The Theotokos. The word itself means “God-bearer,” as the Virgin Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ, the Son and Word of God, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit. In the Orthodox Church we hold that the birth of Jesus left the Theotokos’ virginity intact and that she and Joseph refrained from marital relations after Jesus’ birth as well. We celebrate the Theotokos with several feast days throughout the year (in addition to the many wonder working icons of her that have their own); specifically her Nativity on September 8th, her presentation in the Temple on November 21st, the Annunciation on March 25th (to coincide with Nativity 9 months later), and her Dormition on August 15th. Her full title as you will hear several times during the Divine Liturgy, is, “Our all-holy, immaculate, most-blessed and glorified Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary.” You may also notice on icons through the parish and elsewhere that she has letters on either side of her face - these are abbreviations of Μητηρ Θεου - “Mother of God.” Obviously there is much more to the Theotokos than I’ve been able to include here, but there are some great reading materials available both at the parish and online, and this would be a great subject to discuss with your sponsor and spiritual father if you have questions.