Tag Archives: Mary

The Holy Mother of God

Today is the octave day of Christmastide, the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, in whose Incarnate Son we experience the fullness of the priest’s blessing from the book of Numbers, “The Lord bless you and keep you: The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you: The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.”


In Florence, near the Duomo. The quotation is from Dante’s Paradiso, with the translation given below.

Virgin Mother, daughter of your Son,
humbler and loftier past creation’s measure,
the fulcrum of the everlasting plan,

You are she who ennobled human nature
so highly, that its Maker did not scorn
to make Himself the Creature of His creature.

In your womb was the flame of love reborn,
in the eternal peace of whose warm ray
this flower has sprung and is so richly grown.
~ Dante, Paradiso XXXIII, translation by Anthony Esolen

The Blessed Virgin Mary was proclaimed Theotokos, God-bearer, Mother of God at the Council of Ephesus in 431. The Empress Pulcheria (399-455) who was later designated a saint of the church was very supportive of this declaration despite the opposition of Nestorius, the patriarch of Constantinople.

Below is the Basilica of the Annuncation in Nazareth.

Over the door it reads, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

The dome is an inverted lily.

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Our tainted nature’s solitary boast.

The Virgin

Mother! whose virgin bosom was uncrost
With the least shade of thought to sin allied;
Woman! above all women glorified,
Our tainted nature’s solitary boast;
Purer than foam on central ocean tost;
Brighter than eastern skies at daybreak strewn
With fancied roses, than the unblemished moon
Before her wane begins on heaven’s blue coast;
Thy Image falls to earth. Yet some, I ween,
Not unforgiven the suppliant knee might bend,
As to a visible Power, in which did blend
All that was mixed and reconciled in Thee
Of mother’s love with maiden purity,
Of high with low, celestial with terrene!

~ William Wordsworth

Dormition Abbey Part 3

King David.

The Dormition Abbey .

The dome structure was built by the Muslims.

The Muslims recycled a column with a capital that depicts a pelican feeding her young with her blood which is a symbol of Christ who feeds us in the Eucharist.

Pope Saint John Paul II celebrated Mass here in 2000 and gave the sculpture as a gift that witnesses to peace.

The current structure was built during the crusade period. It was the southern gallery of the church of Saint Mary of Zion. Later it was turned into a mosque. Notice the 16th century mihrab or prayer niche facing Mecca.

The Upper Room. Although this is not the original location this is where we commemorate the Last Supper.

Agni Parthene – Oh Pure Virgin Orthodox hymn sung by Eikona – performed in Greek and English.

The Dormition of the Virgin Mary

In the center of the floor mosaics in the upper church is the symbol of the Triune God.

The eight prophets who foretold the coming of Jesus.


The penultimate circle has the evangelists and the signs of the zodiac.

   The circle quotes Proverbs 8:23-25.

Ab aeterno ordita sum et ex antiquis antequam terra fieret
necdum erant abyssi et ego iam concepta eram necdum fontes aquarum eruperant
necdum montes gravi mole constiterant ante colles ego parturiebar.

Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
When there were no depths I was brought forth,
when there were no springs abounding with water.
Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth.

The crypt of the Abbey. The main altar which depicts our Lady as Queen of the Apostles on Pentecost. The inscription says:

Et factus est repente de caelo sonus tamquam advenientis spiritus vehementis et replevit totam domum…

And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house…


A life size statue of the sleeping Virgin made of rosewood and ivory.


The mosaic shows Jesus ready to receive the Virgin Mary into heaven. Notice the six women from the Bible: Eve, Miriam, Jael, Judith, Ruth, and Esther.

The main altar.

Church of the Visitation

Church of the Visitation. The current church was built over the remains of a 4th century Byzantine church.

Note the beautiful mural of Mary on the donkey.

The Visitation fresco.

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” ~Luke 1:39-45

Zechariah in the temple.

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.

Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty,according to the custom of the priesthood, it fell to him by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. ~Luke 1:5-13

Slaughter of the Innocents.

Slaughter of the Innocents.

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

“A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled,
because they were no more.” ~Matthew 2:16-18

This ancient tunnel leads to a well of which tradition speaks of water springing up joyfully when our Lady greets Elizabeth.

The church of the Visitation.

Mary in Franciscan attire.

Pax et Bonum, Peace and the Good, the motto of Saint Francis of Assisi.

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham

In August 2016 Bishop DiLorenzo appointed me director of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Williamsburg, Virginia near the College of William and Mary. This appointment is opening up for me a new appreciation of devotion to Our Lady which I would like to share with you on my blog, a devotion that is shared by Anglicans and Orthodox as well: a truly ecumenical devotion to Our Lady.

Look at the menu of this site, and next to the “About” and the “Camino,” you will see The National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Our Lady of Walsingham, and an Invitation

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Williamsburg testifies to a long and turbulent history; however despite an attempt to suppress this devotion, this devotion is gaining momentum. Check out this 5 minute video clip!

Dedication for the National Shrine
Please mark your calendars! On Friday, September 23, 2016, please join our parish as Bishop DiLorenzo celebrates the dedication Mass for The National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham at 7:00 p.m. Before the Mass, you are invited to participate in a Rosary procession beginning at 5:15 p.m. on the church lawn. Please check the Saint Bede Parish News Room online for more information.

Queenship of Mary

Pope Pius XII decreed this feast day in 1954 in Ad Caeli Reginam.

‘From early times Christians have believed, and not without reason, that she of whom was born the Son of the Most High received privileges of grace above all other beings created by God. He “will reign in the house of Jacob forever,” “the Prince of Peace,” the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” And when Christians reflected upon the intimate connection that obtains between a mother and a son, they readily acknowledged the supreme royal dignity of the Mother of God.’

‘…In some countries of the world there are people who are unjustly persecuted for professing their Christian faith and who are deprived of their divine and human rights to freedom; up till now reasonable demands and repeated protests have availed nothing to remove these evils. May the powerful Queen of creation, whose radiant glance banishes storms and tempests and brings back cloudless skies, look upon these her innocent and tormented children with eyes of mercy; may the Virgin, who is able to subdue violence beneath her foot, grant to them that they may soon enjoy the rightful freedom to practice their religion openly, so that, while serving the cause of the Gospel, they may also contribute to the strength and progress of nations by their harmonious cooperation, by the practice of extraordinary virtues which are a glowing example in the midst of bitter trials.’

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

“Let us all rejoice in the Lord, as we celebrate the feast day in honor of the Virgin Mary, at whose Assumption the Angels rejoice and praise the Son of God.”

May we rejoice with the angels as we affirm the truth of the sacred Scripture that, “All generations will call me blessed, for he who is mighty has done great things for me.”

This Titian in the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice extols the blessedness of the Virgin Mary.


More from the Frari:


Friary-101435   Friary-101408

Friary-102053   Friary-101837

Friary-101651   Friary-100518


Regina Caeli

Deus, qui per resurrectionem Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi, mundum lætificare dignatus es:
præsta, quæsumus, ut per eius Genitricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuæ capiamus gaudia vitæ.
Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

O God, who through the resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ gave rejoicing to the world, grant, we pray, that through his Mother, the Virgin Mary, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Da Vinci’s Virgin and Child, or, Madonna of the Carnation, from the Alte Pinakothek in Munich.


Regina Coeli, Mozart, K. 108