Skip to comments.The Church Fathers- Mary: Ever Virgin
Posted on 05/31/2011 11:53:33 AM PDT by marshmallow
The Protoevangelium of James
And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by [St. Anne], saying, Anne! Anne! The Lord has heard your prayer, and you shall conceive and shall bring forth, and your seed shall be spoken of in all the world. And Anne said, As the Lord my God lives, 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 the holy things all the days of its life. . . . And [from the time she was three] Mary was in the temple of the Lord as if she were a dove that dwelt there (Protoevangelium of James 4, 7 [A.D. 120]).
And when she was twelve years old there was held a council of priests, saying, Behold, Mary has reached the age of twelve years in the temple of the Lord. What then shall we do with her, lest perchance she defile the sanctuary of the Lord? And they said to the high priest, You stand by the altar of the Lord; go in and pray concerning her, and whatever the Lord shall manifest to you, that also will we do. . . . [A]nd he prayed concerning her, and behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him saying, Zechariah! Zechariah! 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 Joseph [was chosen]. . . . And the priest said to Joseph, You have been chosen by lot to take into your 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 (ibid., 89).
And Annas the scribe came to him [Joseph] . . . and saw that Mary was with child. And he ran away to the priest and said to him, Joseph, whom you did 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 (ibid., 15).
And the priest said, Mary, why have you done this? And why have you brought your soul low and forgotten the Lord your God? . . . And she wept bitterly saying, As the Lord my God lives, I am pure before him, and know not man (ibid.).
The Book [the Protoevangelium] of James [records] 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 honor of Mary in virginity to the end, so that body of hers which was appointed to minister to the Word . . . might not know intercourse with a man after the Holy Spirit came into her and the power from on high overshadowed her. And I think it in harmony with reason that Jesus was the firstfruit among men of the purity which consists in [perpetual] chastity, and Mary was among women. For it were not pious to ascribe to any other than to her the firstfruit of virginity (Commentary on Matthew 2:17 [A.D. 248]).
Hilary of Poitiers
If they [the brethren of the Lord] had been Marys sons and not those taken from Josephs former marriage, she would never have been given over in the moment of the passion [crucifixion] to the apostle John as his mother, the Lord saying to each, Woman, behold your son, and to John, Behold your mother [John 19:2627), as he bequeathed filial love to a disciple as a consolation to the one desolate" (Commentary on Matthew 1:4 [A.D. 354]).
Let those, therefore, who deny that the Son is by nature from the Father and proper to his essence deny also that he took true human flesh from the ever-virgin Mary (Discourses Against the Arians 2:70 [A.D. 360]).
Epiphanius of Salamis
We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of all things, both visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God . . . who for us men and for our salvation came down and took flesh, that is, was born perfectly of the holy ever-virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit (The Man Well-Anchored 120 [A.D. 374]).
And to holy Mary, [the title] Virgin is invariably added, for that holy woman remains undefiled (Medicine Chest Against All Heresies 78:6 [A.D. 375]).
[Helvidius] produces Tertullian as a witness [to his view] and quotes Victorinus, bishop of Petavium. Of Tertullian, I say no more than that he did not belong to the Church. But as regards Victorinus, I assert what has already been proven from the gospelthat he [Victorinus] spoke of the brethren of the Lord not as being sons of Mary but brethren in the sense I have explained, that is to say, brethren in point of kinship, not by nature. [By discussing such things we] are . . . following the tiny streams of opinion. Might I not array against you the whole series of ancient writers? Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, and many other apostolic and eloquent men, who against [the heretics] Ebion, Theodotus of Byzantium, and Valentinus, held these same views and wrote volumes replete with wisdom. If you had ever read what they wrote, you would be a wiser man (Against Helvidius: The Perpetual Virginity of Mary 19 [A.D. 383]).
We believe that God was born of a virgin, because we read it. We do not believe that Mary was married after she brought forth her Son, because we do not read it. . . . You [Helvidius] say that Mary did not remain a virgin. As for myself, I claim that Joseph himself was a virgin, through Mary, so that a virgin Son might be born of a virginal wedlock (ibid., 21).
