From the Early Church Fathers

Protestant anti-Catholicsoften claim that the Marian doctrines are a late invention. The quotations in this article from the Early Church Fathers demonstrates this is not the case. Many of these quotations are from the time of St. Augustine and before.

Some might dismiss these quotation by claiming the Catholic Church had already become corrupt. Unfortunately, this argument has a side-effect. These same church fathers were also discussing and developing other important doctrines such as ...

They were also fighting heresy and determining the canon of scripture. If they were wrong about Mary how can we trust them about the other things?

Protestant anti-Catholicsoften use quotations from Augustine to demonstrate that the early church was Protestant, not Catholic. One problem with this argument is that Augustine clearly held Catholic views regarding Mary, the Eucharist, and many other topics.

I wrote these series of articles (see menu sidebar to the left) as a Catholic for Catholics, but I no longer accept Catholic teaching as the authoritative source of truth.I have not attempted to align these articles with my current views.

   Mary, Mother of God


Index ...

Mary is Sinless (Immaculate Conception)

Devotion to Mary

Perpetual Virginity

Mother of God

Assumption of Mary


Mary is Sinless (Immaculate Conception)


St. Hippolytus of Rome

Martyr, presbyter and antipope; date of birth unknown; d. about 236.

On the End of the World

immaculate and virgin Mary

all-holy Virgin


St. Gregory of Neocaesarea

Born at Neocaesarea in Pontus (Asia Minor) about 213; died there 270-275.

FOUR HOMILIES. THE FIRST HOMILY. ON THE ANNUNCIATION TO THE HOLY VIRGIN MARY.

Meekly, then, did grace make election of the pure Mary alone out of all generations. For she proved herself prudent truly in all things; neither has any woman been born like her in all generations.

FOUR HOMILIES. THE THIRD HOMILY. ON THE ANNUNCIATION TO THE HOLY VIRGIN MARY.

how can Mary sustain the fire of the divinity? Thy throne blazes with the illumination of its splendour, and can the virgin receive Thee without being consumed?"

Hail, thou stainless mother of the Bridegroom of a world bereft!


St. Augustine of Hippo

Converted in 386, Bishop of Hippo 396-430

CONFESSIONS BOOK V. CHAP. X.—WHEN HE HAD LEFT THE MANICHAEANS, HE RETAINED HIS DEPRAVED OPINIONS CONCERNING SIN AND THE ORIGIN OF THE SAVIOUR. Verse 20.

Such a nature, then, I thought could not be born of the Virgin Mary without being mingled with the flesh; and how that which I had thus figured to myself could be mingled without being contaminated, I saw not. I was afraid, therefore, to believe Him to be born in the flesh, lest I should be compelled to believe Him contaminated by the flesh?


St. Augustine of Hippo

Converted in 386, Bishop of Hippo 396-430

CHAP. 42 [XXXVI.] — THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY MAY HAVE LIVED WITHOUT SIN. NONE OF THE SAINTS BESIDES HER WITHOUT SIN.

grace for overcoming sin in every particular was conferred upon her who had the merit to conceive and bear Him who undoubtedly had no sin


St. Augustine of Hippo

Converted in 386, Bishop of Hippo 396-430

REPLY TO FAUSTUS THE MANICHAEAN

BOOK XIV.

A.D. 400.

Paragraph 5

Christ's flesh was not sinful, because it was not born of Mary by ordinary generation; but because death is the effect of sin, this flesh, in being mortal, had the likeness of sinful flesh.


The Liturgy of the Blessed Apostles

COMPOSED BY ST. ADAEUS AND ST. MARIS, TEACHERS OF THE EASTERNS / ELUCIDATIONS

ELUCIDATIONS

V. (For all the prophets and confessors, p. 565.)

INTRODUCTORY NOTICE TO THE EARLY LITURGIES

Renaudot alone seems to have been prepared to acknowledge in some degree its great antiquity." He thinks that it is "one of the earliest, and perhaps the very earliest

These commemorations of the dead, it will be noted, are in behalf of the most glorious apostles and saints, and for martyrs who go straight to glory. Obviously, as Usher has said, for whatever purpose, then, the departed were commemorated, it was not to change their estate before the resurrection, much less to relieve them from purgatorial penalties. This comes out in the "Liturgy of St. Chrysostom" (so called), where it is said: "We offer to Thee this reasonable service for those who have fallen asleep in faith, ... patriarchs, apostles, evangelists, martyrs, ... and every just one made perfect in the faith: especially our all-holy, undefiled, most blessed Lady, Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary," etc. But she, they tell us, was assumed into glory, like Christ Himself, and reigns with Him as "Queen of Angels,"


Devotion to Mary


Julius Africanus, c. 160 — c. 240

Thy glory is great; for thou art exalted above all women of renown, and thou art shown to be more queenly than all queens.


St. Gregory of Neocaesarea

Born at Neocaesarea in Pontus (Asia Minor) about 213; died there 270-275.

FOUR HOMILIES. THE FIRST HOMILY. ON THE ANNUNCIATION TO THE HOLY VIRGIN MARY.

Meekly, then, did grace make election of the pure Mary alone out of all generations. For she proved herself prudent truly in all things; neither has any woman been born like her in all generations.

that makes glad the souls of those who honour thee?

FOUR HOMILIES. THE SECOND HOMILY. ON THE ANNUNCIATION TO THE HOLY VIRGIN MARY.

festival of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, the mother of God,

FOUR HOMILIES. THE THIRD HOMILY. ON THE ANNUNCIATION TO THE HOLY VIRGIN MARY.

Hail, thou stainless mother of the Bridegroom of a world bereft!


St. Peter of Alexandria

Became Bishop of Alexandria in 300; martyred Nov., 311.

FRAGMENTS FROM THE WRITINGS OF PETER

born according to the flesh of our holy and glorious lady, Mother of God, and Ever-Virgin, and, of a truth, of Mary the Mother of God;


St. Peter of Alexandria

Became Bishop of Alexandria in 300; martyred Nov., 311.

they came to the church of the most blessed mother of God, and Ever-Virgin Mary,


Arabic Gospel of the Infancy of the Saviour (c. 600)

Attributed to "Joseph the high priest, perhaps Caiaphas"

THE ARABIC GOSPEL OF THE INFANCY OF THE SAVIOUR

The Lady Mary said: As my son has no equal among children, so his mother has no equal among women.


The Divine Liturgy of James, The Holy Apostle and Brother of the Lord

Somewhere in the 3rd and 4th century

holy God-mother, and ever-virgin Mary;

all-holy, pure, most glorious, blessed Lady, the God-Mother and Ever-Virgin Mary,


St. Jerome

Born about the year 342; died 420

Letter XXII - 384

TO EUSTOCHIUM

What will be the glory of that day when Mary, the mother of the Lord, shall come to meet you, accompanied by her virgin choirs!


St. Basil the Great

Born probably 329; died 1 January, 379

Letter 360. Of the Holy Trinity, the Incarnation, the invocation of Saints, and their Images.

I confess to the economy of the Son in the flesh, and that the holy Mary, who gave birth to Him according to the flesh, was Mother of God. I acknowledge also the holy apostles, prophets, and martyrs; and I invoke them to supplication to God, that through them, that is, through their mediation, the merciful God may be propitious to me, and that a ransom may be made and given me for my sins. Wherefore also I honour and kiss the features of their images, inasmuch as they have been handed down from the holy apostles, and are not forbidden, but are in all our churches.


St. Ambrose Bishop of Milan

from 374 to 397; born probably 340, at Trier, Arles, or Lyons; died 4 April, 397.

On the Holy Spirit

Book III

CHAPTER XI.

does not accordingly follow that Mary is to be worshipped.

80. And let no one divert this to the Virgin Mary; Mary was the temple of God, not the God of the temple. And therefore He alone is to be worshipped


St. Ambrose Bishop of Milan

from 374 to 397; born probably 340, at Trier, Arles, or Lyons; died 4 April, 397.

THREE BOOKS OF St. AMBROSE BISHOP OF MILAN TO MARCELLINA HIS SISTER — CONCERNING VIRGINS, BOOK II

CHAPTER II.

The life of Mary is set before virgins as an example, and her many virtues are dwelt upon, her chastity, humility, hard life, love of retirement, and the like; then her kindness to others, her zeal in learning, and love of frequenting the temple. St. Ambrose then sets forth how she, adorned with all these virtues, will come to meet the numberless bands of virgins and lead them with great triumph to the bridal chamber of the Spouse.

