Table of Contents

Contemplations on the Saturday Theotokia Lobsh.


St. Paul teaches us saying, “I will pray with the spirit, but I will pray with the mind also; I will sing praise with the spirit, but I will sing praise with the mind also” (1 Cor. 14:15). We pray that the Lord God may grant us wisdom and understanding, so that we may learn to praise His Holy Name and sing about His holy saints, in one voice, one heart and one mind.

Verse 1

Hail to you, O full of grace,
The undefiled Virgin
The chosen vessel
For all the world.

You are highly praised, O Mother of God St. Mary, for we rejoice with Elizabeth saying “Blessed are you among women, and blessed in the fruit of your womb!” Not only have you been given grace, but also you have been filled with it! How great is this? What is this feeling, to be filled with the grace of God? Indeed, your humility has surpassed that among women, that the Lord chooses your pure heart and pure body to dwell in. You are filled because of your faith and submission to the will of God. You trusted in what no mind could understand and comprehend, and what no human being will ever understand, for truly “nothing will be impossible with God” (Lk. 1:37). Indeed, it was your will to do according to the will of God, and it was your “aim to please Him” (2 Cor. 5:9), and therefore He has granted you grace, and has preserved your purity, and has kept your Virginity undefiled forever!

We pray that the Lord may strengthen our faith, so that we may submit ourselves to serve Him in all times and all places. No matter what the obstacles are and what kind of hardships we encounter, the Lord is able to overcome all, and is faithful about His promises and will reward all accordingly. We pray for this, in the Name of Jesus Christ, His only-begotten Son, and through the intercessions of the Mother of God, the ever-Virgin St. Mary. Amen.

Verse 2

Hail to you, O full of grace,
The undefiled Virgin
The chosen vessel
For all the world.

O St. Mary, the Mother of God, how great is this honor? To be a chosen vessel for the Lord God, to bear His Only-Begotten Son for the salvation of all humanity! Truly you are exalted and highly blessed! You have gladly taken upon this calling with all humility, submitting in faith to His will and proclaiming to Gabriel in the sight of God saying “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Lk. 1:38).

How wonderful is it to be chosen to serve the Lord God?! How honorable is it to be a chosen vessel to preach His Gospel? How joyous are we when we are called upon to serve the Lord? May the Lord grant us always this blessing of serving His Holy Name, that we may hear Him say, “for he is an instrument whom I have chosen…” (Acts 9:15). May the Lord teach us to serve His Holy Name with all humility, joy, and submission, Amen.

Verse 3a

The inextinguishable lamp,
The pride of virginity,
The indestructible altar,
And the scepter of the faith.

O Mother of God, indeed you are worthy to be called the inextinguishable lamp, for you bore the Light of the world, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You are the Mother of the “true light, which enlightens everyone” (Jn. 1:9). You have been worthy to bear the Lord Christ, and indeed you have been blessed, for your virginity remained sealed, and the Lord kept your purity.

“You excel all women in eminence, for that reason the divine Institution said about you ‘Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all’ (Prov. 31:29)” (Pope Shenouda III).

May the grace and love of our Lord Christ shine upon and enlighten our hearts, minds and bodies to follow Him, the source of True Light. For indeed He taught us saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (Jn. 8:12). We ask our Lord to nourish our lives with His Light and His words, that we may be worthy to bear the blessing of being called “the light of the world” (Mt. 5:14), and not walk in darkness and blindness. Intercede for us, O Mother of God, the pure and blessed Virgin, the inextinguishable lamp, that the Lord may shine upon our lives, and forgive us our sins. Amen.

Verse 3b

The inextinguishable lamp,
The pride of virginity
The indestructible altar,
And the scepter of the faith.