Didymus the Blind
It helps us to understand the terms first-born and only-begotten when the Evangelist tells that Mary remained a virgin until she brought forth her first-born son [Matt. 1:25]; for neither did Mary, who is to be honored and praised above all others, marry anyone else, nor did she ever become the Mother of anyone else, but even after childbirth she remained always and forever an immaculate virgin (The Trinity 3:4 [A.D. 386]).
Ambrose of Milan
Imitate her [Mary], holy mothers, who in her only dearly beloved Son set forth so great an example of material virtue; for neither have you sweeter children [than Jesus], nor did the Virgin seek the consolation of being able to bear another son (Letters 63:111 [A.D. 388]).
Pope Siricius I
You had good reason to be horrified at the thought that another birth might issue from the same virginal womb from which Christ was born according to the flesh. For the Lord Jesus would never have chosen to be born of a virgin if he had ever judged that she would be so incontinent as to contaminate with the seed of human intercourse the birthplace of the Lords body, that court of the eternal king (Letter to Bishop Anysius [A.D. 392]).
In being born of a Virgin who chose to remain a Virgin even before she knew who was to be born of her, Christ wanted to approve virginity rather than to impose it. And he wanted virginity to be of free choice even in that woman in whom he took upon himself the form of a slave (Holy Virginity 4:4 [A.D. 401]).
It was not the visible sun, but its invisible Creator who consecrated this day for us, when the Virgin Mother, fertile of womb and integral in her virginity, brought him forth, made visible for us, by whom, when he was invisible, she too was created. A Virgin conceiving, a Virgin bearing, a Virgin pregnant, a Virgin bringing forth, a Virgin perpetual. Why do you wonder at this, O man? (Sermons 186:1 [A.D. 411]).
Heretics called Antidicomarites are those who contradict the perpetual virginity of Mary and affirm that after Christ was born she was joined as one with her husband (Heresies 56 [A.D. 428]).
We confess, therefore, that our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, born of the Father before the ages, and in times most recent, made man of the Holy Spirit and the ever-virgin Mary (Document of Amendment 3 [A.D. 426]).
Cyril of Alexandria
[T]he Word himself, coming into the Blessed Virgin herself, assumed for himself his own temple from the substance of the Virgin and came forth from her a man in all that could be externally discerned, while interiorly he was true God. Therefore he kept his Mother a virgin even after her childbearing (Against Those Who Do Not Wish to Confess That the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God 4 [A.D. 430]).
Pope Leo I
His [Christs] origin is different, but his [human] nature is the same. Human usage and custom were lacking, but by divine power a Virgin conceived, a Virgin bore, and Virgin she remained (Sermons 22:2 [A.D. 450]).
I believe that will end this little conversation. God bless.
“We KNOW that every word in the scripture true.. What is the measuring rod for non scriptural teaching ?”
Do you expect every truth to be in Scripture?
If you do, then please show me a scriptural verse for that.
From the article “The Virginity of St. Mary.”
“Why is St. Mary’s Ever-Virginity so Important
Some would say that even if it can be proved, St. Mary’s Perpetual Virginity is not essential to the proclamation of the Gospel, and this is true on a certain level. In its essence, the Orthodox Church proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is our message, our reason for being, the very life of our life. Teaching about St. Mary is really meant for the initiates, those who have already accepted the Gospel and have committed themselves to Jesus Christ and to service in His Holy Church.
This is so because what St. Mary teaches us about the Incarnation of the Word of God requires that we first accept the Incarnation. Once we do, then her virginity not only after giving birth, but also before-and indeed the character of her entire life-become in themselves a wellspring of teaching about life in Christ and the glory of God. Indeed, she said as much herself. By stating that “all generations shall call me blessed,” St. Mary was not vainly contemplating her own uniqueness, but proclaiming the wonder that her life was to manifest Almighty God’s glorious victory in His Christ for all time.
St. Mary was not an accident vessel of God, someone picked out of the crowed as it were, as some would have us think in our day. Rather her role in our salvation was prepared from the beginning of the ages. The entire history of Israel-the Patriarchs, the Psalms, the Prophets, the giving of the Commandments-converged in the young woman who would answer the way all Israel should always have answered, and as we all are expected to answer now: “Behold the handmaiden of the Lord.”
