General Spirituality

St Mary in Coptic Orthodoxy

The Coptic Church honors our Lady the Virgin in due honor without exaggeration, and without lessening her position. She is, in the belief of the Church, the mother of God (Theotokos in Greek), and not the mother of “Jesus” as the Nestorians had claimed and were excommunicated at the council of Ephesus due to this heresy. The Church believes that the Holy Spirit has sanctified the womb of the Virgin during her pregnancy with Christ.

That was according to what the angel said to her “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). The sanctifying by the Holy Spirit of her womb makes the One born of her to be conceived without the impurity of the original sin.

As for the Virgin herself her mother Anna conceived her in the natural state, and so the Virgin said in her hymn: “my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (Luke 1:47). That is why the Church does not agree that the Virgin was conceived without the impurity of the original sin as our brothers, the Catholics, believe. The Church believes in the intercession of the Virgin.

The Church places her intercession before the intercession of the angels and archangels, because she is the mother of God, the Queen who is seated at the right hand of the King. The Holy Bible gives the Virgin the surname “filled with grace.” It is regrettable that the Beyrouth translation of the Bible lessens the status of the Virgin by translating this surname to “highly favored one.” All human beings are highly favored, but the Virgin is filled with grace although grace does not mean infallibility.

The Church believes in the perpetual virginity of St. Mary unlike our brothers the Protestants who claim that the Virgin gave birth to sons after Christ. The Church believes in the Ascension of the body of the Virgin to heaven, and celebrates this feast on the 16th of Mesra. She endured a life of poverty. When she gave birth to her only Son, “there was no room for them in the inn”, and she “laid Him in a manger” (Luke 2:7).

She endured these responsibilities at a young age. She endured the magnificent glory which surrounded her, without being harassed by the thoughts of greatness. It was not possible for her to declare that she had given birth to Christ while she was a virgin so she kept silent and endured this as well. She suffered the tiring voyage to Egypt and back. In Egypt, she suffered from being expelled from town to town as in every city they entered the idols would topple in front of the Christ (Is. 19:1).

She endured suffering as a poor foreigner. She accepted that a sword would pierce through her own soul also (Luke 2:35) because of that which her Son met, the persecutions, the insults, and lastly the suffering and the shame of the cross.

The Virgin was not satisfied only to endure negatively, but she lived in jubilation of the Lord as she said in her hymn: “my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (Luke 1:47).

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