Orthodox parish "Sts Cyprian and Justina", Bletchley, Milton Keynes

St Cyprian and Justina

You abandoned ungodly darkness, becoming a light of truth; You were illustrious as a pastor; You were glorified in contest: O righteous Father Cyprian together with godly Justina, intercede for us before God the Creator of all!

Words of wisdom

Even on the Cross He did not hide Himself from sight. He made all creation witness to the presence of its Maker."
(St Athanasius of Alexandria)

THE ORTHODOX VENERATION OF THE MOTHER OF GOD

The end of the earthly life of the Most Holy Mother of God was the beginning of Her greatness. "Being adorned with Divine glory" (Irmos, Canon of the Dormition), she stands and will stand, both in the day of the Last Judgment and in the future age, at the right hand of the throne of her Son. She reigns with Him and has boldness towards Him as His Mother according to the flesh, and as one in spirit with Him, as one Who performed the will of God and instructed others (Matt. 5:19). Merciful and full of love, she manifests her love towards her Son and God in love for the human race. She intercedes for it before the Merciful One, and going about the earth, she helps men. Having experienced all the difficulties in earthly life, the Intercessor of the Christian race sees every tear, hears every groan and entreaty directed to her. Especially near to her are those who labour in the battle with the passions and are zealous for a God-pleasing life. But even in worldly cares she is an irreplaceable helper. "Joy of all who sorrow and intercessor for the offended, feeder of the hungry, consolation of travellers, harbour of the storm-tossed, visitation of the sick, protection and intercessor for the infirm, staff of old age, you are the Mother of God on high, O Most Pure One" (Sticheron, Service to the Hodigitria), "The hope and intercession and refuge of Christians", "The Mother of God unceasing in prayer" (Kontakion, the Dormition), "saving the world by your unceasing prayer" (Theotokion, the Third Tone). "Day and night she prays for us, and the sceptres of kingdoms are confirmed by her prayers" (daily Midnight Service). There are no intellect or words to express the greatness of her who was born in the sinful human race but became "more honourable than the Cherubim and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim"[...] "Wishing to praise her, I am struck dumb with amazement in both mind and speech. Yet still I dare to proclaim and magnify her: she is indeed the heavenly tabernacle" (Ikos, Entry into the Temple).
(St John Maximovitch, The Orthodox Veneration of the Mother of God)

Orthodoxy in its liturgical worship addresses the Mother of God as "spotless" (achrantos), "all-holy" (panagia), "altogether without stain" (panamomos). We Orthodox believe that after her death she was assumed into heaven, where she now dwells - with her body as well as with her soul - in eternal glory with her Son. She is for us "the joy of all creation" (Liturgy of St Basil), "flower of the human race and gate of heaven" (Dogmatikon), "precious treasure of the whole world" (St Cyril of Alexandria). And with St Ephrem the Syrian we say: "You alone, O Jesus, with Your Mother are beautiful in every way: for there is no blemish in You, my Lord, and no stain in Your Mother". From this it can be seen how high a place of honour we Orthodox ascribe to the Holy Virgin in our theology and prayer. She is for us the supreme offering made by the human race to God. In the words of a Christmas hymn: "What shall we offer You, O Christ, / Who for our sake has appeared on earth as man? / Every creature made by You offers You thanks. / The angels offer You a hymn; the heavens, a star; / The magi, gifts; the shepherds, their wonder; / The earth, its cave; the wilderness, a manger; / And we offer You - a Virgin Mother" (Vespers, the Nativity of Christ).
(Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way)