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Is Mary the Theotokos?

"Is Mary the Theotokos? Would it matter?

Without the Blessed Virgin Mary Christianity, would be meaningless. That Mary is Mother of God is rooted deeply in sacred scripture, which Chapel doctrine has been confidently trained since the Council of Ephesus (A. D. 431), during which happened a decisive treatment of the Church's coaching authority with respect to Mary's divine motherhood and resistant to the statements of Nestorius, Bishop of Constantinople who explained that Mary didn't give birth to God, but to an ordinary baby, called Christ, who was for some reason connected to God. Subsequently, Mary did not are entitled to to be called by the subject of 'Theotokos', or God-bearer, but instead the meeker title of 'Christotokos', or bearer of Christ.

To get a concept of that which was happening at that time we have to take a brief check out why this controversy started and at what was being said. So, to begin with, it was the primary concern of the Council of Nicaea to make it plain beyond all possibility of misunderstanding that Jesus of Nazareth, while in my opinion distinct from the daddy, is God in the fullest sense of the term. As the Creed says, 'God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, consubstantial with the Father'; it was the Church's determination to keep this doctrine of derived equality without deviating into either modalism or tritheism, that led her on the long intellectual pilgrimage whose goal was full understanding of that common interpenetration of the three divine Person's, through their union with the one divine Fact, which is denoted by the word perichoresis. Only once the divinity of the Child had been securely set up could the Chapel give her full attention to the actual fact that the Kid, being God, experienced become man.

But will there be in Christ an unconfused union of Godhead and manhood? This is the question which was to exercise the brains of theologians and put the life of the Church into turmoil from Constantinople to Chalcedon.

What the orthodox Fathers were striving to do, and what was eventually achieved at Chalcedon, was to preserve the doctrine of unconfused Godhead and manhood of Christ against tendencies which strove, on the main one palm, to unite both terms at the cost of challenging them with one another and, on the other side, to keep them distinctive at the price tag on separating them. This today might not seem to provide any special difficulty; that this is so is a sign of the triumph of Chalcedon in theological thought, but, in the fifth century it was a notion which could only be achieved at the cost of bitter controversy and schism.

So, when the theologically unimaginative but critically energetic Nestorius became Patriarch of Constantinople everything was ready for an explosion, which arrived when Nestorius openly recognized his chaplain Anastasius in denouncing the application to the Blessed Virgin Mary of the title Theotokos. Nestorius was an Antiochene in Christology, deeply affected by the ideas of Theodore of Mopsuestia, and it was his clumsy, clumsily articulated elucidation of the inferences of the position of the Antiochenes that was to create light to the controversy.

Quite early on Nestorius was called after to pronounce on the suitability of Theotokos as a name of the Virgin Mary, and ruled that its correctness was doubtful unless Christotokos was added to balance it.

But in getting himself for this concern Nestorius used uncontrolled terms which was calculated to provoke those whose strategy was dissimilar to his own. He argued that no individual could be God's mother and no individual could give labor and birth to God; Mary offered birth to a man not God, the instrument of divinity. God could not have been carried for nine a few months in a woman's womb, or have been wrapped in baby-clothes, or have suffered, died and been buried. Behind the information of Mary as Theotokos, he professed to find the Arian theory that Mary's Son was individuals or the Apollinarian concept that the manhood was imperfect.

These flare-ups of Nestorius were computed to be confrontational. However they played in to the hands of Cyril of Alexandria, Nestorius's bitter rival. Cyril stated to see in them as a resurgence of the idea of two sons that was rejected in the fourth century. Alarmed by this claim that Mary's boy was only a man, Eusebius, later to be Bishop of Dorylaeum, quickly figured Nestorius was seeking to re-establish the adoptionism of Paul of Samosata. By exploiting this interpretation Cyril could secure Nestorius's condemnation as a heretic at the Council of Ephesus in 431. Predicated on these judgements the original picture of Nestorianism as a heresy which break up God/man into two distinct Persons rapidly developed itself.

