"... more honorable
than the Cherubim and
more glorious beyond compare
than the Seraphim;
without corruption you gave birth
to God the Word;
true Theotokos we magnify you ..."



In the New Testament Mary is called "mother of Jesus" (Jn 2:1). St. Matthew refers to her as "his mother" and Elizabeth called Mary "mother of my Lord" (Lk 1:43). With the realization that Jesus is truly God, the Greek Christians invoked her as Theotokos (God Bearer) and in the West (Mother of God).

Nestorius, who was the bishop of Constantinople (428-431 AD), began to preach that Mary should not be called Theotokos, "Mother of God" ", but Mother of Christ". He separated the divine nature from the human nature in Christ as he states, "Mary did not give birth to God. A creature cannot deliver her creator, but only a man who is the instrument of the divinity." St. Cyril of Alexandria clarifies what Nestorius meant by thus, "first, an ordinary human being was born of the holy Virgin, and then the Word descended upon the man...." 82

What does "Theotokos" or " Mother of God", therefore mean?

Once again St. Cyril gives us a clear explanation. "We do not say that the nature of the Word became man by undergoing change; nor that it was transformed into a complete man consisting of soul and body. What we say, rather, is that by uniting to himself in his own person a body animated by a rational soul, the Word became man in an inexpressible way...."

Mary is truly the Theotokos

because she brought forth the whole Christ,

the divine Word united to a human nature.


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Copyright 2004 Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America http://www.goarch.org/ Lenten Blessings,

Ode Five. The Eirmos.[9]

Amazed was the universe * by your divine magnificence. * For while never consummating wedlock, * you held, O Virgin, the God of all in your womb, * and gave birth unto a timeless Son * Who awards salvation to * all who chant hymns of praise to you.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Rejoice, for you carried in * your womb the Way that leads to life. * Bride of God, rejoice, all-blameless Maiden * who saved the world from the flood of sin. Rejoice, * awe-inspiring message and report, * habita­tion of the One * who is Lord of creation all.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The might and the fortress of * the human race, O spotless one, * O re­joice, the holy place of glory, * slayer of Hades, the bridal chamber of light. * Delight of the Angels, O rejoice. * Helper of the ones who pray * to you faithfully, O rejoice.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The fiery chariot * of God the Logos, O rejoice; * Lady, living paradisal garden * which in its center contains the tree of life, * the Lord Whose deliciousness gives life * unto those who eat with faith, * who were subject unto decay.


Your power enheartens us. * We loyally cry out, rejoice, * unto you the city of the great King, * about which glorious and remarkable things * perspicuously have been declared. * O unquarried mountain and * depth unfathomable, rejoice.

Both now

Rejoice, O Immaculate, * the spacious dwelling of the Word; * oyster that produces the divine Pearl. * Rejoice, O Lady, exceeding wonderful; * reconciliation with the Lord * for all who beatify * you the Mother of God each day.


The One Christ