Indeed, O Virgin Mother and Saint, you are worthy to be called the “indestructible altar.” For as the Lord offers Himself as a living sacrifice on the altar and is present in Body and Blood, so was your pure body and womb, which the Lord Christ chose to dwell in. Your faith has surpassed humanity, and has been likened to a scepter, a sign of glory and power. For you accepted the will of God, and obeyed His words. You rejoiced and said “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Lk. 1:46, 47). How awesome is this faith? To believe in bearing a Son while being a Virgin? To believe in the power of your Son and Lord and interceding to Him to change water to wine? To stand below the Cross of your Son and Lord, in the midst of His humiliation and suffering, and in the peak of your agony, yet did not fail to remember the promise of the Lord: “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Lk. 1:32, 33). Indeed, you are worthy to be called the “scepter of faith.”

May the Lord strengthen us, so that we may “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). May we always look to our Lady, the Mother of us all, St. Mary, and remember her faith and endurance. May we always seek refuge in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and remember His words “In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world” (Jn. 16:33). Through faith we are made strong. Through faith, we remember the tender mercies of the Lord, and His Love towards us. Through faith, we have Christ with us. Indeed, “All things can be done for the one who believes” (Mk. 9:23).

Verse 4

Ask whom you have born,
Our Good Savior
To take away our troubles
And grant us His peace.

“Ask, and it will be given you” (Mt. 7:7). Who is more worthy to ask on our behalf than the Lady of us all, St. Mary the Virgin? For indeed she found grace in the sight of the Lord, and is the “favored one” (Lk. 1:28) and blessed among women. We seek your intercessions, St. Mary, as those servants in the wedding of Galilee sought your plea to the Lord on their behalf. For you are the Queen of heaven, who sits at the right of the Masterís Throne. For David the Prophet spoke of you saying, “The princess is decked in her chamber with gold-woven robes; in many-colored robes she is led to the king” (Ps. 45:13-14) and “at Your right hand stands the queen” (Ps. 45:9). No one is more worthy of this than you, St. Mary, and thus we plead to you, that you may intercede on the behalf of our weak selves, before the Lord God Almighty, that He may forgive us our sins.

Verse 5a

Hail to you O full of grace,
The pure lamp-stand,
The Bearer of the Lamp,
Who is the Fire of the Divinity.

Amen, in truth, she was full of grace, this grace was a gift to the one chosen from all generations to be the Bearer of the Lamp. Indeed, it was the grace of the Spirit that filled the Holy Virgin and allowed her to carry the fire of the Divinity, the Lord God Himself, in her womb, without burning or alteration. Because of this, not only do we praise the Holy Virgin, but we sing with our father the Patriarch, St. Cyril, who defended the Theotokos and insisted that she was a bearer of the Divine Logos made Flesh. This is a hymn of generations; the church of every century joins us in this hymn of praise. Here we see the personification of the Fiery Bush, but more importantly, she is called both a light, and a bearer of light. For whoever contains light cannot hide its rays, but shines it toward others. We too are children of the Light, children of the day, beacons of the light. Christ is the True Light (Jn. 9:5), but we, like her, are bearers of this, and ordered to be the Light of the World (Mt. 5:14).

Verse 5b

Hail to you, O full of grace.

To be filled with grace is an act of grace itself. That is, one must earnestly desire it, but chase after it (by grace) in order to attain it. Often, but not always, the Lord awards each person according to their struggle with the abundance of grace that he pours. When one feels the sweet taste of grace, it is all that he desires – because he has had a fleeting glimpse of Paradise and what it is to praise like the angels. Those filled with grace are fully submitted to their Lord in a submission of love. This small taste is enough to make the person strive for it unceasingly, and to have no other desire. Those who live in the desert mountains and hills alone for decades without seeing the soul of any man are examples of those who have found grace and held onto it firmly – for they are in direct communion with God Himself. Imagine then, the grace of Saint Mary, that she contained in her womb the source of grace Himself: Christ the Logos. Chosen according to the foreknowledge of God that no other woman was more perfect or spiritually fair than her, He filled her with grace, and she became the vessel of grace for the entire world, she submitted in love, and is glorified by all generations.

Verse 6

Rejoice, O hope of salvation,
Of all the creation,
For through you we have been freed,
From the curse of Eve.

