Thursday, August 17, 2006

Sing of Mary, pure and lowly
An e-mail exchange:
I read your website which talked about Mary.
Thanks for visiting the site.
It said that the Orthodox were even stronger supporters of Mariolotry.
Not Mariolatry, for no Christian church gives Mary the worship (-latry) due only to God.
But isn't there a bigger emphasis on Mary in Roman Catholic churches than in Orthodox ones?
Prayers to Mary, that is, asking her prayers, not worshipping her for her own sake like we do God, are built into Orthodox services even more than Roman Catholic ones but both sides emphasise her.
For example, some Catholics consider Jesus and Mary to be joint "co-saviors".
That takes a lot of explaining. Some Roman Catholics use the term Co-Redemptrix, which at face value looks exactly like what you wrote. There is only one Redeemer in himself, Jesus, but by being the first and best Christian, directly taking part in the Incarnation by agreeing to become the Mother of God, Mary in a sense participates in that and in a small-r sense is a redemptrix.
Popes have also called her "co-redemptrix".
Allowable opinion. Not doctrine.
The Roman Catholic Church also "noninfallibly" teaches that Mary was not only assumed into heaven, but first bodily resurrected, disagreeing with the Orthodox.
That disagreement doesn’t matter. It doesn’t involve doctrine. The papal definition of the Assumption issued in 1950 leaves whether she died or not an open question, allowing the traditional Orthodox interpretation. The story originally came from the East.
I do have a question though. How common is it for Orthodox to have rosaries?
Not very. The rosary isn’t native to their rite and with all the native devotions to choose from — canons, akathists, molebny — they don’t really need it!
In Roman Catholic churches, they often have services where they pray the rosary. But once in Russia I saw some beads for sale that I was told were used to pray to the Theotokos.
There are Orthodox prayer beads but they’re used at home not in church and not for the Dominican-derived rosary* that most Roman Catholics use. And Orthodox have canons, akathists and molebny to Mary in church.
By the way, one Catholic deacon told me that Catholics do not "pray" to Mary. Is it better to say "communicate"?
That’s a good way of describing it.
Peace.
And with thy spirit!

*Interestingly the rosary actually used by Dominicans differs from the standard Roman Rite one.

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