St Gregory Palamas in his homily on the ‘Dormition of Our Supreme Pure Lady Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary’ reveals the mystery that is the Theotokos. He explains how Panagia, through her obedience to the divine plan of God, ‘to things heavenly rather than things earthly,’ made ‘earth heavenly, (since) she deified the human race’.
By accepting to be the Mother of God she became the mediator between God and the whole human race. And this is why St Gregory so eloquently addresses her as ‘the Queen of all creation, both terrestrial and celestial, the most sublime and the supremely blest Queen of a blessed race’.
In human terms, ‘Queen’ implies power, wealth, duty, and privilege. It implies that Panagia is above her subjects even as she cares and leads them by example. The Queen of All holds the highest position that any woman can possibly have. And yet the paradox is that even though the mother of God has such a lofty position, we know that the she is not distanced from us, despite her translation to the heavenly kingdom, which we celebrate on her Dormition. Even though her body was taken up to the right of her son, she is not far away but very close to us, next to us in our needs, our struggles, and our silent petitions. We belong to her and she belongs to us since she is our wealth, our expiation before God.
The privilege we have as Orthodox Christians is that we can be her subjects and share in her wealth, power and privilege because these are not of this world. Her wealth is her virtue, and those who are hers have experienced its power in their lives. Her example has shown us a spiritual way of being which is very powerful, since it can transform us from sinners to repentant beings who desire to live a new and godly life. This is the privileged existence that she directs her children towards - living on the earth but looking towards heaven.
Panagia holds the key to the Kingdom of Christ, for she is ‘truly His Throne’, Him who cleansed us entirely. She is our hope of eternal blessedness because through her we are led to her Son. She was found worthy to be the mother of God because of her utter humility and obedience. These virtues were her glory, her power and her strength. In human institutions, queens are not easily approached, and if one needs to make a request or have a meeting, certain protocols must be met. Even though she is the Queen of all, we can approach her as our mother. The only request that she makes is that we respect her Son, and listen, obey and follow Him. She is very near and will hear us wherever and whenever we address her, aloud, in prayer or in silent contemplation.
Source: Lychnos August-September 2013