Orthodox Women's Defense of the Theotokos: The Case of Empress Pulcheria and the Council of Ephesus

Atanassova, Antonia

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.



Also Published In

Philanthropy and Social Compassion in Eastern Orthodox Tradition: Papers of the Sophia Institute Academic Conference, New York, Dec. 2009
Theotokos Press

More About This Work

Academic Units
Sophia Institute
Sophia Institute Studies in Orthodox Theology, 2
Published Here
September 13, 2011