The Church has defined four dogmas pertaining to Mary. They include Mary, the mother of God, her perpetual virginity, Immaculate Conception, and her assumption into heaven. It is because of the first Marian dogma that she has been privileged with the other three. Therefore, it is essential to understand the meaning and implications of this doctrine before attempting to explain the more complicated and controversial Marian dogmas.
The doctrine of Mary as the mother of God finds its roots in the New Testament when the archangel Gabriel says to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God” (Lk 1:35). The Gospel of Matthew also affirms the doctrine in 1:23, “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel (which means, God with us)”. This dogma was formally defined at the council of Ephesus in 431 when the Church gave Mary the official title Theotokos which literally means Christ-bearer.
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