Topical Reference to the Beliefs of the Church Fathers by Dave Armstrong Part 3
"And about your laughing at me and calling me "Christian," you know not what you are saying. First, because that which is anointed is sweet and serviceable, and far from contemptible. For what ship can be serviceable and seaworthy, unless it be first caulked [anointed]? Or what castle or house is beautiful and serviceable when it has not been anointed? And what man, when he enters into this life or into the gymnasium, is not anointed with oil? And what work has either ornament or beauty unless it be anointed and burnished? Then the air and all that is under heaven is in a certain sort anointed by light and spirit; and are you unwilling to be anointed with the oil of God? Wherefore we are called Christians on this account, because we are anointed with the oil of God."
Theophilus of Antioch,To Autolycus,I:12(A.D. 181),in ANF,II:92
" 'And she said to her maids, Bring me oil.' For faith and love prepare oil and unguents to those who are washed. But what were these unguents, but the commandments of the holy Word? And what was the oil, but the power of the Holy Spirit, with which believers are anointed as with ointment after the layer of washing? All these things were figuratively represented in the blessed Susannah, for our sakes, that we who now believe on God might not regard the things that are done now in the Church as strange, but believe them all to have been set forth in figure by the patriarchs of old, as the apostle also says: 'Now these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they were written for our instruction, on whom the ends of the world are come.' "
Hippolytus of Rome,Commentary on Daniel,6;18(A.D. 204),in ANF,V:192
"After this, when we have issued from the font, we are thoroughly anointed with a blessed unction,--(a practice derived) from the old discipline, wherein on entering the priesthood, then were wont to be anointed with oil from a horn, ever since Aaron was anointed by Moses. Whence Aaron is called "Christ,' from the 'chrism,'which is 'the unction;' which, when made spiritual, furnished an appropriate name to the Lord, because He was 'anointed' with the Spirit by God the Father; as written in the Acts: 'For truly they were gathered together in this city against Thy Holy Son whom Thou hast anointed.' Thus, too, in our case, the unction runs cornally, (i.e. on the body,) but profits spiritually; in the same way as the act of baptism itself too is carnal, in that we are plunged in water, but the effect spiritual, in that we are freed from sins."
Tertullian,On Baptism,7(A.D. 206),in ANF,III:672
"But Satan, who entered and dwelt in him for a long time, became the occasion of his believing. Being delivered by the exorcists, he fell into a severe sickness; and as he seemed about to die, he received baptism by affusion, on the bed where he lay; if indeed we can say that such a one did receive it. And when he was healed of his sickness he did not receive the other things which it is necessary to have according to the canon of the Church, even the being sealed by the bishop. And as he did not receive this, how could he receive the Holy Spirit?' "
Pope Cornelius[regn. A.D. 251-253],To Fabius;fragment in Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History 6,43:14(A.D. 251),in NPNF2,I:288-289
"But, moreover, the very interrogation which is put in baptism is a witness of the truth. For when we say, 'Dost thou believe in eternal life and remission of sins through the holy Church?' we mean that remission of sins is not granted except in the Church, and that among heretics, where there is no Church, sins cannot be put away. Therefore they who assert that heretics can baptize, must either change the interrogation or maintain the truth; unless indeed they attribute a church also to those who, they contend, have baptism. It is also necessary that he should be anointed who is baptized; so that, having received the chrism, that is, the anointing, he may be anointed of God, and have in him the grace of Christ. Further, it is the Eucharist whence the baptized are anointed with the oil sanctified on the altar. But he cannot sanctify the creature of oil, who has neither an altar nor a church; whence also there can be no spiritual anointing among heretics, since it is manifest that the oil cannot be sanctified nor the Eucharist celebrated at all among them. But we ought to know and remember that it is written, 'Let not the oil of a sinner anoint my head,' which the Holy Spirit before forewarned in the Psalms, lest any one going out of the way and wandering from the path of truth should be anointed by heretics and adversaries of Christ. Besides, what prayer can a priest who is impious and a sinner offer for a baptized person? since it is written, 'God heareth not a sinner; but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth His will, him He heareth.' Who, moreover, can give what he himself has not? or how can he discharge spiritual functions who himself has lost the Holy Spirit? And therefore he must be baptized and renewed who comes untrained to the Church, that he may be sanctified within by those who are holy, since it is written, 'Be ye holy, for I am holy, saith the Lord.' So that he who has been seduced into error, and baptized outside of the Church, should lay aside even this very thing in the true and ecclesiastical baptism, viz., that he a man coming to God, while he seeks for a priest, fell by the deceit of error upon a profane one."
Cyprian,To Januarius,Epistle 70/69:2(A.D. 255)
"But a gate has been opened for seeking peace,whereby the mist has lifted from the reason of the multitude; and light has dawned in the mind; and from the glistening olive,fruits are put forth,in which there is a sign of the sacrament of life,by which Christians are perfected, as well as priests and kings and prophets. It illuminates the darkness, anoints the sick, and leads back penitents in its secret sacrament."
Aphraates,Treatises,23:3(A.D. 345),in JUR,I:306
"But beware of supposing this to be plait ointment. For as the Bread of the Eucharist. after the invocation of the Holy Ghost, is mere bread no longer, but the Body of Christ, so also this holy ointment is no more simple ointment, nor (so to say) common, after invocation, but it is Christ's gift of grace, and, by the advent of the Holy Ghost, is made fit to impart His Divine Nature. Which ointment is symbolically applied to thy forehead and thy other senses; and while thy body is anointed with the visible ointment, thy soul is sanctified by the Holy and life-giving Spirit."
Cyril of Jerusalem,Catechetical Lectures(On Chrism),21:3(A.D. 350),in NPNF2,VII:150
"You may effect in this chrism a divine and heavenly operation,so that those baptized and anointed in tracing with it of the sign of the saving cross of the Only-begotten,through which cross Satan and every adverse power is turned aside and conquered,as if reborn and renewed through the bath of regeneration,may be made participants in the gift of the Holy Spirit,and confirmed by this seal,may remain firm and immovable,unharmed and inviolate."
Serapion of Thmuis,Prayer over Chrism,25:1(A.D. 350),in JUR,II:133
" 'And your floors shall be filled with wheat,and the presses shall overflow equally with wine and oil.'... This has been fufilled mystically by Christ,who gave to the people whom He had redeemed,that is,to His Church,wheat and wine and oil in a mystic manner...the oil is the sweet unguent with which those who are baptized are signed,being clothed in the armaments of the Holy Spirit."
Ephraim,On Joel 2:24(ante A.D. 373),in JUR,I:314
"Thirsty men in their dreams eagerly gulp down the water of the stream, and the more they drink the thirstier they are. In the same way you appear to me to have searched everywhere for arguments against the point I raised, and yet to be as far as ever from being satisfied. Don't you know that the laying on of hands after baptism and then the invocation of the Holy Spirit is a custom of the Churches? Do you demand Scripture proof? You may find it in the Acts of the Apostles. And even if it did not rest on the authority of Scripture the consensus of the whole world in this respect would have the force of a command. For many other observances of the Churches, which are due to tradition, have acquired the authority of the written law, as for instance the practice of dipping the head three times in the layer, and then, after leaving the water, of tasting mingled milk and honey in representation of infancy; and, again, the practices of standing up in worship on the Lord's day, and ceasing from fasting every Pentecost; and there are many other unwritten practices which have won their place through reason and custom. So you see we follow the practice of the Church, although it may be clear that a person was baptized before the Spirit was invoked."
Jerome,Against the Luciferians,8(A.D. 379),in NPNF2,VI:324
" THEY who are baptized must after Baptism be anointed with the heavenly chrism, and be partakers of the Kingdom of Christ."
Council of Laodicea,Canon 48(A.D. 343-381),in NPNF2,XIV:154
"And then remember that you received the seal of the Spirit; the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and godliness, and the spirit of holy fear, and preserved what you received. God the Father sealed you, Christ the Lord strengthened you, and gave the earnest of the Spirit in your heart, as you have learned in the lesson from the Apostle."
