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Author Topic: What the Mother of God was called in Orthodox England  (Read 3651 times) Average Rating: 0
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hedley
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« on: April 29, 2006, 12:16:28 AM »

In my parish people tend to refer to the other of God as the Theotokos. To me that sounds exotic in English.
How did the English refer to Her before the Norman Conquest?
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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2006, 07:37:21 PM »

Probably Mater Dei the latin for Mother of God.

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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2006, 10:29:00 PM »

Or "Deipara" which is a more precise rendering of "Theotokos" into Latin.
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« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2006, 07:52:36 PM »

Thank you for replying.

When did the expression "Our Lady" come to be used in England?
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« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2006, 08:10:29 PM »

How did the English refer to Her before the Norman Conquest?

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« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2006, 08:41:18 PM »

Probably Mater Dei the latin for Mother of God.

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While the Church may have used Latin, neither the mass of the people nor the Anglo-Saxon Royal Court used Latin before the Norman Conquest. So wouldn't it be something like Modor Godbearnes (Mother of the God-Child, common way to refer to Christ) or Modor Godan (Mother of God) or, perhaps, Ure Hlaefdige (Our Lady).
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« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2006, 09:43:39 PM »

Leaving aside the "Orthodox England" part,

in Anglo-Saxon Christian England there were a few different words used, one of which was the word that we have as "Lady" : "hlǽfdige" as in the sentence:
Cristes þegnas cweþaþ ðæt ðú síe hlǽfdige wuldorweorudes - Christ's servants say that thou [the Virgin Mary] art the queen of the glorious host.

mægden - "maiden" in context was also used.

In the Creed in Anglo-Saxon poetic form St. Mary the Virgin is "sanctan Marian"
http://www.georgetown.edu/labyrinth/library/oe/texts/a23.html

For information's sake, "Bosworth-Toller" the Anglo-Saxon Dictionary is now on-line here:
http://dontgohere.nu/oe/as-bt/index.htm

While I do not yet have a copy I have found references to a book on this subject "The Cult of the Virgin Mary in Anglo-Saxon England" by Dr. Mary Clayton
http://www.litencyc.com/php/adpage.php?id=1772

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« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2006, 09:47:52 PM »

Leaving aside the "Orthodox England" part,

I wouldn't leave it aside...I'd actually quite like to hear your commentary.
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« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2006, 09:56:04 PM »

While the Church may have used Latin, neither the mass of the people nor the Anglo-Saxon Royal Court used Latin before the Norman Conquest. So wouldn't it be something like Modor Godbearnes (Mother of the God-Child, common way to refer to Christ) or Modor Godan (Mother of God) or, perhaps, Ure Hlaefdige (Our Lady).

On what sources do you base the royal court not using Latin?  Just curious.

As to the suggested words, "godbearnes" is not in either Bosworth-Toller or Clark Hall.  Nor is Modor Godan.   "hlǽfdige" is.

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« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2006, 09:58:04 PM »

I wouldn't leave it aside...I'd actually quite like to hear your commentary.

Oh?  <glyph of raised eyebrow here>  Wink

Why so, if I may ask?  Also, there are threads on this forum where it's been gone over.

No offense is meant here.  I'm curious as to why.

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« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2006, 10:13:19 PM »

On what sources do you base the royal court not using Latin?  Just curious.

From a BBC Documentary on the History English Language that I saw last summer, sorry I can't be more specific.

[/quote]
As to the suggested words, "godbearnes" is not in either Bosworth-Toller or Clark Hall. ÂÂ Nor is Modor Godan. ÂÂ  "hlǽfdige" is.

Ebor
[/quote]

godbearnes (or the nominative godbearn...written god-bearn) can be found here: http://dontgohere.nu/oe/as-bt/read.htm?page_nr=483

Modor is the anglo saxon for mother, though I fear I can't find a link to it...but if you can look up the etymology of mother in the OED, it's there.

Godan (or the nominative Goda) can be found here: http://dontgohere.nu/oe/as-bt/read.htm?page_nr=483

I fear I dont know Anglo-Saxon that well, only the gramatical basics and, using my dictionary, can translate if necessary.

Oh?  <glyph of raised eyebrow here>  Wink

Why so, if I may ask?  Also, there are threads on this forum where it's been gone over.

No offense is meant here.  I'm curious as to why.

Sorry, I fear I don't recall such discussions. I just thought that your input would be a nice contrast to the idealized 'Orthodox England/Western Right' party line. That and I like to cause problems Wink
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« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2006, 10:32:41 PM »

From a BBC Documentary on the History English Language that I saw last summer, sorry I can't be more specific.

ah.  Thank you.  

