The Mediterranean has played host to the blossoming and cross-pollination of several distinct Orthodox Christian traditions, including the Byzantine, Coptic, West Syriac and Armenian. Each of these recapitulate the scriptural figure of Mary the mother of Jesus, through the media of iconography and hymnography, especially as these converge within the liturgical context. There the threads of the New Testament (and apocryphal) accounts of her, as well as the Old Testament symbols or “types” discerned to foreshadow her, are interwoven into a rich tapestry. By showcasing cardinal representations of the “God-bearer” this presentation invites reflection on the unity and diversity of the Christian East, and the complex dynamics operative in the historical development of doctrine and devotion.
Dr. Brian A. Butcher received a Ph.D. in Theology (Eastern Christian Studies) from St. Paul University in Ottawa in 2010, an M.A. from St. Paul University in 2003, and a B.A. from McGill University in 1998. He is currently an adjunct professor at McGill University. For nine years he was Lecturer and Research Fellow in Eastern Christian Studies at the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptysky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies both at the University of St. Michael’s College and previously at Saint Paul University in Ottawa. Prior to that he taught for several years at Simon Fraser University and Redeemer Pacific College/Trinity Western University. His first book, Liturgical Theology After Schmemann: An Orthodox Reading of Paul Ricoeur, was published in 2018 by Fordham University Press. Other recent publications include a chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Sacramental Theology (2015). He is a subdeacon in the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church.