Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception

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Irish Hermit said:
Mardukm said:
Mary was born from man seed and all born from man seed are touched by the stain of the Ancestral Sin , like it was repeated many times concerning this subject

Saint Ambrose says that the seed of Saint Joachim was immaculate.   Since he would have seen Original Sin as being passed on via the act of conception and specificially via the male seed he must have thought it fitting that Joachim's seed was immaculate and without Original Sin.

Mardukm said:
Yet, St. Jacob of Sarug taught that Mary was perfect, without stain, even BEFORE the Annunciation. 
 

Message 239 is a question addressed to Catholics but nobody has been able to answer it.    Could you please have a look? 
Maybe he did think that. I don't know.
 

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Irish Hermit said:
Just coming back to this thread to ask a question of the Catholic members.  It was posed to me today by a visitor.

Catholics place on awful amount of emphasis on the Archangel's greeting to the Mother of God "Hail, FULL  OF  GRACE" and this greeting is a strong plank in their argumentation for the Immaculate Conception.

Now if "Full" in fact means "Full" and not half-full or 7/8ths full does this mean that Mary was necessarily fully deified (as in theosis) from the moment of her conception?   Does it mean that she has existed from the first moment of her existence in the supreme condition of total final theosis?   This is something which the rest of us willl never obtain since theosis is a never-ending journey into the infinity of God.
What do you mean by final theosis? I thought you didn't believe in final theosis.
 

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Irish Hermit said:
Now you may say that Bernard was a complete ignoramus - which would be hard to justify - but one thing we can deduce from his fierce rejection of the Immaculate Conceptions is that it did NOT form any part of the genuine Tradition of the Western Church.  Bernard perceived it as an INNOVATION.
Indeed!
 

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Papist said:
Irish Hermit said:
Just coming back to this thread to ask a question of the Catholic members.  It was posed to me today by a visitor.

Catholics place on awful amount of emphasis on the Archangel's greeting to the Mother of God "Hail, FULL  OF  GRACE" and this greeting is a strong plank in their argumentation for the Immaculate Conception.

Now if "Full" in fact means "Full" and not half-full or 7/8ths full does this mean that Mary was necessarily fully deified (as in theosis) from the moment of her conception?   Does it mean that she has existed from the first moment of her existence in the supreme condition of total final theosis?   This is something which the rest of us willl never obtain since theosis is a never-ending journey into the infinity of God.
What do you mean by final theosis? I thought you didn't believe in final theosis.
I don't.  But I am not using the term in that unusual sense as given by that Ukrainian Catholic chap, to mean the final purification of purgatory. 

I am saying that Catholics claim that the Mother of God was "Full of grace" from her inception.  To be "full of grace" is to be... well... "full of grace.    No more grace can be added.  So she must have been totally "theotisized" from the first moment of conception.  Theosis for the rest of us is a never-ending journey but for her it must have been a completely fulfilled state from the first second of life.  She had no journey to undertake.

You say that her Immaculate Conception was the same as our Baptism (simply pre-applied in her case) but it cannot have been,.  Baptism does NOT create a state of theosistic perfection for the rest of us.
 

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Irish Hermit said:
Papist said:
St. John Maximovitch is attacking a straw man. 
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux who died in 1153 and is seen by some Orthodox as the last authentic bearer of the patristic tradition in the West before the advent of the Scholastic age, denies the Immaculate Conception.

Now you may say that Bernard was a complete ignoramus - which would be hard to justify - but one thing we can deduce from his fierce rejection of the Immaculate Conceptions is that it did NOT form any part of the genuine Tradition of the Western Church.  Bernard perceived it as an INNOVATION. .


If it were official Church teaching or ancient Tradition would he have denied it? This is all the more striking because his profound love for Mary and his writings in her honour had gained him the title of "Troubadour of the Virgin." Read his Epistle 174...

