The harmlessness of the dove

Today is the Apodosis (Leave-taking) of the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God. It is also the Feast of St Irenaeus of Lyons (c. 130-202).

AND the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Genesis 3:2-6

*

An icon of the Annunciation of the angel Gabriel to the Mother of God

“And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”

THEN said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Luke 1:34-35, 38.

**

THAT the Lord then was manifestly coming to His own things, and was sustaining them by means of that creation which is supported by Himself, and was making a recapitulation of that disobedience which had occurred in connection with a tree, through the obedience which was [exhibited by Himself when He hung] upon a tree, [the effects] also of that deception being done away with, by which that virgin Eve, who was already espoused to a man, was unhappily misled,—was happily announced, through means of the truth [spoken] by the angel to the Virgin Mary, who was [also espoused] to a man.

For just as the former was led astray by the word of an angel, so that she fled from God when she had transgressed His word; so did the latter, by an angelic communication, receive the glad tidings that she should sustain (portaret) God, being obedient to His word.

And if the former did disobey God, yet the latter was persuaded to be obedient to God, in order that the Virgin Mary might become the patroness (advocata) of the virgin Eve.

And thus, as the human race fell into bondage to death by means of a virgin, so is it rescued by a virgin; virginal disobedience having been balanced in the opposite scale by virginal obedience.

For in the same way the sin of the first created man (protoplasti) receives amendment by the correction of the First-begotten, and the coming of the serpent is conquered by the harmlessness of the dove, those bonds being unloosed by which we had been fast bound to death.

St Irenaeus of Lyons (c. 130-202), “Against Heresies” V.19. Source.

**

OF old the serpent deceived me and put me to death through my foremother Eve; but now, pure Virgin, through you the One who fashioned me has called me back from corruption.

The deep of compassion declared you, O Maiden, to be ineffably the chosen deep of wonders; for from you Christ the Pearl shone with the lightning flash of his Godhead.

Let all of us who are born of earth sing the praise of Christ the giver of life, who rose from the dead on the third day from the tomb, and by his power to-day smashed the gates of death, put Hell to death and crushed the sting of death, set Adam free with Eve, as with thanksgiving we cry aloud our fervent praise: For he as alone the mighty God and Master rose on the third day.

Sunday Matins, Tone 4. Translation from Anastasis.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s