If it was a woman who brought before man the scourge of sin, how befitting that a woman be the vessel of salvation to mankind. O Virgin Mary, you are truly the fair dove bringing to us the message of peace and redemption, the promise of hope for all of creation – for even the animals’ nature fell with the fall of man. Our mother, our hope, blessed indeed are you for your love and purity of heart, the Lord looked upon you with favor and chose you to be the faithful advocate for all mankind and the true Tabernacle bearing Christ the King – who freed us from the bond of sin. Through a woman we fell, but through a woman we were set free from Eveís curse, you are the new Eve, the spouse and handmaid of the New Adam, Christ our God – the bearer of God’s Covenant of Love to His chosen people: the Church.

Verse 7

Because of you also we became
A dwelling for the Holy Spirit
Who came upon you
And Sanctified you.

It is the same Spirit that is working among us today that sanctified the Holy Virgin Mary and purified her, and made her able to contain the fire of the Divinity. Because the Lord had compassion on His creation, and because St. Mary acted as a pure vessel to bring Him to us, the earth was reconciled with the heavens, and we became members of the Covenant of peace, the Covenant of Love through His death and resurrection. For through the Lordís coming and this new peace, the Holy Spirit descended upon us, and we became living members of the Body of Christ and temples of the Holy Spirit, which we testify to and live in our Baptism and Chrismation. The Spirit that sanctified the Holy Virgin has also sanctified us, we praise the Virgin for her spiritual comeliness, and we join her in praising our Redeemer and bowing before the Holy Trinity. We sing of her in jubilation, to glorify her source of joy.

Verse 8

Hail to the one,
Whom Gabriel greeted saying,
Hail to you O full of grace,
The Lord is with you.

Indeed, though higher than the angels in rank, you humbly accepted the message brought to you by Gabriel, and prophesied concerning yourself. You believed the words of the angel, and you had the spiritual discernment to know that this message was from the Lord of Hosts. You gave yourself willingly and wholly to God, ready to accept the Lord, and here we see again the fruits of grace – you, O Holy Virgin Mary, submitted yourself to the Lord in a submission of love. You became the Handmaid; the Lord is not only with you, but dwelt in you. Unto our God you consecrated your life, for Him only did you keep yourself – for this, we exalt you, O Mother of the True Light…

Verse 9

The joy of the Father,
Was in your conception,
And the Appearance of the Son,
Was in your womb.

If the God of Glory, the great I AM rejoiced in His Son, brought forth of the Holy Virgin Mary, of course we rejoice with Him and say with David, “Zion hears and is glad, and the towns of Judah rejoice, because of your judgments, O God” (Ps. 97:8). The appearance of the Son in the womb of the Holy Virgin was the appearance of grace, the appearance of Redemption, the appearance of Hope. For if the Lord had not come, the world would indeed be in mourning, for there would still be enmity between God and man, and the bonds of the Old Testament Law would not have been lifted. O Holy Virgin, Mary, the Lord saw a purity and love in you that exceeded the women of all generations, and used you as a vessel and means to work His awesome plan of Salvation. Intercede on our behalf before Him who appeared in your womb, that He might have compassion and mercy on us, and forgive us our sins.

Verse 10

The Holy Spirit,
Filled every part of you,
Your soul and your body,
O Mary the Mother of God,

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God” (Lk. 1:35). O Virgin Mother, the Theotokos, who found grace in the sight of the Lord, and was granted to be called the Mother of the True Light: you are worthy and blessed among women, since the Lord God chose to send forth His Holy Spirit upon you. Not only did the Holy Spirit sanctify your womb for the Lord Christ to dwell in, but He filled every part of your body and your soul, to the extent that you rejoiced saying “My soul magnifies the Lord!” By this fullness, you were made worthy to take upon this honor, to which no one was granted. By this fullness, you were filled with grace. Rather, you overflowed with grace, as Elizabeth your cousin proclaimed saying, “For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy” (Lk. 1:44). We ask you, St. Mary, to speak with your tender voice on our behalf, and intercede to the Lord God to forgive us our sins.