"I am frightened now, seeing that certain of you have desired to change the condition of important matters, introducing a new festival unknown to the Church, unapproved by reason, unjustified by ancient tradition. Are we really more learned and more pious than our fathers? You will say, 'One must glorify the Mother of God as much as Possible.' This is true; but the glorification given to the Queen of Heaven demands discernment.

"This Royal Virgin does not have need of false glorifications, possessing as She does true crowns of glory and signs of dignity. Glorify the purity of Her flesh and the sanctity of Her life. Marvel at the abundance of the gifts of this Virgin; venerate Her Divine Son; exalt Her Who conceived without knowing concupiscence and gave birth without knowing pain. But what does one yet need to add to these dignities? People say that one must revere the conception which preceded the glorious birth-giving; for if the conception had not preceded, the birth-giving also would not have been glorious.

"But what would one say if anyone for the same reason should demand the same kind of veneration of the father and mother of Holy Mary? One might equally demand the same for Her grandparents and great-grandparents, to infinity. Moreover, how can there not be sin in the place where there was concupiscence? All the more, let one not say that the Holy Virgin was conceived of the Holy Spirit and not of man. I say decisively that the Holy Spirit descended upon Her, but not that He came with Her."


"I say that the Virgin Mary could not be sanctified before Her conception, inasmuch as She did not exist. if, all the more, She could not be sanctified in the moment of Her conception by reason of the sin which is inseparable from conception, then it remains to believe that She was sanctified after She was conceived in the womb of Her mother. This sanctification, if it annihilates sin, makes holy Her birth, but not Her conception. No one is given the right to be conceived in sanctity; only the Lord Christ was conceived of the Holy Spirit, and He alone is holy from His very conception. Excluding Him, it is to all the descendants of Adam that must be referred that which one of them says of himself, both out of a feeling of humility and in acknowledgement of the truth: Behold I was conceived in iniquities (Ps. 50:7). How can one demand that this conception be holy, when it was not the work of the Holy Spirit, not to mention that it came from concupiscence? The Holy Virgin, of course, rejects that glory which, evidently, glorifies sin. She cannot in any way justify a novelty invented in spite of the teaching of the Church, a novelty which is the mother of imprudence, the sister of unbelief, and the daughter of lightmindedness"
Father Bless,

We should recognize that Blessed Bernard believed that Our Lady was infused with Grace in the womb and not as the Orthodox argue as well. He believed the Churches teaching was an act of God upon the fetus in the womb. Whither this was at the very moment of conception or an act after conception yet still within the womb is the bone of contention within the Western Church at the time and at no time does it appear the Western Saints agree with modern Orthodox apologetics on the matter.

This is the most important point for me to point out because it seems to be overlooked even by Blessed John Maximovich's apologetic on the Our Lady.

Father, knowing my struggle here on this topic could give me your advice on a means to see this more clearly? Thank you father.

Peace.
 

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The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception proclaimed by the Roman Catholics in 1854 is rejected by the Orthodox Church, but without in any way detracting from the dignity of the Mother of God. In fact, according the Fathers, the inheritance from Adam consists not in a personal responsibility of all men for original sin, but simply in the inheritance of the consequences of that sin: death, corruption and the passions ... Hence the Orthodox have no difficulty in recognizing that the Mother of God was heir, like us, of the consequences of Adam's sin - Christ alone was exempt -but at the same time pure and without personal sin, for she freely kept herself from all attraction for the world and for the passions, and she voluntarily co-operated in God's purpose by obeying His will with docility: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word," she replied to the Angel Gabriel (LK. 1:38).
(The Synaxarion, Vol. II, p. 361)
 

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Mickey said:
The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception proclaimed by the Roman Catholics in 1854 is rejected by the Orthodox Church, but without in any way detracting from the dignity of the Mother of God. In fact, according the Fathers, the inheritance from Adam consists not in a personal responsibility of all men for original sin, but simply in the inheritance of the consequences of that sin: death, corruption and the passions ... Hence the Orthodox have no difficulty in recognizing that the Mother of God was heir, like us, of the consequences of Adam's sin - Christ alone was exempt -but at the same time pure and without personal sin, for she freely kept herself from all attraction for the world and for the passions, and she voluntarily co-operated in God's purpose by obeying His will with docility: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word," she replied to the Angel Gabriel (LK. 1:38).
(The Synaxarion, Vol. II, p. 361)
Yawn!
 