6. LET, then, the life of Mary be as it were virginity itself, set forth in a likeness, from which, as from a mirror, the appearance of chastity and the form of virtue is reflected. From this you may take your pattern of life, showing, as an example, the clear rules of virtue: what you have to correct, to effect, and to hold fast.

7. The first thing which kindles ardour in learning is the greatness of the teacher. What is greater than the Mother of God? What more glorious than she whom Glory Itself chose? What more chaste than she who bore a body without contact with another body? For why should I speak of her other virtues? She was a virgin not only in body but also in mind,

CHAPTER III.

St. Ambrose having set forth the Virgin Mary as a pattern for life

21. Some one will say: "Why have you brought forward the example of Mary, as if any one could be found to imitate the Lord's mother?


Pope St. Gregory I ("the Great")

born at Rome about 540; died 12 March 604.

BOOK XIII In the Sixth Indiction, and the Thirteenth Year FROM His Ordination.

EPISTLE IX. To Thalassia, Abbess.

monastery of Saint Mary


St. Gregory of Nazianzus

Doctor of the Church, born at Arianzus, in Asia Minor, c. 325; died at the same place, 389.

REGISTER OF THE EPISTLES OF SAINT GREGORY THE GREAT, BOOK I

[Devotion to Mary]

EPISTLE LVI.

TO PETER, SUBDEACON.

Oratory of the Blessed Mary


Salminius Hermias Sozomen

One of the famous historians of the early Church, born at Bethelia, a small town near Gaza in Palestine, in the last quarter of the fourth century; died probably in 447 or 448.

THE ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY OF SALAMINIUS HERMIAS SOZOMENUS

BOOK VII.

CHAP. V

For the power of God was there manifested, and was helpful both in waking visions and in dreams, often for the relief of many diseases and for those afflicted by some sudden transmutation in their affairs. The power was accredited to Mary, the Mother of God, the holy virgin, for she does manifest herself in this way.


St. John Damascene

Born at Damascus, about 676; died some time between 754 and 787

CHAPTER XIV.

Concerning our Lord's genealogy and concerning the holy Mother of God.

Concerning the holy and much-lauded ever-virgin one, Mary, the Mother of God The ever-virgin One thus remains even after the birth still virgin, having never at any time up till death consorted with a man.

Must there not therefore be a Mother of God who bore God incarnate? Assuredly she who played the part of the Creator's servant and mother is in all strictness and truth in reality God's Mother and Lady and Queen over all created things.


Perpetual Virginity



The Protoevangelium of James

150 A.D.

I see no reason to be shocked by the claims in this writing regarding Mary's birth, upbringing, and marriage to Joseph. There is nothing in it that is far-fetched or unbelievable.

This document provides strong evidence that Mary was venerated very early in church history. Protestants typically claim that the Catholic doctrines regarding Mary and the emphasis on Mary were established in the Middle Ages, but this document provides evidence that this is not true. Emphasis on Mary began very early in the church.

If this story is true and Mary lived at the temple, it would explain how Mary came to be so wise in the things of God. She surely would have passed-on her knowledge and wisdom to Jesus.


The Birth of Mary the Holy Mother of God, and Very Glorious Mother of Jesus Christ

And the child [Mary] was three years old, and Joachim said: Invite the daughters of the Hebrews that are undefiled, and let them take each a lamp, and let them stand with the lamps burning, that the child may not turn back, and her heart be captivated from the temple of the Lord. And they did so until they went up into the temple of the Lord. And the priest received her, and kissed her, and blessed her, saying: The Lord has magnified thy name in all generations. In thee, on the last of the days, the Lord will manifest His redemption to the sons of Israel. And he set her down upon the third step of the altar, and the Lord God sent grace upon her; and she danced with her feet, and all the house of Israel loved her.

Behold, Mary has reached the age of twelve years in the temple of the Lord. What then shall we do with her, test perchance she defile the sanctuary of the Lord? And they said to the high priest: Thou standest by the altar of the Lord; go in, and pray concerning her; and whatever the Lord shall manifest unto thee, that also will we do. And the high priest went in, taking the robe with the twelve bells into the holy of holies; and he prayed concerning her. And behold an angel of the Lord stood by him, saying unto him: Zacharias, Zacharias, go out and assemble the widowers of the people, and let them bring each his rod; and to whomsoever the Lord shall show a sign, his wife shall she be. And the heralds went out through all the circuit of Judaea, and the trumpet of the Lord sounded, and all ran.

9. And Joseph, throwing away his axe, went out to meet them; and when they had assembled, they went away to the high priest, taking with them their rods. And he, taking the rods of all of them, entered into the temple, and prayed; and having ended his prayer, he took the rods and came out, and gave them to them: but there was no sign in them, and Joseph took his rod last; and, behold, a dove came out of the rod, and flew upon Joseph's head. And the priest said to Joseph, Thou hast been chosen by lot to take into thy keeping the virgin of the Lord. But Joseph refused, saying: I have children, and I am an old man, and she is a young girl. I am afraid lest I become a laughing-stock to the sons of Israel. And the priest said to Joseph: Fear the Lord thy God, and remember what the Lord did to Dathan, and Abiram, and Korah; how the earth opened, and they were swallowed up on account of their contradiction. And now fear, O Joseph, lest the same things happen in thy house. And Joseph was afraid, and took her into his keeping. And Joseph said to Mary: Behold, I have received thee from the temple of the Lord; and now I leave thee in my house, and go away to build my buildings, and I shall come to thee. The Lord will protect thee.

13. And she was in her sixth month; and, behold, Joseph came back from his building, and, entering into his house, he discovered that she was big with child. And he smote his face, and threw himself on the ground upon the sackcloth, and wept bitterly, saying: With what face shall I look upon the Lord my God? and what prayer shall I make about this maiden? because I received her a virgin out of the temple of the Lord, and I have not watched over her. Who is it that has hunted me down? Who has done this evil thing in my house, and defiled the virgin? Has not the history of Adam been repeated in me? For just as Adam was in the hour of his singing praise, and the serpent came, and found Eve alone, and completely deceived her, so it has happened to me also. And Joseph stood up from the sackcloth, and called Mary, and said to her: O thou who hast been cared for by God, why hast thou done this and forgotten the Lord thy God? Why hast thou brought low thy soul, thou that wast brought up in the holy of holies, and that didst receive food from the hand of an angel? And she wept bitterly, saying: I am innocent, and have known no man. And Joseph said to her: Whence then is that which is in thy womb? And she said: As the Lord my God liveth, I do not know whence it is to me.


The Protoevangelium of James, probably written about A.D. 145

The Birth of Mary the Holy Mother of God, and Very Glorious Mother of Jesus Christ

In the records of the twelve tribes of Israel was Joachim, a man rich exceedingly; and he brought his offerings double, saying: There shall be of my superabundance to all the people, and there shall be the offering for my forgiveness to the Lord for a propitiation for me. For the great day of the Lord was at hand, and the sons of Israel were bringing their offerings. And there stood over against him Rubim, saying: It is not meet for thee first to bring thine offerings, because thou hast not made seed in Israel. And Joachim was exceedingly grieved, and went away to the registers of the twelve tribes of the people, saying: I shall see the registers of the twelve tribes of Israel, as to whether I alone have not made seed in Israel. And he searched, and found that all the righteous had raised up seed in Israel. And he called to mind the patriarch Abraham, that in the last day God gave him a son Isaac. And Joachim was exceedingly grieved, and did not come into the presence of his wife; but he retired to the desert, and there pitched his tent, and fasted forty days and forty nights, saying in himself: I will not go down either for food or for drink until the Lord my God shall look upon me, and prayer shall be my food and drink.


2. And his wife Anna mourned in two mournings, and lamented in two lamentations, saying: I shall bewail my widowhood; I shall bewail my childlessness. And the great day of the Lord was at hand; and Judith her maid-servant said: How long dost thou humiliate thy soul? Behold, the great day of the Lord is at hand, and it is unlawful for thee to mourn. But take this head-band, which the woman that made it gave to me; for it is not proper that I should wear it, because I am a maid-servant, and it has a royal appearance. And Anna said: Depart from me; for I have not done such things, and the Lord has brought me very low. I fear that some wicked person has given it to thee, and thou hast come to make me a sharer in thy sin. And Judith said: Why should I curse thee, seeing that the Lord hath shut thy womb, so as not to give thee fruit in Israel? And Anna was grieved exceedingly, and put off her garments of mourning, and cleaned her head, and put on her wedding garments, and about the ninth hour went down to the garden to walk. And she saw a laurel, and sat under it, and prayed to the Lord, saying: O God of our fathers, bless me and hear my prayer, as Thou didst bless the womb of Sarah, and didst give her a son Isaac.


