St Gregory Palamas
Homily 37 – the Dormition of the Theotokos
Every Saint in the Orthodox Christian Church has a personal relationship with the Theotokos. This is especially the case for St Gregory Palamas, who was also granted to see her in his earthly life. St Gregory always evoked the Theotokos as intercessor in his prayers. He expressed in the opening of his homily that “… there is nothing dearer or more necessary for me to expound with due honour in Church the wonders of the ever-virgin Mother of God”.
Thus, St Gregory exclaims,“What words can describe your divinely-radiant beauty, O Virgin Mother of God? We cannot circumscribe you in our words and thoughts, for everything about you surpasses our speech and understanding.”
St Gregory states about her virtue: “She embraces in their entirety the virtues which, distributed among the noblest of every age, were sufficient to make them great, and the various graces with which the angels and men have individually been favoured by God, and perfects them all in herself alone with inexpressible excellence.”
Regarding her Dormition, he pronounces: “Her death, too, was life-giving and led to heavenly, immortal life, and its day of remembrance is a joyful holiday and worldwide festival… Today she has moved from earth to heaven, and now has heaven too as a fitting dwelling-place, a palace meant for her… For at present she is the only one who has a place in heaven with her divinely glorified body in the company of her Son.”
St Gregory ends with a Prayer to the Theotokos: “Therefore, O Lady, share your mercy and your graces with all your people, your inheritance. Rescue us from the terrors that encompass us. See how many dangers of all kinds afflict us, from our own people and from strangers… Bestow your aid and healing on us to counteract our passions, and give our souls and bodies abundant grace sufficient for every need.”
Source: August-September 2014 Lychnos Edition