Table of Contents

Contemplations on the Friday Theotokia.

Verse 1

Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is your fruit,
O Mary the Mother of God,
the undefiled virgin.

Indeed, O Mary, you are both blessed and worthy of praise, for you have been chosen as foremost among women from all generations – by the Lord of Hosts Himself. All those who are honest with the Lord must bring forth fruit, imagine then the honesty and purity of the Virgin’s relationship with Christ, that her fruit be God the Incarnate Logos. She brought forth unto us the God of Majesty in the flesh and was thus sanctified – set aside – for the Lord, and the Lord only. As such, she is truly the chaste and undefiled, her spiritual comeliness far outweighing the fact of her virginity. Intercede on our behalf, O Mary, that like you, we may attain favour with Him Whom you brought forth, that He may grant us purity, that He may grant us to sanctify our wills and make them His own, that He may grant us to bring forth fruit – all for the glory of His Holy Name.

Verse 2

For the Sun of Righteousness,
Shone unto us from you,
With healing under His wings,
For He is the Creator.

“But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall” (Malachi 4:2).

Egyptians have always reverenced and oft worshiped the sun. It is not surprising then that our fathers loved and used this reference of Christ in such a powerful, prayerful, praise. The title “Sun” gives Him the Honour due as Creator: the source of all being – but also the source of all that is good, all that is righteous.

Because He is the creator of all that is good, He is the Sun of Righteousness.
Because He is the source, only He has the power to heal.
Because He is righteous, He shows us His mercy.
Because we are His children, we must walk and reflect that light.

We, as Pope Shenouda advises, must be like the moon. The moon absorbs the light of the sun, and reflects it to give light to those who are in darkness. The source of light for the moon is never itself, but it always depends on the true light: Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, the merciful Creator.


He took what is ours,
And gave us what is His,
We praise and Glorify Him,
And exalt Him.

“For He was made man that we might be made God; and He manifested Himself by a body that we might receive the idea of the unseen Father; and He endured the insolence of men that we might inherit immortality” (St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation of the Word, S.54).

He took on our corrupt body, and gave us an incorruptible one.
He took our tribulations, and gave us the power to overcome them.
He took on death, and gave us Eternity.
We have become “participants of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4).
For this, unto Him is due all praise, and glory, and exaltation.

“And, in a word, the achievements of the Saviour, resulting from His becoming man, are of such kind and number, that if one should wish to enumerate them, he may be compared to men who gaze at the expanse of the sea and wish to count its waves” (St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation of the Word, S.54).

Verse 3

No one is like you,
O Mary the Virgin,
The angels honour you,
And the Seraphim glorify you.

See how the angels show their honour to her, see how Gabriel treated her with utmost reverence and respect. When the virgin asked “How can this be, since I am a virgin” (Lk. 1:34), he had no authority to rebuke her, for she is above even the archangels.

She was chosen before all generations according to the foreknowledge of our Redeemer. He came only in the “fullness of time” to be “made of a woman” (Gal. 4:4). That is a testimony to her favour in the sight of God (cf. Lk. 1:30), and confirms that indeed, no one is or was like her – else that person would have been chosen before her to be the Theotokos.

Because of this, her honour supercedes the ranks of all the heavenly: the Cherubim and the Seraphim and all below them, magnify her as their superior.

We, in turn, offer our praise to her, the pride of our race.

For He who sits upon the Cherubim,
Came and was incarnate of you,
And He united us with Him,
Through His goodness.

And so we see the Sun of Righteousness descending from His glory. He whom the angels praise and the archangels worship, Whom the principalities bless and to Whom the Dominions cry, Whom the authorities declare and the thrones send up honour, chose humbly to empty Himself of the honour and majesty given Him in the highest – to take flesh by the Holy Virgin. God became man in a most confounding unity: the one Nature of God the Incarnate Logos.

Far be it from us to suggest that the Lord of Hosts had to do this for us, for if He were obligated to, He would not be God. Rather, He united to His Divinity our humanity, of His own will, of His own goodness, in order that we might in turn be given what is His, and so that we might live eternally with Him in His love.

He granted us dispensation from the penalty of death, by offering Himself as a pleasing Sacrifice – there exists no greater goodness.