3. And gazing towards the heaven, she saw a sparrow's nest in the laurel, and made a lamentation in herself, saying: Alas! who begot me? and what womb produced me? because I have become a curse in the presence of the sons of Israel, and I have been reproached, and they have driven me in derision out of the temple of the Lord. Alas! to what have I been likened? I am not like the fowls of the heaven, because even the fowls of the heaven are productive before Thee, O Lord. Alas! to what have I been likened? I am not like the beasts of the earth, because even the beasts of the earth are productive before Thee, O Lord. Alas! to what have I been likened? I am not like these waters, because even these waters are productive before Thee, O Lord. Alas! to what have I been likened? I am not like this earth, because even the earth bringeth forth its fruits in season, and blesseth Thee, O Lord.


4. And, behold, an angel of the Lord stood by, saying: Anna, Anna, the Lord hath heard thy prayer, and thou shalt conceive, and shall bring forth; and thy seed shall be spoken of in all the world. And Anna said: As the Lord my God liveth, if I beget either male or female, I will bring it as a gift to the Lord my God; and it shall minister to Him in holy things all the days of its life. And, behold, two angels came, saying to her: Behold, Joachim thy husband is coming with his flocks. For an angel of the Lord went down to him, saying: Joachim, Joachim, the Lord God hath heard thy prayer Go down hence; for, behold, thy wife Anna shall conceive. And Joachim went down and called his shepherds, saying: Bring me hither ten she-lambs without spot or blemish, and they shall be for the Lord my God; and bring me twelve tender calves, and they shall be for the priests and the elders; and a hundred goats for all the people. And, behold, Joachim came with his flocks; and Anna stood by the gate, and saw Joachim coming, and she ran anti hung upon his neck, saying: Now I know that the Lord God hath blessed me exceedingly; for, behold the widow no longer a widow, and I the childless shall conceive. And Joachim rested the first day in his house.


5. And on the following day he brought his offerings, saying in himself: If the Lord God has been rendered gracious to me, the plate on the priest's forehead will make it manifest to me. And Joachim brought his offerings, and observed attentively the priest's plate when he went up to the altar of the Lord, and he saw no sin in himself. And Joachim said: Now I know that the Lord has been gracious unto me, and has remitted all my sins. And he went down from the temple of the Lord justified, and departed to his own house. And her months were fulfilled, and in the ninth month Anna brought forth. And she said to the midwife: What have I brought forth? and she said: A girl. And said Anna: My soul has been magnified this day. And she laid her down. And the days having been fulfilled, Anna was purified, and gave the breast to the child, and called her name Mary.


6. And the child grew strong day by day; and when she was six months old, her mother set her on the ground to try whether she could stand, and she walked seven steps and came into her bosom; and she snatched her up, saying: As the Lord my God liveth, thou shall not walk on this earth until I bring thee into the temple of the Lord. And she made a sanctuary in her bed-chamber, and allowed nothing common or unclean to pass through her. And she called the undefiled daughters of the Hebrews, and they led her astray. And when she was a year old, Joachim made a great feast, and invited the priests, and the scribes, and the elders, and all the people of Israel. And Joachim brought the child to the priests; and they blessed her, saying: O God of our fathers, bless this child, and give her an everlasting name to be named in all generations. And all the people said: So be it, so be it, amen. And he brought her to the chief priests; and they blessed her, saying: O God most high, look upon this child, and bless her with the utmost blessing, which shall be for ever. And her mother snatched her up, and took her into the sanctuary of her bed-chamber, and gave her the breast. And Anna made a song to the Lord God, saying: I will sing a song to the Lord my God, for He hath looked upon me, and hath taken away the reproach of mine enemies; and the Lord hath given the fruit of His righteousness, singular in its kind, and richly endowed before Him. Who will tell the sons of Rubim that Anna gives suck? Hear, hear, ye twelve tribes of Israel, that Anna gives suck. And she laid her to rest in the bed-chamber of her sanctuary, and went out and ministered unto them. And when the supper was ended, they went down rejoicing, and glorifying the God of Israel.


7. And her months were added to the child. And the child was two years old, and Joachim said: Let us take her up to the temple of the Lord, that we may pay the vow that we have vowed, lest perchance the Lord send to us, and our offering be not received. And Anna said: Let us wait for the third year, in order that the child may not seek for father or mother. And Joachim said: So let us wait. And the child was three years old, and Joachim said: Invite the daughters of the Hebrews that are undefiled, and let them take each a lamp, and let them stand with the lamps burning, that the child may not turn back, and her heart be captivated from the temple of the Lord. And they did so until they went up into the temple of the Lord. And the priest received her, and kissed her, and blessed her, saying: The Lord has magnified thy name in all generations. In thee, on the last of the days, the Lord will manifest His redemption to the sons of Israel. And he set her down upon the third step of the altar, and the Lord God sent grace upon her; and she danced with her feet, and all the house of Israel loved her.


8. And her parents went down marvelling, and praising the Lord God, because the child had not turned back. And Mary was in the temple of the Lord as if she were a dove that dwelt there, and she received food from the hand of an angel. And when she was twelve years old there was held a council of the priests, saying: Behold, Mary has reached the age of twelve years in the temple of the Lord. What then shall we do with her, test perchance she defile the sanctuary of the Lord? And they said to the high priest: Thou standest by the altar of the Lord; go in, and pray concerning her; and whatever the Lord shall manifest unto thee, that also will we do. And the high priest went in, taking the robe with the twelve bells into the holy of holies; and he prayed concerning her. And behold an angel of the Lord stood by him, saying unto him: Zacharias, Zacharias, go out and assemble the widowers of the people, and let them bring each his rod; and to whomsoever the Lord shall show a sign, his wife shall she be. And the heralds went out through all the circuit of Judaea, and the trumpet of the Lord sounded, and all ran.


9. And Joseph, throwing away his axe, went out to meet them; and when they had assembled, they went away to the high priest, taking with them their rods. And he, taking the rods of all of them, entered into the temple, and prayed; and having ended his prayer, he took the rods and came out, and gave them to them: but there was no sign in them, and Joseph took his rod last; and, behold, a dove came out of the rod, and flew upon Joseph's head. And the priest said to Joseph, Thou hast been chosen by lot to take into thy keeping the virgin of the Lord. But Joseph refused, saying: I have children, and I am an old man, and she is a young girl. I am afraid lest I become a laughing-stock to the sons of Israel. And the priest said to Joseph: Fear the Lord thy God, and remember what the Lord did to Dathan, and Abiram, and Korah; how the earth opened, and they were swallowed up on account of their contradiction. And now fear, O Joseph, lest the same things happen in thy house. And Joseph was afraid, and took her into his keeping. And Joseph said to Mary: Behold, I have received thee from the temple of the Lord; and now I leave thee in my house, and go away to build my buildings, and I shall come to thee. The Lord will protect thee.


10. And there was a council of the priests, saying: Let us make a veil for the temple of the Lord. And the priest said: Call to me the undefiled virgins of the family of David. And the officers went away, and sought, and found seven virgins. And the priest remembered the child Mary, that she was of the family of David, and undefiled before God. And the officers went away and brought her. And they brought them into the temple of the Lord. And the priest said: Choose for me by lot who shall spin the gold, and the white, and the fine linen, and the silk, and the blue, and the scarlet, and the true purple. And the true purple and the scarlet fell to the lot of Mary, and she took them, and went away to her house. And at that time Zacharias was dumb, and Samuel was in his place until the time that Zacharias spake. And Mary took the scarlet, and span it.


11. And she took the pitcher, and went out to fill it with water. And, behold, a voice saying: Hail, thou who hast received grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women! And she looked round, on the right hand and on the left, to see whence this voice came. And she went away, trembling, to her house, and put down the pitcher; and taking the purple, she sat down on her seat, and drew it out. And, behold, an angel of the Lord stood before her, saying: Fear not, Mary; for thou hast found grace before the Lord of all, and thou shalt conceive, according to His word. And she hearing, reasoned with herself, saying: Shall I conceive by the Lord, the living God? and shall I bring forth as every woman brings forth? And the angel of the Lord said: Not so, Mary; for the power of the Lord shall overshadow thee: wherefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of the Most High. And thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins. And Mary said: Behold, the servant of the Lord before His face: let it be unto me according to thy word.