Verse 11

Therefore we too celebrate,
Both a spiritual,
And prophetic feast,
Proclaiming with King David.

You, St. Mary, have been called blessed, and indeed chosen among women. O you who is full of grace, who is filled with the Holy Spirit in body and soul, who has found grace, and who has given birth to Christ, we magnify you, pure lamp-stand and the bearer of the Lamp. Hail to you, O inextinguishable lamp, the pride of virginity, the indestructible altar and the scepter of the faith. For all these reasons we celebrate a spiritual feast through our prayers and praises, saying with Gabriel and the angels “Hail to you, O full of grace.” We celebrate with David, the Prophet and King saying “The Lord has chosen Zion, He came and dwelt in her, in order to save us!” We ask you, O Mother of the true Light, the Theotokos and Virgin, to intercede for us before our Lord Jesus Christ, that we may be granted a glimpse of the Heavenly Celebration, with the myriads of angels and saints, and that He may forgive us our sins.

Verse 12-13

Therefore we too celebrate,
Both a spiritual,
And prophetic feast,
Proclaiming with King David:

“Arise O Lord to Your rest,
You and the Ark,
Of Your sanctuary,
Which is you O Mary.”

Throughout the Old Testament, many prophesied about you, O Theotokos. King David spoke of you saying:

“Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God!” (Ps. 87:3).

“This one and that one were born in it; and the Most High Himself shall establish it” (Ps. 87:5).

“At Your right hand stands the queen in gold” (Ps. 45:9).

“Hear, O daughter, consider and incline your ear; forget your people and your father’s house, and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him” (Ps. 45:10, 11).

“The princess is decked in her chamber with gold-woven robes” (Ps. 45:13).

“But he chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion, which he loves” (Ps. 78:68).

“The Lord loves the gates of Zion” (Ps. 87:2).

Not only did the prophets speak of you, O Virgin Mother, but the Fathers themselves saw the symbols of the Old Testament, and their eyes and hearts were opened, as they (and we) stand in awe and reverence, seeing the Wisdom of the Lord, preparing the Way of salvation. For indeed you are a symbol of the Ark of the Covenant, made of acacia wood that would not decay, overlaid from within and without with gold (Exodus 25). “This is a symbol of the purity and greatness of the Virgin Mary” (Pope Shenouda III). And as Christ came and dwelt in your womb, so was the rod of Aaron, the two tablets, and the manna placed in the Ark, as a symbol of God the Word, the Lord Christ.

Verse 14

Hail to you O full of grace,
The undefiled Virgin,
The Tabernacle not made my hands,
The Treasure of Righteousness.

O St. Mary, the Mother of God, the True Light, we magnify you always for you were indeed chosen among women to have the honor of bearing the Son of God. Through you, the Lord Christ was born to us, for the Salvation of the whole world. In the same manner that the Lord God showed His presence to people in the Tabernacle, likewise the Holy Spirit descended upon you, and the power of the Most High overshadowed you, and the Lord Jesus dwelt in your womb for nine months. Through the Tabernacle, the Lord God showed His love, and indeed, through love alone, He sent forth His Son to world, born from you, O undefiled Virgin. You found favor in the eyes of the Lord because of your humility, obedience, faith, and righteousness, and you are worthy and honored to be called the “Treasure of Righteousness.” No one was and is able to attain your righteousness, and thus you have surpassed all in. Teach us, O Mother of the True Light, to learn from Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, so that we may humble ourselves, for indeed through humility righteousness is attained.

Intercede for us, O Theotokos, before the Lord Christ, that He may forgive us our sins, Amen.

Verse 15

Hail to you O Beautiful Dove,
Who declared to us,
The peace of God,
Toward mankind.

