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deusveritasest
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« on: September 18, 2009, 01:49:41 AM »

I'm wondering right now if "Theotokos" is the most appropriate title to describe Mary's relationship to her son?

Not that it is errant or anything. She truly did give birth to an individual who is eternally God.

Yet Theotokos is rather general. So much so that it might give off the idea that we are speaking of her giving birth to the Godhead or all 3 persons of the Trinity if one didn't know any better.

Wouldn't something like "Logotokos" be more precise in expressing that it was particularly the Word that she gave birth to?
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« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2009, 01:52:57 AM »

Wouldn't something like "Logotokos" be more precise in expressing that it was particularly the Word that she gave birth to?

A resounding NO!  Smiley Logotokos would be no less heretical than Nestorius's Christotokos.
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« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2009, 02:06:35 AM »

I'm wondering right now if "Theotokos" is the most appropriate title to describe Mary's relationship to her son?

Not that it is errant or anything. She truly did give birth to an individual who is eternally God.

Yet Theotokos is rather general. So much so that it might give off the idea that we are speaking of her giving birth to the Godhead or all 3 persons of the Trinity if one didn't know any better.

Wouldn't something like "Logotokos" be more precise in expressing that it was particularly the Word that she gave birth to?

I would just trust St. Cyril and the ancient witness of the Church on this one.   Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2009, 02:13:50 AM »

Wouldn't something like "Logotokos" be more precise in expressing that it was particularly the Word that she gave birth to?

A resounding NO!  Smiley Logotokos would be no less heretical than Nestorius's Christotokos.

Christotokos is not inherently heretical.

Mary is truly the birth-giver of Christ.

The problem the refusal to use Theotokos itself, not the alternative that was used to avoid it (Christotokos).

The problem with Christotokos is that it doesn't not capture as much content as Theotokos and is rather open to a Nestorian interpretation.

However, I don't see how Logotokos is just as open to Nestorianism as Christotokos. To say that Mary is the birth-giver of the divine Word is saying a lot more than to just say that she is the birth-giver of Christ.
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« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2009, 02:14:31 AM »

Yet Theotokos is rather general. So much so that it might give off the idea that we are speaking of her giving birth to the Godhead or all 3 persons of the Trinity if one didn't know any better.
The solution to this problem is simply for one to study the Church's understanding of Mary so that one DOES know better.
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« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2009, 02:16:53 AM »

Yet Theotokos is rather general. So much so that it might give off the idea that we are speaking of her giving birth to the Godhead or all 3 persons of the Trinity if one didn't know any better.
The solution to this problem is simply for one to study the Church's understanding of Mary so that one DOES know better.

Or we could try to make it easier for people. I don't see what Theotokos has that is lacking in Logotokos, at least with respect to Nestorianism (the Nestorians whom were Trinitarians). The only context in which it could possibly have a heretical interpretation is with Arians, but this is not even the context in with the matter was decided.
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« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2009, 02:19:28 AM »

I'm wondering right now if "Theotokos" is the most appropriate title to describe Mary's relationship to her son?

Not that it is errant or anything. She truly did give birth to an individual who is eternally God.

Yet Theotokos is rather general. So much so that it might give off the idea that we are speaking of her giving birth to the Godhead or all 3 persons of the Trinity if one didn't know any better.

Wouldn't something like "Logotokos" be more precise in expressing that it was particularly the Word that she gave birth to?

I would just trust St. Cyril and the ancient witness of the Church on this one.   Smiley

I trust that Theotokos is orthodox and that Cyril was concerned with defending it as such.

I don't think that necessarily means that we have to uphold this as the best expression on the matter.

I bring this up because I have encountered misunderstandings on the matter, not from people who have a problem with venerating Mary, but with people who have issues with the theology behind it, namely in an ACE forum. People were saying that Theotokos indicates that Mary was the birth-giver of the Trinity. Of course this is not the case. But would we be having the same problem if we were saying Logotokos? Could we perhaps be drawing Nestorians to Orthodoxy more if we were saying simply that Mary is the birth-giver of the Word, rather than God generally?
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« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2009, 02:26:15 AM »

Umm, deusveritasest, the deliberations of an entire Ecumenical Council nearly 1600 years ago were occupied with this very matter. I'm sure the Fathers of this council would have chosen Logotokos as a title for the Mother of God if they were inspired by the Holy Spirit to do so. Yet they did not.

Quote
I don't think that necessarily means that we have to uphold this as the best expression on the matter.
A rather presumptuous statement?
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« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2009, 02:27:40 AM »

Trust the Fathers. Trust the Church.

