Mary and the Church:
Mary and the World (ecumenism) / Orthodox

The charts below are direct quotes from Post-Vatican II Magisterial Documents concerning the theme, Mary and Orthodoxy. 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 IV. Mary and the Church / 6a. Mary and the World (ecumenism) / Orthodox
Lumen Gentium, 1964
  • ...the Easterns, who with devout mind and fervent impulse give honor to the Mother of God, ever virgin 69
Signum Magnum, 1967
  • teachings were interpreted and spelled out more clearly by Eastern and Western Church traditions 35
Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973
  • reference in the Decree on Ecumenism to "the hierarchy of truths," which "vary in their relationship to the foundation of the Christian faith." (UR 11) 107
  • ... with regard to the differences that still divide Western Christians ... and the role of Mary in the work of salvation." (UR 20) 108
  • [matters to commonly explore] our common patrimony, hierarchy of truths, Theotokos, relationship between Scripture, Tradition and the Church's teaching role, effects of redemption in Mary, bond between Mary and the Holy Spirit. 107-112
  • May her loving desire that her Son's words be heeded hasten Christian unity. 146
Marialis Cultus, 1974
  • ... in venerating with particular love the glorious Theotokos and in acclaiming her as the "Hope of Christians," (Orthodox Office) Catholics unite themselves with their brethren of the Orthodox Churches, in which devotion to the Blessed Virgin finds its expression in a beautiful lyricism and in solid doctrine. 32
Redemptoris Mater, 1987
    • Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and the ancient Churches of the East feel united by love and praise of the Theotokos. Not only "basic dogmas of the Christian faith concerning the Trinity and God's Word made flesh of the Virgin Mary were defined in Ecumenical Councils held in the East," (UR 14) but also in their liturgical worship "the Orientals pay high tribute, in very beautiful hymns, to Mary ever Virgin ... God's Most Holy Mother." (UR 15) 31 [See more detailed distinctions/unity in this article]
    • The Greek Fathers and the Byzantine tradition, contemplating the Virgin in the light of the Word made flesh, have sought to penetrate the depth of that bond which unites Mary, as the Mother of God, to Christ and the Church: the Virgin is a permanent presence in the whole reality of the salvific mystery. 31 [also Coptic and Ethiopian in this article]
    • [rich heritage in liturgy ...] incomparable abundance of feasts and hymns 31, 32
    • [icons, see more under Marian devotion]
    • [Note:] I also recall the Icon of the Virgin of the Cenacle, praying with the Apostles as they awaited the Holy Spirit: could she not become the sign of hope for all those who, in fraternal dialogue, wish to deepen their obedience of faith? 33
    • [Marian Year 1987 linked to ecumenism; see 49]
    • [May she intercede] until all the peoples of the human family, whether they are honored with the name of Christian or whether they still do not know their Savior, are happily gathered together in peace and harmony into the one People of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity." (LG 69) 50
The VM in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988
  • John Paul II has underlined " how profoundly the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and the ancient Churches of the East feel united by love and praise of the "Theotokos" (Redemptoris Mater, 31)... - Dimitrios I, the Ecumenical Patriarch, has noted that "our two sister Churches have maintained throughout the centuries unextinguished the flame of devotion to the most venerated person of the all-holy Mother of God" (Dimitrios I, Homily given on Dec 7, 1987 during the celebration of Vespers at St. Mary Major (Rome): L'Osservatore Romano (Eng.ED.Dec. 21-28, 1987), p.6), and he went on to say that " the subject of Mariology should occupy a central position in the theological dialogue between our Churches...for the full establishment of our ecclesial communion." (ibid., 6) 14
Orientale Lumen, 1995
Ut Unum Sint, 1995
  • Indeed, in comparison to any other culture, the Christian East has a unique and privileged role as the original setting where the church was born. ... The Christian tradition of the East implies a way of accepting, understanding and living faith in the Lord Jesus OL 5
  • the Decree on Ecumenism mentions the way of formulating doctrine as one of the elements of a continuing reform. (UR 6) Here it is not a question of altering the deposit of faith, changing the meaning of dogmas, eliminating essential words from them, accommodating truth to the preferences of a particular age or suppressing certain articles of the Creed under the false pretext that they are no longer understood today. The unity willed by God can be attained only by the adherence of all to the content of revealed faith in its entirety. USS 18
  • Even so, doctrine needs to be presented in a way that makes it understandable to those for whom God himself intends it UUS 19
  • establishment in 1979, the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church has worked steadily, directing its study to areas decided upon by mutual agreement, with the purpose of re-establishing full communion between the two churches USS 59
  • In the period following the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church has also, in different ways and with greater or lesser rapidity, restored fraternal relations with the ancient churches of the East which rejected the dogmatics formulations of the councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon. ... And precisely in relation to Christology, we have been able to join the patriarchs of some of these churches in declaring our common faith in Jesus Christ, true God and true man. [various official statements are listed; then the pope concludes] I wish to express my joy at all this in the words of the Blessed Virgin: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord" (Lk 1:46) UUS 62
  • It is already possible to identify the areas in need of fuller study before a true consensus of faith can be achieved:
    1) the relationship between sacred Scripture, as the highest authority in matters of faith, and sacred tradition, as indispensable to the interpretation of the word of God;
    2) the eucharist, as the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, an offering of praise to the Father, the sacrificial memorial and real presence of Christ and the sanctifying outpouring of the Holy Spirit;
    3) ordination, as a sacrament, to the threefold ministry of the episcopate, presbyterate and diaconate;
    4) the magisterium of the church, entrusted to the pope and the bishops in communion with him, understood as a responsibility and an authority exercised in the name of Christ for teaching and safeguarding the faith;
    5) the Virgin Mary, as mother of God and icon of the church, the spiritual mother who intercedes for Christ's disciples and for all humanity. UUS 79

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

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