Date of Submission



The figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a cherished element in all of the apostolic churches, East and West. Each of the various traditions has unique ways of understanding and expressing this foundational ecclesial element. This study attempts to contribute to a deeper understanding of the Blessed Virgin Mary both as Mother of God and Mother of all Christians in the light of the theologies of four theologians representative of the Orthodox Christian East and the Roman Catholic West. It presupposes that the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches' deeper understanding of important common elements can enable Eastern and Western Christians to mutually recognise themselves in each other, and in so doing advance the movement towards the restoration of their full visible communion. This study aims to investigate the profound significance of the Virgin Mother as both Mother of the Divine Redeemer and as Mother of all Christians, examining in particular the relationship of Mary and the Holy Spirit in the theologies of Sergius Bulgakov (1871-1944), Alexander Schmemann (1921-1983), John Henry Newman (1801-1890) and Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988). It aims to determine to what degree the insights of these four theologians can be directed to the cause of ecumenical unity, through a particular emphasis on Mary and the Holy Spirit.


School of Theology

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


321 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Faculty of Theology and Philosophy