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godbearnes (or the nominative godbearn...written god-bearn) can be found here: http://dontgohere.nu/oe/as-bt/read.htm?page_nr=483

I stand (or sit) corrected on that one, but it means "son of God" or "god-child".  I was looking in Clark Hall.  Mem: double check all sources.  Wink)  

The link for modor isn't there yet. There's a gap.  However, I should have been more precise.  It is the putting of the two words together that is umm without basis so far as I can find.  One now might put them together as you did, but that doesn't mean that the Anglo-Saxons did.  This line "Theotokos-Godbearer-godbearne moder looks like a back construction to me. Since the question was what did the Anglo Saxons say this doesn't seem to fit to me.  Meaning no disrespect.

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Sorry, I fear I don't recall such discussions. I just thought that your input would be a nice contrast to the idealized 'Orthodox England/Western Right' party line. That and I like to cause problems Wink

Ah.  I beg your pardon for being ummm dubious as to you really wanting to go on that line.  I apologize.  Cause problems?  For who?  Smiley

May I ask your views on what you call "Orthodox England/Western Right (do you mean "rite"?) party line, please?  I have been in a number of threads holding to the "Anglo-Saxons were Christian, not "Byzantine" or Eastern or looking to Constantinople as opposed to Rome tack.  And as to Harald Godwinson fighting a "religious war" against William this may lead to "logo shaped dents in my forehead"  Grin  A study of who was doing what to whom for power and land in that time and place is interesting and has little to do with any religious sentiment.  (And then there's the "Death Bed prophecy of Edward the Confessor" that some EO sites have up that has no provenence, no citations and differs wildly from one that *does* have those things.)

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« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2006, 10:52:25 PM »

The link for modor isn't there yet. There's a gap.  However, I should have been more precise.  It is the putting of the two words together that is umm without basis so far as I can find.  One now might put them together as you did, but that doesn't mean that the Anglo-Saxons did.  This line "Theotokos-Godbearer-godbearne moder looks like a back construction to me. Since the question was what did the Anglo Saxons say this doesn't seem to fit to me.  Meaning no disrespect.

Sorry if I was unclear, I was simply giving a few suggestions for what might have been used, the constructions, all three of them, were entirely linguistic without me doing any research into primary sources...I spent a few minutes looking for a few but when I came up empty handed I just thought I'd throw a few things out there with my primary purpose being to emphasize the strong Anglo-Saxon culture that existed in England prior to the Norman invasion.

Quote
Ah.  I beg your pardon for being ummm dubious as to you really wanting to go on that line.  I apologize.  Cause problems?  For who?  Smiley

More often than not I cause them for myself...like when I threw the off comment that I support the Ordination of Women into an unrelated thread to get a rise out of a few people...did it ever, if this was RL I'd probably be burned at the stake by now Grin

Quote
May I ask your views on what you call "Orthodox England/Western Right (do you mean "rite"?) party line, please?

Yes...rite...that's what happens when people post to online message boards after drinking a substantial amount of good Kentucky Bourbon; I spent the extra money this time and got my Maker's Mark Wink

Quote
I have been in a number of threads holding to the "Anglo-Saxons were Christian, not "Byzantine" or Eastern or looking to Constantinople as opposed to Rome tack.  And as to Harald Godwinson fighting a "religious war" against William this may lead to "logo shaped dents in my forehead"  Grin  A study of who was doing what to whom for power and land in that time and place is interesting and has little to do with any religious sentiment.  (And then there's the "Death Bed prophecy of Edward the Confessor" that some EO sites have up that has no provenence, no citations and differs wildly from one that *does* have those things.)

I would pretty much agree with you here; the influences on England were clearly Roman, not Constantinopolitan; England was western as any other Church in western Europe...it was not exactly like Rome, but no Church outside of, well, Rome was. And the dividing line was most certainly not the Norman Conquest, England drifted away from the East just like the rest of the West, over the centuries due to poor communications and lack of travel and cultural integration, it began as soon as the Empire was divided between east and west. Our Church is a purely Eastern expression of the Christian Faith, to try to create a 'western orthodox church' is artificial and disingenuous at best. The CoE and the RC Church both have good claims to being the Ancient Church of the British Isles, but we Orthodox do not.
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« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2006, 11:16:57 PM »

Sorry if I was unclear, I was simply giving a few suggestions for what might have been used, the constructions, all three of them, were entirely linguistic without me doing any research into primary sources...I spent a few minutes looking for a few but when I came up empty handed I just thought I'd throw a few things out there with my primary purpose being to emphasize the strong Anglo-Saxon culture that existed in England prior to the Norman invasion.

Ah. Thank you for clarifying matters.  We are quite in agreement that there was a strong Anglo-Saxon culture in England. There were also many other strains and influences depending on time and place, the Celtic, the Danes/Norse, the Norman/French (for example Robert of Jumieges, a Norman, was briefly Archbishop of Canterbury by the wishes of King Edward. http://www.britannia.com/bios/abofc/rjumieges.html )  But all of these were, as you say, western European.

