The Nativity of the Theotokos (2012)

“The historical origins of the Feast appear to be linked with the dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary the New in Jerusalem on 21st November 543; by the late seventh century it was celebrated throughout Jerusalem and in Constantinople by the early eight century. The observance of the Feast spread in the West during the Middle Ages; it was suppressed and then reinstated during the sixteenth century, and has survived recent revisions of the Roman Calendar, albeit in a rather attenuated form.”  (John Baggley, Festival Icons for the Christian Year, pg. 18)

“In fact, through the Gospel reading assigned for most Marian feastdays, the Church herself refutes those who emphasize the Theotokos’ significance as biologically and gender-defined. The Gospel reading is the Martha and Mary story from Luke 10:38-42, where Martha, the dutiful hostess, complains to Christ about Mary’s not helping her. Christ gently rebukes her for misplacing her priorities and says that Mary ‘has chosen the better part, which will not be taken from her.’ As if to drive the point home, the Church in her wisdom does not end the reading there, but appends verses 27-28 of the following chapter: ‘While he was saying this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”’ The Church’s message is clear: the Theotokos is venerated not just because she is Jesus’ mother, but because she was attentive to God, which made her appropriate to become God’s chosen vessel.” (Valeria A. Karras in Thinking Through Faith: New Perspectives from Orthodox Christian Scholars, pg. 151)

One thought on “The Nativity of the Theotokos (2012)

  1. Pingback: Why Mary? « A Robin Hood's Musing

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