But her purpose in salvation history did not end there. She was not cast aside as an article that is no longer useful. Instead her whole being and life would continue to point us without distraction to her Son. At the wedding of Cana in Galilee we hear her words: “Whatever He says to you, do it” (St. John 2:5). At her Son’s crucifixion, she stands fast at the foot of the Cross, this time pointing not with words but by her refusal to leave His side even in the face of what seemed an impossible nightmare. As we undertake to imitate this faithfulness in pointing always to Almighty God, we will begin to see in the same measure that St. Mary’s Perpetual Virginity is in fact her ever-ministry, the ideal example for our own ministry.
It is important to recover the proper Veneration of St. Mary which the Apostolic Church has always held, not because St. Mary is the great exception but, as one Orthodox theologian has said, because she is the Great Example. This Veneration is beautifully expressed in an Orthodox hymn that poetically recounts the Archangel St. Gabriel’s first encounter with the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, who was about to become the Ark of the New Covenant, the throne of God, the flesh which gave flesh to the Word of God:”
And if he had sexual intercourse with her he dishonored the Holy Spirit.
Why? Their marriage was sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
I don’t think the most vehement of the posters here even consider that Mary was through the grace of God the one person most perfectly united with the Holy Trinity.
Daughter of the Father. Mother of the Son. and Spouse of the Holy Spirit. Not in any sexual context but in a relationship context.
“Ummmm. Do you want to call my mom and ask her???”
Post her number here and I’ll think about it. Also, do not PM me with it. Just post it in the thread for everyone to see. Also, what reason do I have to believe she will be honest?
“....not that I would give you her number ....”
Ah, I see. So much for honesty already, huh?
“Ohhh, I just found this: posted a while ago on FR: the only mistake is it should have said 9 years Catholic grade school.”
You failed a grade? I went to 8 years of Catholic grade school. There is no ninth year. Which grade did you fail?
“my parents fought the Novus Ordo modernism tooth and nail and are now in the SSPX - I would politiely challenge you to ask them if they considered me to be inadequately catechized”
Apparently you would not do so - since you won’t give out the number anyway - and I would have no reason to believe them anyway.
I don’t believe anti-Catholics. I have had them lie to my face and lie to me many times online. They’ve lied to me about their origins, beliefs, lives, marriages - one even lied about being a priest until he was exposed as a fraud by someone else. I simply have no reason to ever believe or trust anti-Catholics.
I agree with you.
Judging by the energy which many non-Catholics invest in trying to undermine the doctrine of Mary's perpetual virginity, quite a lot apparently. It's not simply an attitude of....."I don't care if she was a perpetual virgin"...........rather, it's ........no, she was not a perpetual virgin". IOW, they appear to be as heavily invested in the idea that Mary's virginity was not perpetual, as the Church is invested in the teaching that it is perpetual.
BTW, "sex-life" is a terrible, modern trivializing term for the conjugal act.
Why does Mary's virginity matter for your salvation?
Because it highlights the uniqueness of the Incarnation of Jesus. The womb which bore Jesus, bore no other. It emphasizes the fullness of God's plan of salvation and Mary's place in it. This womb which bore God made man, remained forever a shrine to He who dwelt there for nine months. Inviolate and pure.
It is an important proof of His Godhead.
Jesus was not just one of a series of products of this womb. He was the only one.
I like to think of the protestant mindset on Scripture as autonomous individualism. Whatever I think the Bible says, that's what it says.
True, they may gather around a pastor who gives them instruction on what HE thinks the Bible says. There are thousands of denominational differences as a result, and untold differences of opinion by individual pastors. The believer claims the Holy Spirit teaches him personally to know what the truths of Scripture are, yet how can God lead so many people to form so many different conclusions?
Doctrinal chaos. I wonder who's really behind that?
Yes the marriage was sanctified so that Jesus could have an earthly father and so that Mary would not be dishonored.
To better explain why the marriage would not have included sex I’ll need to post some links. I don’t have them handy right now but will post them to you later.
No thank you. The matter is clear in my mind.
Amen... but the weight that Catholicism puts on Mary’s perpetual virginity points to the fact that they see sex between husbands and wives as dirty .. It seems the only woman that has value is the one that is a virgin
“What is the measuring rod for non scriptural teaching ?”
