|Theotokos: "The Bearer of God"|
We, as Orthodox Christians, give great honor to the Mother of God. Why is this so? First, the Virgin Mary, the Theotokos, is the greatest of all saints and thus is worthy of all honor and respect. She is the most revered of the saints because she was chosen by Almighty God to be the mother of His Son, Jesus Christ. Obviously God approved of the Virgin's holiness and her wondrous ability to love, so she was granted this distinct honor. Therefore, we too, must grant her this same great respect.
Secondly, the Virgin Theotokos was the first Christian because she said yes to God's request and became the Bearer or Birth-giver of His Son. Even the Theotokos had the ability to say no to God, yet her example of faithfulness stands as the ultimate example of our free human will responding to God's love. The Virgin Mary became the greatest of all women because of her simple response, "Let it be done according to Thy word." (St. Luke 1:38)
The Virgin Theotokos is the symbol of the Church because she bore Christ in her womb, just as we, members of the Faith, are called to have Christ dwell within us on our journey through life.
The Virgin Mary is also the instrument of the Incarnation of Christ, whereby God came to us in the flesh, in the person of Jesus, our Lord. To Christians, God is not some elusive spirit but one who truly emptied Himself and took on the nature of man in order that we might be saved. The Holy Virgin, as the Mother of God, maintained her virginity even after the birth of Christ. This is an important dogma of the Church. As such, it sets the Virgin apart and underscores her freedom and cooperation with the will of Almighty God. Also, we venerate Mary as Ever-Virgin and All-Holy, thereby giving honor to her Son and His Divine majesty.
"Bearer of God" is a most correct title since it was Christ whom the Virgin Mary bore, and Christ is truly the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. The Virgin Mary was not the source of Christ's Divinity. He was God before time began, and Mary was the instrument through which He assumed His humanity. The Virgin Theotokos was not the cause of Christ, but only the holy instrument of God's will, whereby He gained our salvation. For this reason, the Church honors the Virgin Mary above all of the saints.
Scriptural references: St. Luke 1:45
From The Orthodox Church A to Z by Fr. George Grube, Pages 169-170.