Sunday, November 30, 2008

Paul Evdokimov

Eve is called "mother of all the living," but the author of Genesis who, in his prophetic clear-sightedness assigned this name, envisioned infinitely more than a mere biological continuation, more than a "seal of grace promised," more than the prospect that from such a race, would arise "the queen arrayed in gold of Ophir" (Ps 45:10). Our biological conformity to the life of our species reflects our spiritual conformity to eternal life. The second Eve was proclaimed "God-bearer" (Theotokos) by the Third Ecumenical Council (Ephesus, 431). The one who gives birth to the Eternal God, the one who gives human life to the Ever-Living One, is herself immortalized. It is in this magnificent sense that Eve is called Life (Gen 3:20). Now we can understand why it is the woman who received the message of salvation. The message of the Annunciation is addressed to a woman; the risen Christ appears first to a woman, and it is "the woman robed with the sun" (Rev 12:1) who represents the New Jerusalem. Scripture exalts woman as the religious element of human nature. Woman is the mouth of humanity through with the humble "Be it done unto me" (fiat) of the servant of God replied to the creative fiat ("Let it be done") of the heavenly Father. Woman is this free "Amen" of all humanity which, in the work of the Incarnation, becomes the indispensable human foundation.

Paul Evdokimov, Woman and the Salvation of the World : A Christian Anthropology on the Charisms of Women, trans. A. P. Gythiel (St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1994), pp. 155-6.