It is astonishing how the dove has always been a symbol of peace since the beginning of times. We are reminded of the story of our Father Noah in Genesis, “the dove came back to him in the evening, and there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf; so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth” (Gen. 8:11). This was a sign from God, that He would restore peace to the earth after its flooding and destruction because of mankind’s sinful nature, and thereafter God promised that He would not destroy the earth anymore, made His covenant with Noah saying, “I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth” (Gen. 9:13). Likewise, O St. Mary, the Virgin Mother, you have been compared to the dove, with all it’s beauty. For through you, the Lord God declared His peace to the earth by sending forth His Only-Begotten Son to defeat death, to conquer the ruler of this world, and to abolish the original Sin with which Man fell. The love of God was manifested towards mankind, and through you God Incarnate was born. And in the same manner that the rainbow was a sign of the covenant between God and earth, likewise the tearing of the veil of the altar upon Christís death on the Cross, from top to bottom, symbolized the reconciliation and peace between God in heaven and Man on earth.

Intercede for us, O Mother of God, to the Lord, that He may forgive us our sins. Amen.

Verse 16

Hail to the Mother of the Incarnated,
Of His own free will,
And the goodness of His Father,
And the Holy Spirit.

It was the united will and joy of the Holy Trinity that the Lord Christ the Logos came to the world to bear the sins of Mankind. Indeed, God is love, for through love alone did He send forth His Only-Begotten Son, to take the form of a Man and release him from the bondage of sin and Satan. Through sin and destruction, Man was blinded and could not come to God, and therefore, He came to Man. This is the ultimate sign of Godís love for His creation. And you, St. Mary, was chosen among humanity, that the Lord may come and dwell in your womb for nine months, that He may grant us, His servants, freedom from the bondage of sin and death. You were chosen among women for your purity, humbleness, and love for the Lord God, and indeed you are blessed among women. Teach us, O Virgin Mother, to live a life of purity and love, and intercede to Christ your Son, Who is Love Himself, that He may forgive us our sins.

Verse 17

Hail to you, O golden vessel,
Wherein the manna was hidden,
And the almond wooden rock,
With which Moses hit the rock.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ taught us saying, “For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” (Jn. 6:33); and He also said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (Jn. 6:35). In the same manner that God sent the manna from Heaven to the children of Israel in the wilderness so that they may not physically hunger, our Lord and Savior came down in the flesh, and is the True Manna. If we are filled with Him, we will never hunger to the lusts of the world. This manna was placed in a pot according to the commandment of God to Moses, as a Testimony (Remembrance) to Israel. This pot symbolized St. Mary, for she too bore the Lord Christ, the Living Manna in her womb for nine months.

Also St. Mary, you are compared to the rod of Aaron, for when “When Moses went into the tent of the covenant on the next day, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted. It put forth buds, produced blossoms, and bore ripe almonds” (Num. 17:8). A rod is non-living, and by the miraculous power of God it was able to bring forth fruit. In the same manner, the Lord God was born of you, St. Mary, and your virginity remained sealed. It was through the power of the Trinity, and the descending of the Holy Spirit that the Lord Christ was born from you.

Intercede to the Lord, O Virgin Mother, that He may forgive us our many sins.

Verse 18

Hail to you O full of grace,
O the spiritual table,
That gives life to everyone,
Who eats from it.

The table that Moses had made, according to the commandment of God, to be placed in the Tabernacle, reminds us that Moses “overlaid it with pure gold, and made a molding of gold around it.” And the Lord God commanded saying, “And you shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before me always” (Ex. 25:30).

Our Lord and Savior and Jesus Christ taught us saying, “I am the bread of life” (Jn. 6:47). Indeed, O St. Mary, you carried the Bread of Life in your womb in the same manner that the table in the tabernacle carried the showbread. You are highly glorified in heaven and on earth, and are also clothed with golden garments, as David spoke of you saying, “At Your right hand stands the queen in gold” (Ps. 45:9). Truly, through you, we have been granted to partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, to which we are filled spiritually, and thus you have become our spiritual table.

And as the table of showbread was placed on the north side of the altar, likewise, the Icon of the Theotokos is placed on the north side, to the right hand of Christ.

Intercede for us, O Mother of the Bread of Life, before our Lord that He may forgive us our sins.

