The Panagia is the most exciting person in history. The Fathers of the Church, in their hymnology and theology, do not hesitate to compare her with the angels to privilege her own holy person. They greet her as “more honorable than the Cherubim and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim”.
Indeed the Panagia has a uniqueness. First, she is the greatest benefactor of mankind. Through her our Lord the God-man took human nature and made it possible for every person to have communion with Him. Second, she is the closest creature to God with the greatest boldness before Him, “for the prayer of a Mother avails much to the good will of the Master”. Third, she is the nearest to each of us individually. She is closer to us than our closest relatives, closer to us even than our guardian angel, and she is more of a mom than our mother. Fourth, the Panagia is also connected personally with the greatest miracle in the history of the world – the Divine Incarnation. Lastly, the Panagia, as the Mother of God, introduces us to the greatest mystery for which “every tongue is at a loss to praise you as is due” in as much as it reflects on how through the gate of the body of the Divine Mother our Lord and God entered into history and His world “in the form of a servant”.
These five distinctive features also identify five internal experiences that are born out of our communion with her. This relationship causes the deepest gratitude that a person could feel, which is why we cannot thank and glorify her enough. She also invites us to have the firmest confidence, which makes us seek her help even for our most difficult problems: “No one is turned away from you, ashamed and empty, who flee unto you, O Pure Virgin Theotokos; but one asks for the favor, and the gift is received from you, to the advantage of their own request.” We also feel the sweetest, warmest and most deepest comfort together with her. This is why among the names we ascribe to her we also call her the following: Comforter (Paramythia), Consolation (Parigoritissa) and Sweet-kissing (Glykofilousa). The great theological Fathers, such as Saint John of Damascus, Saint Gregory Palamas, and Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite, express the awe and wonder of the Church with unique hymnography and dogmatic formulations in an effort of gratitude and glorification to put into words the miracle of her virginity. Finally, every prayer to the Mother of God endows us with interior illumination that can illuminate our human soul.
I pray that God will allow to exist essential fruitfulness in our prayers and that the Panagia will redeem us from all our needs, sorrows, pains and daily difficulties, and that she especially accomplishes for each of us that secret prototype for another life in grace and spirit.
by Metropolitan Nicholas of Mesogaias and Lavriotikis
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.