Select Page

The Friday Theotokia is very rich in theology; in general, all of the theotokias are full of things that teach us our faith. The central theme of the Friday Theotokia is the understanding of the Incarnation, beginning a unique union with God. The refrain repeats the idea, “He took what is ours, and gave us what is His, we praise and glorify Him, and exalt Him.” What did He take, and what did He give? In the Incarnation, Christ takes our humanity. In a previous post, I mentioned the concept of “double consubstantiality.” That means that Christ shared the same nature with the Father in His divinity and shared the same nature with us in His humanity. In the 4th part of the Theotokia, one side of the chorus begins chanting, “The Seraphim glorify Him, and you held Him in your arms, He who gives food to all flesh, through His great kindness.” While the other side responds, “He held to your breasts, and you fed Him, for He is our God, and the Savior of everyone.” This exchange is the wonder of the Incarnation; the same God Who continues to feed us was fed by St. Mary, His own creation.

Some people may think it is not fitting to talk about the Virgin Mary in such an explicit way. However, the Church’s goal in this point is to teach us the implications of the Incarnation. The Incarnation and Christ’s nature after impact what He did for us and, therefore, how I live today and tomorrow. As Copts, we are often accused of being monophysites; however, the true belief is miaphysite. What’s the difference?

Monophysite means one nature; however, a single nature. Miaphysite means one nature as well; however, a single composite nature? What’s the difference? Think of miaphysite as marriage. Now, remember most analogies fall short but just for the sake of simplifying. We believe that a man and woman, by the Holy Spirit, are now one flesh in marriage. Does being one flesh mean that the man ceases to exist as an individual or that the woman ceases to exist as an individual? Of course not, that would be absurd! In becoming one flesh, they haven’t morphed into this new creature either—the same with Christ’s nature. For example, if you play with play-doh and mix two colors together, they eventually become one new color. That is not what happens in marriage and definitely NOT what happened with the Incarnation! Christ’s divinity and humanity united together yet preserved their respected prosperities. Meaning, Christ’s divinity didn’t become any “less” divine, and His humanity was not a supernatural type of humanity.

The Church also depicts in many icons called in Arabic “العذراء المرضعه” which literally means the virgin the breastfeeding. In the Latin context, it’s known as “nursing Madonna” in English. The importance of this is to show that Christ’s humanity was a real and full human nature. In doing so, Christ being fully human gives us a renewal. This is what the priest means when he prays in the liturgy of St. Gregory, “and blessed my nature in Yourself.” So am I living in this reality? The reality that through Christ’s incarnation, my nature is now blessed and renewed?