available to him all your talents and ask him how he would like you to use them — listen for his reply.
I ask your prayers for me.
With love in Christ