The Most Holy Mother of God: In the Songs of the Eastern Church contains 136 songs honoring the Virgin Mary and her role as a vessel of the Lord. G. R. Woodward translated these songs from the original Greek into English verse to give modern readers accessible versions of these often misunderstood songs. Woodward was motivated by his desire to reconcile conflicting beliefs about songs about Mary: “many English Christians seem to the Greek Church to fail to appreciate Mary’s part in the incarnation and redemption of the world by our lord Jesus Christ. And, on the other hand, it has come to be believed in England that the Easterns give the Theotokos worship that is due to God alone.” These poems, he believed, would correct this impression if an English audience could read and understand them on their own. These translated songs will be useful to pastors and laity alike.
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George Ratcliffe Woodward (1848–1934) was an Anglican priest who wrote and translated religious songs and poems. His other published works include Carols for Easter and Ascension-tide, Hymns and Carols for Christmas-tide, Cowley Carol Book, Songs of Syon, Piae Cantiones, A Cambridge Carol Book: Being Fifty-Two Songs for Christmas, Easter, and Other Seasons, and The Acathist Hymn of the Holy Orthodox Church.