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel—not that there is a different gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that whch we preached to you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-8)
So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter. (2 Thessalonians 2:15)
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. (2 Tim 4:3-4)
He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me. (Luke 10:16)
...and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Luke 22:29-30)
Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. (John 15:20)
...and you [Apostles] also are witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning. (John 15:27)
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. (John 16:13)
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts. (1 Corinthians 12:27-31; cf. Ephesians 4:1-6, 15-16)
“O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you.” (1 Tim 6:20)
Obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account. Let them do this joyfully, and not sadly, for that would be of no advantage to you. (Hebrews 13:17)
thanks for the refernce: Pilgrim Church by E.H. Broadbent. I found the link - http://thepilgrimchurch.com/
Yes, I am aware the John Wycliffe, Jon Hus & the Lollards (followers of Wycliffe) ... many - like Martin Luther, at first - considered themselves Catholics, but wanted reform and indeed the church needed it.
I know I’m stirring things up here, but it seems very “cult” like to think the church was totally screwed up till the Protestants came along. Many of God people have identified themselves as Catholics - especially during the Middle Ages.
We Protestants have not done so well ourselves ... the Salem Witch Trials, Henry VIII (where he divorced or beheaded 4 of his wives), the schisms, some extreme Puritanical ideas which seem so goofy, the televanglists gimmicks to fleece their audiences, ... we’ve done the types of things we point our fingers at the Catholics for doing.
I appreciate that the Catholic church kept Christianity alive the first 1500 years. And I see they have reformed themselves and encourage their followers to read the Bible daily for themselves.
“but the weight that Catholicism puts on Marys perpetual virginity points to the fact that they see sex between husbands and wives as dirty .. It seems the only woman that has value is the one that is a virgin”
That’s an incredibly bizarre statement. First of all, Jesus Himself valued virginity (Matthew 19:11-12) so there’s nothing wrong with His followers doing it as well. Secondly, the fact that Theology of the Body is ours means we do not view the marital act between husband and wife as anything but beneficial in itself.
Care to peddle any other anti-Catholic smears while you’re here?
IIRC Henry VIII did in only two of his six wives.
You are most welcome.
I understand. I just did not want you to think I was trying to avoid giving you a clear answer. I hope you have a fine day.
Henry VIII divorced or beheaded 4 of his wifes: Catherine of Aaragon and Anne of Cleves, he divorced. He beheaded Ann Bolyn and Catherine Howard (cousins).
To sum up the 6: (divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survive)
“I believe that will end this little conversation. God bless.”
Just remember, you didn’t know why Zachary was punsihed but the Virgin Mary was not.
And don’t read the following. It would make you more knowledgeable and you can’t have that.
I understand. I pointed out he killed 2 of them. What you had written made it sound as if he killed perhaps more than 2.
you didnt know why Zachary was punsihed but the Virgin Mary was not.
I guess to them being overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and conceiving the second person of the Holy Trinity, God the Son in the Flesh is no big deal and does not make Mary special at all.
I guess they can not suppose that Joseph the most chaste spouse of Mary might, just might regard it as a fearful trespass much like touching the Ark to have sexual intercourse with Mary who had been chosen by God to bring forth the Son. Yep just routine stuff in those days. No biggie.
You unwittingly hit on a great point. The ambiguity. (I thought I had been clear, when to a reader I wasn’t.)
Don’t you think so much fighing is caused by misunderstanding and jumping to conclusions?
“You failed a grade? I went to 8 years of Catholic grade school. There is no ninth year. Which grade did you fail?”
Sovsem kak Rossia.
The Catholic church persecuted many, many groups of independent Christians before the Reformation.
That’s the thesis of “Pilgrim Church”.
“You don’t know that.”
R-I-G-H-T. That’s why you asked who Zachary was, right?
“I ended the conversation when you tried to provoke me to anger.”
Whatever excuse you want to use, buddy.
In all fairness re the Salem Witch Trials. It was also Puritans who put an end to the trials because some prominent clergy of the day saw the accusations as nonsense that defamed godly people and had no warrant under Scripture.
I am Catholic but think that Puritans are very misunderstood and have an undeserved reputation for being sour faced zealots who saw the devil under every bed.
That’s what happens when people who know little and understand even less start putting their own lusts onto the Bible. That’s why Protestantism has always hated celibacy - even though Christ honored it.
