Sunday 3 June 2007

Holy Theotokos

Kevin Edgecomb posts a Mariological hymn from the Orthodox church: Akathist Hymn to the Most Holy Theotokos. It’s an extraordinary hymn which demonstrates – as Kevin notes – that “Mariology is really only Christology when properly understood.”


Anonymous said...

I agree that good Mariology is Christologically focussed, but is it really the case that 'Mariology is *only* Christology when properly understood'? Surely the value of that Christological focus is diminished if the person of Mary is entirely trumped. She needs to be herself if she is to utter her fiat. So I find myself saying, with some surprise: let Mary be Mary.

Anonymous said...

I found here in Brazil that Mary often trumps Christ, he obeys his mother as any good son should do. This has caused a very sad polarization of mary. Popular Catholicism almost replaces, if not totally, Christ with Mary, while Evangelicals often disrespect her, or totally ignore her contributions to the faith.
james gilbert

Kevin P. Edgecomb said...

That's certainly something that happens, James, and is to be regretted. The line between understanding Mary as Champion Leader, who conquered human fear and was willing to suffer the slander of neighbors in order to bring God into the world, and understanding Mary as a kind of Christian goddess, is unfortunately easily crossed, particularly in popular piety. In canonical hymnography like the Akathist, however, the correct understanding is always evident, even if it's sometimes misunderstood.

Philip, yes, certainly Mary is always Mary. My intention with the phrase was to, perhaps too quippingly, describe the nature of Orthodox veneration of the Theotokos. While she is herself, and completely a free moral agent in her choice, we wouldn't otherwise know of her without her bearing God the Son. It is His worship and a proper understanding of Christology and Theology that led to the name "Theotokos" being approved, over "Christotokos," at the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus.

Anonymous said...

Kevin, quite a hymn, more like a service! I wonder if she would be a little embarrassed with all this praise.

I am curious if in the Eastern Tradition the temptation to cross the line is less than in the Roman tradition, and if so, why do you think so?


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