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Subject Religion

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631181392.1995.x


[ xiii.d ] ‘The one who gave birth to God’: a title of M ary the mother of J esus. Nestorius, P atriarch of Constantinople (from 428 to 431) supported one of his subordinates, Anastasius, who opposed the use of the title; he warned that this title could easily be misunderstood and, while he did not absolutely forbid its use, recommended rather the title ‘Christotokos’, ‘the one who gave birth to Christ’. Cyril, Pope of A lexandria , attacked Nestorius as a heretic and in 431 he was condemned and deposed at the C ouncil of Ephesus. Orthodox Christians have a great devotion to the Theotokos, and a wealth of poetry and iconography celebrates her role in salvation. The Hodigitria (the Signpost) is an I con -type whose origin legend attributes it to St Luke; it shows Mary, robed in the red of love, gazing out of the icon as she points to the child Jesus whom she holds in her arm. As the Eleousa Mary (the Mother of Mercy) she holds the infant Jesus who gazes at her as she gazes tenderly at him. The Amolyntos (the Virgin Most Afflicted) wears sombre dark red robes and gazes in compassion at the child in her arms as angels in the skies above her reverently carry the instruments of the Passion. In Orthodox worship Mary is venerated as ever-virgin and as sinless, as the fervent intercessor for humanity, and as the Queen of Heaven, ‘more honoured than the Cherubim, more glorious than the ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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