"Her hands steadied the first steps of him who steadied the earth to walk upon; her lips helped the Word of God to form his first human words." (St. John of Damascus)
Who is Mary? Why is she called "Theotokos"? Frederica Mathewes-Green, an Eastern Orthodox writer and educator, joins Evan Rosa for a discussion about Mary, the Mother of God. During the first half of the episode, they discuss the Eastern Orthodox reverence for Mary and the scriptural account of her life—from the Annunciation and Nativity, to her parenting of Jesus, through to the Wedding at Cana and witnessing the unimaginable as her son was crucified, died, buried, and risen. In the second half of our conversation, Frederica sheds light on two ancient texts: The Forgotten Gospel of Mary, also known as the Protoevangelium of James, as well as one of the oldest known manuscripts that refer to Mary as Theotokos: a very short prayer scribbled on papyrus, and known as "Sub tuum praesidium" or "Under your compassion." But that's not all, Frederica draws out the beauty of Mary's exemplarity for all Christians, her suffering faith and bright sorrow, the conjoining of humility and magnanimity in her response to God, and so much more.
- Frederica Mathewes-Green, Mary As the Early Christians Knew Her: The Mother of Jesus in Three Ancient Texts
- Protoevangelium of James
- Sub tuum Praesidium ("Under your compassion...")
- Mary as Theotokos: "God's birth-giver"
- "The Virgin of the Sign" icon
- Orthodox view of Mary as worship leader
- Mary in scriptural context: Luke 1 and 2
- Mary, troubled and perplexed
- Magnificat: Every line comes from the psalms, a very classic Jewish understanding of the Messiah as political revolutionary.
- Mary's perplexity and expectations about Jesus's role as Messiah
- Catacomb of Priscilla in Rome
- Simeon's words to Mary: "This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel and to be assigned, that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed. In a sword will pierce your own soul too, and these words from Simeon to Mary, upon presenting Jesus at the temple." (Luke 2:34)
- Sin in Eastern Orthodoxy: "It starts with a thought."
- Epigraph: "Her hands steadied the first steps of him who steadied the earth to walk upon; her lips helped the Word of God to form his first human words." St. John of Damascus
- Jesus's relationship with Mary
- The leadership of Mary
- The Wedding at Cana
- Mary at the Cross
- Mary's childhood in the Protoevangelium of James
- Mary as a contemplative
- Mary's achievement of theosis: "absorbing God" / "union with God"
- Mary's anxiety when Jesus was lost at the temple
- Bright sorrow in Mary—both dread and joy
- Loneliness and autonomy
- The practical spiritual benefits of the Protoevangelium of James
- Prayer as a medium of communication; sending Mary prayer requests
- The earliest prayer to Mary: "Sub tuum praesidium"
- "Under your compassion we take refuge Theotokos. Do not overlook our prayers in the midst of tribulation, but deliver us from danger, O only pure, only blessed one."
- Coming under the shelter of her protection
- Matthew 23:37—"Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones, those who are sent to it, how often have I desired to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings and you were not willing."
- Seeking shelter, refuge, and compassion during strident and striving times.
About Frederica Mathewes-Green
Frederica Mathewes-Green is a wide-ranging author who has published 10 books and 800 essays, in such diverse publications as the Washington Post, Christianity Today, Smithsonian, and the Wall Street Journal. She has been a regular commentator for National Public Radio (NPR), a columnist for the Religion News Service, Beliefnet.com, and a podcaster for Ancient Faith Radio. (She was also a consultant for Veggie Tales.) She has appeared as a speaker over 600 times, at places like Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Wellesley, Cornell, Calvin, Baylor, and Westmont, and received a Doctor of Letters (honorary) from King University. She lives with her husband, the Rev. Gregory Mathewes-Green, in Johnson City, TN. Their three children are grown and married, and they have fifteen grandchildren.
- This podcast featured Mathewes-Green
- Edited and Produced by Evan Rosa
- Hosted by Evan Rosa
- Production Assistance by Martin Chan, Nathan Jowers, and Logan Ledman
- A Production of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture at Yale Divinity School https://faith.yale.edu/about
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