“Considering, therefore, as I said, the manner of His incarnation we see that His two natures came together with each other in an indissoluble union, without blending and without change, for His flesh is flesh and not divinity, even though his flesh became the flesh of God, and likewise the Word also is God and not flesh, even though He made the flesh His own according to the dispensation. Therefore, whenever we have these thoughts in no way do we harm the joining into a unity by saying that he was of two natures, but after the union we do not separate the natures from one another, nor do we cut the one and indivisible Son into two sons but we say that there is one Son, and as the holy Fathers have said, there is one nature of the Word (of God) made flesh” (St. Cyril the Great, the Pillar of the Faith, Letter to Bishop Succensus).


He took what is ours,
And gave us what is His,
We praise and glorify Him,
And exalt Him.

The Incarnation is the perfection of both humility and love.

Humility because the Author of Life, the Pantocrator, emptied Himself of His glory in order to be humiliated before men. He was willing to suffer in the flesh, and to die on our behalf – to die the most humiliating and shameful death: crucifixion. Humility because the Creator took the role of the created.

Love because He did it though He did not have to. He did it even though we rejected it; we rejected Him. This is a perfect love, a Love that gives despite no return, a love that is given to those who have chosen enmity.

For us it is impossible to fathom the great mystery of the Incarnation, and so we sing this verse in awe and reverence. It is our duty as Christians and as Orthodox, to live out this verse. We are praising him, glorifying Him and exalting Him for this great perfection – but we are also called to mimic what He did, to love unconditionally and to humble ourselves in His sight at all times.

Verse 5

You are blessed more than heaven,
And more honoured than earth,
You exceed every thought,
Who can speak of your honour?

Truly it is impossible for us to understand or fully appreciate the honour of this – that a mere mortal could contain God. Or that a woman, at age 14, was so pure and so holy, that she could be looked at with so much favour by our God. It was the dream of every Jewish woman before her to be the honoured mother of the Messiah; and that was before even understanding that the Messiah would be the Lord God made flesh.

Who can speak of her honour and give her as much justice as she deserves? The Virgin Mary was chosen according to foreknowledge of God, before all ages, to be the place of dwelling for the Uncircumscript Logos. No being in heaven and no one on earth was deemed worthy to hold the Infinite so intimately, what a marvel that she was chosen. What a blessing that this woman, a human, would give suck to the Eternal God; that this human would nurture and care for one of the hypostases of the Trinity; that a mere human would give birth to her own Saviour.

Verse 6

Blessed are you O Mary,
And blessed is your fruit,
O Virgin the Mother of God,
The pride of virginity.

“Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed” (Lk. 1:48). Indeed we call you blessed O our pure mother. Behold your prophecy uttered thousands of years ago stands fulfilled today in me and all my Christian brothers and sisters across the ages, who are in turn blessed by contemplating your holy example.

As I stand today by the grace of God to battle against the “roaring lion” who seeks to devour my soul (cf. 1 Peter 5:8), I remember that you are the pride of virginity, the very virginity that God desires of my heart.

“Therefore, prepare for me the ways of repentance, O Lady the Virgin; for to you I appeal, and through you I seek intercession, and upon you I call to help me, lest I might be put to shame” (Agpeya, Vespers Litany).

Verse 7

He who existed before all ages,
Came and was incarnate of you,
And the Ancient of Days,
Came out of your womb.

“And an Ancient one took his throne, his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, and its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and flowed out from his presence. A thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood attending him. The court sat in judgment, and the books were opened” (Dan. 7:9,10).

Through God’s incarnation from your womb, O mother of light, we learned of the great power of humility and love. Seeing the great extent to which God humbled Himself and gave Himself up for us forces us to laugh at our own foolishness, for even having the most remote thought of pride or lack of brotherly love.

Verse 8

He took our body,
And gave us His Holy Spirit,
And made us one with Him,
Through His goodness.

“Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2:28).

Thanks be to our awesome God for this wonderful exchange; our sin ridden bodies for His life-giving Spirit! Finally mankind was restored again to the intimacy with God that Adam once enjoyed in the garden, through the gift of the Holy Spirit. How wonderful is Godís unlimited capacity to love us sinners and constantly on a personal, one-to-one level, give us amazing gifts beyond utterance!

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Lk. 11:13).

So dear heavenly Father, through Your goodness and not my faithfulness to You, sanctify my whole being, body, soul and spirit, and make me one with You. Fill me Lord with Your Spirit as You filled St. Stephen Your faithful deacon, so that I the unworthy wretch may by faith see what he saw all the days of my life.

“But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55).


He took what is ours,
And gave us what is His,
We praise and glorify Him,
And exalt Him.