"When Divine Scripture is about to tell of the delivery of Christ from the Virgin Mary or [his] death, in room does it seem that it puts 'God' but either 'Christ' or 'Kid' or 'Lord', because these three are indicative of both natures, now of this and now of this, now of the one and today of the other. For example, when the Reserve relates unto us the beginning from the Virgin, whom docs it say? God delivered his Child. It says not that God sent God the term, but it takes a name which indicates both the natures. Because the Child is man and God, it says that God sent his Kid and he was created of a woman; and therein thou seest that the name is put which indicates both the natures. Thou callest [him] Son according to the labor and birth from the blessed Virgin, for the Virgin Mother / of Christ bare the Boy of God. But because the Boy of God is twofold in natures, she bare not the Son of God but she bare the humanity, which is the Boy due to Son who's united thereto" (Nestorius, 450 AD).

The first section of St John's Gospel tell us simply that 'the Expression became flesh and dwelt among us. ' Two things need to be noticed. The first is that in Hebrew flesh and blood vessels means not merely the material part of a guy in contrast with his soul, but real human nature as a whole. The second is that St John will not say that the term united flesh to himself, but that he became flesh. St Athanasius was fundamentally clear upon this point. In general, however, he was quite content to think of the Incarnation as taking place through the union of individual flesh to the divine Phrase.

"He took upon him our flesh, as Aaron does his robe, and assumed a body like ours, having Mary for the Mother of his body" (Athanasius, 356/360).

Nestorius himself never drew from his premises the conclusions which Cyril assumed him to possess drawn and which were drawn by some of his followers. Neither is it to be meant that the view of Antiochene theology logically implied the Nestorian heresy.

What is true, however, is the fact that, while the pluralistic emphasis of Antioch managed to get properly easy to protect the variation of the humanity and the divinity in Christ, it made it very difficult to provide for their real union.

Apollinarius had taken care of the union by removing from Christ's humanity one of its constituents, the logical soul, and placing the divine Expression (Logos) in its place. No Antiochene could tolerate such a mutilation; the mankind must remain whole and complete. But how then is this unity of divinity and mankind to be effected? In case the humanity is complete we shall surely have a whole human individual and it will be they and not the divine Phrase (Logos) who will be the subject of Christ's life. No question, then, the Alexandrian will mirror, these Antiochenes refuse to call Mary theotokos; they can not help thinking that he whom she bore had not been God but a man, even if God arrived to dwell in him after she acquired borne him. Whatever they could say, they believe in two Sons, one the Kid of God and the other the son of Mary, however close the connection of both may be.

The clash between these points of view was brutal at first. Cyril's treatment was quick when he heard of Nestorius's mockery of Theotokos, in refuting what he regarded gross heresy. The patriarchs exchanged some quite prickly letters without with neither of these making any significant headway. So, Pope Celestine was contacted by Cyril, who send him a dossier of ingredients from Nestorius's writings and from the declarations made on the Incarnation by the reverend fathers of past decades. Nestorius also had written letters to Celestine and in his third he stated:

"I've learned that Cyril, the most distinguished bishop of the city of Alexandria, is becoming worried about reviews against him that we received, and is now hunting for subterfuges to avoid a holy synod taking place credited to these studies. In the meantime he's devising various other disturbances over conditions and has chosen [as a point of controversy] the word Theotokos and Christotokos: the first he allows, but for Christotokos, sometimes he takes out it from the gospels, and sometimes he allows it, based on what I really believe is some sort of excessive prudence. In the case of the term Theotokos, I am not opposed to those who wish to say it, unless it should advance to the misunderstanding of natures in the way of the madness of Apollinaris or Arius. Nonetheless, I've without doubt that the term Theotokos is inferior compared to the term Christotokos, as the latter is pointed out by the angels and the gospels. And if I were not talking with Your Worship who is already so educated, I would need to provide an extremely long discourse on this issue. But even without a discourse, it is well known atlanta divorce attorneys way on your Beatitude, that if we have to feel that there are two organizations opposed to the other, the one using only the word Theotokos, the other only Anthropotokos, and each group pulls [others] from what it confesses or, if indeed they have not completed this, puts [others] at risk of slipping from the chapel, it would be necessary to assign someone to such an affair if it occurs who exercises matter for both categories and heals the threat of both parties through the term taken from the gospels that indicates both natures.