“Post her number here and Ill think about it. Also, do not PM me with it. Just post it in the thread for everyone to see. Also, what reason do I have to believe she will be honest?”
There is NO WAY I would post that number here.
You’ll have to take my word for it that my Catholic credentials are bona fide.
You are really intent on picking a fight. Why?
“Dont you think so much fighing is caused by misunderstanding and jumping to conclusions?”
No. I think so much fighting is caused by poor formation. Misunderstandings and jumping to conclusions are merely symptoms of that.
That claim is often made. Yet when examined the groups that were persecuted by the Church are heretical gnostic sects such as the Cathars which orthodox Protestants would also agree are not Christian. If those sects had arisen after the Reformation there is very little doubt in my mind that Protestant leaders would also have persecuted them.
But no there were no groups of independent Cristians in the Western church prior to the Reformation.
So, you failed kindergarten? I did ask which grade you failed.
An archangel was sent from Heaven to say to the Theotokos: Rejoice! (Thrice) And beholding Thee, O Lord, taking bodily form, he was amazed and with his bodiless voice he stood crying to Her such things as these:
Rejoice, Thou through whom joy will shine forth:
Rejoice, Thou through whom the curse will cease!
Rejoice, recall of fallen Adam:
Rejoice, redemption of the tears of Eve!
Rejoice, height inaccessible to human thoughts:
Rejoice, depth undiscernible even for the eyes of angels!
Rejoice, for Thou art the throne of the King:
Rejoice, for Thou bearest Him Who beareth all!
Rejoice, star that causest the Sun to appear:
Rejoice, womb of the Divine Incarnation!
Rejoice, Thou through whom creation is renewed:
Rejoice, Thou through whom we worship the Creator!
Rejoice, Thou Bride Unwedded!
Seeing herself to be chaste, the holy one said boldly to Gabriel: The marvel of thy speech is difficult for my soul to accept. How canst thou speak of a birth from a seedless conception? And She cried: Alleluia!”
It continues on in the same vein long enough to make a regular Lenten devotion . It is called Akathist to the Most Holy Theotokos. As its name demonstrates, it is chanted standing.
Not according to Broadbent.
Don’t disagree, lastchance. Misunderstanding and sterotyping has caused much grief. Especially looking back with the eyes of a 21st century mentality.
“There is NO WAY I would post that number here.”
Right. That’s why you made the offer you did?
Don’t be sorry. I bet we all knew the truth of things anyway.
“Youll have to take my word for it that my Catholic credentials are bona fide.”
No, I will not have to take your word for it. I have no reason to believe you in the least.
K12345678 = nine grades of primary school
No flunked grades.
Dr. Fishtank, PhD
When you post little more than photos that tells us all you arr probably desperate.
“Right. Thats why you made the offer you did?”
It was a figure of speech.
There is NO WAY I’m going to put out a phone number for every psycho in the world to see.
It is also hated by Catholic dissidents. It seems to be forgotten that the vocation of marriage will not be for everyone. I do not know of any orthodox Protestant sect that teaches sex outside the bonds of matrimony is sanctioned by God. So single people are called to chastity and celibacy. Yet so many show they believe the choice of celibacy is a bad thing and that the only right vocation is marriage.
Does this mean that one should be married no matter what? That remaining single and celibate is somehow a failing for a Christian? Is celibacy such an impossible task that it is better to marry poorly and be able to have sex within an allowed relationship than to risk the temptation of fornication?
If that is the primary purpose of marriage. Why not allow gay marriage? If it is simply as a relationship to properly express our lusts?
I have shown no such intent. I have no such intent. I merely point out what is true.
Obviously not. That is why I wisely terminated the conversation. Twice.
Good to see you here!!
THere’s someone who just CAN’T believe that I went to Catholic primary school for 9 years and then 4 years Catholic high school!!!
That is beautiful. Thanks for posting it.
“K12345678 = nine grades of primary school”
Except Kindergarten is not part of “Catholic grade school” historically. That’s why it has its own name unlike every other grade in the standard 8 years.
“No flunked grades.”
Maybe, maybe not.
“Dr. Fishtank, PhD”
Another claim - unsubstantiated to say the least.