Mother of Jesus Christ:
Mother as Theotokos (title) Mother of God

The charts below are direct quotes from Post-Vatican II Magisterial Documents concerning the theme, Mother of God. These teachings of the Catholic Church may prove useful to include in talks, in homilies or for research. For the full title and document data, click on the abbreviation code (for example, BYM leads you to the document, Behold Your Mother). This will also lead you to the complete document on this website, or assist you in locating it elsewhere.

For an index of the documents used in the study see: List of Magisterial Documents
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Documents II. Mary and Jesus Christ / 2a. Mother as Theotokos
Lumen Gentium, 1964
  • Mother of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ [Canon of the Roman Mass] 52
  • acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and of the redeemer 53
  • and the duties of the redeemed towards the Mother of God, who is mother of Christ 54
  • the role of the Mother of the Savior in the plan of salvation 55
  • most holy Mother of God who was involved in the mysteries of Christ 66
  • Mother of Our Lord and Saviour [honor given] 69
  • gift and role of her divine motherhood, by which she is united with her Son, the Redeemer 63
Christi Matri Rosarii, 1968
  • to pray the Mother of God (title) 13
  • acceptable to the Mother of God (title) 15
  • Mother of God (title) 19
  • the Virgin Mother of God (title) 20
  • most high Mother of God (title) 22
Signum Magnum, 1967
  • the revered Mother of God (title) 1
  • Council of Ephesus in the year 431 hailed Mary as Theotokos, that is, as the "Mother of God." 2
  • the Virgin Mother of God (title) 4, 5
  • "God's most holy Mother, who took part in the mystery of Christ," [LG 66] 5
  • [venerate] Mary as the Mother of God's Son 35
Creed, Paul VI, 1968
  • We believe that the Blessed Mother of God.... [see ftn 20] 15
Basic Teaching for Catholic Education (USA), 1973
  • [Concept is included in the title of the article: "MARY, Mother of God"]
  • special veneration due to Mary - Mother of Christ
Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973
  • The holy Child to be born of Mary will be not only the promised Messiah, but God made man. 24
  • "If we are to confess that Emmanuel is truly God, we must also confess that the Holy Virgin is Theotokos (Mother of God); for she bore according to the flesh the Word of God made flesh." [Cyril of Alexandria] 64
  • At Ephesus, in 431 A.D., the divine motherhood was defined in defense of the divinity of the Son of Mary. The title, "Mother of God" became a permanent part of the creeds and liturgies of the entire Church. 106
  • Christ is at the center of our faith; but He did not come among men without the Theotokos. Nor is He in glory now without His Mother, Theotokos still. 109
Marialis Cultus, 1974
  • [liturgy]
  • - January 1:[liturgical celebration of, one of four Marian solemnities in revised liturgy] 5, 6
  • [new theme]
    In the mystery of Mary's motherhood they confess that she is the Mother of the Head and of the members - the holy Mother of God and therefore the provident Mother of the Church 11
  • - March 25: of the Virgin, who becomes Mother of God. 6
  • Mother of the Son of God, and therefore beloved daughter of the Father and Temple of the Holy Spirit (LG 53) 56
  • In the other revised liturgical books also expressions of love and suppliant veneration addressed to the Theotokos are not lacking. 14
  • Postconciliar renewal has, as was previously desired by the liturgical movement, properly considered the Blessed Virgin in the mystery of Christ, and, in harmony with tradition, has recognized the singular place that belongs to her in Christian worship as the holy Mother of God and the worthy Associate of the Redeemer. 15
Sharing the Light of Faith (USA), 1979
  • [Included in title of the article: "MARY, Mother of God"] 106
  • While it is neither possible nor desirable to establish a rigid order to dictate a uniform method for the exposition of content, certain norms or criteria guide all sound catechesis.... In practice this means recognizing a certain hierarchy of truths: ... 47
Redemptor Hominis, 1979
  • We can say that the mystery of the Redemption took shape beneath the heart of the Virgin of Nazareth when she pronounced her "fiat." From then on, under the special influence of the Holy Spirit, this heart, the heart of both a virgin and a mother, has always followed the work of her Son and has gone out to all those whom Christ has embraced and continues to embrace with inexhaustible love.
  • For that reason her heart must also have the inexhaustibility of a mother. Final paragraph.
Catechesi Tradendae, 1979
  • What kind of catechesis would it be that failed to give their full place to man's creation and sin; to God's plan of redemption and its long, loving preparation and realization; to the incarnation of the Son of God; to Mary, the Immaculate One, the Mother of God, ever Virgin, raised body and soul to the glory of heaven, and to her role in the mystery of salvation....
    Subtitle: "Integrity of Content" 30
