Theodotus of Ancyra

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Theodotus of Ancyra (Died ca. 446 A.D.)  was a fifth-century bishop of Ancyra (modern Ankara). He was a theologian who attended the Council of Ephesus in 431, during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II, and was the quasi-official theologian, delivering at least two sermons against Nestorius during the Council. Although he had earlier supported the Nestorian theology of Nestorius, bishop of Constantinople, Theodotus changed his opinion and, at the Council of Ephesus, gave his support to Patriarch Cyril of Alexandria in condemning Nestorius.  Theodotus became a staunch advocate for the title of Theotokus for Mary and argued tenaciously against Nestorianism.


  • Homily on the Nativity of the Lord
  • Homily on the Mother of God and on the Nativity
  • Various Homilies

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Quotes and Excerpts:

“If iron, once joined to fire, immediately expels the impurities extraneous to its nature and swiftly acquires a likeness to the powerful flame that heats it, so that it becomes untouchable and capable of setting any material on fire, how much more, in a superior way, did the Virgin burn when the divine fire (the Holy Spirit) rushed in? She was purified from earthly impurities, and from whatever might be against her nature, and was restored to her original beauty, so as to become inaccessible, untouchable, and irreconcilable to carnal things.”
-Homily 4:6

“A person who has had water poured upon his head is made wet in every part of his body, from head to toe; just so, we believe that the divine Virgin Mother was also entirely anointed with the holiness of the Holy Spirit, who descended upon her. And so, in this way, she received the living God, the Word, into her virginal and fragrant bridal chamber.”
-Homily 4:6

“Consider that the Virgin, by means of her body, brings to light the Word, not of course conferring by this birth the principle of divinity (God forbid!), but so that he might make himself known to men, as God-made-man. Therefore God, the Word, made a birth proper to himself; he chose the Virgin as his Mother and came forth from a womb adorned with virginity.“
-Homily 2:8

“Innocent virgin, spotless, without defect, untouched, unstained, holy in body and in soul, like a lily-flower sprung among thorns, unschooled in the wickedness of Eve, unclouded by womanly vanity. Even before the Nativity, she was consecrated to the Creator. Holy apprentice, guest in the Temple, disciple of the law, anointed by the Holy Spirit, clothed with divine grace as with a cloak, divinely wise in your mind; united to God in your heart. Praiseworthy in your speech, even more praiseworthy in your action. Good in the eyes of men, better in the sight of God.”
-Homily 6:11

“Divine Providence has given her to us, a creature worthy of the Lord, bearer of blessings. She does not incite us to disobedience but leads us to submit to God. She does not offer a deadly fruit but offers the life-giving bread. She is not timid in her reasoning but is strong in her affections. Not light in her mind, but solid in her soul. She converses with the archangel in a magnificent dialogue and shames the author of evil. Seeing the angel of the Annunciation, she was struck by wonder because he did not look like a son of Adam; nevertheless, she remained prudently attentive to what he told her, to assure herself that what was visiting her in the Temple was not the kind of deceitful benevolence that had once visited paradise. In other words, to make sure that it was not the audacity of the violator introducing himself into the house of God, as he had done in Eden. She wanted to make sure that the glad tidings were not a trick. What did the divine messenger do then? Perceiving the Virgin’s interior dispositions and perspicacity in her outward appearance and admiring her just prudence, he began to weave her a kind of floral crown with two peaks: one of joy and one of blessing; then he addressed her in a thrilling speech of praise, lifting up his hand and crying out:
‘Hail, O full of grace, the Lord is with you, you are blessed’
(Lk 1:28), O most beautiful and most noble among women. The
Lord is with you, O all-holy one, glorious and good. The Lord is
with you, O worthy of praise, O incomparable, O more than glori-
ous, all splendor, worthy of God, worthy of all blessedness. I admire your humility, most eminent woman. ‘Do not fear,
Mary’ (Lk 1:30), spouse of God, divinely nourished treasure. To you I announce neither a conception in wickedness nor a birth in sin; instead, I bring the joy that puts an end to Eve’s sorrow. To you I proclaim neither a trying pregnancy nor a painful delivery; rather, I foretell a birth of consolation and gladness. Do not judge divine things in a human way. For I am not telling you about a tearful labor or about giving birth in sadness; no, I am proclaiming the dawn of the light of the world.
Through you, Eve’s odious condition is ended; through you, abjection has been destroyed; through you, error is dissolved; through you, sorrow is abolished; through you, condemnation has been erased. Through you, Eve has been redeemed. He who is born of the holy (Virgin] is holy, holy and Lord of all the
saints, holy and Giver of holiness. Wondrous is he who generated the Woman of wonder; Ineffable is he who precedes the Woman beyond Words; Son of the Most High is he who springs from this highest creature, he who appears, not by man’s willing it, but by the power of the Holy Spirit; he who is born is not a mere man, but God, the incarnate Word.”
-On the Mother of God and on the Nativity; PO 19, 330-31

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