Thirty Years Ago – in Kenya

Thirty years ago today 8 September 1978 – the Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos, I was in the village of Kunjero, Kenya, as a missionary for the Greek Orthodox Church.   This village was to become our home base but this was our first day to be living in this village.  Though there was an Orthodox Church next door to where I lived, there was no priest, and no services for the Feast.  We were given some gifts of food by our fellow villagers – bread, hard boiled eggs, peanuts and raisens.  According to my journal that was our festal meal for the day.     Most startling event of the day – one of the young men in the village attended Ohio State!  He was hoping to go back to school in January. 

The photo:  taken in Western Kenya, not my home village.

Looks tropical – but the weather was frequently damp and cool – note the sweater.

The Theotokos as the Path to Salvation


The role of the Theotokos in salvation is unique “…because Mary was, according to the reasoning summarized earlier, ‘of the house and lineage of David,’ she represented the unbreakable link between Jewish and Christian history, between the First Covenant within which she was born and the Second Covenant to which she gave birth…” (Pelikan, Mary Through the Centuries).  She gives birth to the New Covenant, to Christ, to the salvation of the world.

Too often we think of salvation as an event, but it is better understood as a history.  The history of salvation flows through particular people, times, places, individuals.  Mary is one person who is part of the history of salvation.  She still belongs within the context of that history, and yet she is a unique part of that history, an irreplaceable part.  Our salvation – our reconciliation and union with God –  would not have happened without her.  She is in the plan of salvation, humanly speaking, a reason that salvation happened.

Thus it is fitting and right for all Christians to honor the Theotokos.  She is the path to salvation for us all because first she is the path that the Son of God followed to become incarnate.  He came into the world through her, and we likewise enter heaven through her.