Who is Mary, “mother of God”, who is celebrated on January 1st?

Who is Mary, “mother of God”, who is celebrated on January 1st?

Why do we say that Mary is the mother of God?

“Mary of Nazareth”, “Holy Virgin”, “Virgin Mary”, or even “Our Lady”… Mary has several titles. On the solemnity of January 1, she is designated as Mary “mother of God”. A name that we are used to hearing in the well-known Marian prayer I salute you marie but which provoked a heated theological debate

The controversy arose with the Patriarch of Constantinople Nestorius in 428. While many Christians and theologians adopted this name, he refused to call the Virgin Mary “Mother of God” since, according to him, Mary could only be a mother. of the man Jesus. He insists on the coexistence of two distinct natures – human and divine – in Christ and believes that Mary should be called Christotokos, “Mother of Christ”. Opposite, Cyril of Alexandria defends the unity of the two natures of Christ and the common belief of Christians in his divinity.

It was Emperor Theodosius II who put an end to the quarrel in 431. He convened the Third Ecumenical Council in Ephesus, bringing together the bishops of all the provinces. It was debated whether Jesus was both human and divine in nature and whether, in this case, Mary should be called “Mother of God.” The Council of Ephesus finally confirmed the title of “Theotokos” (a word of Greek origin meaning “who gave birth to God”), making it possible to officially recognize the divine motherhood of Mary. Christ is both man and god, a union which is founded on the mystery of the Incarnation, the mystery of God who took on flesh. This is how the Council of Ephesus opened the way to true Marian worship in the Church.

Why is it celebrated on January 1?

In 1931, on the occasion of the fifteenth centenary of the Council of Ephesus, Pope Pius XI promoted a universal solemnity in honor of the divine Maternity of Mary, fixed on October 11.

After Vatican II, the feast was postponed to January 1 and has since been called Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. It thus closes the octave of Christmas, eight days after the Nativity of the Lord, while coinciding with the World Day of Peace, promoted by Pope John Paul II. It then replaces the feast of the circumcision of Jesus, celebrated eight days after his birth, in accordance with the Jewish rite.

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