Dominum et Vivificantem, 1986
  • "By the power of the Holy Spirit" there became man he whom the Church, in the words of the same Creed, professes to be the son, of the same substance as the Father: God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made.: He was made man by becoming "incarnate from the Virgin Mary." This is what happened when "the fullness of time had come." 49
Redemptoris Mater, 1987 Mother of Jesus Christ
How can we probe the mystery of their intimate spiritual union? 21
  • [the difference between John and the Synoptics] In these texts Jesus means above all to contrast the motherhood resulting from the fact of birth with what this "motherhood" (and also "brotherhood") is to be in the dimension of the Kingdom of God, in the salvific radius of God's fatherhood. In John's text, on the other hand, the description of the Cana event outlines what is actually manifested as a new kind of motherhood according to the spirit and not just according to the flesh, that is to say Mary's solicitude for human beings, her coming to them in the wide variety of their wants and needs. 21
  • Ephesus (43:) ... the truth of the divine motherhood of Mary was solemnly confirmed as a truth of the Church's faith. Mary is the Mother of God (= Theotokos), since by the power of the Holy Spirit she conceived in her virginal womb and brought into the world Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is of one being with the Father. ... the dogma of the divine motherhood ... a seal upon the dogma of the Incarnation, in which the Word truly assumes human nature into the unity of his person, without cancelling out that nature. 4
  • One cannot think of the reality of the Incarnation without referring to Mary, the Mother of the Incarnate Word. 5
  • Mary is "full of grace," because it is precisely in her that the Incarnation of the Word, the hypostatic union of the Son of God with human nature, is accomplished and fulfilled. As the Council says, Mary is "the Mother of the Son of God...." (LG 53) 9 [See also 39]
  • For knowledge of the mystery of Christ leads us to bless his Mother, in the form of special veneration for the Theotokos. But this veneration always includes a blessing of her faith .... 27
Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday, 1988
  • Dear Brothers: who more than we has an absolute need of a deep and unshakable faith - we, who by virtue of the apostolic succession begun in the Upper Room celebrate the sacrament of Christ's sacrifice? We must therefore constantly deepen our spiritual bond with the Mother of God who on the pilgrimage of faith "goes before" the whole People of God. 2
  • If John at the foot of the cross somehow represents every man and woman for whom the motherhood of the Mother of God is spiritually extended, how much more does this concern each of us, who are sacramentally called to the priestly ministry of the Eucharist in the Church! 3
  • The Second Vatican Council proclaims: "Through the gift and role of her divine motherhood, by which the Blessed Virgin is united with her Son,...she is also intimately united with the Church. As St. Ambrose taught, the Mother of God is a 'type' of the Church in the matter of faith, charity and perfect union with Christ. [cf. LG 63] 4
Mulieris Dignitatem, 1988
  • The Son, the Word, one in substance with the Father, becomes man, born of a woman, at "the fullness of time." 3
  • not just a matter here of God's words revealed through the Prophets; rather ... "the Word is truly made flesh" (cf. Jn 1:14). Hence, Mary attains a union with God that exceeds all the expectations of the human spirit. 3
  • The Virgin of Nazareth truly becomes the Mother of God. [Council of Ephesus (431)] 4
  • At ... Annunciation, by responding with her "fiat," Mary conceived a man who was the Son of God, of one substance with the Father. Therefore, she is truly the Mother of God, because motherhood concerns the whole person, not just the body, nor even just human "nature." In this way the name "Theotokos" - Mother of God - became the name proper to the union with God granted to the Virgin Mary. 4
  • With her "fiat," Mary becomes the authentic subject of that union with God which was realized in the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word, who is of one substance with the Father. 4 The biblical exemplar of the "woman" finds its culmination in the motherhood of the Mother of God. 19
Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 1994
  • Two thousand years ago the Son of God was made man by the power of the Holy Spirit and was born of the Immaculate Virgin Mary. 26
Evangelium Vitae, 1995
  • But the Church cannot forget that her mission was made possible by the motherhood of Mary, who conceived and bore the One who is "God from God," "true God from true God." Mary is truly the Mother of God, the Theotokos, in whose motherhood the vocation to motherhood bestowed by God on every woman is raised to its highest level. 103
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994
Fidei Depositum, 1992
Mother of God (Mater Dei, Theotokos): 466, 467, 469, 495, 509, 529, 975, 1138 [BB]

