Memory Eternal: Mother Marina

Mother Marina (Maria Iltola) died on Sunday, June 17 at 10 pm in hospital where she was taken on June 13 after a car accident.

She was born on Dec 1, 1930 in Salmi, Karelia on the Northern shore of Lake Ladoga. She graduated at teacher institute in 1954. After working as a teacher she worked as the secretary of the Orthodox Church Administration in Kuopio. In 1977-1980 she was a missionary in Kenya, East-Africa. She entered Lintula convent in 1984 and was tonsured in 1988. Ten years later on July 26, 1998 she became the Abbes (igumenii) of the Lintula convent.

Memory eternal!

Mother Marina is in the center. Photo at the Finnish Orthodox Mission in Kenya

I was privileged to meet Mother Marina when our paths crossed as missionaries in Kenya in 1978.  The above photo is at the Finnish Orthodox Mission in Kenya, 1978.

Icons of the Saints

“In like manner you should also make ikons of the saints and venerate them, not as gods – for this is forbidden – but because of the attachment, inner affection and sense of surpassing honor that you feel for the saints when by means of their ikons the intellect is raised up to them. It was in this spirit that Moses made ikons of the Cherubim within the Holy of Holies (cf. Exod. 25:18). The Holy of Holies itself was an image of things supracelestial (cf. Exod. 25:40, Heb. 8:5), while the Holy Place was an image of the entire world. Moses called these things holy, not glorifying what is created, but through it glorifying God the Creator of the world. You must not, then, deify the ikons of Christ and of the saints, but through them you should venerate Him who originally created us in His own image, and who subsequently consented in His ineffable compassion to assume the human image and to be circumscribed by it. And you should venerate ikons of the saints, for the saints have been crucified with the Lord; and you should make the sign of the cross upon your person before doing so, bringing to mind their communion in the sufferings of Christ. In the same way you should venerate their holy shrines and any relic of their bones; for God’s grace is not sundered from these things, even as the divinity was not sundered from Christ’s venerable body at the time of His life – quickening death. By doing this and by glorifying those who glorified God – for through their actions they showed themselves to be perfect in their love for God – you too will be glorified together with them by God, and with David you will chant: ‘I have held Thy friends in high honor, O Lord’ (Ps. 139:17).” (St. Gregory Palamas in The Philokalia: Volume Four, pgs. 324-325)