Image: Henry Ossawa Tanner

Why Mary Is So Blessed

An Orthodox theologian describes how the Mother of God is what all creation was created to be. /

In the West, Mary is primarily the Virgin, a being almost totally different from us in her absolute and celestial purity and freedom from all carnal pollution. In the East she is always referred to and glorified as Theotokos, the Mother of God, and virtually all icons depict her with the Child in her arms. There exist, in other words, two emphases in mariology, which, although they do not necessarily exclude one another, lead to two different visions of Mary’s place in the Church. The veneration of Mary in the Orthodox Church is not so much a specific “cult of Mary,” as a light, a joy, proper to the whole life of the church. In her, says an Orthodox hymn, “all creation rejoices.”

But what is this joy about? Why, in her own words, shall “all generations call me blessed”? Because in her love and obedience, in her faith and humility, she accepted to be what from all eternity all creation was meant and created to be: the temple of the Holy Spirit, the humanity of God. She accepted to give her body and blood—that is, her whole life—to be the body and blood of the Son of God, to be mother in the fullest and deepest sense of this word, giving her life to the Other and fulfilling her life in him. She accepted the only true nature of each creature and all creation: to place the meaning and, therefore, the fulfillment of her life in God.

In accepting this nature she fulfilled the womanhood of creation. This word will seem strange to many. In our time the church, following the modern trend toward the “equality of the sexes,” uses only one-half of the Christian revelation about man and woman, the one which affirms that in Christ there is neither “male nor female” ...

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Also in this Issue

Issue 38 / December 24, 2015
  1. Editor’s Note

    Issue 38: Virgin births in the animal kingdom, a modern Wise Man’s journey, and the womanhood of creation. /

  2. Virgin Births Happen All the Time

    Birds do it. Bees do it. Snakes, sharks, lizards, and lots of other animals do it solo too. /

  3. Staring at the Suns

    What I’ve learned as an amateur astronomer. /

  4. Noel

    “We hear and sing / The customary carols” /

  5. Wonder on the Web

    Issue 38: Links to amazing stuff.

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