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Good work Mickey , i appreciate your effort . It is a fact that the IC was not a dogma in the early Church and in the times of the Church Fathers . This "new" dogmatic is an catholic heresy , and the devotion to this dogma leads to the most foulishness and stupid justifications one refuting another . This is outside the teaching of the Church Fathers and it is not in line with the words of Scripture .
 

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Dan-Romania said:
Good work Mickey , i appreciate your effort . It is a fact that the IC was not a dogma in the early Church and in the times of the Church Fathers . This "new" dogmatic is an catholic heresy , and the devotion to this dogma leads to the most foulishness and stupid justifications one refuting another . This is outside the teaching of the Church Fathers and it is not in line with the words of Scripture .
Yes Dan. The Fathers speak for themselves. Even Catholic saints such as Bernard of Clairvaux, Aquinas, and Bonaventure were opposed to it. It is another unfortunate innovation of post schism Rome.
 

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As for the quotes provided concerning St. Ambrose teaching on Mary, he also says,
"A virgin non only undefiled, but whom grace has made inviolate, free of every stain." Looks like the quote you poseted above does not mean that Mary was not free from earthly taint. But nice try again Mickey.
 

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"Your Immaculate body, which was preserved from al stain of sin, did not remain on earth." - St. John Damascene

Not only was she sanctified from all sin but Mary was preserved from all stain of sin. Thus, she must not have inherited original sin.

I guess its as the saying goes, there's nothing that cannot be answered by St. John Damascene.  ;D
 

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"She formed part of the human race adn was fo the same essence as we, although she was pure from all taint and immaculate." - St. Servius (d. 538)

Pure from all taint. That would include pure from original sin.
 

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St. Andrew of Crete says that God cose "from all nature this entirely pure and immaculate virgin." (d. 740)
Hmmm. She was already pure and Immaculate when he Chose her. Thus she was made clean well before the Annuciation.
 

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Dan-Romania said:
It is a fact that the IC was not a dogma in the early Church and in the times of the Church Fathers .
This is a fact.

I also remember reading somewhere that the Catholic Saint Catherine of Sienna received a vision where the Virgin Mary told Catherine that she was not immaculately conceived. Do you know anything about this?
 

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Mickey said:
Dan-Romania said:
It is a fact that the IC was not a dogma in the early Church and in the times of the Church Fathers .
This is a fact.

I also remember reading somewhere that the Catholic Saint Catherine of Sienna received a vision where the Virgin Mary told Catherine that she was not immaculately conceived. Do you know anything about this?
If that were true it would be a much bigger deal and pounced on by anti-Catholic apologists. Now I have provided some Church Father quotes demonstrating that the Immaculate Conception was part of the tradition of the Fathers. No doubt you will reject them because you don't want to believe in the truth of the Immaculate Conception.
 

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Mickey said:
The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception proclaimed by the Roman Catholics in 1854 is rejected by the Orthodox Church, but without in any way detracting from the dignity of the Mother of God. In fact, according the Fathers, the inheritance from Adam consists not in a personal responsibility of all men for original sin, but simply in the inheritance of the consequences of that sin: death, corruption and the passions ... Hence the Orthodox have no difficulty in recognizing that the Mother of God was heir, like us, of the consequences of Adam's sin - Christ alone was exempt -but at the same time pure and without personal sin, for she freely kept herself from all attraction for the world and for the passions, and she voluntarily co-operated in God's purpose by obeying His will with docility: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word," she replied to the Angel Gabriel (LK. 1:38).
(The Synaxarion, Vol. II, p. 361)
Grace and Peace Mickey,

But with regards to the Doctrine of Original Sin, it would appear Dogmatized by the Councils (both at the regional synod level and also by two Ecumenical Councils. In my inquiry into 'modern' Orthodoxy I find weird inconsistencies with the Councils and their own Theologians which really concerned me and ultimately kept me from further inquiry.

