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Immaculate Conception Category: Theotokos …between created and uncreated…

Theotokos. Divine Motherhood
In the works of Fr. Sergei Bulgakov

Mary becomes the Temple of the temple

The temple was the only place on earth hallowed in peace where God lived (cf. the prayer of Solomon at the consecration of the temple — I Kg 8.14; 2 Chr 6.3.). This was the place of paradisein the earth of the curse, which here was removed from the world and creation, for the temple was holy. ‹…› Mary becomes the Temple of the temple, and receives on herselfs the power of the temple's consecration.

Fr. Sergei Bulgakov
The Burning Bush
On the Orthodox Veneration of the Mother of God
Glorification of the Mother of God

The Holy Spirit gave the power for seedless conception

The Annunciation is already the completion of Divine Motherhood. The descent of the Holy Spirit and His indwelling in the Mother of God, who by virtue of this indwelling received the capacity for a seedless conception, is generally speaking the highest blessing that can ever be thought for creation. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit already signifies the divinization of human nature in the person of the Mother of God. At the same time it was not yet salvation, but only the preparation for salvation. Life in the Holy Spirit was revealed for humankind only through Christ and in Christ, who prayed His Father to send down the Holy Spirit after His ascension. Before this the Holy Spirit is revealed as a surmounting power which acts on humankind in a certain sense from the outside, transcendently, but not from the inside, not immanently; the latter became possible only when Christ took on flesh and became immanent to humanity. Thus the singular and unrepeatable indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary, not shared by any other creaturely being, does not exclude Pentecost for her. It does not close the possibility of receiving the grace of the Holy Spirit already as the principles of the proper life of a human being, as its interior divinization. The Virgin Mary became the Temple in which the Holy Spirit dwelt for the purpose of Christ's incarnation, but as a human being, for the sake of her own nature begotten in original sin, as indeed every human being, she needed baptism and the reception of the Holy Spirit and she received the fiery tongue of the Holy Spirit along with and equally with all the apostles, with the whole Church. The grace of the Annunciation proved to be compatible with the grace of Pentecost. As a human burdened by original sin, Mary needed redemption through the blood of her Son and the appropriation of this redemption through the gift of the Holy Spirit; to speak in the language of church sacraments, she needed baptism (with the Holy Spirit and with fire) and chrismation (sealing with the Spirit). This in and of itself sufficiently refutes the Catholic dogma. Otherwise there would be no reason for her to be present at Pentecost (it merits notice that the sole recollection about Mary in the Acts of the Apostles concerns precisely this account, and in icons of the descent of the Holy Spirit the Mother of God is always depicted in the centre of the apostles receiving her special fiery tongue).

Fr. Sergei Bulgakov
The Burning Bush
On the Orthodox Veneration of the Mother of God
Glorification of the Mother of God

The Holy Spirit renders the Son of God incarnate

One should remember, however, that, in general, no creaturely holiness is capable of encountering God — and a fortiori of supporting the birth of God — without being annihilated. Only God Himself can sanctify and deify a creature to the point where it becomes strong enough and worthy of the Incarnation. If the Son of God is made incarnate, it is the Holy Spirit, descending upon the Virgin and making Her the earthly heaven, who renders Him incarnate. In the Holy Trinity the Holy Spirit is the Third hypostasis; He follows the Second hypostasis and reposes upon it. But in the work of the Incarnation the Holy Spirit anticipates by His action the Son who is made incarnate. Just as in human birth the mother comes first and the child follows, so in the divine birth the Holy Spirit, descending upon the Mother of God, gives Her the power of Divine Motherhood.

Virgin Mary is the creaturely Sophia

Christ — the incarnate Logos, who has His divine nature, Sophia, and who Himself reveals her ideal content — manifests the hypostatic image of the Heavenly Sophia in His earthly Incarnation. In this sense the Apostle calls Him "the power of God" (I Cor. 1:24). But precisely as the hypostatic Sophia, He unites in the unity of His two natures the Divine Sophia, as His Divinity, and the creaturely Sophia, as His humanity. For this reason He can be called the Wisdom of God in a double capacity: as the hypostasis of the Heavenly Sophia and of the creaturely Sophia. But the creaturely Sophia, whom He hypostatizes in His humanity, is also hypostatized in her autonomous being; this creaturely hypostasis of the creaturely Sophia is the Virgin Mary. Therefore, it is in no wise a contadiction to call both Christ and the Mother of God Sophia, although they are called Sophia in different senses. But in the Mother of God, as the Spirit-bearer, we venerate also the hypostatic revelation of the Holy Spirit (although not His incarnation). Thus, by confessing that the Mother of God is the creaturely Sophia, we attest that also the Holy Spirit — together with the Son, although differently from Him — is the hypostatic Wisdom of God.

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