When I was looking sympathetically into Eastern Orthodoxy, statements like this bothered me. It could have been because I was an evil Western logical Protestant, but still. Logic and Augustino-Paul aside, something just seems off with this:
The ‘middle wall and barrier of enmity’ were of no account to her; indeed, everything that divided the human race from God was abolished as far as she was concerned. Even before the common reconciliation, she alone had made peace with God; or rather, she was never in any need of reconciliation, since from the very beginning, she was never in any need of reconciliation, since from the very beginning she stood foremost in the choir of the friends of God.” –
St. Nicholas Cabasilas (Homily on the Annunciation)
O victorious leader of triumphant hosts! We your servants, delivered from evil, sing our grateful thanks to you, O Theotokos! As you possess invincible might,(that kind of language is usually used about divinity; yikes) set us free from every calamity so that we may sing: Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!
-from the Akathist to the Mother of God, although not part of the original. This First Kontakion was added after the siege of Constantinople. The language of unwedded bride is simply bad. She was wed. With Joseph. The Bible intimates she had sex with Joseph. God’s law said one could divorce the other if one refused sex. Hebrews would have wanted to have married sex. Unless they were influenced by Greek Alexandria.
The Life-Giving Font”
“O most favored by God, you confer on me the healing of your grace from your inexhaustible Spring. Therefore, since you gave birth incomprehensibly to the Word, I implore you to refresh me with the dew of your grace that I might cry to you: Hail, O Water of salvation.”
What does the hymn mean by “inexhaustible spring?” Anchorites are quick to say that even though they invoke Mary for salvation, it’s really Jesus that saves. Even if that distinction holds, this line weakens it. I’ll assume that inexhaustible Spring means Jesus, and what’s really at stake is that Mary was the economia of bringing salvation into the world. That interpretation could work, but if that’s true then why isn’t it in the past tense? Economia is historical language. Why are they invoking it now? Secondly, it seems to place Mary in a hierarchical scheme between us and Jesus. This validates Tillich’s charge that the saints replaced the Forms in ancient thought.