The Councils on Original Sin:

Council of Mileum II 416, Approved by Innocent and Council of Carthage (XVI) 418, Approved by Zosimus against the Pelagians

The First Canon States:

All the bishops established in the sacred synod of the Carthaginian Chruch have decided that whoever says that Adam, the first man, was made mortal, so that, whether he sinned or whether he did not sin, he would die in body, that is he would go out of the body not because of the merit of sin but by reason of the necessity of nature, let him be anathema.

The Second Canon states:

Likewise it has been decided that whoever says that infants fresh from their mothers' wombs ought not to be baptized, or says that they are indeed baptized unto the remission of sins, but that they draw nothing of the original sin from Adam, which is expiated in the bath of regeneration, whence it follows that in regard to them the form of baptism "unto the remission of sins" is understood as not true, but as false, let him be anathema. Since what the Apostle says: "Though one man sin entered into the world (and through sin death), and so passed into all men, in whom all have sinned" [cf. Romans 5:12], must not to be understood otherwise than as the Catholic Church spread everywhere has always understood it. For on account of this rule of faith even infants, who in themselves thus far have not been able to commit any sin, are therefore truly baptized unto the remission of sins, so that that which they have contracted from generation may be cleansed in them by regeneration.

These Carthaginian canons were accepted by the Church at the Ecumenical Council in AD 431. They were received yet again at the Seventh Ecumenical Council (the Second Council of Nicea) in AD 787. These Canons were and 'must not to be understood otherwise than as the catholic and apostalic Church spread everywhere has always understood it.'

Teachings of an Orthodox Theologian:

Nor does this resemble the works of Simeon the New Theologian (i.e. The First-Created Man, Seven Homilies) who clearly presents the 'orthodox' teaching of "Original Sin"...

In the present life no one has the divine power in himself to manifest a brilliant glory, and there is no one who is clothed with glory before humility and disgrace; but every man who is born in this world is born inglorious and insignificant, and only later, little by little, advances and becomes glorious.

Therefore, if anyone, having experienced beforehand such disgrace and insignificance, shall then become proud, is he not senseless and blind? That saying that calls no one sinless except God, even though he has lived only one day on earth, does not refer to those who sin personally, because how can a one-day old child sin? But in this expressed mystery of our Faith, that human nature is sinful from its very conception. God did not create man sinful, but pure and holy. But since the first-created Adam lost this garment of sanctity, not from any other sin but from pride alone, and became corruptible and mortal, all people also who come from the seed of Adam are participants of the ancestral sin from their very conception and birth. He who has been born in this way, even though he has not yet performed any sin, is already sinful through this ancestral sin. - The First-Created Man: Homily 37 The Ancestral (Original) Sin and Our Regeneration by St. Symeon The New Theologian

I find the underlined very concerning for the modern Orthodox argument that Original Sin was understood in some vague philosophical way as it appears to be now by modern Orthodox apologists. Even if we look to On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius we find comparing our original state of grace in immortality with a new state in death needing 'rebirth' to renew. I simply don't find the "modern" Orthodox apologetic in history and that really concerns me because they appear to have emphasized the Cappadocian Fathers over the consensus of the whole faith in order to present an alternative to historic Catholic Theology. Now I don't pretend to think that everything in the Catholic Church is as it has always been... but I do get the feeling that "modern" Orthodoxy has artificially contrived distinctions in order to appeal to modern sentiment concerning these teachings (particularly that of modern liberal protestant views concerning the need for Baptism etc.).
 