461 Taking up St. John's expression, "The Word became flesh," (Jn 1:14) the Church calls "Incarnation" the fact that the Son of God assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it. In a hymn cited by St. Paul, the Church sings the mystery of the Incarnation: ... but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. (Phil 2:5-8)

466 ... For this reason the Council of Ephesus proclaimed in 431 that Mary truly became the Mother of God by the human conception of the Son of God in her womb: "Mother of God, not that the nature of the Word or his divinity received the beginning of its existence from the holy Virgin, but that, since the holy body, animated by a rational soul, which the Word of God united to himself according to the hypostasis, was born from her, the Word is said to be born according to the flesh." (Ephesus: DS 251)

467 ... He was begotten from the Father before all ages as to his divinity and in these last days, for us and for our salvation, was born as to his humanity of the virgin Mary, the Mother of God. ...

452 The name Jesus means "God saves." The child born of the Virgin Mary is called Jesus, "for he will save his people from their sins" (Mt 1:21): "there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

456 With the Nicene Creed, we answer by confessing: "For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man."

469 The Church thus confesses that Jesus is inseparably true God and true man. He is truly the Son of God who, without ceasing to be God and Lord, became a man and our brother: ... The liturgy of St. John Chrysostom proclaims and sings: "O only-begotten Son and Word of God, immortal being, you who deigned for our salvation to become incarnate of the holy Mother of God and ever - virgin Mary ... " (Troparion "O monogenes")

495 Called in the Gospels the mother of Jesus,"Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as the mother of my Lord." (Lk 1:43 et al) In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence, the Church confesses that Mary is truly a Mother of God." (Theotokos) (Ephesus: DS 251)

509 Mary is truly "Mother of God" since she is the mother of the eternal Son of God made man, who is God himself.

Ecclesia in Oceania, 2001
  • In his infinite love for the world, God gave his only Son to be God-with - us. Emptying himself to become like us, Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary in simplicity and poverty. 5
  • In you, the reign of God has dawned, a reign of grace and peace, love and justice, born from the depths of the Word made flesh. 53
Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2002
  • It can be said that the Rosary is, in some sense, a prayer-commentary on the final chapter of the Vatican II Constitution Lumen Gentium, a chapter which discusses the wondrous presence of the Mother of God in the mystery of Christ and the Church. 2
  • ...the Rosary clearly belongs to the kind of veneration of the Mother of God described by the Council: a devotion directed to the Christological center of the Christian faith, in such a way that "when the Mother is honored, the Son ... is duly known, loved and glorified." (LG 66) 4
  • From Mary's uniquely privileged relationship with Christ, which makes her the Mother of God, Theotokos, derives the forcefulness of the appeal we make to her in the second half of the prayer [Hail Mary], as we entrust to her maternal intercession our lives and the hour of our death. 33

© This material has been compiled by M. Jean Frisk.
Copyright is reserved for The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute.

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