Orthodox Women's Defense of the Theotokos: The Case of Empress Pulcheria and the Council of Ephesus
This paper aims to highlight briefly the role of Eastern Orthodox women’s presence in the 5th c. Theotokos controversy. I comment on the presence of women here, scarcely documented and largely speculative as it is, as an illustration of the way Christian doctrine is tested in the Eucharistic assembly and a proof that theology is ultimately not an intellectual, but faith-based enterprise. In addition, I aim to draw attention to the fact that, in this context, the image of the Virgin Mary holds special significance for those who refer to her as an exemplar of a chaste Christian lifestyle. It is not accidental that the first recorded Marian appearance comes from the ascetic Gregory Thaymaturgus and that an Alexandrian-based treatise on virginity ascribed to Athanasius, draws a similar parallel between Mary and Christian virgins.
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Also Published In
- Philanthropy and Social Compassion in Eastern Orthodox Tradition: Papers of the Sophia Institute Academic Conference, New York, Dec. 2009