Malankara World

What Shall I Do To Be Saved?

By Rev. Dr. Curian Kaniyamparambil

Question 125. Can we call St. Mary 'Mother of God' and if so, is she a Goddess?

This question arises out of a lack of understanding of Christian Theology. God is a mystery and is difficult for us to interpret with our limited human logic. This is why the apostles taught us and warned us to guard against all other forms of teachings.

When we say that Mary is the mother of God, she is the mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and is God. She was not the mother when the Word was formed from the Father. When the Word wanted to become body, He chose St. Mary. She carried Him in her womb, the Son of God, who is God. Thus she delivered God, Jesus Christ. If we argue that she gave birth to a human child, it is the same heresy as Nestor taught in the 4th century. The people who argue that St. Mary is not the mother of God, will not accept Nestor or his teachings. St. Cyril (AD 433) asks if Jesus Christ is God; then why is that the Lady who carried Him in her womb, and delivered Him, doesn't become the mother of God?

Who started calling St. Mary the mother of God? It was the Holy Spirit, who first called her mother of God. Elizabeth was filled with Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.... Why is the mother of my Lord should come to me? Blessed is she who believed for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord (Luke 41-45). We have to observe that Elizabeth called Mary Mother of my Lord. Even though Mary would have been of the age of Elizabeth's daughter, Elizabeth called her mother of the Lord, when she was filled with Holy Spirit.

Now let us see what the Early Church Fathers believed and taught

St. Irenaeus (AD 140 202) - The Word Himself, born of Mary who still was a Virgin, rightly received in birth the recapitulation of Adam, thereby recapitulating Adam in Himself (223). Consequently, then Mary, the Virgin is found to be obedient, saying: Behold, O Lord, your handmaid; be it done to me according to your word(224) The Virgin Mary being obedient to His word, received from an angel the glad tidings that she would bear God (256a)

St. Ephraim (AD 306 AD 373) - He has written much about Virgin Mary the mother of God and sings, In the womb of Mary the Infant was formed, who from the eternity is equal to the Father This Virgin became a Mother while preserving her virginity; And though still a Virgin she carried a Child in her womb; And the handmaid and work of His wisdom became the Mother of God(711) You alone and your Mother are more beautiful than any others; For there is no blemish in you, nor any stains up on your Mother. Who of my children can compare in beauty to these. (719)

Alexander of Alexandria (AD 328) - After this we acknowledge the resurrection of the dead, of which Jesus Christ our Lord became the firstling; who bore a body not in appearance but in truth, derived form Mary the Mother of God. (680)

St. Gregory of Nazianz (AD 330 389) - If any one doesn't agree that Holy Mary is the mother of God, he is at odds with the Godhead. If any one asserts that Christ passed through the Virgin as through a channel, and was not shaped in her both divinely and humanly, divinely because without man and humanly in accord with the law of gestation, he is likewise godless.

St. Ephiphanius (AD 374): For this is the Holy Savior who came down from the heaven, who deigned to fashion our salvation in a virginal workshop,. Who did not change His nature when He took on humanity along with his divinity? Who took on the human flesh and soul; being perfect at the side of the Father and incarnate among us, not in appearance but in truth, He reshaped man to perfection in Himself became flesh, not ceasing to be God, not changing divinity into humanity, but with the proper fullness of His divinity and with the proper Person of God the Word (1087)

St. Jerome (AD 408) - Do not marvel at the novelty of the thing, if a Virgin gives birth to God?

St. Cyril of Alexandria: I have always amazed that some are utterly in doubt as to whether or not the Holy Virgin is able to be called Mother of God. For if our Lord Jesus Christ is God, how should the Holy Virgin who bore Him not be the mother of God? But perhaps you will then inquire: Tell me, then, was the Virgin the Mother of His divinity? And to this we will respond that His living and enhypostate Word is confessedly begotten to of the very essence of the God and Father and has His subsistence with out beginning in time, always co-existing with the Father who begot Him, co-subsisting and co-discerned in Him and with Him. And in these last times of the age, when He was made flesh, that is, when He was united to a body having rational soul, He is said to have been also in fleshly manner of a woman (2059). We confess that the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God (2060).

St. John Cassian (AD 429) Let us prove by divine testimonies both that Christ is God and that Mary is the Mother of God (2054)

TOC Section 1 (Q 1-26) | Sec 2 (Q 27-56) | Sec 3 (Q 57-81) | Sec 4 (Q 82-115) | Sec 5 (Q 116-135) | Previous Chapter | Next Chapter

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