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Comparative Theology, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III
38- Titles of Virgin Mary
With regard to God's indwelling in the Virgin during the Incarnation, the Church calls her the Second Heaven and the Tabernacle or the Dome of Moses.
The Church also calls the Virgin the City of God or Zion, as it is said in the psalm: "And of Zion it will be said, 'This one and that one were born in her; and the Most High Himself shall establish her"' and "Glorious things are spoken of you, 0 city of God!" (Ps. 87)
Since the Lord Jesus said that He resembles the manna because He is the Living Bread that came down from heaven (John.6: 58), therefore, the Church calls the Virgin the Manna Pot.
Regarding St. Mary's virginity, the Church calls her Aaron's Rod which blossomed (Num.17).
The Ark of Testimony (Ex.25:10-22) is a type (resemblance) for Virgin Mary because firstly, the Ark was overlaid with gold on the inside and the outside, symbolising her purity and elevation. Secondly because the Ark was made of Acacia wood which does not decay, symbolising her sanctity. Thirdly because the Ark contained the manna, which symbolises Christ the Living Bread who came down from heaven, and lastly because the Ark contained the two tablets of the Law which symbolise Christ the Word of God (John.1: 1).
The ladder reaching from earth to heaven which Jacob saw in his dream, is a type (resemblance) for Virgin Mary. Being this conjunction between earth and heaven in the Incarnation of Christ; She was the earth in which heaven dwelt and whilst she was on earth she bore heaven within her (Gen.28: 12).
The burning bush that was not consumed and which Moses saw (Ex.3), is a type (resemblance) for Virgin Mary, upon whom came the Holy Spirit with His Divine fire and she was not consumed.
Since the union of Divinity and Humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ resembles the union of coal and fire, therefore, St. Mary the Virgin, who bore within her that Union, resembles the censer. She is called Aaron's Censer or the Golden Censer, signifying her exaltation.
The Church also gives the Virgin the title 'The Good Dove’ because:
1. In her meekness she resembles the dove.
2. The Holy Spirit, Who appeared in the form of a dove (Matt.3: 16), came upon her.
3. She brought the message of man's salvation, resembling the dove that brought the message of the return of life to the earth after the Flood (Gen.8: 10,11).
The Virgin is also likened to the Church and many prophecies apply simultaneously to the Virgin and to the Church.
The symbols and resemblances of Virgin Mary in the Church rituals and in the Holy Scriptures are numerous. She is venerated because:
1. the Holy Spirit came upon her,
2. she is the mother of God,
3. she is of perpetual virginity,
4. she is holy,
5. the Holy Bible testifies of her,
6. the Lord Himself venerated her, and
7.because of her miraculous signs and sacred appearances.
This veneration is expressed in the Church rituals, hymns and songs, in the Church prayers asking for her intercession, in celebrating her many feasts and in consecrating one of our fasts in her name.
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