The Dormition of Holy Theotokos celebrated in the Holy Metropolis of Corfu
With great glory, the Dormition of Holy Theotokos was celebrated in Corfu, where on Thursday, August 15, 2019, the Matin and the Divine Liturgy took place, with his Eminence, the Bishop of Corfu, Paxoi and Diapontian Islands, Mr. Nektarios, at the celebrating church of Virgin Mary the Spilaiotissa. On Wednesday afternoon, August 14,2019, his Eminence did the Vesper in the celebrating Monastery of Ypsili, in Magoulades.
The Bishop of Corfu in his sermon analyzed one of the Old Testament readings, namely the vision that the prophet Ezekiel saw while he was in Solomon’s temple. There, as the priests offered sacrifices of atonement to God, the prophet wanted to enter the interior of the temple from the east entrance. However, this door was sealed and access was allowed only through the other doors. The Fathers of the Church report that this closed gate was a precursor to the Divine Liturgy, which with its spiritual struggle fought temptation and sin and became the abode of the Holy Spirit. In her virginity, the Son and Word of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, was taken over by the human spirit. Lady Theotokos is the gateway to salvation, that is, to Christ’s society. Our Lady is already a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven and intercedes for the throne of God, interceding for all of us. As Saint Andrew of Crete typically mentions in an exquisite hymn: “Rejoice after God the God of the Trinity has I”.
In addition, His Eminence emphasized that Our Lady is the closed gate because first, through Him alone, God Himself entered and expressed the “sacred mystery” of the salvation of the human race.
Secondly, Our Lady remained before interest, at interest and after virgin interest. This, after all, is the Mother of God of the Mother of God and constitutes the dogmatic teaching of our Church. Saint Cyril of Alexandria therefore fought great battles against heretics. The Third Ephesus, convened by the Ecumenical Council in 431, led by the Holy Spirit, revealed that Our Lady is Theotokos and not Christokos, as the heretics maintained.
Thirdly, Lady Theotokos is the closed gate, because through Him we can enter eternity. Through the Virgin we can become Christ’s relatives and true children of God. Only through Our Lady can we reach the Supreme Mystery of the Holy Trinity.
And fourthly, Our Lady is the closed gate, for at the time of our death, She can only bring us into Heaven, with Her warm embassies. At Her Prayer, We beg of her: “In the midst of me I have before God, my friend, do not check my deeds before the angels, please help, Virgo, help me.”
Mr. Nektarios also noted that the day of the Assumption is a celebration and a joy, not a day of sorrow and mourning. Our Lady has moved to heaven and is now at the right hand of God and Father.
Concluding, His Eminence invited the faithful to kneel in front of the image of God’s mother, so that the closed gate would be raised to heaven.