Ambrose,On the Mysteries,7:42(A.D. 391),in NPNF2,X:322
"He would likewise be permitting this to the Apostles alone? Were that the case,He would likewise be permitting them alone to baptize,them alone to baptize,them alone to Confer the Holy Spirit...If,then,the power both of Baptism and Confirmation,greater by far the charisms,is passed on to the bishops..."
Pacian,Epistle to Sympronian,1:6(A.D. 392),in JUR,II:142
'For indeed the word of Ecclesiastes says true; your heretic is no living man, but 'bones,' he says, 'in the womb of her that is with child'; for how can one who does not think of the unction along with the Anointed be said to believe in the Anointed? 'Him,' says (Peter), 'did God anoint with the Holy Spirit.' These destroyers of the Spirit's glory, who relegate Him to a subject world, must tell us of what thing that unction is the symbol. Is it not a symbol of the Kingship? And what? Do they not believe in the Only-begotten as in His very nature a King? Men who have not once for all enveloped their hearts with the Jewish 'vail' will not gainsay that He is this. If, then, the Son is in His very nature a king, and the unction is the symbol of His kingship, what, in the way of a consequence, does your reason demonstrate? Why, that the Unction is not a thing alien to that Kingship, and so that the Spirit is not to be ranked in the Trinity as anything strange and foreign either. For the Son is King, and His living, realized, and personified Kingship is found in the Holy Spirit, Who anoints the Only-begotten, and so makes Him the Anointed, and the King of all things that exist. If, then, the Father is King, and the Only-begotten is King, and the Holy Ghost is the Kingship, one and the same definition of Kingship must prevail throughout this Trinity, and the thought of "unction" conveys the hidden meaning that there is no interval of separation between the Son and the Holy Spirit. For as between the body's surface and the liquid of the oil nothing intervening can be detected, either in reason or in perception, so inseparable is the union of the Spirit with the Son; and the result is that whosoever is to touch the Son by faith must needs first encounter the oil in the very act of touching; there is not a part of Him devoid of the Holy Spirit. Therefore belief in the Lordship of the Son arises in those who entertain it, by means of the Holy Ghost; on all sides the Holy Ghost is met by those who by faith approach the Son. If, then, the Son is essentially a King, and the Holy Spirit is that dignity of Kingship which anoints the Son, what deprivation of this Kingship, in its essence and comparing it with itself, can be imagined?"
Gregory of Nyssa,On the Holy Spirit,16(ante A.D. 394),in NPNF2,V:321
"Now concerning baptism,O bishop, or presbyter, we have already given direction, and we now say, that thou shalt so baptize as the Lord commanded us, saying: 'Go ye, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost(teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you):' of the Father who sent, of Christ who came, of the Comforter who testified. But thou shalt beforehand anoint the person with the holy oil, and afterward baptize him with the water, and in the conclusion shall seal him with the ointment; that the anointing with oil may be the participation of the Holy Spirit, and the water the symbol of the death of Christ, and the ointment the seal of the covenants. But if there be neither oil nor ointment, water is sufficient both for the anointing, and for the seal, and for the confession of Him that is dead, or indeed is dying together with Christ. But before baptism, let him that is to be baptized fast; for even the Lord, when He was first baptized by John, and abode in the wilderness, did afterward fast forty days and forty nights. But He was baptized, and then fasted, not having Himself any need of cleansing, or of fasting, or of purgation, who was by nature pure and holy; but that He might testify the truth to John, and afford an example to us. Wherefore our Lord was not baptized into His own passion, or death, or resurrection--for none of those things had then happened--but for another purpose. Wherefore He by His own authority fasted after His baptism, as being the Lord of John. But he who is to be initiated into His death ought first to fast, and then to be baptized. For it is not reasonable that he who has been buried with Christ, and is risen again with Him, should appear dejected at His very resurrection. For man is not lord of our Saviour's constitution, since one is the Master and the other the servant."
Apostolic Constitutions,7,2:22(A.D. 400),in ANF,VII:469
"Why, therefore, is the Head itself, whence that ointment of unity descended, that is, the spiritual fragrance of brotherly love,--why, I say, is the Head itself exposed to your resistance, while it testifies and declares that "repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem"? And by this ointment you wish the sacrament of chrism to be understood, which is indeed holy as among the class of visible signs, like baptism itself..."
Augustine,Letters of Petilian the Donatist,2,104:239(A.D. 403),in NPNF1,IV:592
"That this power of a bishop,however,is due to the bishops alone,so that they either sign or give the Paraclete the Spirit...For to presbyters it is permitted to anoint the baptized with chrism whenever they baptize...but (with chrism) that has been consecrated by a bishop;nevertheless (it is) not (allowed) to sign the forehead with the same oil;that is due to the bishops alone when they bestow the Spirit,the Paraclete."
Pope Innocent[regn. A.D. 401-417],To Decentius,3(A.D. 416),in DEN,42-43
"The living water of holy Baptism is given to us as if in rain,and the Bread of Life as if in wheat,and the Blood as if in wine.In Addition to this there is also the use of oil,reckoned as perfecting those who have been justified in Christ through holy baptism."
Sacrament of Holy Matrimony
" Flee wicked arts; but all the more discourse regarding them. Speak to my sisters, that they love in our Lord, and that their husbands be sufficient for them in the flesh and spirit. Then, again, charge my brethren in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they love their wives, as our Lord His Church. If any man is able in power to continue in purity, to the honour of the flesh of our Lord, let him continue so without boasting; if he boasts, he is undone; if he become known apart from the bishop, he has destroyed himself. It is becoming, therefore, to men and women who marry, that they marry with the counsel of the bishop, that the marriage may be in our Lord, and not in lust. Let everything, therefore, be [done] for the honour of God."
Ignatius of Antioch,To Polycarp,5(A.D. 110),in ANF,I:100
"Whence are we to find (words) enough fully to tell the happiness of that marriage which the Church cements, and the oblation confirms, and the benediction signs and seals; (which) angels carry back the news of (to heaven), (which) the Father holds for ratified? For even on earth children do not rightly and lawfully wed without their fathers' consent. What kind of yoke is that of two believers, (partakers) of one hope, one desire, one discipline, one and the same service? Both (are) brethren, both fellow servants, no difference of spirit or of flesh; nay, (they are) truly 'two in one flesh.'] Where the flesh is one, one is the spirit ton. Together they pray, together prostrate themselves, together perform their fasts; mutually teaching, mutually exhorting, mutually sustaining. Equally (are they) both (found) in the
Tertullian,To My Wife,2,8:4(A.D. 206),in ANF,IV:48
"Now that the Scripture counsels marriage, and allows no release from the union, is expressly contained in the law, 'Thou shalt not put away thy wife, except for the cause of fornication;' and it regards as fornication, the marriage of those separated while the other is alive. Not to deck and adorn herself beyond what is becoming, renders a wife free of calumnious suspicion. while she devotes herself assiduously to prayers and supplications; avoiding frequent departures from the house, and shutting herself up as far as possible from the view of all not related to her, and deeming housekeeping of more consequence than impertinent trifling. 'He that taketh a woman that has been put away,' it is said, 'committeth adultery; and if one puts away his wife, he makes her an adulteress,' that is, compels her to commit adultery. And not only is he who puts her away guilty of this, but he who takes her, by giving to the woman the opportunity of sinning; for did he not take her, she would return to her husband."
