In his homily on the Annunciation of the Theotokos, St. Nicholas Cabasilas asks: “But those things which drew the Artificer Himself to earth… What were these things?  A blameless life, an utterly pure way of life, the rejection of all evil, the practice of every virtue, a soul purer than light, a body that was entirely spiritual, brighter than the sun, purer than Heaven, and more sacred than the Cherubic thrones.”

In the Theotokos we have the perfect example of humanity victorious over sin. By struggling against sin she overcame it, never becoming receptive to it as we are. Our hymnology tells us: “for I comprehend that thine is a body transcending description, not receptive to the flow of sin.”


Indeed, St Silouan the Athonite can strongly vouch for the sinlessness of the Mother of God: “In church I was listening to a reading from the prophet Isaiah, and at the words, ‘Wash you, make you clean,’ I reflected, ‘Maybe the Mother of God sinned at one time or another, if only in thought.’ And, marvelous to relate, in unison with my prayer a voice sounded in my heart, saying clearly, ‘The Mother of God never sinned even in thought.’ Thus did the Holy Spirit bear witness in my heart to her purity.”[2]

This is why on the first Sunday of Triodion, and for every Sunday until the 5th Sunday of Lent, our Church can so boldly call upon the Theotokos to guide us, as we begin our own struggle against sin within the period of Great Lent.

[1] 9th Ode of the Matins of the Entrance to the Temple

[2] Archimandrite Sophrony (Sakharov), St. Silouan the Athonite, p. 392


Source: February – March 2016 Lychnos Edition