For as I said, the word Christotokos will keep the assertion of both celebrations to the correct limits, because it both gets rid of the blasphemy of Paul of Samosata, who claimed that Christ the Lord of most was just a individual, and also flees the wickedness of Arius and Apollinaris. Now I've written these very what to the most recognized bishop of Alexandria, as Your Beatitude can inform from the copies I've attached to this letter of mine, as well as from the copies of what he published to us. Furthermore, with God's help it has also been decided to declare a world-wide synod to be able to inquire into the other ecclesiastical matters. For I really do not think it will be difficult to research an doubt over words, which is not really a hindrance for a discussion of the divinity of Christ god, the father" (Nestorius, 430)

It didn't take to miss Celestine to produce a decision, and he called a synod in Rome in August 430 which made a decision against Nestorius and voted in favour of the title Theotokos. Nestorius was presented with a alert that, within ten days he'd be cured as excommunicate unless, after getting the notification, he retracted his coaching. The implementation of the ruling was presented with to Cyril and he characteristically completed his process. He presented a synod at Alexandria, soon after sending a notice to Nestorius demanding him to subscribe to twelve anathemas. These anathemas, that have been intentionally confrontational, summarise in terms which were uncompromising the Cyrilline Christology, some of which I research here:

  1. "If anyone will not confess that Emmanuel is God in reality, and therefore that the holy virgin is the mother of God (for she bore in a fleshly way the term of God become flesh, let him be anathema. "
  2. "If anyone does not confess that the term from God the Father has been united by hypostasis with the flesh and it is one Christ along with his own flesh, and it is therefore God and man along, let him be anathema. "
  3. "If anyone divides in the one Christ the hypostases after the union, subscribing to them only by way of a conjunction of dignity or power or power, rather than rather by a coming together in a union naturally, let him be anathema. "
  4. "If anyone distributes between the two people or hypostases the expressions used either in the gospels or in the apostolic writings, whether they are used by the holy authors of Christ or by him about himself, and ascribes some to him as to a man, considered separately from the Word from God, among others, as befitting God, to him as to the Phrase from God the Father, let him be anathema. "
  5. "If anyone dares to say that Christ was a God-bearing man and not rather God in reality, being by nature one Son, even while "the Word became flesh", and is manufactured partaker of blood and flesh specifically like us, let him be anathema. "
  6. "If anyone says that the term from God the Father was the God or master of Christ, and will not alternatively confess the same both God and man, the term having become flesh, in line with the scriptures, let him be anathema. "
  7. "If anyone says that as man Jesus was activated by the Word of God and was clothed with the glory of the Only-begotten, as a being split from him, let him be anathema. "
  1. "If anyone dares to say that the person who was assumed ought to be worshipped and glorified alongside the divine Word and be called God along with him, while being split from him, (for the addition of "with" should always compel us to believe in this manner), and will not alternatively worship Emmanuel with one veneration and send up to him one doxology, even while "the term became flesh", let him be anathema. " (Alexandria, 430).

This union of two natures in the main one divine Person of Christ is called the hypostatic or personal union. It is the secret of the Incarnation of God; it is also the secret of the divine Motherhood of Mary.

Cyril also said in this notice:

"Therefore, because the holy virgin bore in the flesh God who was simply united hypostatically with the flesh, because of this we call her mother of God, not as though the aspect of the Word had the beginning of its lifetime from the flesh (for "the term was initially and the Word was God and the term was with God", and he made the ages which is coeternal with the daddy and craftsman of most things), but because, as we've said, he united to himself hypostatically the human and underwent a birth based on the flesh from her womb. This is much less though he needed automatically or for his own dynamics a birth with time and in the last times of this age, but in order that he could bless the start of our existence, in order that seeing that it was a woman that had given birth to him united to the flesh, the curse against the complete contest should thereafter stop that was consigning all our earthy bodies to fatality, and in order that the removal through him of the curse, "In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children", should illustrate the reality of what of the prophet: "Strong loss of life swallowed them Up", and again, "God has wiped every tear from all face". It really is because of this cause that we say that in his overall economy he blessed relationship and, when asked, went down to Cana in Galilee with his holy apostles" (Alexandria, 430).

