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date: 11 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

From the time of the Council of Ephesus (431), the veneration of the Mother of God (Theotokos) experienced substantial growth, placing the Virgin in the foreground of the piety of all the Oriental Churches. The Virgin is present in the prayer life of the Orthodox Churches as expressed in Orthodox liturgy and spirituality in all countries of the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox traditions. There are numerous Marian feasts. Marian feasts, icons, and hymns are often combined, e.g. the ‘wonder-working’ icons are used for veneration on their own feast days. The Virgin Mary is the most perfect member of the redeemed community, but in that same perfection we are all called to share. The function of her apparitions and icons is therefore to introduce us at the same time to the gift of the Spirit, to the taste of prayer, and to the mystery of the permanent presence of Christ in us.

Keywords: Orthodox Churches, piety, liturgy, spirituality, feasts, apparitions, icons, veneration of the Virgin, prayer life

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