“You are all fair, my love, And there is no spot in you.”
[Song of Solomon 4:7]
In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit One God Amen
“Behold, your wife Hannah shall conceive, and she shall bear you a daughter, and in her shall be joy and salvation for all the world”
On this day, Our church joyfully celebrates the sinless conception of St. Mary. Virgin Mary was born to St. Eyakem [Joachim] and Hannah [Anna]. Both her parents were righteous people, walked with God but had no offspring. St. Eyakem and Hannah had been subject of mockery for being barren. The priests were not accepting their offering in the temple thinking that God had made them without a child due to their sin. However the saint parents persisted in hope, never doubting that one day God would give them a child, and always helping the poor and the needy. Soon after, the angel of the Lord, Arc-angel Gebriel, appeared and told Eyakem that God had heard their prayer and will give them the most precious child of all creation, saying, “Behold, your wife Hannah shall conceive, and she shall bear you a daughter, and in her shall be joy and salvation for all the world”; which actually took place through Mary, the bearer of God in the flesh. As one saint said, “This day is for us the beginning of all holy days. It is the door to kindness and truth. Let both the barren and mothers dance for joy; make bold and leap up in gladness, O ye childless; for the barren and childless women brings forth the Theotokos, who is to deliver Eve from her pain travail and Adam from the curse [Gen. 3:16-19]”.
As the wise king Solomon said in the book of proverbs, “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.” [Proverbs 22:28]. There are four Landmarks of Eritrean [Ethiopian] Orthodox Tewhado faith about the Virgin Mary set by its Church fathers.
Concrete teaching of Eritrean Tewahdo Orthodox Church about St. Mary:
She is The Mother of God the Son. [Theotokos] St. Mary is the Mother of Jesus Christ; Jesus is God; therefore She is a Mother of God.
Perpetual Virginity- St. Mary has remained a virgin before, during and after the birth of Jesus Christ. [Ez. 44:2]
She is Sinless since conception. St. Mary from the moment of her conception- through the grace of God and in the view of the merits of Jesus Christ- God has preserved her free from all sins.
Her Body has assumed into heaven [through the power of her Son, She has resurrected like her Son] The Lord did not permit the body of St. Mary, in which He Himself had dwelt to fall prey to corruption and dissolution; though Mary as a human being underwent death, she was taken into heaven.
Even though the catholic church declared its official stand of St Mary’s immaculate conception in the year 1854, the two Oriental Church traditions show the teaching to go back as far as early Apostolic time. The official teaching of the two Oriental Orthodox [Eritrean and Ethiopian] Church could be summarized as follows : -
“Our Lady, Virgin Mary, who who conceived and begot Christ in virginity is free from the original sin derived from the descendants of Adam, clean from any sins of the flesh or soul; embedded in the conscience of God before the time of her birth, free and protected from human desire and [frailty]; and the choicest from among the chosen. Such is the virgin Mary - pure and holy of the holiest."
[Song of Song 4:7]
In this teaching, the core idea is that St Mary is preserved [free] from “original” sin since conception and has never been touched by personal sin. The Church Scholars teach that the Mystery of Incarnation could only be preserved and find its consistent teaching in-light of the dogmatic teaching of St Mary’s sinless conception. Her father King Solomon also described her sinless since conception saying, “You are all fair, my love, And there is no spot in you.” [Song of Solomon 4:7]. The fifth century Ethiopic hymnology, St Yared explains St Mary as “ a pearl shining bright in the belly of Adam from the beginning” to indicate while Adam and his children were under darkness, she was glowing/radiating as the sinless seed passing through generation to give birth to sinless man - Our Lord Jesus Christ. Saint Ephraim the Syrian (Doctor) known as the lyre of the Holy Spirit said the following regarding total sinless of Our Lord and St Mary:
"You [Christ] alone and your Mother
are more beautiful than any other
For there is no blemish in you
nor any stains upon your Mother.
Who of my Children
can compare in beauty to these?
This is the teaching of the Holy Church, “My son, keep your father’s command, And do not forsake the law of your mother. Bind them continually upon your heart; Tie them around your neck". [Proverb 6:20-21]
“O Virgin, full of glory, with whom or with what likeness shall we liken you? You are the loom from which Emmanuel took his ineffable garment of flesh. He made the wrap from the same flesh as that of Adam, and the woof is your flesh. The shattle is the Word Himself, Jesus Christ. The length of the wrap is the shadow of God the Most High. The weaver is the Holy Spirit” [Liturgy of St, Mary]
May Her intercession and blessings be with us now and forever. Amen.