12. And she made the purple and the scarlet, and took them to the priest. And the priest blessed her, and said: Mary, the Lord God hath magnified thy name, and thou shall be blessed in all the generations of the earth. And Mary, with great joy, went away to Elizabeth her kinswoman, and knocked at the door. And when Elizabeth heard her, she threw away the scarlet, and ran to the door, and opened it; and seeing Mary, she blessed her, and said: Whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? for, behold, that which is in me leaped and blessed thee. But Mary had forgotten the mysteries of which the archangel Gabriel had spoken, and gazed up into heaven, and said: Who am I, O Lord, that all the generations of the earth should bless me? And she remained three months with Elizabeth; and day by day she grew bigger. And Mary being afraid, went away to her own house, and hid herself from the sons of Israel. And she was sixteen years old when these mysteries happened.


13. And she was in her sixth month; and, behold, Joseph came back from his building, and, entering into his house, he discovered that she was big with child. And he smote his face, and threw himself on the ground upon the sackcloth, and wept bitterly, saying: With what face shall I look upon the Lord my God? and what prayer shall I make about this maiden? because I received her a virgin out of the temple of the Lord, and I have not watched over her. Who is it that has hunted me down? Who has done this evil thing in my house, and defiled the virgin? Has not the history of Adam been repeated in me? For just as Adam was in the hour of his singing praise, and the serpent came, and found Eve alone, and completely deceived her, so it has happened to me also. And Joseph stood up from the sackcloth, and called Mary, and said to her: O thou who hast been cared for by God, why hast thou done this and forgotten the Lord thy God? Why hast thou brought low thy soul, thou that wast brought up in the holy of holies, and that didst receive food from the hand of an angel? And she wept bitterly, saying: I am innocent, and have known no man. And Joseph said to her: Whence then is that which is in thy womb? And she said: As the Lord my God liveth, I do not know whence it is to me.


14. And Joseph was greatly afraid, and retired from her, and considered what he should do in regard to her. And Joseph said: If I conceal her sin, I find myself fighting against the law of the Lord; and if I expose her to the sons of Israel, I am afraid lest that which is in her be from an angel, and I shall be found giving up innocent blood to the doom of death. What then shall I do with her? I will put her away from me secretly. And night came upon him; and, behold, an angel of the Lord appears to him in a dream, saying: Be not afraid for this maiden, for that which is in her is of the Holy Spirit; and she will bring forth a Son, and thou shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. And Joseph arose from sleep, and glorified the God of Israel, who had given him this grace; and he kept her.


15. And Annas the scribe came to him, and said: Why hast thou not appeared in our assembly? And Joseph said to him: Because I was weary from my journey, and rested the first day. And he turned, and saw that Mary was with child. And he ran away to the priest? and said to him: Joseph, whom thou didst vouch for, has committed a grievous crime. And the priest said: How so? And he said: He has defiled the virgin whom he received out of the temple of the Lord, and has married her by stealth, and has not revealed it to the sons of Israel. And the priest answering, said: Has Joseph done this? Then said Annas the scribe: Send officers, and thou wilt find the virgin with child. And the officers went away, and found it as he had said; and they brought her along with Joseph to the tribunal. And the priest said: Mary, why hast thou done this? and why hast thou brought thy soul low, and forgotten the Lord thy God? Thou that wast reared in the holy of holies, and that didst receive food from the hand of an angel, and didst hear the hymns, and didst dance before Him, why hast thou done this? And she wept bitterly, saying: As the Lord my God liveth, I am pure before Him, and know not a man. And the priest said to Joseph: Why hast thou done this? And Joseph said: As the Lord liveth, I am pure concerning her. Then said the priest: Bear not false witness, but speak the truth. Thou hast married her by stealth, and hast not revealed it to the sons of Israel, and hast not bowed thy head under the strong hand, that thy seed might be blessed. And Joseph was silent.


16. And the priest said: Give up the virgin whom thou didst receive out of the temple of the Lord. And Joseph burst into tears. And the priest said: I will give you to drink of the water of the ordeal of the Lord, and He shall make manifest your sins in your eyes. And the priest took the water, and gave Joseph to drink and sent him away to the hill-country; and he returned unhurt. And he gave to Mary also to drink, and sent her away to the hill-country; and she returned unhurt. And all the people wondered that sin did not appear in them. And the priest said: If the Lord God has not made manifest your sins, neither do I judge you. And he sent them away. And Joseph took Mary, and went away to his own house, rejoicing and glorifying the God of Israel.


17. And there was an order from the Emperor Augustus, that all in Bethlehem of Judaea should be enrolled. And Joseph said: I shall enrol my sons, but what shall I do with this maiden? How shall I enrol her? As my wife? I am ashamed. As my daughter then? But all the sons of Israel know that she is not my daughter. The day of the Lord shall itself bring it to pass as the Lord will. And he saddled the ass, and set her upon it; and his son led it, and Joseph followed. And when they had come within three miles, Joseph turned and saw her sorrowful; and he said to himself: Likely that which is in her distresses her. And again Joseph turned and saw her laughing. And he said to her: Mary, how is it that I see in thy face at one time laughter, at another sorrow? And Mary said to Joseph: Because I see two peoples with my eyes; the one weeping and lamenting, and the other rejoicing and exulting. And they came into the middle of the road, and Mary said to him: Take me down from off the ass, for that which is in me presses to come forth. And he took her down from off the ass, and said to her: Whither shall I lead thee, and cover thy disgrace? for the place is desert.


18. And he found a cave there, and led her into it; and leaving his two sons beside her, he went out to seek a midwife in the district of Bethlehem. And I Joseph was walking, and was not walking; and I looked up into the sky, and saw the sky astonished; and I looked up to the pole of the heavens, and saw it standing, and the birds of the air keeping still. And I looked down upon the earth, and saw a trough lying, and work-people reclining: and their hands were in the trough. And those that were eating did not eat, and those that were rising did not carry it up, and those that were conveying anything to their mouths did not convey it; but the faces of all were looking upwards. And I saw the sheep walking, and the sheep stood still; and the shepherd raised his hand to strike them, and his hand remained up. And I looked upon the current of the river, and I saw the mouths of the kids resting on the water and not drinking, and all things in a moment were driven from their course.


19. And I saw a woman coming down from the hill-country, and she said to me: O man, whither art thou going? And I said: I am seeking an Hebrew midwife. And she answered and said unto me: Art thou of Israel? And I said to her: Yes. And she said: And who is it that is bringing forth in the cave? And I said: A woman betrothed to me. And she said to me: Is she not thy wife? And I said to her: It is Mary that was reared in the temple of the Lord, and I obtained her by lot as my wife. And yet she is not my wife, but has conceived of the Holy Spirit. And the midwife said to him: Is this true? And Joseph said to her: Come and see. And the midwife went away with him. And they stood in the place of the cave, and behold a luminous cloud overshadowed the cave. And the midwife said: My soul has been magnified this day, because mine eyes have seen strange things -- because salvation has been brought forth to Israel. And immediately the cloud disappeared out of the cave, and a great light shone in the cave, so that the eyes could not bear it. And in a little that light gradually decreased, until the infant appeared, and went and took the breast from His mother Mary. And the midwife cried out, and said: This is a great day to me, because I have seen this strange sight. And the midwife went forth out of the cave, and Salome met her. And she said to her: Salome, Salome, I have a strange sight to relate to thee: a virgin has brought forth -- a thing which her nature admits not of. Then said Salome: As the Lord my God liveth, unless I thrust in my finger, and search the parts, I will not believe that a virgin has brought forth.


20. And the midwife went in, and said to Mary: Show thyself; for no small controversy has arisen about thee. And Salome put in her finger, and cried out, and said: Woe is me for mine iniquity and mine unbelief, because I have tempted the living God; and, behold, my hand is dropping off as if burned with fire. And she bent her knees before the Lord, saying: O God of my fathers, remember that I am the seed of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob; do not make a show of me to the sons of Israel, but restore me to the poor; for Thou knowest, O Lord, that in Thy name I have performed my services, and that I have received my reward at Thy hand. And, behold, an angel of the Lord stood by her, saying to her: Salome, Salome, the Lord hath heard thee. Put thy hand to the infant, and carry it, and thou wilt have safety and joy. And Salome went and carried it, saying: I will worship Him, because a great King has been born to Israel. And, behold, Salome was immediately cured, and she went forth out of the cave justified. And behold a voice saying: Salome, Salome, tell not the strange things thou hast seen, until the child has come into Jerusalem.


