Mary the Theotokos

The Egyptian Church, led by Cyril of Alexandria, was at the high point of its influence at the Council of Ephesus (431), defending the understanding of Mary as God-bearer rather than Christ-bearer, the term preferred by Nestorius. Cyril's position is evidence of the early development of popular devotion to Mary, which is also shown in the growth of the genre of theotokion, a hymn praising the Virgin Mary used in the Liturgy of Hours and the Psalmodia. The perpetual virginity of Mary and her lack of personal sin are affirmed, as well as her bodily assumption into heaven. However, the Coptic Church has not explicitly affirmed a doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. The Feast of the Dormition of Mary is celebrated on 29 January, her Assumption on 22 August. A relatively new feast on 2 April commemorates the apparition of the Virgin at Zeitun, Egypt in 1968.

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