I have been in discussions where posters tried to show a deep tie to Constantinople via the "Varangian Guard". Never mind the facts of who actually went to Mikklagard (Constan.) to join and *why* (that's where the gold was and if you were outlawed it was a place to go), why the Emperor hired them (no local loyalties.  He paid them, he was hte boss.) and how if they survived they came back to Norway, Iceland, and so forth.  I can provide links and citations to translated Sagas about that if you're interested.  Smiley

Quote
More often than not I cause them for myself...like when I threw the off comment that I support the Ordination of Women into an unrelated thread to get a rise out of a few people...did it ever, if this was RL I'd probably be burned at the stake by now Grin

Well, I *had* noticed that one, yes.  Cheesy And I did find your explanation of your change of mind interesting and refreshing.  

Quote
I would pretty much agree with you here; the influences on England were clearly Roman, not Constantinopolitan; England was western as any other Church in western Europe...it was not exactly like Rome, but no Church outside of, well, Rome was. And the dividing line was most certainly not the Norman Conquest, England drifted away from the East just like the rest of the West, over the centuries due to poor communications and lack of travel and cultural integration, it began as soon as the Empire was divided between east and west.

Exactly.  Most people never left their home areas. Communication across long distances took months if not longer. Combinations of cultural influences changed things. There were marriages and exchanges of information across the channel for centuries. England was not an isolated country.  I have found that It is not widely known that we have existing primary documents from the Anglo-Saxon times so some things are clearly stated with whos and whens.   Do you really want to go into any depth on this subject?   Grin

Quote
Our Church is a purely Eastern expression of the Christian Faith, to try to create a 'western orthodox church' is artificial and disingenuous at best. The CoE and the RC Church both have good claims to being the Ancient Church of the British Isles, but we Orthodox do not.

!!!  I think it may be a Sign of the Apocolypse!  You and I are in peaceful agreement here.
 Smiley

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« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2006, 11:31:58 PM »

I have been in discussions where posters tried to show a deep tie to Constantinople via the "Varangian Guard". Never mind the facts of who actually went to Mikklagard (Constan.) to join and *why* (that's where the gold was and if you were outlawed it was a place to go), why the Emperor hired them (no local loyalties.  He paid them, he was hte boss.) and how if they survived they came back to Norway, Iceland, and so forth.  I can provide links and citations to translated Sagas about that if you're interested.  Smiley

I certainly agree, the Varangian Guard were mercenaries...which is why they were trustworthy, they wern't directly involved in the politics of the city which were very deadly. However, if you have the links readily available I would be most interested in reading the sagas (in translation).

Quote
Well, I *had* noticed that one, yes.  Cheesy And I did find your explanation of your change of mind interesting and refreshing.

Thanks, at least someone appreciated me giving an honest and heartfelt response...I guess I would have had company on the stake Wink ÂÂ

Quote
Exactly. ÂÂ Most people never left their home areas. Communication across long distances took months if not longer. Combinations of cultural influences changed things. There were marriages and exchanges of information across the channel for centuries. England was not an isolated country. ÂÂ I have found that It is not widely known that we have existing primary documents from the Anglo-Saxon times so some things are clearly stated with whos and whens. ÂÂ  Do you really want to go into any depth on this subject? ÂÂ  Grin

Though I find the subject interesting I fear that my knowledge of Pre-Norman England is lacking and it would be more of a monologue on your part.

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!!!  I think it may be a Sign of the Apocolypse!  You and I are in peaceful agreement here.
 Smiley

What has become of us? I fear this is my fault...my deepest apologies Smiley
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« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2006, 11:52:52 PM »

I certainly agree, the Varangian Guard were mercenaries...which is why they were trustworthy, they wern't directly involved in the politics of the city which were very deadly. However, if you have the links readily available I would be most interested in reading the sagas (in translation).

If it's alright that I do this tomorrow, due to the lateness of the hour, I will be glad to provide links to such works as the "Heimskringla" and I *think* it's "Burnt Njal's Saga" that also has someone going off to join the Varangians.  There might be some others as well.  Exactly. They joined for good pay.  They fought for the one who paid them. They had no local interests in politics.

Quote
Thanks, at least someone appreciated me giving an honest and heartfelt response...I guess I would have had company on the stake Wink ÂÂ

heheheh.  Probably so.  Smiley

Quote
Though I find the subject interesting I fear that my knowledge of Pre-Norman England is lacking and it would be more of a monologue on your part.

