What Does “Theotokos” Mean in the Christian Tradition?
The Theotokos, the Virgin Mary, and the Blessed Virgin are all the names of the earthly mother of Jesus Christ and the greatest saint in Christianity. Although there is no mention of the term “Theotokos” in the Gospels, this title has long become traditional in the context of the Mother of God, both in iconography and in the Christian teaching overall, especially in the Eastern Orthodox Church. But what does “Theotokos” mean? Read on to uncover the answer.
Who is the Theotokos?
One can learn about the birth and life of the Virgin Mary from the Gospels and various legends since she is one of the most prominent figures following Christ in the Christian tradition. According to the Scriptures, Joachim and Anna were the parents of Mary. They were childless for a long time, but eventually, through prayers, they were blessed with a baby girl. Mary was sent to the temple for upbringing at an early age, and she was betrothed to Joseph when she was 14 years old. Soon after that, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary to announce the imminent birth of Jesus Christ. Mary, who remained a virgin, gave birth to the Savior through the power of the Holy Spirit. She lived a long life and died a natural death, after which she ascended to heaven.
In Orthodoxy, several feasts commemorate the most important events in the life of the Virgin Mary. These include the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (December 4) and the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary (April 7), which commemorates the good news from the Archangel Gabriel about the birth of the Savior, among others.
What does “Theotokos” mean in the Christian tradition?
The Greek word “Theotokos” means “God” and “birth.” It can be translated as the Mother of God. But what does “Theotokos” mean in Christianity? In the Christian tradition, the title is used to refer to the birth of the Son of God from the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At the same time, Jesus Christ is both God and man, two entities closely united in one. Thus, the Virgin Mary did not give birth to a divine essence but gave flesh to the Son of God.
The term “Theotokos” is also used to denote an Eastern Orthodox type of icon depicting the Mother of God with a Child, for example, Our Lady of Vladimir.
Hopefully, you have found the answer to the question, “what does “Theotokos” mean in the Christian tradition?” Read our other blog posts to learn more from the world of the Christian religion and Orthodox icons!