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ignatius said:
...all people also who come from the seed of Adam are participants of the ancestral sin from their very conception and birth. He who has been born in this way, even though he has not yet performed any sin, is already sinful through this ancestral sinThe First-Created Man: Homily 37 The Ancestral (Original) Sin and Our Regeneration by St. Symeon The New Theologian


I am sorry. I am not understanding your dilemma clearly.  But I am not a very learned man--so perhaps someone else can help you.
 

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Mickey said:
ignatius said:
...all people also who come from the seed of Adam are participants of the ancestral sin from their very conception and birth. He who has been born in this way, even though he has not yet performed any sin, is already sinful through this ancestral sinThe First-Created Man: Homily 37 The Ancestral (Original) Sin and Our Regeneration by St. Symeon The New Theologian


I am sorry. I am not understanding your dilemma clearly.  But I am not a very learned man--so perhaps someone else can help you.


Sure. The point I'm trying to make is that this notion of a separation between guilt and consequences of Original Sin doesn't appear to be found in the early Church Councils and even with St. Symeon The New Theologian. This bothers me a great deal because I see it argued so often among Orthodox Apologists. Once I thought I could convert to Orthodoxy and hold to the teachings of St. Symeon but that doesn't seem to be the case. I stand in an awkward 'no man's land' between the East and the West but maybe I am coming to terms with it.
 

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Mickey said:
I also remember reading somewhere that the Catholic Saint Catherine of Sienna received a vision where the Virgin Mary told Catherine that she was not immaculately conceived. Do you know anything about this?
In Fr. Benedict Groeschel's book, "A Still, Small Voice" he talks about St. Catherine of Siena's declaration that she received a revelation that the Virgin Mary was not immaculately conceived.


http://www.amazon.com/Still-Small-Voice-Practical-Revelations/dp/0898704367
 

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Dear Marduk,

I'm glad you're back.  You've cleared up a few things.  Reading your message as a whole, I can see clearly that I might have misunderstood, and I'm very open to see the terminology you use is similar.

Nevertheless, I don't understand why you would criticize the belief of death as the cause of all things we do as merely a Byzantine, Eastern Orthodox belief.  I really can care less what they believe (although I agree with their beliefs), but based on what I read, this is very Alexandrian, and very Severian.  Fr. Peter Theodore will even agree with me on this one, as he is a scholar on St. Severus' writings.  I've actually had this discussion recently with other Copts who misunderstand the belief of the Original Sin and what it is.

For instance, the Greek for Romans 5:12 is read differently.  If you go back and read St. John Chrysostom's commentaries, he writes very clearly, "for that all have sinned," not "because all sinned."  The meaning here is very different.  Through one man's sin, death entered into the world, and because of death, all sinned.

Second, I agree with you that spiritual death causes us to sin.  However, for the sake of this discussion, the terminology "stain" does not indicate death, but an addition, a sin.  Death is separation, a corruption, something missing in one's life.  A stain is something added to one's life, something like the act of sinning.  This is why I interpret your quotes differently.  For instance, if I met one who did not sin at all in his/her life, I can say of this person he/she is without stain.  That doesn't mean the curse is removed from them, that they are not under this curse of death, spiritual or physical.  I don't think that's what St. Ephrem meant, and I'll share with you a quote by St. Jacob of Serugh in a little bit now that I have the book in my hand again.

In addition, physical death and spiritual death in my opinion are only separated (if I may use a Christological terminology) "in thought alone."  What St. Paul says in Romans 5:12, he meant both.  The psychological ramifications of corruption and death, physically as well as spiritually, lead all to sin.  Christ came and killed death, separating the two.  He partook of physical death without spiritual death, rendering death dead in its power against us.  So, yes we are raised alive again in Christ, but partaking of the Life of Christ, physical death is no longer what it used to be the punishment it was, but a blessing, a grace to look forward to.  We die in Christ that we may live.

