The '''Virgin Mary''' is the '''Theotokos''', the mother of [[Jesus Christ]], the Son and [[Logos|Word]] of God. She conceived by the power of the [[Holy Spirit]]. She was cared for by her betrothed husband, [[Joseph the Betrothed|Joseph]], who took the child and his mother into his home as his own. One very strong tradition in the [[Orthodox Church]] holds that the birth of [[Jesus Christ|Jesus]] was also miraculous and left Mary's virginity intact as a sign; it is also the tradition of the Church that Joseph and Mary did not have relations after the birth of Jesus. She is also called '''Panagia''', the "All-Holy," indicating her closeness to God in her obedience.
The title ''Theotokos'' (in Greek,
Θεοτοκος) is a Greek word that means "God-bearer" or "Birth-giver to God."
2. '''Translating the word ''Theotokos'''''
While some languages used by various Orthodox churches often have a single native word for ''Theotokos'', it gets translated into English in a number of ways. The most common is ''Mother of God'', though ''God-bearer'' and ''Birth-giver to God'' are also fairly common. There are difficulties with all these translations, however. The most literally correct one is ''Birth-giver to God'', though ''God-bearer'' comes close. ''Theophoros'' (Θεοφορος) is the Greek term usually and more correctly translated as ''God-bearer'', so using ''God-bearer'' for ''Theotokos'' in some sense "orphans" ''Theophoros'' when it comes time to translate that term (for St. [[Ignatius of Antioch]], for instance). The main difficulties with both these translations for ''Theotokos'' is that they are a bit awkward and difficult to sing.
The Church continued to call the Theotokos the "Virgin" even after the time when she supposedly would have had other children, as some say. It would be a rather odd thing to keep calling a woman "the Virgin" and even "Ever-Virgin" when one was standing next to her other offspring in Church.
Additionally, throughout the earliest liturgies of the Church, she is continually called "Ever-Virgin." One can also find references to her ever-virginity in the [[Church Fathers|Fathers]]' writings, such as in those of [[Peter of Alexandria]], [[Epiphanius]], Athanasius, [[Didymus the Blind]], Jerome, [[Cyril of Alexandria]], Leo, [[Sophronius of Jerusalem]], [[John of Damascus]], [[John Cassian]], [[Ephrem the Syrian|Ephrem of Syria]], and the capitula of the [[Fifth Ecumenical Council|II Council of Constantinople]] in 553 A.D. (In short, nearly everywhere.) One such example is in St. [[Ambrose of Milan]] (4th century): "The virgin did not seek the consolation of bearing another child" (See Letter 63; ''NPNF'' v. 10, p. 473). There are many other such quotations. Anyone familiar with the writings of the Church Fathers will see her being called "the Virgin" and "Ever-Virgin" frequently.
[[Hippolytus]] was a scholar, [[bishop]], and [[martyr]], who lived in or near Rome and wrote in Greek; he was martyred in A.D. 235. He is considered to be one of the most important witnesses as to how the early church worshipped.
*Holy Apostles Convent. ''The Life of the Virgin Mary, the Theotokos''. (ISBN 0944359035)
* Dr. [[w:Brian E. Daley|Brian E. Daley]] (S.J.). ''"Woman of many names: Mary in Orthodox and Catholic theology."'' '''Theological Studies''' 71.4 (2010): pp.846+.
*[http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/theotokos.aspx An Orthodox View of the Virgin Mary]
*[http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/general/veneration_mary.aspx Veneration of the Virgin Mary] by Protopresbyter Michael Polsky
*[http://www.protomartyr.org/mary.html Facing Up to Mary] by Fr. [[Peter Gillquist|Peter E. Gillquist
*[http://www.roca.org/OA/12/12f.htm Holy Fathers – The Most Holy Virgin Mary] (''Orthodox America'')
*[http://aggreen.net/theotokos/theotokos.html Our Most Holy Lady Theotokos]
*[http://www.comeandseeicons.com/bvm/theotokos.htm Icons of the Theotokos]
*[http://southern-orthodoxy.blogspot.com/2006/10/immaculate-misconception.html Immaculate (Mis)Conception] by Fr. Joseph Huneycutt
/Theological articles devoted to the Theotokos] by '''Myriobiblos''' the Online library of the [[Church of Greece]] (Greek)
* Miriam Lambouras. ''[http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/marian_apparitions.aspx "The Marian Apparitions: Divine Intervention or Delusion?"]'' '''[http://www.saintedwardbrotherhood.org/shepherd.html The Shepherd: An Orthodox Christian Pastoral Magazine]''' 16, no.12 (September 1996) to 18, no.4 (December 1997).