Christ our Saviour came to end the destruction caused by sin not only on a global scale, but also more importantly, on a personal level, in my own life and yours. Sin has devastated the world we live in. Almost every reason for heartache and strife in the world is due to sin. This is exactly what God has come to take away from us: “Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Is. 53:4-6).

And in exchange, He has given us what is His: unspeakable bliss, light and freedom both in this life and in the life to come. “And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn. 8:32).

The exchange is magnificently clear: “For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17).

For this Lord, there is nothing left to do but praise, glorify and exalt you.


Many women were honoured,
yet you exceeded them all,
for you are the pride of virgins,
O Mary the Mother of God.

Elizabeth, your cousin, O Virgin Mary, was honoured to bear the greatest man born of all women, who is John the Baptist. Yet you, O Virgin, exceeded Elizabeth, for you carried in your womb the Lord our God, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Even Elizabeth honoured you and called you blessed (cf. Lk. 1:42), for the one whom you bore – the fruit of your womb – is blessed.

You are also the Virgin, O Mary, the beautiful dove, who is the pride and living example of all the virgins in the world. Teach us and help us to be pure, so that we may bear Christ in our minds and hearts, just as you became the Mother of God in your purity.

Verse 10

You are the spiritual city,
where the Most High one lived,
He who sits on the throne,
of the Cherubim.

The Prophet and King David saw the Most High sitting enthroned between the Cherubim, and praised saying: “The Lord is king; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!” (Ps. 99:1).

How great, then, is your honour, O Virgin the Mother of God! If He who sits on the Cherubim causes people to tremble, how blessed must you be to carry Him in your own womb. You carried the Fire of the Divinity in your womb, O Mary, but as the bush that Moses saw was not consumed by the fire, so was your womb able to bear the Lord our God.

He who is between the Cherubim spoke to the Israelites through the two Cherubim of the Ark of the Covenant on Mount Zion. Mount Zion became a holy place as a result of this, because the Most High lived among His people and spoke to them in the city of Zion. Yet you, O Virgin, carried the Most High in your womb, and He assumed flesh from you and became consubstantial with us. Thus, you are the spiritual and holy city of Zion, through whom God came to us and became one with us. Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary!

Verse 11

The Seraphim glorify Him,
and you held Him in your arms,
He who gives food to all flesh,
through His great compassion.

O what great wonder! O what great love! Great is the mystery of Godliness, the Son of God appeared in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16).

He who is above all the heavenly creatures, and who is worshipped in fear and trembling, humbled Himself and took the form of a slave (Phil. 2:17).

He who has the names of all people inscribed on His hands (Is. 49:16), Who remembers all of us and helps us and has mercy on us, was born in the flesh and was held and supported by the hands of the Virgin.

He who feeds all flesh, Who gives food to the ravens (Mt. 6:26; Lk. 12:24) and feeds His flock among the lilies (Songs 2:16, 6:3), was incarnate and assumed our nature completely, even becoming hungry and thirsty for our sakes.

How great is Your love, O Lord. You left your glory and dwelt within us because of Your love for us. Blessed are You O Lord our God, our beloved Saviour and King, Jesus Christ. Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary, who was honoured to carry and support the Lord of Glory; whom the Seraphim glorify.

Verse 12

He held to your breasts,
and you fed Him,
and He is our God,
and the Saviour of everyone.

Come together all you people, come and behold the Lord of Sabbaoth. He has come into the world and was born of a virgin through the power of the Holy Spirit. In a manger He was born, in silence, in the night.

Behold the young child, whom the angels glorify, the cherubim carry, and the seraphim honour. Behold the helpless child, whom the Magi adored and offered their gifts, for they recognized He was the King and the Creator. Behold the poor child, who feeds on His mother’s milk and holds onto her for comfort, support and consolance – He who feeds the poor and drives away all our fears and troubles.

O Lord of glory and power: You have taken to Yourself the form of a slave and shared our most miserable states of life, so that You may bless even that kind of life, and we may find comfort in all times and in any condition. O our Lord Jesus Christ, help us and have mercy on us. O Lady of us all, the Mother of God, who fed the Lord and sustained Him – blessed are you, for you nursed our Master and our King (Lk. 11:27)! Through you we have learnt to hear the Word of the Lord and keep it (Lk. 11:28). Remember us before the Lord, your son.

Teach us to keep Your commandments and Your words, O Lord Jesus Christ, so that we may be blessed and be worthy of being called Your brother, Your sister, Your mother (Mt. 12:50).

Verse 13

He shepherds all of us,
forever and ever,
we praise and glorify Him,
and exalt Him.