Clement of Alexandria,Stromata,2:24(A.D. 202),in ANF,II:379
"Then, describing what ought to be in the case of those who are joined together by God, so that they may be joined together in a manner worthy of God, the Saviour adds, 'So that they are no more twain;' and, wherever there is indeed concord, and unison, and harmony, between husband and wife, when he is as ruler and she is obedient to the word, 'He shall rule over thee,' then of such persons we may truly say, 'They are no more twain.' Then since it was necessary that for 'him who was joined to the Lord,' it should be reserved 'that he should become one spirit with Him,' in the case of those who are joined together by God, after the words, 'So that they are no more twain,' it is said, 'but one flesh.' And it is God who has joined together the two in one so that they are no more twain, from the time that the woman is married to the man. And, since God has joined them together, on this account in the case of those who are joined together by God, there is a 'gift'; and Paul knowing this, that marriage according to the Word of God was a 'gift,' like as holy celibacy was a gift, says, 'But I would that all men were like myself; howbeit, each man hath his own gift from God, one after this manner, and another after that.' And those who are joined together by God both mind and keep the precept, 'Husbands love your wives, as Christ also the church.' The Saviour then commanded, 'What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder,' but man wishes to put asunder what God hath joined together, when, "falling away from the sound faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron, forbidding," not only to commit fornication, but 'to marry,' he dissolves even those who had been before joined together by the providence of God. Let these things then be said, keeping in view what is expressly said concerning the male and the female, and the man and the woman, as the Saviour taught in the answer to the Pharisees."
Origen,Commentary on Matthew,14:16(post A.D. 244),in ANF,X:506
"Two reasons can be advanced to explain why the marriage was celebrated with external festivities in Cana of Galilee, and why the water was truly changed into wine:so that the tide of Bacchanalian frenetics in the world might be turned to chastity and dignity in marriage, and so that the rest might be directed aright to the enjoyment both of wine free of toil and of the favor that presented it; so that in every way it might stop the mouths of those aroused against the Lord, and so that it might show that He is God with the Father and His Holy Spirit."
Epiphanius,Panarion(Against All Heresies),51:30(A.D. 370),in JUR,II:72-73
" 'What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.' See a teacher's wisdom. I mean, that being asked, Is it lawful? He did not at once say, It is not lawful, lest they should be disturbed and put in disorder, but before the decision by His argument He rendered this manifest, showing that it is itself too the commandment of His Father, and that not in opposition to Moses did He enjoin these things, but in full agreement with him. But mark Him arguing strongly not from the creation only, but also from His command. For He said not, that He made one man and one woman only, but that He also gave this command that the one man should be joined to the one woman. But if it had been His will that he should put this one away, and bring in another, when He had made one man, He would have formed many Women. But now both by the manner of the creation, and by the manner of lawgiving, He showed that one man must dwell with one woman continually, and never break off from her."
Chrysostom John,On Matthew,62:1(A.D. 370),in NPNF1,X:382
"And these are the nuptials of the Lord,so that like that great Sacrament they might become two in one flesh,Christ and the Church.From these nuptials a Christian people is born,when the Spirit of the Lord comes upon that people."
Pacian,Sermon on Baptism,6(ante A.D. 392),in JUR,II:144
"There is hardly anything more deadly than being married to one who is a stranger to the faith,where the passions of lust and dissension and the evils of sacrilege are inflamed.Since the marriage ceremony ought to be sanctified by the priestly veiling and blessing,how can that be called a marriage ceremony where there is no agreement in faith?"
Ambrose,To Vigilius,Letter 19:7 (A.D. 385),in FC,XXVI:176
"We do not say that marriage was not sanctified by Christ,since the Word of God says: 'The two shall become one flesh' and one spirit.But we are born before we are brought to our final goal,and the mystery of God's operation is more excellent than the remedy for human weakness. Quite rightly is a good wife praised,but a pious virgin is more rightly preferred."
Ambrose,To Sircius,Letter 42:3(A.D. 389),in FC,XXVI:225226
" 'For this reason shall a man leave father and mother and cleave to his wife and they shall be two in one flesh.' To commend this unity he supplies an example of unity.Just as a man and a woman are one in nature so Christ and the Church are recognized as one through faith. 'This is a great mystery--I mean in reference to Christ and the Church.' He means that the great sign of this mystery is in the unity of man and woman....Just as a man forsakes his parents and cleaves to his wife,so too he forsakes every error and cleaves to the Church and subjects himself to her Head, which is Christ."
Ambrosiaster,In Ephesians 5:31(ante A.D. 384),in JUR,II:178-179
"It is certainly not fecundity only, the fruit of which consists of offspring, nor chastity only, whose bond is fidelity, but also a certain sacramental bond in marriage which is recommended to believers in wedlock. Accordingly it is en-joined by the apostle: 'Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church.' Of this bond the substance undoubtedly is this, that the man and the woman who are joined together in matrimony should remain inseparable as long as they live..."
Augustine,On Marriage and Concupiscence,1,10(A.D. 420),in NPNF1,V:268
"When the wedding was celebrated [at Cana] it is clear that it was entirely decorous:for indeed,the Mother of the Savior was there;and,invited along with His disciples,the Savior too was there,working miracles more than being entertained in feasting,and especially that He might sanctify the very beginning of human generation,which certainly is a matter concerning the flesh."
Cyril of Alexandria,Commentary on John,2:1(A.D. 429),in JUR,III:222
"And so a wife is different from a concubine, even as a bondwoman from a freewoman. For which reason also the Apostle in order to show the difference of these persons quotes from Genesis, where it is said to Abraham, 'Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.' And hence, since the marriage tie was from the beginning so constituted as apart from the joining of the sexes to symbolize the mystic union of Christ and His Church, it is undoubted that that woman has no part in matrimony, in whose case it is shown that the mystery of marriage has not taken place."
Pope Leo the Great,To Rusticus,Epistle 167:4(A.D. 459),in NPNF2,XII:110
"Since therefore I have, in the persons before mentioned, beheld the whole multitude of you in faith and love, I exhort you to study to do all things with a divine harmony, while your bishop presides in the place of God, and your presbyters in the place of the assembly of the apostles, along with your deacons, who are most dear to me, and are entrusted with the ministry of Jesus Christ, who was with the Father before the beginning of time, and in the end was revealed. Do ye all then, imitating the same divine conduct, pay respect to one another, and let no one look upon his neighbour after the flesh, but do ye continually love each other in Jesus Christ. Let nothing exist among you that may divide you ; but be ye united with your bishop, and those that preside over you, as a type and evidence of your immortality."
Ignatius of Antioch,Epistle to the Magnesians,6(A.D. 110),in ANF,I:61
"For, since ye are subject to the bishop as to Jesus Christ, ye appear to me to live not after the manner of men, but according to Jesus Christ, who died for us, in order, by believing in His death, ye may escape from death. It is therefore necessary that, as ye indeed do, so without the bishop ye should do nothing, but should also be subject to the presbytery, as to the apostle of Jesus Christ, who is our hope, in whom, if we live, we shall [at last] be found. It is fitting also that the deacons, as being [the ministers] of the mysteries of Jesus Christ, should in every respect be pleasing to all. For they are not ministers of meat and drink, but servants of the
Ignatius of Antioch,Epistle to the Trallians,2(A.D. 110),in ANF,I:67
"Be on your guard, [therefore, against such persons, that ye admit not of a snare for your own souls. And act so that your life shall be without offence to all men, lest ye become as 'a snare upon a watch-tower, and as a net which is spread out.' For' he that does not heal himself in his own works, is the brother of him that destroys himself.' If, therefore, ye also put away conceit, arrogance, disdain, and haughtiness, it will be your privilege to be inseparably united to God, for "He is nigh unto those that fear Him.' And says He, 'Upon whom will I look, but upon him that is humble and quiet, and that trembles at my words?' And do ye also reverence your bishop as Christ Himself, according as the blessed apostles have enjoined you. He that is within the altar is pure, wherefore also he is obedient to the bishop and presbyters: but he that is without is one that does anything apart from the bishop, the presbyters, and the deacons. Such a person is defiled in his conscience, and is worse than an infidel. For what is the bishop but one who beyond all others possesses all power and authority, so far as it is possible for a man to possess it, who according to his ability has been made an imitator of the Christ Of God? And what is the presbytery but a sacred assembly, the counsellors and assessors of the bishop? And what are the deacons but imitators of the angelic powers, fulfilling a pure and blameless ministry unto him, as the holy Stephen did to the blessed James, Timothy and Linus to Paul, Anencletus and Clement to Peter? He, therefore, that will not yield obedience to such, must needs be one utterly without God, an impious man who despises Christ, and depreciates His appointments."