Nevertheless, Satan continues to bring death back into the battlefield.  By our sinning, we are recharging death unfortunately.  By our life in Christ, we are keeping death dead.  It is why we sing "Christ is risen from the dead, and trampled death by death, bestowing life to those who were in the tombs."  He did not bestow righteousness to sinners, but life to those who were dead, so that sinners may be righteous.

It is the central teaching in Athanasius, Cyril, and Severus.  I cannot accept the terminology "stain."  Trust me, I understand what you mean when you say we shouldn't war over words (in the spirit of ecumenism, I try my best not to war over words in Christological debates, and in this case, I don't reject differences in the meaning of the word "stain" either).  But when it comes to quotes by Church fathers who say that the Virgin was "stainless," in this particular discussion with you, I avoid the term "stain" so that I can show you why I reject it.  Nevertheless, I misunderstood your use, seeing that it might mean "spiritual death." 

When it comes to the conception of the Virgin Mary, I cannot accept this.  As I mentioned before, many people in the Old Testament were sanctified by the Holy Spirit without removing "spiritual death."  Many prophets spoke through the "Holy Spirit."  That doesn't mean "spiritual death" was removed.  They may have well been stainless.  After all, Romans 5:14 alludes to people who have not sinned that even experience death (spiritual and physical).

A few quotes of yours that we will have to agree to disagree with:


Mardukm said:
Sanctification is simply a generic term for the action of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can sanctify in many various ways, and such gifts are not the same for all.  The effect of the sanctification Mary received at the moment of her conception (really nothing more than the Grace of Baptism) is different from the effect of sanctification on Judas (to be an Apostle and perform miracles) and on Saul (to have the divine right of kingship). The effect of the sanctification Mary received at the moment of her conception was also different from the effect of the sanctification she received at the Annunciation.  The grace Mary received at the moment of her conception was the grace to dedicate herself to God.  In distinction, the grace Mary received at the annunciation was the grace to be able to bear the FULL DIVINITY, and, also, IMO, the unique grace to remain a virgin despite bearing Christ.
For several reasons. (1) I personally and wholeheartedly believe in it. (2) There is nothing in my Oriental Tradition that contradicts it, and vice-versa, when the dogma is properly understood. (3) I have hope that when it is properly understood, it will eventually be acceptable to all. (4) The proscription is only an excommunication, and not an anathema. (5) The proscription of a dogma is not an inherent part of the dogma. It is conceivable that the proscription may be lifted.
Since she was IC’d NOT for the purpose of bearing Christ, but simply to be dedicated completely to God, then it seems we are in agreement.
You call it IC, I call it sanctification, but we both know we don't mean the same thing. 

Yes, Baptism only removes the spiritual consequences of Original sin (sin, in all its forms and understanding, loss of original justice, loss of sanctifying Grace, spiritual death), not the temporal/physical consequences (i.e., death, corruption, etc.). This is the same Grace that Mary received at her conception, and which the Forerunner received while yet in his mother’s womb.
So I suppose there's a belief of St. John's IC brewing in Catholic circles as well?

Now we’re getting somewhere. Previously, you spoke of death, and it seemed like you were not making a distinction between physical death, and spiritual death (which is why I said your understanding seems more Byzantine than Coptic). But now I see you are distinguishing between the temporal/physical consequences of original sin from the spiritual consequences of original sin. So I apologize for my assumption earlier.  On this basis, given my explanation above of what Baptism does, I think we can come to an agreement. But, as always, more questions are welcome.
I sorta agree with this.  But know that I also do not separate physical and spiritual death when it comes to the time before Christ, including the Virgin Mary and John the Forerunner.  When talking about St. Paul, St. Athanasius, etc. they never distinguished between spiritual and physical death.  They talked about death as a whole.

