The syrian Orthodox revere Mary the mother of Jesus Christ as the Mother of God. They revere her much more than do the Protestants, but less than do the Roman Catholics and Anglo- Catholics. There is a large number of Churches and institutions of the Syrian Orthodox in the name of St. Mary. They intercede to her in almost all religious services and prayers, except during the six days of the holy passion week.
In the daily daily canonical prayers of the Syrian Orthodox, she is the remembered in all the six prayers out of the seven. The prayer of the ninth hour which is exclusively about the departed and is very brief alone does not contain anything about the departed and is very brief alone does not contain anything about her. She is spoken of as the 'Virgin Eternal' in the prayers and various writings of this Church. She conceived as virgin and brought forth her son without breaking her seal of Virginity. She remained in the same manner unknown to man. She was not married and she never cohabited with man before or after the birth of Jesus Christ.
The word of God entered her through the ear and descended to her womb and took flesh from her uniting divinity with humanity never to separate. As she conceived without the seed of man, the child was physically after the mother. Mary was born like any one of us and was cleansed and purified later before she conceived her son. She was not born immaculate as the Roman Catholics say. It is believed that every one who is born of the co-habitation of man and woman inherits their sin because lust enters their hearts when they co-habit. This sin which the child inherits is referred to by the Psalmist in the words. " My mother conceived me in sins". It is believed to be removed at Baptism. What the child inherits inherits unawares shall be cleansed unawares.
Mary Who was brought up in the Temple was betrothed before she was thirteen and was sent away with the righteous and elderly Joseph. Before she had attained puberty the angel came and announced to her. The Holy Spirit came down upon her, cleansed her and the Word descended to her womb. She became pure and holy virgin just before that moment of conception. St.Thomas Aquinas has said that she was not conceived immaculate, but was conceived like any one of us and was cleansed while in her mother's womb and then purified of original sin. If she was not conceived immaculate, but was made holy by a cleansing process, then what is the harm in postponing that moment of cleansing a little upto the time just before she conceived, as the Syrian Orthodox believe.
She was not married but only betrothed to Joseph and she conceived before she could have been married. The Gospel writer testifies that Joseph was just and righteous and that he did not know her until she had brought forth her firstborn son. The miracles and unique events at the time of the Son's birth and later had certainly changed Joseph's attitude towards Mary to one of deep veneration and he being much elderly, of noble birth and righteous would never have thought of marrying her thereafter.
The Syrian Orthodox Prayers and promiyons contain the prophecies of the Old Testament which indicate the virgin's conception and her eternal virginity. At the Great Intercession of the Holy Mass, in the fourth 'Tubden' about the Virgin, they refer to her as 'Eternal Virgin'. They address her in the Penkeesa Prayers and Promyons with the words 'Blessed art Thou' and 'Peace unto Thee' etc, narrating all the Old Testament prophecies about her. "Blessed art Thou, dove that brought forth the very old Vulture" and " Blessed art Thou tasteful salt which cured the bitterness of the world" are example of their poetic expressions about her. They praise her, bless her, give her peace and intercede to her. She is supposed to have been taken to Paradise and not to heaven. The day of her translation is celebrated as a day of feast every year, the date falling on the 15th of August.
The name 'Mary' is given to Syrian girls in all places and the name has never lost its popularity. In kerala there is quite a large number of Marys. Almost every home is decorated with a picture of Virgin Mary. Her feast is celebrated in many Churches, especially in the Churches called after her. St.Mary's Church at Manarcad, Kandanad and Kattachira in Kerala are famous.
The observation of 'Eight Days Lent ' from September 1 to 8 is very important at St.Mary's Churches Manarcad. It is a time-old practice there. Syrian Christian ladies gather there by thousands and observe this lent in all devotion for seven days. Lately it has been adopted in very many other Churches of the Syrian Orthodox in Kerala. This Lent is not canonically obligatory. It is not now seen observed i the Middle East.
As Jesus Christ changed water into wine at the feast of Cana in Galilee at the request of his mother, the Syrian Orthodox believe that Jesus who is God, will listen to Our Lady's intercession even now. Both Jesus and Mary are alive and active and they can hear our supplications. The Mother will intercede and the Son will act her intercession.