Mary in the Eastern Orthodox Tradition
Description: Pope John Paul II once wrote: “Speaking of the
Churches of the East, the council [Vatican II] acknowledged their great liturgical and spiritual tradition, the specific nature
of their historical development, the disciplines coming from earliest times and approved by the Holy Fathers and ecumenical
councils, and their own particular way of expressing their teaching (Ut Unum Sint, § 50.)” This course will explore the
wisdom of this statement examining the ancient Marian liturgies, Byzantine iconography, spiritual traditions, patristic writings, and the Eastern doctrines of the Theotokos - the woman who bore God, including
a discussion of the ecumenical implications in Ecumenical Mariology between the
Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.
Eastern titles of the Virgin Mary.
Received tradition: biblical (a quick
review of all references to Mary in the Bible including OT typologies), apocryphal- especially the importance of the Proto Evangelium of James (in the Eastern tradition), and a look at ancient legend.
Ancient titles of the Virgin Mary
will be explored for their theological meaning:
Theotokos, Panaghia, Platytera, Hodegetria, Eleousa, Deesis and more ….
The tradition and meaning of symbols
in Byzantine iconography
(known as a “writing”
of the tradition)
Wonder working icons, Pigi (Fountain
of the fountain), and Blachernae
(Virgin of Protection)
Liturgies and feasts. References to Theotokos in the liturgies of St. Basil,
St. Chrysostom, and St.
Akathistos with Compline and Paraklesis
Understanding the development of
Daily Hours and the Marian Menaion.
Sampling patristic writing and Councils
- important Marian doctrines
Further theological meaning of titles
and phrases of the Theotokos.
Kecharitomene in Luke.
Eastern doctrine on sin and death
as it relates to the two RC defined dogmas.
Priesthood of Mary and its patristic
meaning (One who bore God into the world)
(A good theology to counter radical feminists!)
Virgin Mary as the “Temple,” “Ark
of the Covenant,” “Ladder,” “Burning Bush,” “Unmoved
Mountain” and more … doctrinal meaning
A web page will contain all assignments
and explanation, class notes (after delivery), a discussion board, links to resources on the web, booklists for further study,
Turabian format guide (tailored to the class), open question box (direct email), audio copies of lectures (if desired), slide
demonstration of the important icons studied.
A 10-15 page research paper
will be due no later than Friday, July 2, 2010. Turabian format is required (a
template provided). A list of suggested topics will be provided and direction to sources given for each topic if requested
(by emails after the course ends).
A small, ESBVM publication by VK to be read before class begins. (This can be provided FREE to students by ESBVM.) Material in this reading will be touched on throughout the course. Also, students might find it helpful to look up biblical references, sheet provided, for all Marian texts
before we begin.
Books for students to buy (required texts):
Holy Apostles Convent. The Life of the Virgin Mary, The Theotokos. Holy Apostles
December, 1997. ISBN 0944359035
[Note: This book may be relatively hard to find, but second hard copies are easily
available online. The best way for the seminary bookstore to order is to contact
the Holy Apostles Convent at http://www.holyapostlesconvent.org/ The book is
available at $40 but discount to bookstores. Look under “Products” and then
under “Life of the Virgin Mary.]
editor and Peter Heinegg, translator. Mary
Mother of God, Her
Life in Icons and Scripture. Ligouri,
Missouri: Ligouri/Triumph, 2004.
Frederika Mathewes-Green. The Lost Gospel of Mary, The Mother of Jesus
Ancient Texts. Brewster, Massachusetts: Paraclete Press, 2007. ISBN
[This is a contemporary, Eastern Orthodox commentary with texts of the
Protoevangelium of James, the Sub Tuum Praesidium, and the Annunciation
Hymn from the Akathistos.]
Brian E. Daley, S.J. On the Dormition of Mary, Early Patristic Homilies. Crestwood,
NY: St. Vladimir’s
Seminary Press, 1998. ISBN 0881411779
[Students will be given an online link to these homilies but the translation is better
in Daley’s collection and there is commentary.]
Alfred Tradigo. Stephen
Sartarelli, translator. Icons and Saints of the Eastern Orthodox
Church. Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum 2004. ISBN
is a useable and handy little reference guide to Eastern iconography with relative meanings and references to liturgical sources