The Second Day of Christmas


The second day of Christmas in the Orthodox Church is dedicated to the Theotokos.

The second day of Christmas in the Orthodox Church is dedicated to the Theotokos.

When the fulness of time came, in her and through her, mankind was deemed ready to receive the Saviour and Redeemer promised by the prophets. At that moment she represented the whole of creation, as she was the best fruit of it through her own efforts which met with the grace of God. ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word’ (Lk 1,38).

By her complete obedience to the will of God she restored the possibility of direct communication between the Creator and his creation, broken by sin and disobedience, and became a ‘bridge from earth to Heaven’ (The Akathistos). In fact, correcting the misdeed of the first Eve, Mary became the second or the new Eve bringing mankind back to Christ, the new Adam: ‘thou, far famed, hast paid back the old debt of Eve by the new Adam appearing for our sake’ (Sunday Matins, tone 1). Or, in the words of another canticle: ‘In past times the serpent trampled me and put me to death through our mother Eve: while now he who fashioned me, has through thee, O pure Virgin, called me up from corruption’ (Sunday Matins, tone 8).

The christological orientation of orthodox mariology with its particular stress on the mystery of the Incarnation is to be referred directly to the third Ecumenical Council of Ephesus, A.D. 431. This Council in its deliberations on the nature of Christ, the second person of the holy Trinity, the only-begotten Son of God consubstantial with the Father, called Mary the true Theotokos, the Mother of God. ‘The name Theotokos stresses the fact that the child whom Mary bore was not a “simple man”, not a human person, but the only-begotten Son of God, one of the holy Trinity, yet incarnate.

This is obviously the cornerstone of the orthodox faith. Thus, the veneration of the Theotokos is inseparable from the magnification of Christ, the Incarnate God, the Word.