Ignatius of Antioch,Epistle to the Trallians,7(A.D. 110),in ANF,I:68-69
" I must not omit an account of the conduct also of the heretics--how frivolous it is, how worldly, how merely human, without seriousness, without authority, without discipline, as suits their creed. To begin with, it is doubtful who is a catechumen, and who a believer; they have all access alike, they hear alike, they pray alike--even heathens, if any such happen to come among them. 'That which is holy they will cast to the dogs, and their pearls,' although (to be sure) they are not real ones, 'they will fling to the swine.' Simplicity they will have to consist in the overthrow of discipline, attention to which on our part they call brothelry. Peace also they huddle up anyhow with all comers; for it matters not to them, however different be their treatment of subjects, provided only they can conspire together to storm the citadel of the one only Truth. All are puffed up, all offer you knowledge. Their catechumens are perfect before they are full-taught. The very women of these heretics, how wanton they are! For they are bold enough to teach, to dispute, to enact exorcisms, to undertake cures--it may be even to baptize. Their ordinations, are carelessly. administered, capricious, changeable. At one time they put novices in office; at another time, men who are bound to some secular employment; at another, persons who have apostatized from us, to bind them by vainglory, since they cannot by the truth. Nowhere is promotion easier than in the camp of rebels, where the mere fact of being there is a foremost service. And so it comes to pass that to-day one man is their bishop, to-morrow another; to-day he is a deacon who to-morrow is a reader; to-day he is a presbyter who tomorrow is a layman. For even on laymen do they impose the functions of priesthood."
Tertullian,On Prescription Against Heretics,41(c.A.D. 200),in ANF,III:263
"Since, according to my opinion, the grades here in the Church, of bishops, presbyters, deacons, are imitations of the angelic glory, and of that economy which, the Scriptures say, awaits those who, following the footsteps of the apostles, have lived in perfection of righteousness according to the Gospel. For these taken up in the clouds, the apostle writes, will first minister [as deacons], then be classed in the presbyterate, by promotion in glory (for glory differs from glory) till they grow into 'a perfect man.' "
"And that you may be still more confident, that repenting thus truly there remains for you a sure hope of salvation, listen to a tale? which is not a tale but a narrative, handed down and committed to the custody of memory, about the Apostle John. For when, on the tyrant's death, he returned to Ephesus from the isle of Patmos, he went away, being invited, to the contiguous territories of the nations, here to appoint bishops, there to set in order whole Churches, there to ordain such as were marked out by the Spirit. Having come to one of the cities not far off (the name of which some give), and having put the brethren to rest in other matters, at last, looking to the bishop appointed, and seeing a youth, powerful in body, comely in appearance, and ardent, said, 'This (youth) I commit to you in all earnestness, in the presence of the Church, and with Christ as witness.' And on his accepting and promising all, he gave the same injunction and testimony. And he set out for
"Why, moreover, should we not rather recognise, from among (the store of) primitive precedents, those which communicate with the later (order of things) in respect of discipline, and transmit to novelty the typical form of antiquity? For look, in the old law I find the pruning-knife applied to the licence of repeated marriage. There is a caution in Leviticus: 'My priests shall not pluralize marriages.' I may affirm even that that is plural which is not once for all. That which is not unity is number. In short, after unity begins number. Unity, moreover, is everything which is once for all. But for Christ was reserved, as in all other points so in this also, the 'fulfilling of the law.' Thence, therefore, among us the prescript is more fully and more carefully laid down, that they who are chosen into the sacerdotal order must be men of one marriage; which rule is so rigidly observed, that I remember some removed from their office for digamy. But you will say, 'Then all others may (marry more than once), whom he excepts.' Vain shall we be if we think that what is not lawful for priests is lawful for laics. Are not even we laics priests? It is written: 'A kingdom also, and priests to His God and Father, hath He made us.' It is the authority of the Church, and the honour which has acquired sanctity through the joint session of the Order, which has established the difference between the Order and the laity. Accordingly, where there is no joint session of the ecclesiastical Order, you offer, and baptize, and are priest, alone for yourself. But where three are, a church is, albeit they be laics. For each individual lives by his own faith, nor is there exception of persons with God; since it is not hearers of the law who are justified by the Lord, but doers, according to what the apostle withal says. Therefore, if you have the right of a priest in your own person, in cases of necessity, it behoves you to have likewise the discipline of a priest whenever it may be necessary to have the fight of a priest. If you are a digamist, do you baptize? If you are a digamist, do you offer? How much more capital (a crime) is it for a digamist laic to act as a priest, when the priest himself, if he turn digamist, is deprived of the power of acting the priest! 'But to necessity,' you say, 'indulgence is granted.' No necessity is excusable which is avoidable. In a word, shun to be found guilty of digamy, and you do not expose yourself to the necessity of administering what a digamist may not lawfully administer. God wills us all to he so conditioned, as to be ready at all times and places to undertake (the duties of) His sacraments. There is 'one God, one faith,' one discipline too. So truly is this the case, that unless the laics as well observe the rules which are to guide the choice of presbyters, how will there be presbyters at all, who are chosen to that office from among the laics? Hence we are bound to contend that the command to abstain from second marriage relates first to the laic; so long as no other can be a presbyter than a laic, provided he have been once far all a husband."
Tertullian,On Exhortation to Chastity,7(A.D. 212),in ANF,III:54
"To Flavius Philagrius, and to Flavius Palladius, Ducenary, Officer of the Palace, and Controller, and to Flavius Antoninus, Commissary of Provisions, and Centenary of my lords the most illustrious Prefects of the sacred Praetorium, these from the Presbyters and Deacons of the Mareotis, a home of the Catholic Church which is under the most Reverend Bishop Athanasius, we address this testimony by those whose names are underwritten:--Whereas Theognius, Maris, Macedonius, Theodorus, Ursacius, and Valens, as if sent by all the Bishops who assembled at Tyre, came into our Diocese alleging that they had received orders to investigate certain ecclesiastical affairs, among which they spoke of the breaking of a cup of the Lord, of which information was given them by Ischyras, whom they brought with them, and who says that he is a Presbyter, although he is not,-for he was ordained by the Presbyter Colluthus who pretended to the Episcopate, and was afterwards ordered by a whole Council, by Hosius and the Bishops that were with him, to take the place of a Presbyter, as he was before; and accordingly all that were ordained by Colluthus resumed the same rank which they held before, and so Ischyras himself proved to be a layman,--and the church which he says he has, never was a church at all, but a quite small private house belonging to an orphan boy of the name of Ision ;--for this reason we have offered this testimony, adjuring you by Almighty God, and by our Lords Constantine Augustus, and the most illustrious Caesars his sons, to bring these things to the knowledge of their piety. For neither is he a Presbyter of the Catholic Church nor does he possess a church, nor has a cup ever been broken, but the whole story is false and an invention. Dated in the Consulship of Julius Constantius the most illustrious Patrician, brother of the most religious Emperor Constantine Augustus, and of Rufinus Albinus, most illustrious men, on the tenth day of the month Thoth. These were the letters of the Presbyters."
