The Passionists - Compassion

Mary in Christian Tradition

Mary, the Mother of God: 431 A.D.

Controversy also stimulated devotion to Mary in the early church. In 431, the Council of Ephesus repudiated Nestorius, the patriarch of Constantinople, for refusing to honor Mary with the title "Mother of God." The title safeguards Christian belief in the mystery of the Incarnation: Jesus is God and man. The church did not seek to make Mary a goddess, otherwise she could not have given birth to Christ as someone truly human. She could be called Mother of God, however, because Jesus who was born from her was truly Son of God from all eternity.

Popular feeling for Mary ran high in the Christian world after the council, and churches dedicated to her arose in almost every important city. In the city of Constantinople alone, 250 churches and shrines in her honor were built before the 8th century. Pictures, Icons of Mary holding her divine child multiplied, especially in churches of the East, where they became objects of special devotion.

Europe as a holy land in the 11th-15th centuries