Orthodoxy is about prostrating our mortal logic before infinite mysteries.

I am not criticizing your reasonable question. But we must not allow our finite logic to cast aspersions on holy affirmations; that is how heresies are created. (Not that you are in any way heretical for asking a logical question Smiley)

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« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2009, 02:30:57 AM »

The IV Ecumenical Synod, at Ephesos, in 431, defined her to be the "Theotokos" which is translated typically as "Mother of God," though it is far less common to use what some modern translators use, "Birthgiver of God."  The term "Christotokos," Mother of Christ, was rejected by this Synod.  The decisions of Ecumenical Synods (Councils) is doctrinal, infallible teaching that must be believed for salvation, for "it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to [the two hundred Fathers of this Synod]."  This topic is not for any of us, clergy or laity, to reconsider.  I don't mean to be self righteous with this comment, but "Theotokos" is a clearly defined title for "Our Most Holy, Pure, Most Blessed and Glorious Lady, the Mother of God, and Ever Virgin Mary."
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« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2009, 02:43:46 AM »


Umm, deusveritasest, the deliberations of an entire Ecumenical Council nearly 1600 years ago were occupied with this very matter. I'm sure the Fathers of this council would have chosen Logotokos as a title for the Mother of God if they were inspired by the Holy Spirit to do so. Yet they did not.

Logotokos was not even brought up. The Holy Spirit worked with what was available. Being thrown around as ideas were the titles "Anthropotokos", "Christotokos", and "Theotokos". Only the third of those three really protected against Nestorianism, and so it was quite obvious which was the best choice to preserve orthodoxy at the time. For all we know, if the idea of "Logotokos" had been available, that may very well have been what would have triumphed. And as I said, in the context where everyone present in the debate understands that the Word is fully divine, Logotokos would have specified that Mary was not the birth-giver of the Godhead or the Trinity in a way that Theotokos cannot. As it is now, we have a bunch of Nestorians thinking that we believe that Mary gave birth to the Trinity.


Quote
I don't think that necessarily means that we have to uphold this as the best expression on the matter.
A rather presumptuous statement?

No. It's quite evident that the dogmatic definitions of the Church are, though orthodox, often not the best way that matters could be explained.
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« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2009, 02:48:08 AM »


The IV Ecumenical Synod, at Ephesos, in 431, defined her to be the "Theotokos" which is translated typically as "Mother of God," though it is far less common to use what some modern translators use, "Birthgiver of God."  The term "Christotokos," Mother of Christ, was rejected by this Synod.  The decisions of Ecumenical Synods (Councils) is doctrinal, infallible teaching that must be believed for salvation, for "it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to [the two hundred Fathers of this Synod]."  This topic is not for any of us, clergy or laity, to reconsider.  I don't mean to be self righteous with this comment, but "Theotokos" is a clearly defined title for "Our Most Holy, Pure, Most Blessed and Glorious Lady, the Mother of God, and Ever Virgin Mary."

The council at Ephesus in 431 was the Third Ecumenical Council, not Fourth.

It's quite clear what phrase in Greek actually means Mother of God, and that is Meter Theou.

What makes you think "Christotokos" was "rejected"?
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« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2009, 02:48:48 AM »

Also, wasn't Theotokos a title that was typically used in reference to Isis?  Logotokos certainly would not have helped to transition her surrounding cultus into Christendom.  

Or is this a ridiculous thing to bring up?  I would have thought it would have been a big issue at the council.
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« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2009, 06:23:36 AM »

Yet Theotokos is rather general. So much so that it might give off the idea that we are speaking of her giving birth to the Godhead or all 3 persons of the Trinity if one didn't know any better.
The solution to this problem is simply for one to study the Church's understanding of Mary so that one DOES know better.

Or we could try to make it easier for people. I don't see what Theotokos has that is lacking in Logotokos, at least with respect to Nestorianism (the Nestorians whom were Trinitarians). The only context in which it could possibly have a heretical interpretation is with Arians, but this is not even the context in with the matter was decided.
I think the best and safest way to make this easier for your friends on the ACE forum is simply to use the term "Theotokos" that the Church chose to adopt and do the best you can to explain what this term means.  I suppose you could go beyond what the Church has proclaimed regarding Mary by using a name the Church hasn't rejected explicitly, such as "Logotokos", but why run the risk of teaching heresy by doing so?  Just stick to "Theotokos" and explain with the utmost clarity what we mean by applying this name to Mary.  If, in the darkness of their minds, your ACE friends still misunderstand you and think you a heretic, that's their problem.  You've no need to reinvent the wheel on this.
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« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2009, 12:08:25 PM »

Good health to everyone!