Verse 19

Hail to you O incorrupt vessel,
Of the Divinity,
Which heals everyone,
Who drinks from it.

The Lord Christ taught us saying: “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life” (Jn. 4:13-14). The Lord is indeed the Living Water. If we have the Lord within us, we will never thirst to the lusts and desires of the world. Rather, if we are filled with the Living Water, we will overflow like a fountain of water. Through the Living Water we are granted everlasting life. You, St. Mary, are the vessel that carried this Living Water for the Salvation of the World. This is the Living Water that heals the souls and bodies. You are indeed chosen among women, and the Lord declared you as “an instrument whom I have chosen” (Acts 9:15). We magnify you, O Mother of the Living Water, and ask to you intercede for us before the Lord, that He may forgive us our sins.

Verse 20

I begin eagerly to move,
The strings of my tongue,
And speak of the honor of the Virgin,
Together with her analogies.

As King David, the Prophet and Psalmist praised while moving the strings of his harp, likewise we sing with him, moving the strings of our mouths, and chanting “Praise the Lord!” We join the Psalmist in singing about the Lord God and His saints. As we proclaim together in the Liturgy saying, “Praise God in all His saints,” we speak of your honor, O Virgin Mother, for you are indeed more honorable than any. We magnify with King David who likened you to:

the Royal Daughter:
“The princess is decked in her chamber with gold-woven robes” (Ps. 45:13).

the Queen:
“At Your right hand stands the queen in gold” (Ps. 45:9).

the Bride:
“Hear, O daughter, consider and incline your ear; forget your people and your father’s house, and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him” (Ps. 45:10, 11).

and Zion, the City of God:
“Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God” (Ps.87:3); “Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion! For he strengthens the bars of your gates; he blesses your children within you” (Ps. 147:12).

Verse 21

For she is our pride,
Our hope and confirmation,
In the Second Coming of our God,
Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

O Virgin Mother, Mother of God, you are truly the pride of humanity. The Lord chose you among all women to dwell in your womb. You are the best that humanity could offer to the Lord, so that He may come for the salvation of mankind. You are the hope of all the earth, because you are our intercessor before the Lord. You are more honorable than all the Saints, for they themselves asked for your intercessions, because you alone are seated on the right hand of the King. You are the queen sitting at the right hand of the Lord of lords. Truly you are the pride of humanity in humility, obedience, service, praise and worship.

“What shall we offer Thee, O Christ
Who for our sakes has appeared on earth as man?
Every creature made by Thee offers Thee thanks
The angels offer thee a hymn; the heavens, a star;
The magi, gifts; the shepherd, their wonder;
The earth, its cave; the wilderness, a manger
And we offer Thee – a Virgin Mother”
(Bishop Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way).

Intercede to the Lord on our behalf, that He may have mercy on our souls in His Second Coming, and that He may forgive us our sins.

Verse 22-25

We magnify you worthily,
With Elizabeth your cousin,
Saying “Blessed are you among women
And blessed is the fruit of your womb.”

We send unto you greeting,
With Gabriel the Angel,
Saying, “Hail to you O full of grace,
The Lord is with you.”

Hail to you O Virgin,
The very and true queen,
Hail to the pride of our race,
Who gave birth to Emmanuel.

We ask you to remember us,
O our trusted advocate,
Before our Lord Jesus Christ,
That He may forgive us our sins.

O Virgin Mother, you have found favor in the sight of the Lord, and have submitted to His will and His service. You are magnified on earth, the Mother of the Savior, and in heaven, O Queen clothed in gold. Humanity joins your cousin Elizabeth in saying “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” We praise with the angels in heaven, and join the Archangel Gabriel, chanting with one voice and one spirit “Hail to you O full of grace, the Lord is with you!” You are the Queen in heaven, who sits at the right hand of the Throne, whom the angels magnify. You are the pride of humanity who gave birth to the Savior, whom Christians around the world glorify.

O Virgin Mother and Saint, Mother of the True Light, our Intercessor, ask the Lord Christ on our behalf, that He may forgive us our many sins.