« السابقةمتابعة »
majesty He was preparing to show forth in the turning of water into wine. But as regards being crucified, He was crucified in respect of His being man, and that was the hour which had not come as yet, at the time when this word was spoken, 'What have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come'; that is, the hour at which I shall recognize thee. For at that period, when He was crucified as man, He recognized his human mother and committed her most humanely to the care of the best-beloved disciple."
Pope Celestine († 432) first used the word coTÓKOS in the West, during the Pelagian controversy. Leo the Great († 461) used it, but sparingly. In his time the fierce controversy had begun in the course of which eоTÓKOS was sanctioned as the highest and final test of orthodoxy. That controversy had been precipitated by Nestorius, the Patriarch of Constantinople, who did not realize that the word stood not only for a theory of the Incarnation, but also expressed the ground for the worship of Mary as the highest of all celestial beings, who stood close to the throne of the Eternal Trinity. His rejection of the term "Mother of God" produced, says Socrates, the historian, "a discussion which agitated
the whole Church, resembling the struggle of combatants in the dark, all parties uttering the most confused and contradictory assertions."1 When the Council of Ephesus (431 A.D.) gave its approval to the word feoтókos, the great crowd of people filling the city "burst forth into exclamations of joy, and escorted the judges who had deposed and excommunicated Nestorius with torches and incense to their homes, celebrating the occasion by a general illumination."
1 By Nestorianism is generally understood such a separation of the two natures in Christ as to amount virtually to a double personality. At the time of the controversy he was charged with denying the divinity of Christ. On this point the words of a contemporary, Socrates, the ecclesiastical historian, are worthy of being recalled: "Then indeed the discussion which agitated the whole Church resembled the struggle of combatants in the dark, all parties uttering the most confused and contradictory assertions. The general impression was that Nestorius was tinctured with the errors of Paul of Samosata and Photinus, and was desirous of foisting on the Church the blasphemous dogma that the Lord was a mere man; and so great a clamor was raised by the contention that it was deemed requisite to convene a general council to take cognizance of the matter in dispute. Having myself perused the writings of Nestorius, I shall candidly express the conviction of my own mind concerning him; and as, in entire freedom from personal antipathies, I have already alluded to his faults, I shall in like manner be unbiassed by the criminations of his adversaries to derogate from his merits. I cannot then concede that he was either a follower of the heretics with whom he was classed, or that he denied the Divinity of Christ: but he seemed scared at the term theotokos, as though it were some terrible phantom." ("H. E.," vii, 32.)
There is an ancient "Oration, concerning Simeon and Anna," wrongly attributed to Methodius, whose exact date is unknown, but it expresses the mood of the hour, when, after the victory of Ephesus, Mary was enthroned as a deity to be worshipped.
"What shall I say to thee, O mother virgin and virgin-mother. For the praise even of her, who is not man's work, exceeds the power of man. Receive, O Lady most benignant, gifts precious, and such as are fitted to thee alone, O thou who art exalted above all generations, and who among all created things both visible and invisible shinest forth as the most honorable. God is in the midst of thee, and thou shalt not be moved, for the Most High hath made holy the place of His tabernacle. By thee the Lord hath appeared, the God of hosts with us. Blessed of the Lord is thy name, full of divine grace, and grateful exceedingly to God, mother of God, thou that givest light to the faithful, . . the mother of the Creator, . . the upholder of Him who upholds all things by His word ... the spotless robe of Him who clothes Himself with light as with a garment. Thou
hast lent to God, who stands in need of nothing, that flesh which he had not, in order that the omnipotent might become that which it was His good pleasure to be. What is more splendid than this? What than this is more sublime? He who fills earth and heaven, whose are all things, has become in need of thee, for thou hast lent to God that flesh which He had not. Thou hast clad the mighty one with that beauteous panoply of the body, by which it has become possible for Him to be seen by mine eyes. Hail! Hail! Mother and handmaid of God. Hail! Hail! thou to whom the great Creator of all is a debtor," etc.1
In the "Dialogues" of Theodoret († 457), the "Blessed" Theodoret, as his title runs, bishop of Cyrus, may be found the argument
1 Among the prayers offered to the Virgin Mary, these are cited in the writings of the English Reformers, as involving blasphemy :· "Our hope and trust are put in thee, O Virgin Mary; defend us everlastingly."
"O happy mother which dost purge us from our sins.”
"Thou art the mediator between God and Man, the advocate of the poor, the refuge of all sinners."
"Thou art the Lady of Angels. Thou art the Queen of Heaven. Command thy Son. Show thyself to be a mother. He is thy Son; thou art His mother; the mother may command; the child must obey."
'Come unto her all ye that travail and are heavy laden."
of a great thinker, who disputed the term "Mother of God" as defective and inaccurate, and dangerous, since it suppressed the humanity of Christ, and gave one-sided expression to His divinity. But it was for just that reason, that the term was welcome. It made the humanity illusory and unreal, in order to establish the unity of the personality. The humanity was absorbed in the divinity. All that remained of the humanity was the pneumatic flesh, the garb of deity, the flesh with its life-giving power, which Mary contributed. It is not without a sense of pathos one reads the protest of Theodoret, now that fifteen centuries have gone by since he wrote. The tide was against him; his protest was in vain. What Newman wrote, when he became aware that the doctrine of papal infallibility would be decreed, we may take as the language Theodoret might have used as he witnessed the revolution in the ancient Church. "If it is God's will that the phrase 'Mother of God' shall be confirmed, then it is God's will to throw back the times and moments of that triumph which He has destined for His Kingdom, and I shall feel I have but to bow my head to His adorable, inscrutable Providence."
Most inscrutable was the Providence brooding over that ancient Eastern world while these