21. And, behold, Joseph was ready to go into Judaea. And there was a great commotion in Bethlehem of Judaea, for Magi came, saying: Where is he that is born king of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and have come to worship him. And when Herod heard, he was much disturbed, and sent officers to the Magi. And he sent for the priests, and examined them, saying: How is it written about the Christ? where is He to be born? And they said: In Bethlehem of Judaea, for so it is written. And he sent them away. And he examined the Magi, saying to them: What sign have you seen in reference to the king that has been born? And the Magi said: We have seen a star of great size shining among these stars, and obscuring their light, so that the stars did not appear; and we thus knew that a king has been born to Israel, and we have come to worship him. And Herod said: Go and seek him; and if you find him, let me know, in order that I also may go and worship him. And the Magi went out. And, behold, the star which they had seen in the east went before them until they came to the cave, and it stood over the top of the cave. And the Magi saw the infant with His mother Mary; and they brought forth from their bag gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned by the angel not to go into Judaea, they went into their own country by another road.


22. And when Herod knew that he had been mocked by the Magi, in a rage he sent murderers, saying to them: Slay the children from two years old and under. And Mary, having heard that the children were being killed, was afraid, and took the infant and swaddled Him, and put Him into an ox-stall. And Elizabeth, having heard that they were searching for John, took him and went up into the hill-country, and kept looking where to conceal him. And there was no place of concealment. And Elizabeth, groaning with a loud voice, says: O mountain of God, receive mother and child. And immediately the mountain was cleft, and received her. And a light shone about them, for an angel of the Lord was with them, watching over them.


23. And Herod searched for John, and sent officers to Zacharias, saying: Where hast thou hid thy son? And he, answering, said to them: I am the servant of God in holy things, and I sit constantly in the temple of the Lord: I do not know where my son is. And the officers went away, and reported all these things to Herod. And Herod was enraged, and said: His son is destined to be king over Israel. And he sent to him again, saying: Tell the truth; where is thy son? for thou knowest that thy life is in my hand. And Zacharias said: I am God's martyr, if thou sheddest my blood; for the Lord will receive my spirit, because thou sheddest innocent blood at the vestibule of the temple of the Lord. And Zacharias was murdered about daybreak. And the sons of Israel did not know that he had been murdered.


24. But at the hour of the salutation the priests went away, and Zacharias did not come forth to meet them with a blessing, according to his custom. And the priests stood waiting for Zacharias to salute him at the prayer, and to glorify the Most High. And he still delaying, they were all afraid. But one of them ventured to go in, and he saw clotted blood beside the altar; and he heard a voice saying: Zacharias has been murdered, and his blood shall not be wiped up until his avenger come. And hearing this saying, he was afraid, and went out and told it to the priests. And they ventured in, and saw what had happened; and the fretwork of the temple made a wailing noise, and they rent their clothes from the top even to the bottom. And they found not his body, but they found his blood turned into stone. And they were afraid, and went out and reported to the people that Zacharias had been murdered. And all the tribes of the people heard, and mourned, and lamented for him three days and three nights. And after the three days, the priests consulted as to whom they should put in his place; and the lot fell upon Simeon. For it was he who had been warned by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death until he should see the Christ in the flesh.

And I James that wrote this history in Jerusalem, a commotion having arisen when Herod died, withdrew myself to the wilderness until the commotion in Jerusalem ceased, glorifying the Lord God, who had given me the gift and the wisdom to write this history. And grace shall be with them that fear our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory to ages of ages. Amen.


St. Hippolytus of Rome

Martyr, presbyter and antipope; date of birth unknown; d. about 236.

all-holy Mary, ever-virgin


Origen

Born in 185, died 254

COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN: BOOK I

6. THE FOURFOLD GOSPEL. JOHN'S THE FIRST FRUITS OF THE FOUR. QUALIFICATIONS NECESSARY FOR INTERPRETING IT.

no other son but Jesus


Origen

Born in 185, died 254

BOOK X.

COMMENTARY ON MATTHEW (written 246-248)

17. THE BRETHREN OF JESUS.

But some say, basing it on a tradition in the Gospel according to Peter, as it is entitled, or "The Book of James," that the brethren of Jesus were sons of Joseph by a former wife, whom he married before Mary. Now those who say so wish to preserve the honour of Mary in virginity to the end,


St. Gregory of Neocaesarea

Born at Neocaesarea in Pontus (Asia Minor) about 213; died there 270-275.

FOUR HOMILIES. THE FIRST HOMILY. ON THE ANNUNCIATION TO THE HOLY VIRGIN MARY.

Shall I still remain a virgin? is the honour of virginity not then lost by me?

FOUR HOMILIES. THE THIRD HOMILY. ON THE ANNUNCIATION TO THE HOLY VIRGIN MARY.

how can Mary sustain the fire of the divinity? Thy throne blazes with the illumination of its splendour, and can the virgin receive Thee without being consumed?"

Hail, thou stainless mother of the Bridegroom of a world bereft!

About the same date (c. 400) Rufinus (Migne, P.L., XXI, 337) gives a detailed account of the composition of the Creed, which account he professes to have received from earlier ages

COMMENTARY ON THE APOSTLES' CREED

This exposition of the Creed was made at the request of Laurentius, a Bishop whose see is unknown, but is conjectured by Fontanini, in his life of Rufinus, to have been Concordia, Rufinus' birthplace. Its exact date cannot be fixed; but from the fact that he says nothing of his difficulty in writing Latin after being so long in the East, as he does in several of his books, and from the comparative ease of the style, it is most probable that it was written in the later years of his

sojourn at Aquileia, that is, about 307-309.

RUFINUS — A COMMENTARY ON THE APOSTLES' CREED.

Virgin-state being preserved inviolate, the gate of the Virgin remained closed for ever.


St. Peter of Alexandria

Became Bishop of Alexandria in 300; martyred Nov., 311.

FRAGMENTS FROM THE WRITINGS OF PETER

born according to the flesh of our holy and glorious lady, Mother of God, and Ever-Virgin, and, of a truth, of Mary the Mother of God;


St. Peter of Alexandria

Became Bishop of Alexandria in 300; martyred Nov., 311.

they came to the church of the most blessed mother of God, and Ever-Virgin Mary,


THE DIVINE LITURGY OF JAMES, THE HOLY APOSTLE AND BROTHER OF THE LORD

Somewhere in the 3rd and 4th century

holy God-mother, and ever-virgin Mary;

all-holy, pure, most glorious, blessed Lady, the God-Mother and Ever-Virgin Mary,


St. Basil the Great

Born probably 329; died 1 January, 379

Letter 360. Of the Holy Trinity, the Incarnation, the invocation of Saints, and their Images.

I confess to the oeconomy of the Son in the flesh, and that the holy Mary, who gave birth to Him according to the flesh, was Mother of God. I acknowledge also the holy apostles, prophets, and martyrs; and I invoke them to supplication to God, that through them, that is, through their mediation, the merciful God may be propitious to me, and that a ransom may be made and given me for my sins. Wherefore also I honour and kiss the features of their images, inasmuch as they have been handed down from the holy apostles, and are not forbidden, but are in all our churches.


St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Bishop of Jerusalem and Doctor of the Church, born about 315; died probably 18 March, 386.

CATECHETICAL LECTURES,

LECTURE XII.

Paragraph 34.

the Virgins have their portion with Mary the Virgin.


St. Ambrose Bishop of Milan

from 374 to 397;

born probably 340, at Trier, Arles, or Lyons; died 4 April, 397

THE TREATISE OF St. AMBROSE BISHOP OF MILAN CONCERNING WIDOWS

CHAPTER IV.

By the example of Anna St. Ambrose shows what ought to be the life of widows, and shows that she was an example of chastity at every age. From this he argues that there are three degrees of the same virtue, all of which are included in the Church, and sets forth several examples in Mary, in Anna, and in Susanna. But, he adds, the state of virginity is superior to either of the others, but that a widow ought to take greater care for the preservation of her good name.

24. Let us remember then how Mary, how Anna, and how Susanna are spoken of. But since not only must we celebrate their praises but also follow their manner of life, let us remember where Susanna, and Anna, and Mary are found, and observe how each is spoken of with her special commendation, and where each is mentioned, she that is married in the garden, the widow in the temple, the virgin in her secret chamber.

25. But in the former the fruit is later, in virginity it is earlier; old age proves them, virginity is the praise of youth, and does not need the help of years, being the fruit of every age. It becomes early years, it adorns youth, it adds to the dignity of age, and at all ages it has the gray hairs of its righteousness, the ripeness of its gravity, the veil of modesty, which does hinder devotion and increases religion. For we see by what follows that holy Mary went every year with Joseph to Jerusalem on the solemn day of the passover. Everywhere in company with the Virgin is eager devotion and a zealous sharer of her chastity. Nor is the Mother of the Lord puffed up, as though secure of her own merits, but the more she recognized her merit, the more fully did she pay her vows, the more abundantly did she perform her service, the more fully did she discharge her office, the more religiously did she perform her duty and fill up the mystic time.

