Thursday, March 14, 2019

Photios Kontoglou on Panagia as the Humble Queen

The Most-holy Theotokos and Christ surrounded with Angels depicted in the wonderworking icon of Panagia Pantanassa (Queen of All) treasured by Vatopedi Monastery, Mount Athos (source)
"Panagia is the spiritual adornment of Orthodoxy. For us Greeks [and for all peoples], she is the pained mother, the consolation, the protector, who stands beside us in every circumstance.

"In every part of Greece are built countless churches and monasteries, palaces to this humble Queen, and a multitude of chapels in the mountains, the fields, the islands, that are fragrant from her virginal and spiritual fragrance.

"Within each of these is found her ancient and honored icon with her dark hair and golden face, which receives all of the tears of our tortured faithful, because we have no one else to help us except Panagia: 'we who sin have no one else, who intercedes for us before God, praying endlessly, in ills and all dangers, for us who are laiden with our many sins and mistakes' (Paraklesis to the Theotokos).
"The beauty of the Panagia is not a bodily beauty, but spiritual, because where there is pain there is also found holiness, there alone is spiritual beauty. Bodily beauty brings bodily excitement, but spiritual beauty bring contrition, respect and pure love. This is the beauty which our Panagia has.
"And this beauty is depicted in her [Byzantine] icons which pious men fashion, who fast and chant and are found with contrite heart and spiritual purity.
"In the face of Panagia are depicted this mystical beauty which attracts like a magnet pious souls and brings them silence and consolation."
-Photios Kontoglou (+1965)
Forgive me, and may the Lord forgive us all and grant us a blessed Lent!
Most-holy Theotokos, save us!

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