I’m still very newly Orthodox – a four year old, as it were.
Speaking for myself, over the past four years, the word
Theotokos very nearly cleaves to my breath, as does the
I get a special chill over me (a pleasant sensation of awe,
astonishment, wonder, a combination of belief and disbelief (or
beyond belief)) when a text being read as Theotokos and Birthgiver of
God in the same sentence, or Theotokos and Mary (so rarely do I hear her
name mentioned that it is also almost a special occasion for me), or
Theotokos and Mother of our God in the same sentence…
In my little four years, her title is special to me because of
the theology behind it, how it links little ol’ me together
with the whole of the Church, with the Triune God, to be
hid in Christ, with the good fight faught for this title,
and how, in some utterly incomprehensible way, I am being
granted the ability, the potentiality, the *actuality*, of
being joined to this continuum, this singularity that is
participation in the communion of the Triune God, through
the Bishops, monks and priests, babas, the Saints, desert-dwellers,
through the Theotokos, through Christ, to God the Father!
Yet, some translations that I use do not use Theotokos, and
say, rather, Birthgiver of God, or Mother of God instead, and
that is fine as well. It does not lessen anything, but only
because the use of the title, hard faught for in what was
only the blink of an eye ago (a millenium and a half is not
all that long (yet 10 minutes working at a job I do not like
seems like eternity <grin>)), has been made known to me
by somebody who thought enough to stick the title into
this translation or that, here or there.
Right now, in English translating of Orthodox texts, there
are options available, and I am glad to see that they run
the gammut. We English-speaking folks need *all* of the help
we can get.
Standardization of English texts may take a long time – and
the current diversity, so long as errors are not incorporated
(the Bishops of the Ecumenical Synods faught hard for
these things – as G.K. Chesterson puts it, “The dead *will*
speak at our councils”), is helping to form somewhat
of a consensus of opinion, although it is too early to
state authoritatively which directions it is going.
Glory to God for all things!
Each day, it seems I begin again to be made pure, to see.
In a fathomless abyss, in a measureless heaven,
who can find a middle or an end?
[email@example.com] St Symeon the New Theologian