Athanasius,Defence Against the Arians,76(A.D. 347),in NPNF2,IV:140
"The Cathari are schismatics; but it seemed good to the ancient authorities, I mean Cyprian and our own Firmilianus, to reject all these, Cathari, Encratites, and Hydroparastatae, by one common condemnation, because the origin of separation arose through schism, and those who had apostatized from the Church had no longer on them the grace of the Holy Spirit, for it ceased to be imparted when the continuity was broken. The first separatists had received their ordination from the Fathers, and possessed the spiritual gift by the laying on of their hands. But they who were broken off had become laymen, and, because they are no longer able to confer on others that grace of the Holy Spirit from which they themselves are fallen away, they had no authority either to baptize or to ordain. And therefore those who were from time to time baptized by them, were ordered, as though baptized by laymen, to come to the church to be purified by the Church's true baptism. Nevertheless, since it has seemed to some of those of
Basil,To Amphilochius,Epistle 188:1(A.D. 347),in NPNF2,VIII:244
"Beware lest ever like Simon thou come to the dispensers of Baptism in hypocrisy, thy heart the while not seeking the truth. It is ours to protest, but it is thine to secure thyself. If thou standest in faith, blessed art thou; if thou hast fallen in unbelief, from this day forward cast away thine unbelief, and receive full assurance. For, at the season of baptism, when thou art come before the Bishops, or Presbyters, or Deacons,--(forits grace is everywhere, in villages and in cities, on them of low as on them of high degree, on bondsmen and on freemen, for this grace is not of men, but the gift is from God through men,)--approach the Minister of Baptism, but approaching, think not of the face of him thou seest, but remember this Holy Ghost of whom we are now speaking. For He is present in readiness to seal thy soul, and He shall give thee that Seal at which evil spirits tremble, a heavenly and sacred seal, as also it is written, In whom also ye believed, and were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise."
Cyril of Jerusalem,Catechetical Lectures,XVII:35(A.D. 350),in NPNF2,VII:132
"Driven from this line of defence you will appeal to the example of the clergy. These, you will say, remain in their cities, and yet they are surely above criticism. Far be it from me to censure the successors of the apostles, who with holy words consecrate the body of Christ, and who make us Christians. Having the keys of the kingdom of heaven, they judge men to some extent before the day of judgment, and guard the chastity of the bride of Christ. But, as I have before hinted, the case of monks is different from that of the clergy. The clergy feed Christ's sheep; I as a monk am fed by them. They live of the altar: I, if I bring no gift to it, have the axe laid to my root as to that of a barren tree. Nor can I plead poverty as an excuse, for the Lord in the gospel has praised an aged widow for casting into the treasury the last two coins that she had. I may not sit in the presence of a presbyter; he, if I sin, may deliver me to Satan, 'for the destruction of the flesh that the spirit may be saved.' Under the old law he who disobeyed the priests was put outside the camp and stoned by the people, or else he was beheaded and expiated his contempt with his blood. But now the disobedient person is cut down with the spiritual sword, or he is expelled from the church and torn to pieces by ravening demons. Should the entreaties of your brethren induce you to take orders, I shall rejoice that you are lifted up, and fear lest you may be cast down. You will say: 'If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.' I know that; but you should add what follows: such an one "must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, chaste, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach, not given to wine, no striker but patient.' After fully explaining the qualifications of a bishop the apostle speaks of ministers of the third degree with equal care."
Jerome,To Heliodorus,Epistle 14:8(A.D. 379),in NPNF2,VI:16
"Despise not, therefore, the Divine laver, nor think lightly of it, as a common thing, on account of the use of water. For the power that operates is mighty, and wonderful are the things that are wrought thereby. For this holy altar, too, by which I stand, is stone, ordinary in its nature, nowise different from the other slabs of stone that build our houses and adorn our pavements; but seeing that it was consecrated to the service of God, and received the benediction, it is a holy table, an altar undefiled, no longer touched by the hands of all, but of the priests alone, and that with reverence. The bread again is at first common bread, but when the sacramental action consecrates it, it is called, and becomes, the Body of Christ. So with the sacramental oil; so with the wine: though before the benediction they are of little value, each of them, after the sanctification bestowed by the Spirit, has its several operation. The same power of the word, again, also makes the priest venerable and honourable, separated, by the new blessing bestowed upon him, from his community with the mass of men. While but yesterday he was one of the mass, one of the people, he is suddenly rendered a guide, a president, a teacher of righteousness, an instructor in hidden mysteries; and this he does without being at all changed in body or in form; but, while continuing to be in all appearance the man he was before, being, by some unseen power and grace, transformed in respect of his unseen soul to the higher condition. And so there are many things, which if you consider you will see that their appearance is contemptible, but the things they accomplish are mighty: and this is especially the case when you collect from the ancient history instances cognate and similar to the subject of our inquiry."
Gregory of Nyssa,On the Baptism of Christ(ante A.D. 394),in NPNF2,V:519
"Therefore the good of marriage throughout all nations and all men stands in the occasion of begetting, and faith of chastity: but, so far as pertains unto the People of God, also in the sanctity of the Sacrament, by reason of which it is unlawful for one who leaves her husband, even when she has been put away, to be married to another, so long as her husband lives, no not even for the sake of bearing children: and, whereas this is the alone cause, wherefore marriage takes place, not even where that very thing, wherefore it takes place, follows not, is the marriage bond loosed, save by the death of the husband or wife. In like manner as if there take place an ordination of clergy in order to form a congregation of people, although the congregation of people follow not, yet there remains in the ordained persons the Sacrament of Ordination; and if, for any fault, any be removed from his office, he will not be without the Sacrament of the Lord once for all set upon him, albeit continuing unto condemnation."
Augustine,On the Good of Marriage,24:32(A.D. 401),in NPNF1,III:412
"When a priest is ordained, while the bishop is blesing [him] and holding his hands over his head, let all the priests also, who are present, hold their hands close to the hands of the bishop above his head."
Council of Chalcedon,Canon 3(A.D. 451),in DEN,62-63
"As often as GOD's mercy deigns to bring round the day of His gifts to us, there is, dearly-beloved, just and reasonable cause for rejoicing, if only our appointment to the office be referred to the praise of Him who gave it. For though this recognition of GOD may well be found in all His priests, yet I take it to be peculiarly binding on me, who, regarding my own utter insignificance and the greatness of the office undertaken, ought myself also to utter that exclamation of the Prophet,'LORD, I heard Thy speech and was afraid: I considered Thy works and was dismayed.' For what is so unwonted and so dismaying as labour to the frail, exaltation to the humble, dignity to the undeserving? And yet we do not despair nor lose heart, because we put our trust not in ourselves but in Him who works in us. And hence also we have sung with harmonious voice the psalm of David, dearly beloved, not in our own praise, but to the glory of Christ the LORD. For it is He of whom it is prophetically written, 'Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedeck,' that is, not after the order of Aaron, whose priesthood descending along his own line of offspring was a temporal ministry, and ceased with the law of the Old Testament, but after the order of Melchizedeck, in whom was prefigured the eternal High Priest. And no reference is made to his parentage because in him it is understood that He was portrayed, whose generation cannot be declared. And finally, now that the mystery of this Divine priesthood has descended to human agency, it runs not by the line of birth, nor is that which flesh and blood created, chosen, but without regard to the privilege of paternity and succession by inheritance, those men are received by the Church as its rulers whom the Holy Ghost prepares: so that in the people of GOD's adoption, the whole body of which is priestly and royal, it is not the prerogative of earthly origin which obtains the unction, but the condescension of Divine grace which creates the bishop."
Pope Leo the Great[regn. A.D. 440-461],Sermons,3:1(ante A.D. 461),in NPNF2,XII:116
Sacrament of Extreme Unction(Anointing of the Sick)
"For they are bold enough to teach, to dispute, to enact exorcisms, to undertake(13) cures--it may be even to baptize."
Tertullian,Prescription,49(A.D. 200),in ANF,III:263
"O God who sanctifiest this oil as Thou dost grant unto all who are anointed and receive of it the hallowing wherewith Thou didst anoint kings and priests and prophets, so grant that it may give strength to all that taste of it and health to all that use it."
Hippolytus of Rome,Apostolic Tradition,5:2(c.A.D. 215),in AT,10
"In addition to these there is also a seventh, albeit hard and laborious...In this way there is fufilled that too, which the Apostle James says :'If then, there is anyone sick, let him call the presbyters of the Church, and let them impose hands upon him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him.' "
Origen,Homily on Leviticus,2:4(A.D. 244),in JUR,I:207
"[O]f the sacrament of life, by which Christians [baptism], priests [in ordination], kings and prophets are made perfect; it illuminates darkness [in confirmation], anoints the sick, and by its secret sacrament restores penitents."
