The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
Mary is, as the Council of Ephesus affirmed in 431, the Theotokos — “God-bearer” or “mother of God.” This title was not given to Mary to confer quasi-divine status upon her; rather, it was given to defend the truth of the deity of Christ. That is, the title is for Jesus’ sake. The developing infant whom Mary carried to term and birthed in Bethlehem was none other than the incarnate Son of God.
This became the first Marian dogma. At the end of the Council of Ephesus, it is said that crowds of people marched through the streets shouting: “Praised be the Theotokos!”
The earliest known prayer to the Theotokos (Greek, Θεοτόκος, meaning “Bearer of God”) is a prayer found on a fragment of papyrus dating back to approximately AD 25.
We fly to Thy protection,
O Holy Mother of God;
Do not despise our petitions
in our necessities,
but deliver us always
from all dangers,
O Glorious and Blessed Virgin
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