With regard to the Theotokos (Greek), or Bogoroditsa (Slavonic), it is necessary to be mindful that we are talking about mysterious beliefs, within yet further mysterious beliefs.

There are two things that are close to the heart of the matter. One is the aspect that Epistle gives us regarding how mankind can be partakes of the divine nature. The other is with the Annunciation, the conception of Christ, that such life creating unions are understood to occur from men and women becoming one flesh (as children move away from their parents).

The Son proceeds from the Father and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, then Holy Spirit became the giver of life. Christ was then conceived of the Holy Spirit along with Virgin Mary. So belief of Theotokos is very crucial to Christianity due to the miraculous event proclaimed at the Annunciation. I hope we all will learn and understand more about this and what this all means.

No doctrine is expected to be thoroughly expressed in detail here on earth. Neither can any doctrine be established by an imprecise ubiquitous language such as English, it simply does not have the necessary words to accurately describe the concepts in the first place. Speaking broadly about such topics is actually all we can have in cyberspace. Who of us is really qualified to delve very deeply into this here?

I have never seen utmost clarity anywhere online.

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« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2009, 08:18:06 PM »

Well, I think if they used Logotokos instead of Theotokos, it could give the impression that the Logos is somehow separate from the Godhead, and it opens up the potential for heresy. By using Theotokos, it puts a fence around the oneness of the Trinity as well as the oneness of the Son.

I think that it would have been rather straightforward for early Christians to explain to others that Mary did not give birth to the eternal God, but instead provided flesh for God so that He could dwell among us. In comparison, I think it would be much more difficult to explain to people how the Logos is not separate from the Godhead (in the case of Logotokos) or how Christ is not separate from God (in the case of Christotokos).
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« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2009, 08:46:07 PM »

The problem with Logotokos, AFAIK, is that Logos, the second Person of the Trinity, cannot be "born" (i.e. APPEARED after He was not). God (Who is the Father and the Logos and the Holy Spirit) can will that the Logos will become incarnate - but the Logos had been before this will came to pass.

Christ, on the other hand, was born (=appeared as a God-Man), and He was God. His one unique Person (Hypostasis) had in itself the Logos (Who, in Himself, apart from Christ, cannot be "born"), and a man (baby) Jesus who was most certainly - directly - physically - BORN by Our Lady. In Christ there was God - so, His MOther was the Birth-Giver of God.

It all boils down, AFAIK, with how we understand Birth in the case of Christ. If we understand birth as beginning of something new - then no, the Logos cannot be "new." He is immutable, unchangeable. Can God be new? Paradoxically, yes... He may will that He will be new from the moment of Annunciation. He will now be God incarnate. A new action of God, His new (from our human vantage point) will, desire, manifestation, Theophany. But He is the same Loos nonetheless, unchangeable, immutable, with no death and no birth and no movement and no passion and no alteration.
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« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2009, 10:54:08 PM »

I'm wondering right now if "Theotokos" is the most appropriate title to describe Mary's relationship to her son?

Not that it is errant or anything. She truly did give birth to an individual who is eternally God.

Yet Theotokos is rather general. So much so that it might give off the idea that we are speaking of her giving birth to the Godhead or all 3 persons of the Trinity if one didn't know any better.

Wouldn't something like "Logotokos" be more precise in expressing that it was particularly the Word that she gave birth to?

Logos=God the Word.  Doesn't seem to solve whatever problem you have with the title the Church has recognized her with.

People who don't know any better shouldn't be talking with us on this topic anyway.  In house discussion.
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« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2009, 07:31:22 PM »

I'm wondering right now if "Theotokos" is the most appropriate title to describe Mary's relationship to her son?

Not that it is errant or anything. She truly did give birth to an individual who is eternally God.

Yet Theotokos is rather general. So much so that it might give off the idea that we are speaking of her giving birth to the Godhead or all 3 persons of the Trinity if one didn't know any better.

Wouldn't something like "Logotokos" be more precise in expressing that it was particularly the Word that she gave birth to?

Logos=God the Word.  Doesn't seem to solve whatever problem you have with the title the Church has recognized her with.

People who don't know any better shouldn't be talking with us on this topic anyway.  In house discussion.

sorry!  Embarrassed
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