Re-Discovering Mary: The Orthodox Understanding of the Mother of God
In the history of the Bible and the life of the Church, there is a historical example that represents the most extraordinary way of accepting God’s will, affirming human freedom, and reversing the course of humankind. Fr. Lawrence finds this example in the person of the Holy Virgin Mary, a young Hebrew woman and—the Mother of God. In this person’s life and behavior, the Church has seen the expression of multiple gifts of the Holy Spirit and the most excellent form of human self-transcendence and ecstatic love.
The author deals with the person and role of the Theotokos in accordance with the Holy Scriptures and the Tradition of the Church. From his detailed analysis of the New Testament and lucid observations, it becomes evident that the piety of the Theotokos is not something that abruptly burst onto the stage in the early fifth century, as a phenomenon triggered by the debates over Nestorius. According to the author, the title Theotokos (“birthgiver of God”), bestowed on her by the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in AD 431, comes from a centuries-long history of her devotion among the Christians.