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Life of the Virgin Mary

Life of the Virgin Mary

John Geometres

Edited and translated by Maximos Constas and Christos Simelidis

ISBN 9780674290808

Publication date: 05/01/2023

The first complete, modern translation of one of the most important Byzantine works of Marian doctrine and devotion.

John Geometres (ca. 935–ca. 1000) was one of the most highly esteemed poets and authors in Byzantium; yet his most important text, the Life of the Virgin Mary, remains largely unknown today. This literary and rhetorical masterpiece stands as a work of outstanding theological sophistication, animated by deeply felt devotion to the Mother of God. Geometres’s distinctive and idiosyncratic narrative offers a comprehensive biography, from Mary’s ancestry to her death and beyond, with special emphasis on her direction of Christ’s female disciples, her active participation in the passion and resurrection, and her leadership of the nascent Church. The Life has been rightly considered a critical missing piece in a larger puzzle connecting early Marian writings with later works. Based on a completely new edition of the Byzantine Greek text, this is the first complete translation of Life of the Virgin Mary into a modern language.


  • Maximos Constas is Professor of Patristics and Orthodox Spirituality at Holy Cross School of Theology in Brookline, MA.
  • Christos Simelidis is Assistant Professor of Late Antique and Byzantine Philology and Literature at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki.

Book Details

  • 496 pages
  • 5-1/4 x 8 inches
  • Harvard University Press