26. How much more then does it beseem you to be intent on the pursuit of chastity, t you leave any place for unfavourable opinion who have the evidence of your modesty and your behaviour alone. For a virgin, though in her also character rather than the body has the first claim, puts away calumny by the integrity of her body, a widow who has lost the assistance of being able to prove her virginity undergoes the inquiry as to her chastity not according to the word of a midwife, but according to her own manner of life. Scripture, then, has shown how attentive and religious should be the disposition of a widow.


St. Ambrose Bishop of Milan

from 374 to 397; born probably 340, at Trier, Arles, or Lyons; died 4 April, 397.

THREE BOOKS OF St. AMBROSE BISHOP OF MILAN TO MARCELLINA HIS SISTER — CONCERNING VIRGINS, BOOK II

CHAPTER II.

The life of Mary is set before virgins as an example, and her many virtues are dwelt upon, her chastity, humility, hard life, love of retirement, and the like; then her kindness to others, her zeal in learning, and love of frequenting the temple. St. Ambrose then sets forth how she, adorned with all these virtues, will come to meet the numberless bands of virgins and lead them with great triumph to the bridal chamber of the Spouse.

6. LET, then, the life of Mary be as it were virginity itself, set forth in a likeness, from which, as from a mirror, the appearance of chastity and the form of virtue is reflected. From this you may take your pattern of life, showing, as an example, the clear rules of virtue: what you have to correct, to effect, and to hold fast.

7. The first thing which kindles ardour in learning is the greatness of the teacher. What is greater than the Mother of God? What more glorious than she whom Glory Itself chose? What more chaste than she who bore a body without contact with another body? For why should I speak of her other virtues? She was a virgin not only in body but also in mind,

CHAPTER III.

St. Ambrose having set forth the Virgin Mary as a pattern for life

21. Some one will say: "Why have you brought forward the example of Mary, as if any one could be found to imitate the Lord's mother?


St. Augustine of Hippo

Converted in 386, Bishop of Hippo 396-430

TRACTATE 28 (JOHN 7:1-13)

Paragraph 3

all other near kindred by the term brethren

When, therefore, you hear of the Lord's brethren, consider them the blood relations of Mary, who did not a second time bear children

Mary's womb, neither before nor after conceived anything mortal.


St. Augustine of Hippo

Converted in 386, Bishop of Hippo 396-430

TRACTATE 10 (JOHN 2:12-21)

Mary did not give birth a second time? Far from it ! With her begins the dignity of virgins.

all the blood relations of Mary are the brethren of Christ.


St. Augustine of Hippo

Converted in 386, Bishop of Hippo396-430

TRACTATE 120 (JOHN 19:31-20:9)

in the womb of the Virgin Mary no one was conceived before Him, and no one after Him,


St. Augustine of Hippo

Converted in 386, Bishop of Hippo 396-430

ON MARRIAGE AND CONCUPISCENCE - BOOK II.

BY AURELIUS AUGUSTIN, BISHOP OF HIPPO; WRITTEN IN 419 AND 420,

CHAP. 15.—MAN, BY BIRTH, IS PLACED UNDER THE DOMINION OF THE DEVIL THROUGH SIN; WE WERE ALL ONE IN ADAM WHEN HE SINNED.

the permanent virginity of the blessed Mary even after child-bearing,


St. Augustine of Hippo

Converted in 386, Bishop of Hippo 396-430

ON MARRIAGE AND CONCUPISCENCE. WRITTEN IN 419 AND 420,

BOOK I.

CHAP. 12 [XI.]—MARRIAGE DOES NOT CANCEL A MUTUAL VOW OF

CONTINENCE; THERE WAS TRUE WEDLOCK BETWEEN MARY AND JOSEPH; IN WHAT

WAY JOSEPH WAS THE FATHER OF CHRIST.

mutual consent agreed to observe a perpetual abstinence from the use of carnal concupiscence.

had no carnal knowledge of her, nor was destined to have.

 

CHAP. 13.—IN THE MARRIAGE OF MARY AND JOSEPH THERE WERE ALL THE BLESSINGS OF THE WEDDED STATE; ALL THAT IS BORN OF CONCUBINAGE IS SINFUL FLESH.

may not persons remain man and wife when they cease by mutual consent from cohabitation; seeing that Joseph and Mary continued such, though they never even began to cohabit?


St. Augustine of Hippo

Converted in 386, Bishop of Hippo 396-430

REPLY TO FAUSTUS THE MANICHAEAN

BOOK XXII.

A.D. 400.

Paragraph 35

customary to call cousins brothers and sisters. Thus


St. Augustine of Hippo

Converted in 386, Bishop of Hippo 396-430

OF HOLY VIRGINITY.

Paragraph 2

the whole Church itself is a virgin espoused unto one Husband Christ, as the Apostle saith, of how great honor are its members worthy, who guard this even in the flesh itself, which the whole Church guards in the faith ? which imitates the mother of her husband, and her Lord.

Paragraph 4

"How," saith she, " shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" Which assuredly she would not say, unless she had before vowed herself unto God as a virgin.

she would not have asked, how, being a female, she should give birth to her promised Son, if she had married with purpose of sexual intercourse.

determined to continue a virgin,

Paragraph 5

holy virgins; and themselves together with Mary are mothers of Christ,

faithful ones should be born in the Church, who are members of That Head: but in the flesh, the mother of the Head Himself.


St. Augustine of Hippo

Converted in 386, Bishop of Hippo 396-430

Sermons on Selected Lessons of the New Testament

SERMON I.

[LI. BENEDICTINE EDITION.]

OF THE AGREEMENT OF THE EVANGELISTS MATTHEW AND LUKE IN THE

GENERATIONS OF THE LORD.

a virgin she continued;

Paragraph 22

our ancient fathers, whose sole design in their marriage was to have children by their wives. For those even who, according to the custom of their time and nation, had a plurality of wives, lived in such chastity with them


St. Jerome

Born about the year 342; died 420

Letter 48, TO PAMMACHIUS, written 393 or 394 A.D.

21. Christ Himself is a virgin; and His mother is also a virgin; yea, though she is His mother, she is a virgin still.


St. Jerome

Born about the year 342; died 420

The Perpetual Virginity of Blessed Mary

St. Jerome

Against Helvidius

This tract appeared about A.D. 383

The question which gave occasion to it was whether the Mother of our Lord remained a Virgin after His birth. Helvidius maintained that the mention in the Gospels of the "sisters" and "brethren" of our Lord was proof that the Blessed Virgin had subsequent issue, and he supported his

opinion by the writings of Tertullian and Victorinus.

Jerome vigorously takes the other side, and maintains against Helvidius three propositions:

1. That Joseph was only putatively, not really, the husband of Mary.

2. That the "brethren" of the Lord were his cousins, not his own brethren.

3. That virginity is better than the married state.


St. Jerome

Born about the year 342; died 420

AGAINST THE PELAGIANS

Book 1

DIALOGUE BETWEEN ATTICUS, A CATHOLIC, AND CRITOBULUS, A HERETIC.

Prologue.

Paragraph 2

perpetual virginity of Saint Mary.


St. Jerome

Born about the year 342; died 420

THE LETTERS OF St. JEROME:

LETTER LII.

TO NEPOTIAN.

Let Wisdom alone embrace me; let her nestle in my bosom, my Abishag who grows not old. Undefiled truly is she, and a virgin forever for although she daily conceives and unceasingly brings to the birth, like Mary she remains undeflowered.


John Cassian

A monk and ascetic writer of Southern Gaul, and the first to introduce the rules of Eastern monasticism into the West, b. probably in Provence about 360; d. about 435

THE SEVEN BOOKS OF JOHN CASSIAN ON THE INCARNATION OF THE LORD — AGAINST NESTORIUS, BOOK VII

CHAPTER XXV.

Virgin after the birth. As is said in Ezekiel: "And the gate was shut and not opened, because the Lord passed through it." A splendid Virginity, and wondrous fruitfulness! The Lord of the world is born: and there are no cries from her who brought Him forth. The womb is left empty, and a true child is born, and yet the Virginity is not destroyed.

Mary the mother of God.


Salminius Hermias Sozomen

One of the famous historians of the early Church, born at Bethelia, a small town near Gaza in Palestine, in the last quarter of the fourth century; died probably in 447 or 448.

THE ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY OF SALAMINIUS HERMIAS SOZOMENUS

BOOK I.

CHAP. I

the mother remaining a virgin after His birth


Salminius Hermias Sozomen

One of the famous historians of the early Church, born at Bethelia, a small town near Gaza in Palestine, in the last quarter of the fourth century; died probably in 447 or 448.

