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Theotokos (Greek: Θεοτόκος, translit. Theotókos; Slavonic: Богородица translit. Bogoroditsa, Georgian: ღვთისმშობელი transl. ghvtismshobeli, Romanian Nascatoare de Dumnezeu) is a title of Mary, the mother of Jesus. This term is used especially in the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern traditions within the Catholic Church. Image File history File links Our Lady of Kazan. ... Image File history File links Our Lady of Kazan. ... Our Lady of Kazan (16th century). ... Transliteration is the practice of transcribing a word or text written in one writing system into another writing system. ... Old Church Slavonic (Old Bulgarian, Old Macedonian, and Old Slavic) is the first literary Slavic language, developed from the Slavic dialect of Thessaloniki (Solun) by the 9th century Byzantine missionaries, Saints Cyril and Methodius. ... A title is a prefix or suffix added to a persons name to signify either veneration, an official position or a professional or academic qualification. ... Saint Mary and Saint Mary the Virgin both redirect here. ... The Eastern Orthodox Church is a religious organization which claims to be the continuation of the original Christian body, founded by Jesus and his Twelve Apostles. ... ... The Roman Catholic Church or Catholic Church (see Terminology below) is the Christian Church in full communion with the Bishop of Rome, currently Pope Benedict XVI. It traces its origins to the original Christian community founded by Jesus, with its traditions first established by the Twelve Apostles and maintained through...


Etymology and translation

Theotokos is a compound of two Greek words, θεός "God" and τόκος "parturition, childbirth." Literally, this translates as "God-bearer" or "One who gave birth to God." However, since many English-speaking Orthodox find this literal translation awkward; in liturgical use, "Theotokos" is often retained in Greek or translated as "Mother of God." This last is not precisely synonymous, as it describes a family relationship but not necessarily physical childbearing. Furthermore, "Mother of God" (Greek Μήτηρ Θεού) has an established usage of its own in certain hymns, but especially on icons of the Theotokos, in which case it is usually abbreviated as ΜΡ ΘΥ (see illustration above). This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... The Divine Liturgy is the common term for the eucharistic service of the Byzantine tradition of Christian liturgy. ... For other senses of this word, see icon (disambiguation). ...


The expression "Mother of God" or "Birth-giver of God" should not be understood in the eternal sense; that is, Mary is not understood as having eternally given birth to God the Son in the same way that he is eternally begotten by God the Father (see Holy Trinity and Nicene Creed). Rather, in the Incarnation, the divine person of God the Son took on a human nature in addition to his divine nature, and it is through Mary that this takes place. Since Jesus Christ is seen as both fully God and fully human, to call Mary the Birth-giver of God is to affirm the fullness of his Incarnation, and by extension, the salvation of humanity. This article concerns the holy Trinity of Christianity. ... Icon depicting the Holy Fathers of the First Council of Nicaea holding the Nicene Creed. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... In religion, salvation refers to being saved from an undesirable state or condition. ...

This stands in contrast to classical Greco-Roman religion in particular, where a number of divine female figures appear as mother of other divinities, demi-gods, or heroes. For example, Juno was revered as the mother of Vulcan; Aphrodite, the mother of Aeneas. Greco-Roman religion is the collective name given to Greek and Roman pre-Christian religions due to the similarity between them. ... A demigod, a half-god, is a person whose one parent was a god and whose other parent was a human. ... IVNO REGINA (Queen Juno) on a coin celebrating Julia Soaemias. ... Vulcan, in Roman mythology, is the son of Jupiter and Juno, and husband of Maia and Venus. ... The Birth of Venus, (detail) by Sandro Botticelli, 1485 Aphrodite (Greek: Ἀφροδίτη) was the Greek goddess of love, lust, beauty and sexuality. ... Aeneas flees burning Troy, Federico Barocci, 1598. ...

Use of "Theotokos" in the early Christian Church

Many Fathers of the early Christian Church used the title Theotokos for Mary, at least since the third century AD. Patristics is the study of early Christian writers, known as the Church Fathers. ...

Often Origen (died 254) is cited as the earliest author to use the title Theotokos for Mary but the text upon which this assertion is based is not genuine (Socrates, Ecclesiastical History 7.32 citing Origen's Commentary on Romans).

Dionysios of Alexandria used the term in about 250, in an epistle to Paul of Samosata. Dionysius served as Patriarch of Alexandria (head of the church that became the Coptic Church and the Orthodox Church of Alexandria) between 248 and 264. ... Events Diophantus writes Arithmetica the first systematic treatise on algebra. ... Paul of Samosata, patriarch of Antioch (260-269), Life Paul was born at Samosata into a family of humble origin. ...

Athanasius of Alexandria in 330, Gregory the Theologian in 370, John Chrysostom in 400, and Augustine all used the term Theotokos. Athanasius of Alexandria (also spelled Athanasios) (c. ... Events May 11 - Constantine I refounds Byzantium, renames it New Rome, and moves the capital of the Roman Empire there from Rome. ... An icon of Saint Gregory Nazianzen the theologian holding a Gospel Book Saint Gregory Nazianzen (AD 329 - January 25, 389), also known as Saint Gregory the Theologian, was a 4th century Christian bishop of Constantinople. ... Events Basil of Caesarea becomes bishop of Caesarea. ... A millennium-old Byzantine mosaic of Saint John Chrysostom, Hagia Sophia John Chrysostom (347 - 407, Greek Ιωάννης ο Χρυσόστομος ) was a notable Christian bishop from the 4th and 5th centuries in Syria and Constantinople. ... Events First invasion of Italy by Alaric (probable date). ... For the first Archbishop of Canterbury, see Saint Augustine of Canterbury. ...

