Mother of God, Bogoroditsa, Dei Genetrix
All of Creation Rejoices in You
All of Creation
All of Creation
In You, O Woman, Full of Grace,
the angelic choirs and the human race -
all creation rejoices! All creation rejoices! 
O Sanctified Temple, Mystical Paradise and
Glory of Virgins, He, Who is our God, from
before all ages, took flesh from You and became
a child! He made Your womb a throne! A throne
greater than the heavens! In You, O Woman,
Full of Grace, In You, O Woman, Full of Grace,
all creation rejoices, all creation rejoices! All
praise be to You! All praise be to You! All
praise be to you!
The above hymn known variously as ALL OF CREATION REJOICES IN YOU, O FULL OF GRACE or IN YOU, O WOMAN FULL OF GRACE in English, as O TEBYE RADUYETSYA in Slavonic, and as EPI SOI HAIRI in Greek, is sung by all Eastern Christians of the Byzantine liturgical tradition throughout Great Lent during the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great following the consecration of the Holy Gifts. This liturgy is celebrated on Sunday in Great Lent and several other feasts throughout the year. Its authorship is attributed to the 8th century Saint John Damascene.  It reached central and eastern Europeans and Middle Easterners who follow the Byzantine rite through the Greek Irmologion (hymnal). The hymn is one of the great tributes of the Eastern Church to the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, [3 & 4]. Found throughout the liturgies and service books, it serves as the theme of this Web page.
St. John Damascene
The veneration of the Eastern Church for the Mother of God did not spring full grown from the New Testament scripture, nor is it readily apparent in the writings of the early Church Fathers. The Eastern Church, however, does rely heavily upon the non-canonical Protoevangelion of St. James for some information about the Holy Virgin. The Church's veneration for the Virgin evolved primarily from the growing awareness among early theologians that the role of the Virgin Mary in the economy of salvation was a logical and necessary consequence of the developing Christology of the Early Church. This notion did not pass unchallenged. In the 5th century AD the unity of the Universal or Catholic Church came under attack in the form of the Nestorian heresy.
During the late 4th and early 5th centuries the theological debates in the Church shifted from Trinitarian concerns to the very nature of Christ. Eventually the dispute over the nature of Christ was brought to a head by Nestorius, Archbishop of Constantinople, who championed the cause of those who claimed that the two natures of Christ, human and divine, were separate, distinct and independent. Nestorius declared that there existed between the two natures only a moral union, i. e. the two natures were united in love but separated in essence. This meant, of course, that there was no room for the divine maternity of Mary. If there are two distinct persons in Jesus Christ, Mary would be the mother of the human person only. Thus the reference to Mary as Mother of God (Theotokos) was anathema to the Nestorians who preferred to refer to Her as “Christotokos” (Mother of Christ).
The orthodox party led by St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria, moved quickly to resolve the issue. Unable to convince Nestorius of his errors, St. Cyril appealed to Pope Celestine I who condemned the teachings of Nestorius at a Roman Council held in August, 430. Nestorius remain adamant , whereupon the Emperor Theodosius II summoned an ecumenical council of the Universal Church which met in Ephesus in Asia Minor in 431. The Council of Ephesus, the Third Ecumenical Council of the Church was not a happy event; it was rife with real controversy and chicanery, but orthodoxy eventually triumphed with the Edict of Union in 433. This rested upon the principle that there is in Christ a union of two natures in one Lord and that the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God (Theotokos) (For text of decree, see footnote 5).
Following the Council, Nestorianism was condemned throughout the Empire, but took refuge in Persia where a heretical church was organized. Little remains of the Nestorian heresy today in the East. It remains, however, alive and flourishing in the West where it is an essential part of various Protestant and other deconstructionist theologies which reject the role of the Virgin Mary in the scheme of salvation. 
