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Stamoulis Chrysostomos, The Theotokos and the Orthodox dogma

Stamoulis Chrysostomos, The Theotokos and the Orthodox dogmaPalimpsiston,Thessaloniki, 2003.

The Christological teaching of Cyrill of Alexandria shaped not only the Third and Fourth Ecumenical Synods, but also the teaching of the Church on these issues. His teaching on Virgin Mary is presented in an artistic and useful volume.

This presentation by the Ass. Professor Chrysostomos Stamoulis under the title: “Virgin Mary and the Orthodox Dogma” constitutes an extension and elaboration of his doctoral thesis by the same content.

The aim of the book, as pointed out by the title, is the presentation and deep understanding, in the context of the Orthodox teaching, of the dogma on Virgin Mary. The author begins with the fundamental observation that Virgin Mary is not a goddess, but a “sister to humanity, partaking in human nature”. The privilege of  the “most holy” is something that she freely acquired, contributing the most to the realization of the saving Economy, equipped with the Holy Grace and Her saintly and pious life. A noteworthy observation is Her unclear connection with the person of the Word. Any understanding of Virgin Mary is inextricably linked to Christ and the Christological fact and any adulation and conceptualization of her person cannot constitute, according to the model of the western (mainly Roman-Catholic) tradition, a separate chapter of discussion.

The author devotes a large part of the book to the analysis of the terms “Θεοτόκος” (God bearer) and “Χριστοτόκος” (Christ bearer), in the context of dogmatic problems, brought about by the Nestorian teaching and the Cyrillic treatment of it. The union of the Word with man, conceived by Virgin Mary “in hypostasis”, which means in reality, constitutes the cornerstone of the  understanding of the saving Holy Economy, as well as of the human contribution in the Face of Mary. Consequently, every heretic forgery of the person of the Virgin, has a direct impact on the face of the incarnated Word and His saving significance.

This is a major issue for the author, that is the understanding and the theological formulation of every word about Virgin Mary, filtered through the experience and perception of the content of our salvation in the Church. Every synodical expression, as well as every patristic teaching, according to Saint Cyrill’s remarks, derives from this experience and is theologically exploited for the body of Christ to be built and its heretic corruptions to be treated.

The eloquence and readability of the presentation, combined masterfully with the depth and scientific style of the analysis, expose the diverse virtues of the author and his book.


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