THE ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY OF SALAMINIUS HERMIAS SOZOMENUS

BOOK VII.

CHAP. V

For the power of God was there manifested, and was helpful both in waking visions and in dreams, often for the relief of many diseases and for those afflicted by some sudden transmutation in their affairs. The power was accredited to Mary, the Mother of God, the holy virgin, for she does manifest herself in this way.


THE LITURGY OF THE BLESSED APOSTLES

COMPOSED BY ST. ADAEUS AND ST. MARIS, TEACHERS OF THE EASTERNS / ELUCIDATIONS

ELUCIDATIONS

V. (For all the prophets and confessors, p. 565.)

INTRODUCTORY NOTICE TO THE EARLY LITURGIES

Renaudot alone seems to have been prepared to acknowledge in some degree its great antiquity."49 He thinks that it is "one of the earliest, and perhaps the very earliest

These commemorations of the dead, it will be noted, are in behalf of the most glorious apostles and saints, and for martyrs who go straight to glory. Obviously, as Usher has said, for whatever purpose, then, the departed were commemorated, it was not to change their estate before the resurrection, much less to relieve them from purgatorial penalties. This comes out in the "Liturgy of St. Chrysostom" (so called), where it is said: "We offer to Thee this reasonable service for those who have fallen asleep in faith, ... patriarchs, apostles, evangelists, martyrs, ... and every just one made perfect in the faith: especially our all-holy, undefiled, most blessed Lady, Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary," etc. But she, they tell us, was assumed into glory, like Christ Himself, and reigns with Him as "Queen of Angels,"


451 A.D.

The Fourth Ecumenical Council—The Council of Chalcedon

SESSION II.

THE TOME OF ST. LEO.

blessed and ever Virgin Mary


Theodoret

Bishop of Cyrus and theologian, born at Antioch in Syria about 393; died about 457.

DIALOGUES—THE "ERANISTES" OR "POLYMORPHUS" OF THE BLESSED THEODORETUS, BISHOP OF CYRUS, DIALOGUE II: THE UNCONFOUNDED

Son of Mary converses with brothers, but the only begotten has no brothers, for how could the name of only begotten be preserved among brothers?

Holy Virgin as Mother of God because


Pope St. Leo I (the Great)

(Reigned 440-61).

Place and date of birth unknown; died 10 November, 461

SERMON XXII.

ON THE FEAST OF THE NATIVITY, II.

born of a Virgin, without paternal desire, without injury to the mother's chastity:

a Virgin she remained.


Pope St. Leo I (the Great)

(Reigned 440-61).

Place and date of birth unknown; died 10 November, 461

LETTER XXVIII.

TO FLAVIAN

blessed Mary ever Virgin


The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew — 400 A.D.

Here beginneth the book of the Birth of the Blessed Mary and the

Infancy of the Saviour. Written in Hebrew by the Blessed Evangelist

Matthew, and translated into Latin by the Blessed Presbyter Jerome.

[Says Jerome] - There is extant another letter to the same bishops, attributed to Jerome: —

You ask me to let you know what I think of a book held by some to be about the nativity of St. Mary. And so I wish you to know that there is much in it that is false. For one Seleucus, who wrote the Sufferings of the Apostles, composed this book.

[I should paraphrase the story] - if Thou, O God, shouldst give me son or daughter, I would offer them to Thee in Thy holy temple.

placed the infant, Mary by name, in the community of virgins, in which the virgins remained day and night praising God.

constant in prayer, and her appearance was so beautiful and glorious,

Mary forbade them, saying: It cannot be that I should know a man, or that a man should know me

, I have resolved in my heart that I should not know a man at all.

when she was fourteen s years old, and on this account there was occasion for the Pharisees' saying that it was now a custom that no woman of that age should abide in the temple of God,

But when they came to the proper age they were given in marriage, and followed the course of their mothers before them, and were pleasing to God. But a new order of life has been found out by Mary alone, who promises that she will remain a virgin to God.

blessed in thine old age, O father Joseph, seeing that God hath shown thee to be fit to receive Mary.

: I am an old man, and have children; why do you hand over to me this infant, who is younger than my grandsons?

Joseph was occupied with his work, house-building, in the districts by the sea-shore; for he was a carpenter. And after nine months he came back to his house, and found Mary pregnant.


The History of Joseph the Carpenter — 400 A.D.

The History of the death of our father, the holy old man, Joseph the carpenter.

was one hundred and eleven years,

This same man, being well furnished with wisdom and learning, was made a priest in the temple of the Lord. He was, besides. skilful in his trade, which was that of a carpenter; and after the manner of all men, he married a wife. Moreover, he begot for himself sons and daughters, four sons, namely, and two daughters. Now these are their names—Judas, Justus, James, and Simon. The names of the two daughters were Assia and Lydia. At length the wife of righteous Joseph, a woman intent on the divine glory in all her works, departed this life. But Joseph, that righteous man, my father after the flesh, and the spouse of my mother Mary, went away with his sons to his trade, practising the art of a carpenter.

3. Now when righteous Joseph became a widower, my mother Mary, blessed, holy, and pure, was already twelve years old. For her parents offered her in the temple when she was three years of age, and she remained in the temple of the Lord nine years.


The Book of St. John Concerning the Falling Asleep of St. Mary — 4th or 5th century

all-holy glorious mother of God and ever-virgin Mary,

according to thy request, thou having left the world, shall go to the heavenly places to thy Son, into the true and everlasting life.


St. John Damascene

Born at Damascus, about 676; died some time between 754 and 787

CHAPTER XIV.

Concerning our Lord's genealogy and concerning the holy Mother of God.

Concerning the holy and much-lauded ever-virgin one, Mary, the Mother of God

The ever-virgin One thus remains even after the birth still virgin, having never at any time up till death consorted with a man.

Must there not therefore be a Mother of God who bore God incarnate? Assuredly she who played the part of the Creator's servant and mother is in all strictness and truth in reality God's Mother and Lady and Queen over all created things.


Mother of God


St. Hippolytus of Rome

Martyr, presbyter and antipope; date of birth unknown; d. about 236.

Elucidations

HIPPOLYTUS ON THE TWELVE APOSTLES

On the usage of the term "Mother of God"."

Leo of Rome, called "the Great," seems to have coined the less orthodox expression, relying on Holy Scripture, indeed, in the salutation of Elisabeth (Luke i. 43). This term has been sadly abused for Mariolatry.


St. Gregory of Neocaesarea

Born at Neocaesarea in Pontus (Asia Minor) about 213; died there 270-275.

FOUR HOMILIES. THE SECOND HOMILY. ON THE ANNUNCIATION TO THE HOLY VIRGIN MARY.

festival of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, the mother of God,


St. Peter of Alexandria

Became Bishop of Alexandria in 300; martyred Nov., 311.

FRAGMENTS FROM THE WRITINGS OF PETER

born according to the flesh of our holy and glorious lady, Mother of God, and Ever-Virgin, and, of a truth, of Mary the Mother of God;


St. Peter of Alexandria

Became Bishop of Alexandria in 300; martyred Nov., 311.

they came to the church of the most blessed mother of God, and Ever-Virgin Mary,

The Divine Liturgy of James, THE HOLY APOSTLE AND BROTHER OF THE LORD

Somewhere in the 3rd and 4th century

holy God-mother, and ever-virgin Mary;

all-holy, pure, most glorious, blessed Lady, the God-Mother and Ever-Virgin Mary,


St. Athanasius

Bishop of Alexandria; Confessor and Doctor of the Church; born c. 296; died 2 May, 373

FOUR DISCOURSES AGAINST THE ARIANS -- DISCOURSE III

Written BETWEEN 356 AND 360.

CHAPTER XXV.

14. Mary, bearer of God[3].


St. Athanasius

Bishop of Alexandria; Confessor and Doctor of the Church; born c. 296; died 2 May, 373.

VITA ST. ANTONI (THE LIFE OF ST. ANTONY — WRITTEN BETWEEN 356 AND 362)

36. so also John at the voice of Mary, the God-bearer, leaped for gladness.

Gospel of Nicodemus, Part I (Acta Pilati) — First Greek, Second Greek

Middle of the fourth century.

THE GOSPEL OF NICODEMUS: PART I.—THE ACTS OF PILATE (FIRST AND SECOND GREEK FORMS)

mother of God


St. Gregory of Nyssa

Date of birth unknown; died after 385 or 386

ON VIRGINITY

CHAPTER XIII (and others).

Mary the mother of God,


St. Gregory of Nazianzus

Doctor of the Church, born at Arianzus, in Asia Minor, c. 325; died at the same place, 389.

