The way you have worded your posting, Daniel, about Saint Mary the Mother of God, reminds me of something I read to the effect that though she was not ordained by any bishop or even apostle or even our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ (Who did ordain the apostles, breathing the Holy Breath of the Spirit upon them) that she is at the very heart of the Church. Other than the Head of the Church Christ Himself of course, under Him who has the greatest status in the Church? Undoubtedly His Mother Saint Mary. And we see her rightly depicted in icons in the midst of the Apostles, right there at the centre and heart of the Church.
I know a woman who visited Egypt in one of our pilgrimages to the Mother Church. And when she writes or speaks of the esteem with which she was treated, the status she was held in by devout monks it near moves me to tears. She was as much at the heart and centre of the Church as was the priest also present in that pilgrimage. Somethings go beyond words and don't fit into neat boxed up theologies or sociologies or any other ologies and ultimately defy attemtps to explain, analyse and pin-down. I am thinking of that woman and of that situation and of the time I heard her speak of it - and I have rather lost the thread of my thoughts, so will leave it there and not spoil it by trying further... so will shift to other thoughts on this...
One of Sunday's Pentecost readings was 1Corinthians 12:1-31 including:
For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? â¦And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary.
I reminded the congregation that though they cannot celebrate the Liturgy without me (or another priest) neither can I celebrate the Liturgy without them - or at the very least one of them, for even as they must have a priest so must the preist have a congregation. (Where two or three are gathered together...)
Or again think of one of those vast aircraft carrier warships with a crew of five thousand or more. For sure the 'glamour' roles go to the captain, to the fighter pilots and such like - but the radar operators who detect incoming missiles are just as eesential - to say nothing of the chefs! And there's the computer programmers who made all the onboard software work in the first place. Now I have personally met some of those - and they were women. Unseen and unsung maybe but absolutely one hundred percent vital.
There is a verse, Hosea 14:5 - about growing as the lily with roots like Lebanon, those vast cedars of Lebanon with their massive deep roots unseen but supporting this tiny lily on the surface. You see the priest stood up the front in his vestments. You don't always see the women and men without whose prayers and support he wouldn't be standing there.
We are ALL vital. We are ALL Church.