In the same way that the shepherd protects his flock from the wolves, which could scatter the sheep very easily, the Lord came to us to protect us from evil in the world. To protect us from evil which could destroy our souls and bodies, let us forget our Lord – to “miss the mark”.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the good shepherd, who not just protects us, but gives His whole life for us (Jn. 10:11). Christ gave His life on the Cross, fighting face-to-face with evil and thus paid-off our death penalty, which is the result of our sins. Hence, our protection from evil is through the Sign of the Cross. The Cross of our Christ is victory and power, not shame. The Cross of our Lord is our defence against evil, our escape from the bows of the enemies, and our means of attacking evil. The Cross is our faith, our hope, our love, our boasting, our encouragement, our healing, our salvation!

The Good Shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ, gave His life on the Cross and gave us, His flock and servants, this Sign to protect us. For His love and sacrifice we will praise Him and glorify Him and worship Him and exalt Him above all forever! Therefore, let us glorify our Lord Jesus Christ, and His Good Father, and the Holy Spirit.

O our Lord Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, help us and have mercy on us. Amen.


He took what is ours,
and gave us what is His,
we praise and glorify Him,
and exalt Him.

When Christ came for us, He:

  • Took our human nature, and gave us His divine nature.
  • Took our human body, and gave us the Holy Spirit.
  • Took our sins, and gave us grace.
  • Took our infirmities, and gave us a restored and complete nature.
  • Took our sorrows, and gave us joy.
  • Took our hatred, and gave us love.
  • Took our enmity, and gave us peace.
  • Took our death, and gave us eternal life.

Truly, O Christ our Lord, our beloved Saviour, you came and took all our weaknesses and sinfulness, and gave us what is Yours, so that we may be holy and perfect, just as our Father in heaven is perfect. Praised and glorified, exalted and honoured is Your name forever and ever, O Lord Jesus Christ, both in heaven and on earth.

Verse 14-16

O Virgin Mary,
the wise Mother of God,
the garden of fragrance,
the holy fountain of the living water.

The fruit of your womb,
came and saved the world,
and He abolished all enmity,
and granted us His peace.

Through His Cross,
and His holy Resurrection,
He restored man once more,
to the Paradise.

He took what is ours…

The Virgin Mary is our wise mother, for to all of mankind she bore the Saving Lord of us all. The honour of her is likened to the garden of fragrance, that which the Lord entrusted to be the chosen vessel. This gives everyone a special love for her, a tender love. It gives us a love for her who carried the Lord for nine months. It gives us a love for her who did become the “holy fountain of the living water,” which is to say; that from which Our Lord Jesus Christ poured out to save the world.

This fills our heart with compunction and peace to know that the fruit of your womb, St. Mary, came for the world and all who have faith to utterly destroy enmity and grant us peace.

It is through the Holy wood of the cross and by the resurrection of Our Lord, that Our Lord sanctified His creation to restore our true place to be with God.

By taking what is ours, Our Lord sanctified us.

Verse 17-18

O Virgin Mary,
the holy Mother of God,
the trusted advocate,
of the human race.

Intercede on our behalf,
before Christ whom you have born,
that He may grant unto us,
the forgiveness of our sins.

He took what is ours…

The Virgin Mary is the most venerated saint. We ask of the Virgin Mary to intercede for us before our Lord Jesus Christ. O wise and pure mother, daily we can call on you as the trusted advocate for the human race, because you are worthy to be trusted above all.

We have sinned against our Lord, and we ask the Virgin Mary to intercede for us: that the Lord may grant us pardon of our many sins and to give us a repentant heart.

We thank you O Lord for the sanctification of man.

Verse 19-20

The Virgin Mary has proclaimed,
In the altar,
Saying “My peace,
God does know.

For I know nothing,
Other than the voice of the angel,
Announcing the joy,
Coming to me from heaven.”

He took what is ours…

How magnificent it is to make on eís will be just the will of God! The Virgin heard the angel Gabriel give her a message that made no logical sense – how can a virgin give birth? Despite the lack of understanding, she declared herself the handmaiden of the Lord, and she believed that nothing could be impossible with God. Her faith led peace, her peace led to joy, her joy came from heaven. May we learn to have this faith, as you did, O Virgin Mary, the Theotokos.

We ask you, O Virgin, who carried the Lord of heaven in your womb, who took from you what is ours, and because of you He came and gave us what is His, to intercede for us before your beloved son, so that He may forgive us our sins.