In the 4th and 5th centuries, the Christian Church was deeply engaged in discussions about the nature of Christ, focusing on how his divine and human natures coexisted. Central to this debate was a title given to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Known as the “Theotokos” or “God-bearer,” this title for Mary dates back to at least the 3rd century, with its first documented use appearing in Origen of Alexandria’s writings around AD 230. This term evolved to mean “Mother of God,” reflecting the belief that Jesus Christ was both fully divine and fully human.

This title for Mary was widely accepted in Christian circles. However, Nestorius, the patriarch of Constantinople from 428 to 431, challenged this notion. He argued that Mary was the mother of Jesus’s human aspect but not his divine nature. This view was ultimately rejected by the Church, particularly at the Councils of Ephesus in AD 431 and Chalcedon in AD 451. These councils affirmed that Jesus Christ was indeed both fully divine and fully human, united in one person. Consequently, Mary was recognized as the “Mother of God,” since she gave birth to Jesus, who was divine and human.

The term “Mother of God” is not just a title; it represents a significant aspect of Christian doctrine, honoring both Mary and Jesus. Catholics, Orthodox Christians, and many Protestants revere Mary as the “Mother of God,” especially during the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God. This celebration occurs one week after Christmas, concluding the octave of Christmas. It not only honors Mary for her unique role in bearing the incarnate God but also venerates Jesus Christ in his dual nature. During this solemnity, Mary is also honored as the “Queen of Peace,” paralleling the honor given to Jesus as the “Prince of Peace” during Christmas. Significantly, this feast day, on January 1st, also marks the World Day of Peace.

The origins of a feast celebrating Mary’s divine maternity are somewhat unclear, but records suggest the existence of early celebrations. Around 500 AD, the Eastern Church observed a “Day of the Theotokos,” and over time, this evolved into specific Marian feast days in the Byzantine and Coptic calendars. In the Western Church, the Christmas octave traditionally included a strong Marian emphasis. Initially, the eighth day of this octave was dedicated to the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus, but over time, the focus shifted toward celebrating Mary’s divine maternity. Pope Benedict XIV, in 1751, allowed Portuguese churches to celebrate this aspect of Mary in May, and by 1914, the feast became more widely observed on October 11. It was only in 1931 that it became a universal feast.

Following the Vatican II, Pope Paul VI made a significant change: he replaced the Feast of Jesus’ Circumcision with the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God on January 1st. This decision was aimed at reinstating the ancient Western tradition of emphasizing Mary’s role at the end of the Christmas octave. Pope Paul VI explained that this arrangement not only honors Mary’s part in the salvation narrative but also allows for the renewed worship of Jesus as the newborn Prince of Peace. Additionally, aligning this solemnity with New Year’s Day reinforces its message of peace, making it an appropriate time to celebrate the World Day of Peace. This decision by Pope Paul VI thus underscored the dual celebration of both Mary and Jesus, and their interconnected roles in Christian theology.

Editorial credit: CURAphotography /
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  1. MARY MOTHER OF GOD i pray to thee to bless my Family and Me thro these year help to over come the short falls we had in the past year and especialy financial & Health problems above help to bring our the way you and Joseph brought up JESUS

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  2. MARY MOTHER OF GOD please hear and interceed for me to your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Praying for a job this new year, and please guide me way oooh Mother of mine

  3. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us, sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen

  4. i guess Jesus and the Christ are different ,y kno since jesus asked and received number nine is alive and 6626 im safely off the train and found my shoes untied im just not sure,is the father the absent nine well ill find out but wheres the lone ranger HI HO SILVER heal shout


  5. Holy Mary mother of God, help me to understand more of our diocese/needs especially being a servant to carry out the works in church to help others.

  6. Oh Most Blessed Mother, the gift I received seems to have slipped through my fingers because of my frail faith and sin, please Blessed Mother I implore you to ask The Lord to give me a stronger faith and not to abandon me, My hearts desire is to be devoted servant to You and The Lord, Blessed Mother I beg you to hear my plea in Jesus Name my Lord and my God.. Thank You

  7. is this the teaching of the Bible, the word of God? or is this the teaching of man?

    why would you follow the teaching of man than God thru His written words? isn’t this blasphemy?

    • The Bible has not change but there has been many additions to it through the Saints and the Catholic Church has named Mary the mother of The Lord our God if you’re not Catholic you probably won’t believe.. but God bless you..

    • The Bible was compiled by the first Christians, and carried forth by the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church also looks at the traditions and practices of the apostles and early Christians and the history of the time of Jesus in deciding many issues of faith and practices in the Catholic Church. Mary has always been honored as the mother of Jesus since the early Christians. As you know, all Christians were Catholic until the time of Martin Luther.

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  9. Thank you for this great lesson! and I’m wishing all fellow Christians (Catholics and non-Catholics) a New Year filled with peace, prosperity and joy.

  10. We fly to thy patronage,
    O holy Mother of God;
    despise not our petitions in our necessities,
    but deliver us always from all dangers,
    O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.

  11. Dear Mama Mary, hope through your great Immaculate Conception, our Lord Jesus, my daughter & her family reconciles with me. Please unite us. I pray that all your children praying grant their petitions. Bless us.

  12. BLESSED MOTHER,,,,,,,PROTECT,,,,,,,,,MY,,,,,FAMILY,,,,,,,,,AND,,,,,,,MYSELF,,,,,FROM,,,,,,THE,,,,EVIL,,,,,,THAT,,,,IS,,,,,
    GROWING,,,,,,,,,TO,,,,,,HARM,,,,,SO,,,,,MANY !!!!!!!!

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