The author expresses his gratitude to fellow parishioner, Mrs. Sherie Fuchko, whose singing of the hymn during Great Lent 2001 inspired the writing of this page. Thanks are due also to Fr. John Sekellick, Eparchy of Passaic, NJ and to Fr. John Matusiak of the Orthodox Church in America for their critical examination of the text and their comments. The icon, ALL OF CREATION REJOICES IN YOU, was written by George Klotzas at the end of the 16th century. The inspiration for this icon comes from the 8th century hymn which is the subject of this page. Circles of scenes of Feasts and Saints surround the Virgin and Son seated upon the flaming Seraphim. The icon, ALL OF CREATION, is a 16th century icon from St. Catherine's Monastery at Mount Sinai. These two icons are courtesy of St. Isaac of Syria Skete whose Web site is found at: http://www.skete.com. Other materials are drawn from A HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH by Dom Charles Poulet, B. Herder & Co., 1941 and from the CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA whose Web site is at: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen. See also OUR LADY OF THE SACKCLOTH at: http://www.byzantines.net/byzcathculture/sackcloth.html
- “In You, O Woman, Full of Grace, the Angelic Choirs and the human race - all creation rejoices” Repeatedly in the liturgy and the theology of the Eastern Church, from Origen to the Damascene and beyond to the present Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople one encounters the anomaly of all of creation, inanimate and non-rational animate, joining with mankind as its surrogate in praising the Holy Virgin, the saints and martyrs, and the Holy Trinity. Is this just a figure of speech? Poetic license? In a future Web page the author will discuss the cosmology of the Eastern Church, its origins, meaning and implications for modern man.
- St. John Damascene, also known as St. John of Damascus, was born in Syria in 676, served as an officer in the court of the Khalif, and later became known for his vigorous defense of orthodox Christianity. He was a protagonist of the veneration of icons during the iconoclastic heresy, wrote many essays in defense of orthodoxy and was a noted composer of hymns. St. John's contributions will be discussed in a later Web page.
- The greatest hymn in praise of the Mother of God in the Byzantine liturgical tradition is the AKATHISTOS HYMN, the text of which may be seen at: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/akathis.html
- The Greek word, THEOTOKOS, title of this page, means in literal translation “God - Birthgiver” (Theos - God; tokos - birthgiver. It is translated directly into Slavonic as BOGORODITSA, and into Latin as DEI GENETRIX. Because the term translated directly into English, namely God-Birthgiver is awkward in English speech, the preferred translation is MOTHER OF GOD. We acknowledge, however, that birthgiver and mother are not identical. The Greek word, tokos, is limited to birthgiving, whereas the English word “mother” includes birthgiving and many other tasks.
- The formula of Union, 433, reads in pertinent part as follows:
We profess therefore that Our Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son
of God, is true God and true man, constituted by a body and a
rational soul: that He was engendered by the Father before all
time as to His divinity, and as to His humanity, was born of the
Virgin Mary in time for us and for our salvation; that He is
consubstantial with the Father in His divinity, and consubstantial
with us in His humanity; for one union was effected by the two
natures, and we acknowledge only one Christ, one Son, one Lord.
Because of this union, which is free from all admixture, we also
acknowledge that the Blessed Virgin is the Mother of God,
because God the Word was made flesh, was made man, coalesced
with the Temple (His humanity), which He took from Her.
- The Protestant religious revolt in the 16th century rejected the authority of the Church manifest in the Church Councils and in the Church Fathers, and established in their place the authority of Scripture. Luther's “Sola Scriptura” removed Scripture from the context of history and Holy Tradition, denying the validity of all that could not be justified by the Scriptural texts or by his interpretation thereof. Consequently the role of the Virgin Mary in the scheme of salvation as upheld by the Church Councils and Church Fathers was rejected. This neo-Nestorian heresy is inherent in Protestant theologies, and in the writings of the so-called Jesus Seminarists and of other deconstructionists of orthodox Christian theology. Today as in the 5th century, words carry ideological baggage. Thus the words, “Mother of Jesus” currently fashionable, are the very code words of modern Nestorianism.
Our Lady of the Roses
Below are the text and melody of the hymn as used by the Ruthenian Byzantine (Greek) Catholic Metropolia of the United States.
Below are the text and melody of the hymn as used by many Orthodox Churches of the Byzantine liturgical tradition in the United States.
Below are the text and melody of the hymn as used by the Greek Orthodox. The text is in Greek and the music is in Byzantine notation.