Aphraates the Persian Sage,Treatises, 23:3(A.D. 345), in CE,V:720
"For not only at the time of regeneration, but afterwards also, they have authority to forgive sins. 'Is any sick among you?' it is said, 'let him call for the elders of the Church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up: and if he have committed sins they shall be forgiven him.' "
John Chrysostom,On the Priesthood,3:6(A.D. 386),in NPNF1,IX:48
"[The sick] considered a more terrible calamity than disease itself ... [instead of allowing] the hands of the Arians to be laid on the heads."
Athanasius, Encyclical Epistle (A.D. 341),in CE,V:720
"[this oil]...for good grace and remission of sins, for a medicine of life and salvation, for health and soundness of soul, body, spirit, for perfect strengthening."
Serapion of Thmuis,Anaphora,29:1(A.D. 350),in CE,V:720
"They pray over thee; one blows on thee, another seals thee."
Ephraim,Homily 46(ante A.D. 373),in CE,V:720
"Why, then, do you lay on hands, and believe it to be the effect of the blessing, if perchance some sick person recovers? Why do you assume that any can be cleansed by you from the pollution of the devil? Why do you baptize if sins cannot be remitted by man? If baptism is certainly the remission of all sins, what difference does it make whether priests claim that this power is given to them in penance or at the font? In each the mystery is one."
Ambrose,Penance,1,8:36(A.D. 390),in NPNF2,X:335
"[I]f some part of your body is suffering...recall also the saying in the divinely inspired Scripture: 'Is anyone among you ill? Let him call the presbyters of the Church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he be in sins they shall be forgiven.(James 5:14-15)"
Cyril of Alexandria,Worship and Adoration,6(A.D. 412),in JUR,III:217
"[I]n the epistle of the blessed Apostle James...'If anyone among you is sick, let him call the priests...'. There is no doubt that this anointing ought to be interpreted or understood of the sick faithful, who can be anointed with the holy oil of chrism...it is a kind of sacrament."
Pope Innocent[regn. A.D. 401-416],To Decentius,25,8,11(A.D. 416),in DEN,43
"[L]et him who is ill receive the Body and Blood of Christ; let him humbly and in faith ask the presbyters for blessed oit, to anoint his body, so that what was written may be fufilled in him: 'Is anyone among you sick? Let him bring in the presbyters, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he be in sins, they will be forgiven him (James 5:14-15)"
Ceasar of Arles,Sermons,13(265),3(ante A.D. 542),in JUR,III:285
"[A] priest is to be called in, who by the prayer of faith and the unction of the holy oil which he imparts will save him who is afflicted [by a serious injury or by sickness]."
Cassiodorus,Complexiones(A.D. 570),in CE,V:720
Bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
"If the Holy Virgin had died and was buried, her falling asleep would have been surrounded with honour, death would have found her pure, and her crown would have been a virginal one...Had she been martyred according to what is written: 'Thine own soul a sword shall pierce', then she would shine gloriously among the martyrs, and her holy body would have been declared blessed; for by her, did light come to the world."
Epiphanius,Panarion,78:23(A.D. 377),in PG 42:737
"[T]he Apostles took up her body on a bier and placed it in a tomb; and they guarded it, expecting the Lord to come. And behold, again the Lord stood by them; and the holy body having been received, He commanded that it be taken in a cloud into paradise: where now, rejoined to the soul, [Mary] rejoices with the Lord's chosen ones..."
Gregory of Tours, Eight Books of Miracles,1:4(inter A.D. 575-593),in JUR,III:306
"As the most glorious Mother of Christ,our Savior and God and the giver of life and immortality, has been endowed with life by him, she has received an eternal incorruptibility of the body together with him who has raised her up from the tomb and has taken her up to himself in a way known only to him."
Modestus of Jerusalem,Encomium in dormitionnem Sanctissimae Dominae nostrae Deiparae semperque Virginis Mariae(PG 86-II,3306),(ante A.D. 634) from Munificentis simus Deus
"It was fitting ... that the most holy-body of Mary, God-bearing body, receptacle of God, divinised, incorruptible, illuminated by divine grace and full glory ... should be entrusted to the earth for a little while and raised up to heaven in glory, with her soul pleasing to God."
Theoteknos of Livias,Homily on the Assumption(ante A.D. 650),in THEO,57
"You are she who, as it is written, appears in beauty, and your virginal body is all holy, all chaste, entirely the dewlling place of God, so that it is henceforth completely exempt from dissoultion into dust. Though still human, it is changed into the heavenly life of incorruptibility, truly living and glorious, undamaged and sharing in perfect life."
Germanus of Constantinople,Sermon I(PG 98,346),(ante A.D. 733),from Munificentis simus Deus
"It was fitting that the she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles. It was fitting that the spouse, whom the Father had taken to himself, should live in the divine mansions. It was fitting that she, who had seen her Son upon the cross and who had thereby received into her heart the sword of sorrow which she had escaped when giving birth to him, should look upon him as he sits with the Father, It was fitting that God's Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and as the handmaid of God"
John of Damascene,Dormition of Mary(PG 96,741),(ante A.D. 749) from Munificentis simus Deus
" 'St. Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon (451), made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven.' "
John of Damascene,PG(96:1)(A.D. 747-751)
"Venerable to us, O Lord, is the festivity of this day on which the holy Mother of God suffered temporal death, but still could not be kept down by the bonds of death, who has begotten Thy Son our Lord incarnate from herself."
Gregorian Sacramentary,Veneranda(ante A.D. 795), from Munificentis simus Deus
"[A]n effable mystery all the more worthy of praise as the Virgin's Assumption is something unique among men."
Gallican Sacramentary, from Munificentis simus Deus
"God, the King of the universe, has granted you favors that surpass nature. As he kept you virgin in childbirth, thus he kept your body incorrupt in the tomb and has glorified it by his divine act of transferring it from the tomb." Byzantine Liturgy, from Munificentis simus Deus
"[T]he virgin is up to now immortal, as He who lived, translated her into the place of reception"
Timotheus of Jerusalem(6th-8th century),in OTT,208
"He was the ark formed of incorruptible wood. For by this is signified that His tabernacle was exempt from putridity and corruption."
Hippolytus,Orat. Inillud, Dominus pascit me(ante A.D. 235),in ULL,94
"This Virgin Mother of the Only-begotten of God, is called Mary, worthy of God, immaculate of the immaculate, one of the one."
Origen,Homily 1(A.D. 244),in ULL,94
"Let woman praise Her, the pure Mary."
Ephraim,Hymns on the Nativity,15:23(A.D. 370),in NPNF2,XIII:254
"Thou alone and thy Mother are in all things fair, there is no flaw in thee and no stain in thy Mother."
"Ephraem,Nisibene Hymns,27:8(A.D. 370),in THEO,132
"Mary, a Virgin not only undefiled but a Virgin whom grace has made inviolate, free of every stain of sin."
Ambrose,Sermon 22:30(A.D. 388),in JUR,II:166
"We must except the Holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom I wish to raise no question when it touches the subject of sins, out of honour to the Lord; for from Him we know what abundance of 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."
Augustine,Nature and Grace,42(A.D.415),in NPNF1,V:135
"As he formed her without my stain of her own,so He proceeded from her contracting no stain."
Proclus of Constantinople,Homily 1(ante A.D. 446),in ULL,97
"A virgin, innocent, spotless, free of all defect, untouched, unsullied, holy in soul and body, like a lily sprouting among thorns."
Theodotus of Ancrya,Homily VI:11(ante A.D. 446),in THEO,339
"The angel took not the Virgin from Joseph, but gave her to Christ, to whom she was pledged from Joseph, but gave her to Christ, to whom she was pledged in the womb, when she was made."
Peter Chrysologus,Sermon 140(A.D. 449),in ULL,97
"[T]he very fact that God has elected her proves that none was ever holier than Mary, if any stain had disfigured her soul, if any other virgin had been purer and holier, God would have selected her and rejected Mary."