SELECT LETTERS OF SAINT GREGORY NAZIANZEN, ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE, DIVISION I

TO CLEDONIUS THE PRIEST AGAINST APOLLINARIUS. (EP. CI.)

If anyone does not believe that Holy Mary is the Mother of God, he is severed from the Godhead.


St. Ambrose Bishop of Milan

from 374 to 397; born probably 340, at Trier, Arles, or Lyons; died 4 April, 397.

THREE BOOKS OF St. AMBROSE BISHOP OF MILAN TO MARCELLINA HIS SISTER — CONCERNING VIRGINS, BOOK II

CHAPTER II.

The life of Mary is set before virgins as an example, and her many virtues are dwelt upon, her chastity, humility, hard life, love of retirement, and the like; then her kindness to others, her zeal in learning, and love of frequenting the temple. St. Ambrose then sets forth how she, adorned with all these virtues, will come to meet the numberless bands of virgins and lead them with great triumph to the bridal chamber of the Spouse.

6. LET, then, the life of Mary be as it were virginity itself, set forth in a likeness, from which, as from a mirror, the appearance of chastity and the form of virtue is reflected. From this you may take your pattern of life, showing, as an example, the clear rules of virtue: what you have to correct, to effect, and to hold fast.

7. The first thing which kindles ardour in learning is the greatness of the teacher. What is greater than the Mother of God? What more glorious than she whom Glory Itself chose? What more chaste than she who bore a body without contact with another body? For why should I speak of her other virtues? She was a virgin not only in body but also in mind,


The Third Ecumenical Council

The Council of Ephesus

A.D. 431

Mother of God."


St. Vincent of Lérins

He died before 450, and probably shortly after 434

CHAPTER XII.

A fuller account of the Errors of Photinus, Apollinaris and Nestorius.

[35.] Nestorius, whose disease is of an opposite kind, while pretending that he holds two distinct substances in Christ, brings in of a sudden two Persons, and with unheard of wickedness would have two sons of God, two Christs,—one, God, the other, man, one, begotten of his Father, the other, born of his mother. For which reason he maintains that Saint Mary ought to be called, not Theotocos (the mother of God), but Christotocos (the mother of Christ),

CHAPTER XV.

The Union of the Divine with the Human Nature took place in the very

Conception of the Virgin. The appellation "The Mother of God." Holy Mary of her prerogative of divine grace and her special glory.

The mother of God "Theotocos," but not in the sense in which it is imagined by a certain impious heresy which maintains, that she is to be called the Mother of God for no other reason than because she gave birth to that man who afterwards became God,

in her sacred womb was wrought that most sacred mystery


John Cassian

A monk and ascetic writer of Southern Gaul, and the first to introduce the rules of Eastern monasticism into the West, b. probably in Provence about 360; d. about 435

THE LIFE OF CASSIAN AND HISTORY OF HIS WRITINGS, MSS., AND EDITIONS

PROLEGOMENA.

CHAPTER I.

THE LIFE OF CASSIAN.

Thus the whole work was completed between the years 426 and 428; and now Cassian, who was growing old, was desirous of rest, feeling as if his life's work was nearly over. But the repose which he sought was not to be granted to him, for the remaining years of his life were troubled by two controversies, — the Nestorian, and the Pelagian, — or, rather, its offshoot, the Semi-Pelagian. Into the history of the former of these there is no need to enter here in detail. It broke out at Constantinople, where Nestorius had become bishop in succession to Sisinnius, in 428. The immediate occasion which gave rise to the controversy was a sermon by Anastasius, the Bishop's chaplain, in which he inveighed against the title Theotokos [Mother of God], as given to the Blessed Virgin Mary.


John Cassian

A monk and ascetic writer of Southern Gaul, and the first to introduce the rules of Eastern monasticism into the West, b. probably in Provence about 360; d. about 435

THE SEVEN BOOKS OF JOHN CASSIAN ON THE INCARNATION OF THE LORD — AGAINST NESTORIUS, BOOK VII

CHAPTER XXV.

Mary the mother of God.

CHAPTER XXX.

Mary is Christotocos not Theotocos:


Theodoret

Bishop of Cyrus and theologian, born at Antioch in Syria about 393; died about 457.

DIALOGUES—THE "ERANISTES" OR "POLYMORPHUS" OF THE BLESSED THEODORETUS, BISHOP OF CYRUS, DIALOGUE II: THE UNCONFOUNDED

Son of Mary converses with brothers, but the only begotten has no brothers, for how could the name of only begotten be preserved among brothers?

Holy Virgin as Mother of God because


Theodoret

Bishop of Cyrus and theologian, born at Antioch in Syria about 393; died about 457.

THE ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY OF THEODORET

BOOK I

CHAPTER III.

Mary the mother of God

Theodoret

Bishop of Cyrus and theologian, born at Antioch in Syria about 393; died about 457.

THE LIFE AND WRITINGS OF THE BLESSED THEODORETUS, BISHOP OF CYRUS. BOOK 1

CHAPTER 1

PART V. — THEODORET AND CHALCEDON.

Holy Virgin Mary is the Parent of God


THIRD ECUMENICAL COUNCIL

THE COUNCIL OF EPHESUS.

A.D. 431

disapproves, too, the perverse dogma of Nestorius, and that distinctly, because he was unwilling to call the blessed Virgin Mother of God:

EPISTLE OF CYRIL TO NESTORIUS

This was the sentiment of the holy Fathers; therefore they ventured to call the holy Virgin, the Mother of God

EPISTLE OF CYRIL TO NESTORIUS WITH THE 12 ANATHEMATISMS

we also call her Mother of God

Anathema I.

If anyone will not confess that the Emmanuel is very God, and that therefore the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God (Theotokos), inasmuch as in the flesh she bore the Word of God made flesh [as it is written, "The Word was made flesh"]: let him be anathema.

disapproves, too, the perverse dogma of Nestorius, and that distinctly, because he was unwilling to call the blessed Virgin Mother of God

whether Mary can properly be called the Mother of God; this Nestorius denied and many in ancient and modern times have been found to agree with him.

(b) It only remains to consider whether there is from a theological point of view any objection to the translation, "Mother of God." It is true that some persons have thought that such a rendering implied that the Godhead has its origin in Mary, but this was the very objection which Nestorius and his followers urged against the word Theotocos, and this being the case, it constitutes a strong argument in favour of the accuracy of the rendering. Of course the answer to the objection in each case is the same, it is not of the Godhead that Mary is the Mother, but of the Incarnate Son, who is God.


St. John Damascene

Born at Damascus, about 676; died some time between 754 and 787

CHAPTER XIV.

Concerning our Lord's genealogy and concerning the holy Mother of God.

Concerning the holy and much-lauded ever-virgin one, Mary, the Mother of God

The ever-virgin One thus remains even after the birth still virgin, having never at any time up till death consorted with a man.

Must there not therefore be a Mother of God who bore God incarnate? Assuredly she who played the part of the Creator's servant and mother is in all strictness and truth in reality God's Mother and Lady and Queen over all created things.


Mary's Assumption


The Passing of St. Mary — 400 A.D.

FIRST LATIN FORM.

CONCERNING THE PASSING OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY.

she began to ask Him about her own departure, addressing Him as follows:—O most dear Son, I pray Thy holiness, that when my soul goes out of my body, Thou let me know on the third day before; and do Thou, beloved Son, with Thy angels, receive it.

thy soul will be separated from the body, and I shall carry it into heaven, where it shall never at all have tribulation or anguish.

assumption will be after three days. And she answered: Thanks to God.

Then she called Joseph of the city of Arimathaea, and the other disciples of the Lord; and when they, both relations and acquaintances, were assembled, she announced her departure to all standing there

Christ descended with a multitude of angels, and received the soul of His beloved mother.

soul of the blessed virgin Mary was taken up into heaven with psalms, and hymns, and songs of songs. And as the cloud went up the whole earth shook, and in one moment all the inhabitants of Jerusalem openly saw the departure of St. Mary.

apostles with great honour laid the body in the tomb, weeping and singing through exceeding love and sweetness. And suddenly there shone round them a light from heaven, and they fell to the ground, and the holy body was taken up by angels into heaven.


The Book of St. John Concerning the Falling Asleep of St. Mary — 4th or 5th century

Assumption of Mary

THE ACCOUNT OF ST. JOHN THE THEOLOGIAN OF THE FALLING ASLEEP OF THE HOLY MOTHER OF GOD

all-holy glorious mother of God and ever-virgin Mary,

according to thy request, thou having left the world, shall go to the heavenly places to thy Son, into the true and everlasting life.