Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Bride of Christ

By Monk Christodoulos Gregoriates

"After, a great sign appeared in the sky. I saw a woman who had the sun for a garment and the moon was under her feet and on her head was a crown with twelve stars. ... and the woman fled into the desert, where she has a place made ready for her by God, so that they may feed her there for one thousand two hundred and sixty days" (Rev. 12:1-17).

It is commonly accepted by the interpreters of the Apocalypse that this woman symbolizes the Church of Christ. She is the Bride of the Bridegroom who is invited to the royal wedding (Rev. 22:17, Matt.22:1-4, Lk. 14:15-24). She is one and unique! She wears a crown of twelve stars which symbolize the twelve apostles of Christ.

The Bridegroom Christ comes in nuptial communion with her at the Mystery of Holy Communion. It is a Paschal Wedding. That is, it is a wedding of going and returning to Paradise (Pascha means "Passover" or "passing").

Paradise is one and the Bride is one, the Church. The Church of Christ is the ark of salvation, the one who saves her faithful from the floods of sin.

Noah's Ark is a type of the Church of Christ. It is the Church of the saved from the waters of cataclysm which symbolizes sin that leads to death.

This enviable title of the Church - Bride - is claimed by many "churches" and each one of them is self-projected to be the true Bride of Christ. But only one of all these "brides" can be the Bride of Christ.

Which though is the true Bride? Her correct place is defined again by Noah's Ark: "and the arc settled on the twentieth and seventh of the seventh month, over the Ararat mountains" (Gen. 8:4). Holy Scripture does not say "over the mountain" but "over the Ararat mountains".1 And so there, where Noah's Ark settled, there the Church of God settled. "Over the Ararat Mountains".

Which are the mountains on which the only Church of God sits? The mountains are two.

The first is Mount Sinai. It is the Mountain of the Old Testament. The Mountain from where Moses received from God the Law, and the Church was introduced. Down, at the foot of this mountain, the Israeli people sacrificed the Paschal lamb, which was a type of the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It is the Mountain on which Moses saw the burning but not consumed Bush, which symbolizes the mystery of the Theotokos2 and Ever-Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ (Ex. 3:2). Mount Sinai is a mountain of types and symbols.

The second mountain is the Holy Mountain of Athos. It is the Mountain of the New Testament (the counterpart of the Old Testament). It is the "Garden" of the Panagia3. On this mountain are fulfilled those things which were symbolized on Mount Sinai. As on Mount Sinai and on the Holy Mountain, the Paschal Lamb is sacrificed. On Mount Sinai the Panagia is as type of the Burning but never consumed Bush. On the Holy Mountain, equivalently, she herself is the predominant person as the Abbess of the entire Holy Mountain monastic brotherhood.

The summit of the Holy Mountain is dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Savior. The Holy Mountain as another Taboric Mountain is a Mountain of Transfiguration and of transfigurations. It transfigures people into "the likeness" of God. On these two mountains the presence of Christ and of the Panagia is especially visible. Because they are the "Ararat" Mountains on which the Church of Christ sits. Both of these mountains are Theomitoric4 mountains!

It is not at all by chance that these two mountains belong today to the Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church of Christ "as a city situated on a mountain" sits high so that she will be seen and separated from all the other "brides". Sits high "on the mountains of Ararat" so that she will be recognized by all those who seek the refuge of her salvation. She is not a "bride" among "brides" but is the unique Bride of the Revelation which with the Spirit are saying to the Lord "come" (Rev. 22:17).

Let the other "brides" be silent. Let them not claim a title which does not belong to them. Because the Bride sits "on the Ararat Mountains". On the mountain of the Old Testament which is a very dry mountain, and on the mountain of the New Testament which is a mountain most shaded (with thick forests). As the Prophet Habakkuk says: "God will come from Theman and the Holy One will come from a mountain with a very thick vegetation (Hab. 3:3). This verse which mentions the Panagia can also be attributed symbolically to the Holy Mountain.


1. The point made here is that the word is in the plural. Also, the Hebrew word "Ararat" means "the reverse of the curse".
2. God-bearer.
3. A title given to the Virgin Mary, but it is understood by everyone that she is the Most-Holy of the human race, and no one thinks that she is above or equal to God.
4. Belonging to the Theotokos, the Mother of God.
5. It may mean south.