Well, it's one of my areas of interest.  I had a roommate in college going for a doctorate in Old Norse and Anglo-Saxon and I learned about it, then took it from there.  There are some fine stories and histories there.  I knew about "were" and "wif" and "man" and all from the WO thread.( "man" means "People.  Bi-pedal humanoids", not "male" as you wrote.)  If you think it not right, I will refrain from monologuing. Did you know, btw, that Harald Godwinson was *not* the closest in line to inherit the throne of England?  He more or less *took* it and the Witan agreed to it.

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What has become of us? I fear this is my fault...my deepest apologies Smiley

No apologies are needed.  Perhaps it is a sign of mellowing or of reasoning minds and mutual respect or *something*

 Wink Cheesy

Ebor
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« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2006, 08:54:30 PM »

I certainly agree, the Varangian Guard were mercenaries...which is why they were trustworthy, they wern't directly involved in the politics of the city which were very deadly. However, if you have the links readily available I would be most interested in reading the sagas (in translation).

OK, as they say "You asked for it, you got it!"  Toyota!?  No, it's time for Norse Sagas!  The first one is from "The Heimskringla" or Chronicle of the Kings of Norway.  In it is an account of Harald Hardrada ("Severe Counselor") and his adventures going down to join the Varangian Guard after travelling from Norway east and south through parts of Russia.
http://omacl.org/Heimskringla/hardrade1.html

In the "Laxdaela Saga" in chapters 73 and 77 is the tale of Bolli Bollison's going south and then coming back to Iceland.  It doesn't give much detail on what he did in the Guard, but it has the information about coming back to Iceland with riches.  Bolli is of note because, according to the Saga:

"He was there only a short time before he got himself into the Varangian Guard, and, from what we have heard, no Northman had ever gone to take warpay from the Garth king before Bolli, Bolli's son. He tarried in Micklegarth very many winters, and was thought to be the most valiant in all deeds that try a man, and always went next to those in the forefront. The Varangians accounted Bolli most highly of whilst he was with them in Micklegarth."

"Garth King" is the Byzantine Emperor. "Warpay" I think you can figure out.  Wink  Kennings and certain phrases are a mark of Norse works, as is the style of telling the tale.

http://omacl.org/Laxdaela/chapter73.html
http://omacl.org/Laxdaela/chapter77.html

Another longer instance is in "Grettir's Saga" The Saga of Grettir the Strong.  Grettir is killed by Thorbjorn is is then exiled by the "Thing" the ruling body of Iceland.  He goes eventually to Constantinople and joins the Varangian Guard.  Grettir's brother, Thorsteinn Dromund, follows him in order to exact revenge, does so, has some adventures and finally returns to the north.
http://omacl.org/Grettir/gr82-93.html

How's that?  Smiley

Ebor
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« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2006, 12:22:09 AM »

What about the term Mother Mary? I really like it actually. It doesn't sit too well in greek unless in a poem of some sort, but in other languages it works fine- english, arabic, etc...I see it as a beautiful term of endearment.
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« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2006, 12:28:43 AM »

Why not saying "God-bearer" instead of "Theotokos", since all other national Orthodox churches have translated "Theotokos" into the language they use in Liturgy?
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« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2006, 04:32:13 PM »

Well, the original question was what were the words in Old English that the Anglo-Saxons used.  That is what I was trying to answer with the words and links to the Anglo Saxon dictionaries.  

A bit more information on the first saga I linked to, GiC.  Harald Hardrada is the same king who was defeated at the Battle of Stanford Bridge by Harald Godwinson shortly before Hastings.  In the second part of the Hardrada portion of the Heimskringla Godwinson shows up and there's some of the English conflict from the *Norse* viewpoint, including how Tostig Godwinson was part of the expedition as he wasn't keen on his brother being king of England and how William of Normandy got in to the matter.

http://omacl.org/Heimskringla/hardrade2.html

Ebor
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« Reply #20 on: May 04, 2006, 11:08:46 AM »

 Harald Hardrada is the same king who was defeated at the Battle of Stanford Bridge by Harald Godwinson shortly before Hastings. ÂÂ

One of my favorite 'alternate history scenarios'...

What if Harald Hardrada had defeated Harald Godwinson at Stanford Bridge, and then rushed south to repel the Norman invasion of his new kingdom. England's historical orientation would have been towards Scandinavia instead of towards France, with interesting potential results..

But I'm going far afield here.
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« Reply #21 on: May 05, 2006, 05:48:30 PM »

Alternate Histories are an interesting subset of Science Fiction as well as Historians work.  I have a large volume "What if? Eminent historians imagine what might have been"  Cecilia Holland has an essay on Hastings.

But for true Anglo-Saxon information we can only use what we have that *did* happen.

Also, I was typing too fast in my last, but I can't modify it now.  The battle on 25 September 1066 was at StaMford Bridge, not Stanford.

Ebor
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