Jacob of Sarug(ante A.D. 521),in CE
"She is born like the cherubim, she who is of a pure, immaculate clay" Theotoknos of Livias,Panegyric for the feast of the Assumption, 5:6(ante A.D. 650),in THEO,180
"Today humanity, in all the radiance of her immaculate nobility, receives its ancient beauty. The shame of sin had darkened the splendour and attraction of human nature; but when the Mother of the Fair One par excellence is born, this nature regains in her person its ancient privileges and is fashioned according to a perfect model truly worthy of God.... The reform of our nature begins today and the aged world, subjected to a wholly divine transformation, receives the first fruits of the second creation"
Andrew of Crete,Sermon I,On the Birth of Mary(A.D. 733),in THEO,180
"[T]ruly elect, and superior to all,not by the altitude of lofty structures, but as ecelling all in the greatness and purity of sublime and divine virtues, and having no affinity with sin whatever."
Germanus of Constantinople,Marracci in S. Germani Mariali(ante A.D. 733),in ULL,98
"O most blessed loins of Joachim from which came forth a spotless seed! O glorious womb of Anne in which a most holy offspring grew."
John of Damascus,Homily I in Nativ.(ante A.D. 749),in THEO,200
"After this, we receive the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead, of which Jesus Christ our Lord became the first-fruits; Who bore a Body, in truth, not in semblance, derived from Mary the mother of God (59) in the fulness of time sojourning among the race, for the remission of sins: who was crucified and died, yet for all this suffered no diminution of His Godhead."
Alexander of Alexandria,Epistle to Alexander,12(A.D. 324),in NPNF2,III:40
"And the Angel on his appearance, himself confesses that he has been sent by his Lord; as Gabriel confessed in the case of Zacharias, and also in the case of Mary, bearer of God."
Athanasius,Orations III,14(A.D. 362),in NPNF2,IV:401
"Many, my beloved, are the true testimonies concerning Christ. The Father bears witness from heaven of His Son: the Holy Ghost bears witness, descending bodily in likeness of a dove: the Archangel Gabriel bears witness, bringing good tidings to Mary: the Virgin Mother of God bears witness: the blessed place of the manger bears witness."
"If anyone does not believe that Holy Mary is the Mother of God, he is severed from the Godhead."
Gregory of Nazianzus,To Cledonius,101(A.D. 382),in NPNF2,VII:439
"Just as, in the age of Mary the mother of God, he who had reigned from Adam to her time found, when he came to her and dashed his forces against the fruit of her virginity as against a rock, that he was shattered to pieces upon her, so in every soul which passes through this life in the flesh under the protection of virginity, the strength of death is in a manner broken and annulled, for he does not find the places upon which he may fix his sting."
Gregory of Nyssa,On Virginity,14 (A.D. 370),in NPNF2,V:359-360
"He reshaped man to perfection in Himself, from Mary the Mother of God through the Holy Spirit."
Epiphanius,The man well-anchored,75 (A.D. 374),in JUR,II:70
"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. The first thing which kindles ardour in learning is the greatness of the teacher. What is greater than the Mother of God?"
Ambrose,Virginity,II:6 (c.A.D. 378),in NPNF2,X:374
"To the question: 'Is Mary the bearer of Man, or the bearer of God?' we must answer: 'Of Both' "
Theodore of Mopsuestia,The Incarnation,15 (ante A.D. 428),in TLCF,168
"AND so you say, O heretic, whoever you may be, who deny that God was born of the Virgin, that Mary the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ ought not to be called Theotocos, i.e., Mother of God, but Christotocos, i.e., only the Mother of Christ, not of God. For no one, you say, brings forth what is anterior in time. And of this utterly foolish argument whereby you think that the birth of God can be understood by carnal minds, and fancy that the mystery of His Majesty can be accounted for by human reasoning, we will, if God permits, say something later on. In the meanwhile we will now prove by Divine testimonies that Christ is God, and that Mary is the Mother of God."
John Cassian,The Incarnation of Christ,II:2 (A.D. 430),in NPNF2,XI:556
"But since the Holy Virgin brought forth after the flesh God personally united to the flesh, for this reason we say of her that she is Theotokos, not as though the nature of the Word had its beginning of being from the flesh, for he was in the beginning, and the Word was God, and the Word was with God....but, as we said before, because having personally united man's nature to himself..."
Cyril of Alexandria,To Nestorius,Epistle 17:11 (A.D. 430),in CCC,306
"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."
Council of Ephesus,Anathemas Against Nestorius,I (A.D. 430),in NPNF2,XIV:206
"For by the singular gift of Him who is our Lord and God, and withal, her own son, she is to be confessed most truly and most blessedly--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, just as we speak of a woman as the mother of a priest, or the mother of a bishop, meaning that she was such, not by giving birth to one already a priest or a bishop, but by giving birth to one who afterwards became a priest or a bishop. Not thus, I say, was the holy Mary 'Theotocos,' the mother of God, but rather, as was said before, because in her sacred womb was wrought that most sacred mystery whereby, on account of the singular and unique unity of Person, as the Word in flesh is flesh, so Man in God is God."
Vincent of Lerins,Commonitories,15 (A.D. 434),in NPNF2,XI:142-143
"So then He was both in all things and above all things and also dwelt in the womb of the holy Mother of God, but in it by the energy of the incarnation."
John Damascene,Source of Knowledge,III:7 (A.D. 743),in NPNF2,IX:51
Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
"And indeed it was a virgin, about to marry once for all after her delivery, who gave birth to Christ, in order that each title of sanctity might be fulfilled in Christ's parentage, by means of a mother who was both virgin, and wife of one husband. Again, when He is presented as an infant in the temple, who is it who receives Him into his hands? who is the first to recognise Him in spirit? A man just and circumspect,' and of course no digamist, (which is plain) even (from this consideration), lest (otherwise) Christ should presently be more worthily preached by a woman, an aged widow, and the wife of one man;' who, living devoted to the temple, was (already) giving in her own person a sufficient token what sort of persons ought to be the adherents to the spiritual temple,--that is, the Church. Such eye-witnesses the Lord in infancy found; no different ones had He in adult age."
Tertullian,On Monogamy,8(A.D. 213),in ANF,IV:65
Tertullian was one ecclesiastical writer who denied Mary's perpetual virginity despite his affirmation of the Virgin birth.
"For if Mary, as those declare who with sound mind extol her, had no other son but Jesus, and yet Jesus says to His mother, Woman, behold thy son,' and not Behold you have this son also,' then He virtually said to her, Lo, this is Jesus, whom thou didst bear.' Is it not the case that every one who is perfect lives himself no longer, but Christ lives in him; and if Christ lives in him, then it is said of him to Mary, Behold thy son Christ.' What a mind, then, must we have to enable us to interpret in a worthy manner this work, though it be committed to the earthly treasure-house of common speech, of writing which any passer-by can read, and which can be heard when read aloud by any one who lends to it his bodily ears?"
Origen,Commentary on John,I:6(A.D. 232),in ANF,X:300
"Therefore let those who deny that the Son is from the Father by nature and proper to His Essence, deny also that He took true human flesh of Mary Ever-Virgin; for in neither case had it been of profit to us men, whether the Word were not true and naturally Son of God, or the flesh not true which He assumed."