Theodoret wrote in 436 that calling Virgin Mary Theotokos was an apostolic tradition. Theodoret (393 – c. ... Events Attila the Hun attacks Britain Births Deaths Categories: 436 ... Alternate meaning: See Apostle (Mormonism) The Christian Apostles were Jewish men chosen from among the disciples, who were sent forth (as indicated by the Greek word απόστολος apostolos= messenger), by Jesus to preach the Gospel to both Jews and Gentiles, across the...

Third Ecumenical Council

The use of Theotokos was formally affirmed at the Third Ecumenical Council held at Ephesus in 431. The competing view (advocated by Nestorius, then Patriarch of Constantinople) was that Mary should be called Christotokos, meaning "Mother of Christ," to restrict her role to the mother of Christ's humanity only and not his divine nature. The Council of Ephesus was held in Ephesus, Asia Minor in 431 under Emperor Theodosius II, grandson of Theodosius the Great. ... Historical Map of Ephesus, from Meyers Konversationslexikon 1888 Ephesus (Greek: , Turkish: ), was one of the great cities of the Ionian Greeks in Anatolia, located in Lydia where the Cayster River (Küçük Menderes) flows into the Aegean Sea (in modern day Turkey). ... Events June - Council of Ephesus: Nestorianism is rejected, the Nicene creed is declared to be complete. ... Nestorius - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... The Patriarch of Constantinople is the Ecumenical Patriarch, ranking as the first among equals in the Eastern Orthodox communion. ...

Nestorius's opponents, led by Cyril of Alexandria, viewed this as dividing Jesus into two distinct persons, one who was Son of Mary, and another, the divine nature, who was not. Such a notion was unacceptable, since (in the Orthodox view) it sabotaged the fullness of the incarnation and, by extension, the salvation of humanity. Nestorius's view was anathematised by the Council as heresy, (see Nestorianism), and the title "Theotokos" for Mary was affirmed. St. ... Anathema (Greek Word -Ανάθεμα-: meaning originally something lifted up as an offering to the gods; later, with evolving meanings, it came to mean 1. ... Heresy, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is a theological or religious opinion or doctrine maintained in opposition, or held to be contrary, to the Catholic or Orthodox doctrine of the Christian Church, or, by extension, to that of any church, creed, or religious system, considered as orthodox. ... Nestorianism is the Christian doctrine that Jesus existed as two persons, the man Jesus and the divine Son of God, or Logos, rather than as a unified person. ...

By the end of his life, Nestorius had agreed to the title Theotokos, stating the apparent communication of the attributes (idiomata).


Calling Mary either Theotokos or "Mother of God" (ΜΡ ΘΥ) was never meant to suggest that Mary was coeternal with God, or that she existed before Jesus Christ or God existed. The Church acknowledges the mystery in the words of this ancient hymn: "He whom the entire universe could not contain was contained within your womb, O Theotokos."

The title "Theotokos" continues to be used frequently in the hymns of the Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic and Oriental Orthodox churches. A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a god or other religiously significant figure. ... Eastern Orthodoxy (also called Greek Orthodoxy and Russian Orthodoxy) is a Christian tradition which represents the majority of Eastern Christianity. ... The term Eastern Rites may refer to the liturgical rites used by many ancient Christian Churches of Eastern Europe and the Middle East that, while being part of the Roman Catholic Church, are distinct from the Latin Rite or Western Church. ... The term Oriental Orthodoxy refers to the churches of Eastern Christian traditions that keeps the faith of only the first three ecumenical councils of the undivided Church - the councils of Nicea, Constantinople and Ephesus. ...

An example of such a hymn is the Suub Tuum dating from the third century. Sub tuum praesidium or, in English, Under your protection is the oldest anthem to the Blessed Virgin Mary from the see of Alexandria in the third century. ... (2nd century - 3rd century - 4th century - other centuries) Events The Sassanid dynasty of Persia launches a war to reconquer lost lands in the Roman east. ...



  • Cyril of Alexandria, On the Unity of Christ, John Anthony McGuckin, trans. ISBN 0-88141-133-7
  • McGuckin, John Anthony, St. Cyril of Alexandria: The Christological Controversy (1994, and reprinted 2004) ISBN 0-88141-259-7 A full description of the events of Third Ecumenical Council and the people and issues involved.

St. ... John Anthony McGuckin (born 1952) is an Orthodox Christian scholar, priest, and poet. ...

See also

Agni Parthene (Αγνή Παρθένε) is a liturgical hymn composed by St. ... A traditional Catholic image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, displaying her Immaculate Heart The Blessed Virgin Mary, sometimes shortened to The Blessed Virgin, is a traditional title specifically used by Roman and Eastern Catholics, Anglo-Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and others to describe Mary, the mother of Jesus. ... Christology is that part of Christian theology which studies and attempts to define Jesus the Christ. ... This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ... The Dormition of the Theotokos is the Eastern Orthodox commemoration of the falling asleep or death of Mary, the mother of Jesus. ...

External links

  • Theotokos article on the Orthodox Wiki
  • Study of the Mother of the Lord the All-Holly Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary by St. Nectarios (in Greek)

  Results from FactBites:
Theotokos - definition of Theotokos in Encyclopedia (298 words)
Theotokos is a Greek word that means "God-bearer" or "Mother of God".
It is a title assigned by the early Christian Church to Mary, the mother of Jesus, at the Third Ecumenical Council held at Ephesus.
The title "Theotokos" continues to be used frequently in the hymns of the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches.
Theotokos - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (646 words)
Theotokos (Greek Θεοτοκος) is a title of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
The use of Theotokos was formally affirmed at the Third Ecumenical Council held at Ephesus in 431.
The title "Theotokos" continues to be used frequently in the hymns of the Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic and Oriental Orthodox churches.
  More results at FactBites »



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