I have to respectfully disagree.  I saw "equality" as a matter of previous actions, not state of the soul.  Equality can also be a matter of humanity.  Christ is equal to us by His human nature, equal to the Father by His divine nature.  In this case, it is clear the "equality" is in the matter of their "innocence," and I interpret this to mean their previous actions of sinlessness.
I think “utterly equal” is different from mere “equal.” Like you said, there are different kinds of equality, but “utter equality” is a different thing, n’est pas.
Agree to disagree here as well.  As you say, one was under physical death, and one wasn't.  Yet the latter sinned, and the former didn't.  I like to think the same for spiritual death before the Annunciation.  I mean think of it this way.  What makes something "utterly equal"?  Surely, if "utterly," why draw the line on only spiritual death, and not physical death like other Latins do?  It would seem to me they are more consistent when using this quote.  While my consistency lies in drawing the line in their actions before making a pivotal decision for all mankind.  Through Eve decision under no spiritual or physical death, we were all made dead.  Through Mary's decision under physical and spiritual death, we were all made alive.  Both were utterly equal in the position they were put in, and both were utterly equal in their "stainless life" (the way I define it) before that pivotal moment.

I’ll agree that it MIGHT be only in reference to the fact that both Christ and Mary never sinned, but when we say Christ is “sinless” do you think we mean only that Christ never sinned, and not actually that Christ also did not have the stain of original sin?  Thus, when a Father compares Mary’s sinlessness to Christ’s, why should we automatically think that it refers only to the fact of not sinning actively?
Let's understand from St. Jacob of Serugh how this comparison is made not because of a grace similar to that of baptism, but solely of her own will to which she is compared to Christ as spotless:

Our Lord descending to earth beheld all women;
He chose one for Himself who among them all was pleasing.

He searched her and found humility and holiness in her,
and limpid impulses and a soul desirous of divinity.

And a pure heart and every reckoning of perfection,
because of this He chose her, the pure and most fair one.

...

He observed her, how exalted and pure from evil,
nor stirs in her an impulse inclined to lust.

And she allows no thought for luxury,
nor worldly conversation which causes cruel harm.

Desire for worldly vanity does not burn in her,
nor is she occupied with childish things.

...

She was a person of discernment, full of the love of God,
because our Lord does not dwell where there is no love.

When the Great King desired to come to our place,
He dwelt in the purest shrine of all the earth because it please him.

He dwelt in a spotless womb which was adorned with virginity,
and with thoughts which were worthy of holiness.

...

Maiden, full of beauty hidden in her and around her,
and pure of heart that she might see the mysteries which had come to pass in her.

This is beauty, when one is beautiful of one's own accord;
glorious graces of perfection are in her will.

However great be the beauty of something from God,
it is not acclaimed if freedom is not present.

...

If another had pleased more than her, He would have chosen that one,
for the Lord does not respect persons since He is just and right.

If there had been a spot in her soul or a defect,
He would have sought for Himself another mother in whom there is no blemish.

This beauty which is teh most pure of all beauties,
exists in the one who possesses it by means of a good will.

...

She was made pure like John and like Elisha,
like Elias and like Melchisedek, who were renowned.

She ascended to the degree of these heights in beauty,
so she was chosen to be the Mother of the Son of the Holy One.

She drew near to the limit of virtue by her soul;
so, that grace which is without limit dwelt in her.
And you should read the part about comparing Eve and Mary.  It's just awesome.  One part I like to quote when interpreting her "utter equality," besides the position they were both put at (if I can quote the whole thing for you, I should just type the whole book here), they were also both virgins:

"Two virgins who received the message from two messengers;
two by two, generations were sent forth, one against another.

Satan sent a secret to Eve by means of the serpent;
the Lord sent the good tidings to Mary by means of the Watcher."

In anticipation of something you might answer back with, let me just tell you I agree with you that free will is not taken away if one is baptized, or has a grace similar to that (as the IC).  But here, we're arguing that she reached a measure of purity not by her state of nature, but by her own doing, her own will.  This leads us to believe that when the Syrian poets speak of her "stainless" life, they speak of her as a women without doing sin, not without spiritual death.

