By Fr. Thomas Hopko
In the Orthodox Church the Virgin Mary is the image of those who are being saved. If Jesus Christ is the Savior, Mary is, par excellence, the image of the saved.
She is, in every aspect of her life, as Father Alexander Schmemann so often said, not the great exception, but rather the great example. From her conception to her dormition, that is, her true and real death, she shows how all people must be when they are sanctified by the Holy Spirit as servants of God and imitators of Christ.
in the festival of the entrance of Mary into the temple we have seen how Christ's mother is continuously hymned as the "living temple of the holy glory of Christ our God." She is praised as the "living ark which contained the Word that cannot be contained." She is glorified as "the temple that is to hold God," consecrated by the spirit to be the "dwelling place of the Almighty." She enters the Holy of Holies to become herself the "animated Holy of Holies," the one in whom Christ is formed, thereby making her, and everyone who is one with her in faith, the "abode of heaven."