A letter was given by Theodosius summoning a general council to meet at Ephesus at Pentecost 431, with an amazing medley of rival conferences taking place prior to the event. Recognized as the 3rd Basic Council Ephesus was effective for the reason that Nestorius was never rehabilitated, dying in exile in 451. Its more positive achievements was to canonize the Nicene creed as establishing orthodoxy. In both years pursuing Ephesus strenuous attempts were made to cure the divisions in the Cathedral. The tool of agreement, known as the Solution of Reunion, was contained in a letter dispatched by John of Antioch to Cyril, it ran the following:

"We confess, therefore, our Lord Jesus Christ, the sole begotten Kid of God, perfect God and perfect man composed of a rational soul and body, begotten before the ages from the daddy in respect of His divinity, but moreover in these last days for us and our salvation from the Virgin Mary according of His manhood, consubstantial with the daddy according of His divinity and at exactly the same time consubstantial with us according of His manhood. For the union(henosis) of two natures has been achieved. Hence we confess one Christ, one Kid, one Lord. In virtue of the conception of an union without misunderstanding we confess the holy Virgin as Theotokos because the divine Expression became flesh and was made man and from the very conception united to Himself the temple extracted from her. For the evangelical and apostolic statements about the Lord, we recognise that theologians utilize some indifferently in view of the unity of person but differentiate others because of the duality of natures, applying the God-befitting ones to Christ's divinity and the humble ones to His mankind" (Antioch, 433).

Cyril greeted this formulary with excitement in his notice to John Laetentur coeli. That was read aloud at the Council of Chalcedon, part of which I now cite:

"We confess, therefore, our Lord Jesus Christ, the only real Begotten Son of God, perfect God, and perfect Man of an acceptable soul and flesh consisting; begotten before the ages of the daddy matching to his Divinity, and within the last days, for us as well as for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin matching to his humanity, of the same chemical with his Daddy matching to his Divinity, and of the same element with us corresponding to his humanity; for there became a union of two natures. Wherefore we confess one Christ, one Kid, one Lord. Corresponding to this understanding of this unmixed union, we confess the holy Virgin to be Mother of God; because God the Word was incarnate and became Man, and from this conception he united the temple taken from her with himself" (Chalcedon, 451).

After these early great councils of the Chapel feasts for the Blessed Virgin increased, tons of churches were focused on her and in the last mentioned part of the seventh hundred years four new feasts to Mary acquired started to be celebrated; the Annunciation, the Assumption, the Purification, and the Nativity from the Blessed Virgin Mary. With Pius IX promulgation of the Immaculate Conception in 1854 devotion to your Blessed Girl accelerated, and many looks of the Blessed Virgin occurred. And also at this time many Marian traditions grew which included Maytime processions, the putting on of the Miraculous Medal and the Rosary.

1962 saw a significant change which happened with Vatican II grounding more firmly in Scripture and liturgy devotion to Mary putting The Blessed Virgin safely in the mystery of the Cathedral.

The fact of the Blessed Virgin Mary's divine Motherhood and its own corresponding dignity are located in these words of the next Vatican Council:

"The Virgin Mary, who at the message of the angel received the Word of God in her heart and in her body and gave Life to the world, is recognized and honoured as being truly the Mom of God and Mother of the Redeemer. Redeemed by reason of the merits of her Boy and united to Him by way of a close and indissoluble link, she actually is endowed with the high office and dignity of being the Mother of the Boy of God, by which account she is also the favorite daughter of the Father and the temple of the Holy Nature. Because of this gift of sublime sophistication, she much surpasses all animals, both in heaven and on the planet. At the same time, however, because she belongs to the offspring of Adam she actually is one with those who are to be preserved" (Lumen Gentium, 53).

The mark of our Blessed Lady's holiness is the fact she was filled up with the grace of God. The Blessed Virgin is the structure to follow. Presenting herself completely with love she was filled with the life of God. Mary's 'Yes' to the angel's concept unveils her part in the work of salvation.

"Along with the Angel said: 'Dread not, Mary the Holy Heart shall come upon you, and the energy of the most High shall overshadow you, and therefore the Holy which shall be delivered of you will be called the Kid of God" (Luke 1:26-35).

These will be the words of the fantastic puzzle of Mary's divine motherhood heralded by the angel in Luke's Gospel, their straightforwardness is persuasive as they announce the origin of our own religion. In the beginning, they influenced triumphant trust, the trust of the martyrs and the Saints. The faith which will continue to motivate all Christians to the finish of their time.

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