You misunderstand my question.  I'm not questioning free will brother.  I'm simply asking which is more amazing?  Those under the curse who don't sin or those not under the curse who don't sin?  This is a matter of contemplation that I find why the Theotokos is most amazing, stainless even under the curse of Original Sin (in the way I understand though, since there's no belief in our church of some sort of "stain").
But Mary was also under the curse of death (physical death, that is, not spiritual death).  The dogma of the IC does not deny that.
I am saying both spiritual and physical death, she still was stainless and made a decision to bestow upon us all the One Who will bestow life to those who were in the tombs.

So now we have two immaculate events?  One at conception and one at the Annunciation?  I thought the Latins thought the conception was enough for the Incarnation?
First of all, yes, I think that is a popular Latin theologoumenon, but it is not what the dogma of the IC actually teaches.  The Apostolic Constitution on the dogma merely states that the she was IC’d because it was fitting for her AS the Theotokos. But it does NOT say that she was IC’d because it was necessary for her TO BE Theotokos. Like I said, this latter belief is a Latin theologoumenon which I myself do not hold. Though I would add that in the quotes I provided earlier of EOC Fathers, St. Proclus of Constantinople makes an explicit causal connection between the immaculateness of Jesus’ birth and Mary being immaculately conceived.

Secondly, yes, there are two immaculate events. The Immaculate Conception of Mary, and the Immaculate Conception of Jesus Christ.  The Immaculate nature of their respective conceptions came about differently.  Mary was immaculately conceived by the Grace of Baptism being applied to her at the moment of her conception.  In distinction, Jesus was immaculately conceived because he was conceived of the Holy Spirit, without a human father. So the IC does not give to Mary anything that is uniquely Christ’s.
You misunderstood my question.  I understood previously from you as if you implied the Virgin Mary was "made immaculate" twice.  One at her conception, and one at the Annunciation.  I'm not talking about two conceptions of two different people.  I'm only talking about the Theotokos.

Now with the icing of the cake, the quotes of St. Jacob of Serug concerning the Annunciation and what it did the Theotokos:

Indeed, the Holy Spirit came to Mary,
to let loose from her the former sentence of Eve and Adam.

He sanctified her, purified her and made her blessed among women;
He freed her from that curse of sufferings on account of Eve, her mother.

...

The Spirit freed her from that debt that she might be beyond
transgression when He solemnly dwelt in her.

He purified the Mother by the Holy Spirit while dwelling in her,
that He might take from her a pure body without sin.

...

The Word had descended that He might become flesh; on this account,
by the Spirit He purified the one from whom He had become flesh,

so that He might become like us in everything when He descended,
except for this:  that His pure body is without sin.

...

He made her pure, limpid, and blessed
as that Eve, before the serpent spoke with her.

He bestowed on her that first grace which her mother had,
until she ate from the tree which was full of death.

The Spirit who came made her like Eve of old,
though she did not hear the council of the serpent nor his hateful speech.

...

He sanctified her body and made her without hateful lusts,
as the virgin Eve had been until she lusted.

The sin which entered Adam's race with impulses of desire,
the Holy Spirit cast out from her when He came within her.

That increase of evil inclination which the serpent effected,
He wiped from her and filled her with holiness and integrity.

...

She rose up to this measure on her own,
until the Spirit, that perfecter of all came to her.

She was full of grace from God which was more exalted than all;
the Only-begotten dwelt in her womb to renew all.
All the quotes in this whole long message I wrote to you from St. Jacob was all not from different homilies, but one homily (Homily 1 in the book "On the Mother of God" by St. Jacob of Serug), in order that there is no doubt one should understand the context of Jacob's understanding of the "equality" between Mary and Eve, what "stainless" means, and what happened at the Annunciation as opposed to the Latin belief of the conception of Mary herself.

This is OO Mariology at its heart.

God bless.
 
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