Athanasius,Orations against the Arians,II:70(A.D. 362),in NPNF2,IV:386-387
"And when he had taken her, he knew her not, till she had brought forth her first-born Son.' He hath here used the word till,' not that thou shouldest suspect that afterwards he did know her, but to inform thee that before the birth the Virgin was wholly untouched by man. But why then, it may be said, hath he used the word, till'? Because it is usual in Scripture often to do this, and to use this expression without reference to limited times. For so with respect to the ark likewise, it is said, The raven returned not till the earth was dried up.' And yet it did not return even after that time. And when discoursing also of God, the Scripture saith, From age until age Thou art,' not as fixing limits in this case. And again when it is preaching the Gospel beforehand, and saying, In his days shall righteousness flourish, and abundance of peace, till the moon be taken away,' it doth not set a limit to this fair part of creation. So then here likewise, it uses the word "till," to make certain what was before the birth, but as to what follows, it leaves thee to make the inference. Thus, what it was necessary for thee to learn of Him, this He Himself hath said; that the Virgin was untouched by man until the birth; but that which both was seen to be a consequence of the former statement, and was acknowledged, this in its turn he leaves for thee to perceive; namely, that not even after this, she having so become a mother, and having been counted worthy of a new sort of travail, and a child-bearing so strange, could that righteous man ever have endured to know her. For if he had known her, and had kept her in the place of a wife, how is it that our Lord commits her, as unprotected, and having no one, to His disciple, and commands him to take her to his own home? How then, one may say, are James and the others called His brethren? In the same kind of way as Joseph himself was supposed to be husband of Mary. For many were the veils provided, that the birth, being such as it was, might be for a time screened. Wherefore even John so called them, saying, For neither did His brethren believe in Him.' "
John Chrysostom,Gospel of Matthew,V:5(A.D. 370),in NPNF1,X:33
"But those who by virginity have desisted from this process have drawn within themselves the boundary line of death, and by their own deed have checked his advance; they have made themselves, in fact, a frontier between life and death, and a barrier too, which thwarts him. If, then, death cannot pass beyond virginity, but finds his power checked and shattered there, it is demonstrated that virginity is a stronger thing than death; and that body is rightly named undying which does not lend its service to a dying world, nor brook to become the instrument of a succession of dying creatures. In such a body the long unbroken career of decay and death, which has intervened between the first man and the lives of virginity which have been led, is interrupted. It could not be indeed that death should cease working as long as the human race by marriage was working too; he walked the path of life with all preceding generations; he started with every new-born child and accompanied it to the end: but he found in virginity a barrier, to pass which was an impossible feat. Just as, in the age of Mary the mother of God, he who had reigned from Adam to her time found, when he came to her and dashed his forces against the fruit of her virginity as against a rock, that he was shattered to pieces upon her, so in every soul which passes through this life in the flesh under the protection of virginity, the strength of death is in a manner broken and annulled, for he does not find the places upon which he may fix his sting."
Gregory of Nyssa,On Virginity,13(A.D.371),in NPNF2,V:359-360
"[T]he Son of God...was born perfectly of the holy ever-virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit..."
Epiphanius,Well Anchored Man,120(A.D. 374),in JUR,II:70
" But as we do not deny what is written, so we do reject what is not written. We believe that God was born of the Virgin, because we read it. That Mary was married after she brought forth, we do not believe, because we do not read it. Nor do we say this to condemn marriage, for virginity itself is the fruit of marriage; but because when we are dealing with saints we must not judge rashly. If we adopt possibility as the standard of judgment, we might maintain that Joseph had several wives because Abraham had, and so had Jacob, and that the Lord's brethren were the issue of those wives, an invention which some hold with a rashness which springs from audacity not from piety. You say that Mary did not continue a virgin: I claim still more, that Joseph himself on account of Mary was a virgin, so that from a virgin wedlock a virgin son was born. For if as a holy man he does not come under the imputation of fornication, and it is nowhere written that he had another wife, but was the guardian of Mary whom he was supposed to have to wife rather than her husband, the conclusion is that he who was thought worthy to be called father of the Lord, remained a virgin."
Jerome,The Perpetual Virginity of Mary Against Helvedius,21(A.D. 383),in NPNF2,VI:344
"The friends of Christ do not tolerate hearing that the Mother of God ever ceased to be a virgin"
Basil,Hom. In Sanctum Christi generationem,5(ante A.D. 379),in OTT,207
" Imitate her, holy mothers, who in her only dearly beloved Son set forth so great an example of maternal virtue; for neither have you sweeter children, nor did the Virgin seek the consolation of being able to bear another son."
Ambrose,To the Christian at Vercellae,Letter 63:111(A.D. 396),in NPNF2,X:473
" Her virginity also itself was on this account more pleasing and accepted, in that it was not that Christ being conceived in her, rescued it beforehand from a husband who would violate it, Himself to preserve it; but, before He was conceived, chose it, already dedicated to God, as that from which to be born. This is shown by the words which Mary spake in answer to the Angel announcing to her her conception; 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. But, because the habits of the Israelites as yet refused this, she was espoused to a just man, who would not take from her by violence, but rather guard against violent persons, what she had already vowed. Although, even if she had said this only, How shall this take place ?' and had not added, seeing I know not a man,' certainly 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. She might have been bidden also to continue a virgin, that in her by fitting miracle the Son of God should receive the form of a servant, but, being to be a pattern to holy virgins, lest it should be thought that she alone needed to be a virgin, who had obtained to conceive a child even without sexual intercourse, she dedicated her virginity to God, when as yet she knew not what she should conceive, in order that the imitation of a heavenly life in an earthly and mortal body should take place of vow, not of command; through love of choosing, not through necessity of doing service. Thus Christ by being born of a virgin, who, before she knew Who was to be born of her, had determined to continue a virgin, chose rather to approve, than to command, holy virginity. And thus, even in the female herself, in whom He took the form of a servant, He willed that virginity should be free."
Augustine,Of Holy Virginity,4(A.D. 401),in NPNF1,III:418
"Where are they who think that the Virgin's conception and giving birth to her child are to be likened to those of other woman? For, this latter case is one of the earth, and the Virgin's is one from heaven. The one case is a case of divine power; the other of human weakness. The one case occurs in a body subject to passion; the other in the tranquility of the divine Spirit and peace of the human body. The blood was still, and the flesh astonished; her members were put at rest, and her entire womb was quiescent during the visit of the Holy One, until the Author of flesh could take on His garment of flesh, and until He, who was not merely to restore the earth to man but also to give him heaven, could become a heavenly Man. The virgin conceives, the Virgin brings forth her child, and she remains a virgin."
Peter Chrysoslogus,Sermon 117,(A.D. 432),in FC,XVII,200
"And by a new nativity He was begotten, conceived by a Virgin, born of a Virgin, without paternal desire, without injury to the mother's chastity: because such a birth as knew no taint of human flesh, became One who was to be the Saviour of men, while it possessed in itself the nature of human substance. For when God was born in the flesh, God Himself was the Father, as the archangel witnessed to the Blessed Virgin Mary: because the Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee: and therefore, that which shall be born of thee shall be called holy, the Son of God.' The origin is different but the nature like: not by intercourse with man but by the power of God was it brought about: for a Virgin conceived, a Virgin bare, and a Virgin she remained."
Pope Leo the Great(regn. A.D. 440-461),On the Feast of the Nativity,Sermon 22:2(ante A.D. 461),in NPNF2,XII:130
"The ever-virgin One thus remains even after the birth still virgin, having never at any time up till death consorted with a man. For although it is written, And knew her not till she had brought forth her first-born Son, yet note that he who is first-begotten is first-born even if he is only-begotten. For the word first-born' means that he was born first but does not at all suggest the birth of others. And the word till' signifies the limit of the appointed time but does not exclude the time thereafter. For the Lord says, And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world, not meaning thereby that He will be separated from us after the completion of the age. The divine apostle, indeed, says, And so shall we ever be with the Lord, meaning after the general resurrection."
Veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary
"There is one Physician who is possessed both of flesh and spirit; both made and not made; God existing in flesh; true life in death; both of Mary and of God; first possible and then impossible, even Jesus Christ our Lord."
Ignatius,To the Ephesians,7(A.D.110),in ANF,I:52
"[T]hey 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."
Protoevangelium of John,6:2(A.D. 150),in ANF,VIII:362
"He became man by the Virgin, in order that the disobedience which proceeded from the serpent might receive its destruction in the same manner in which it derived its origin. For Eve, who was a virgin and undefiled, having conceived the word of the serpent, brought forth disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy, when the angel Gabriel announced the good tidings to her that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her, and the power of the Highest would overshadow her: wherefore also the Holy Thing begotten of her is the Son of God; and she replied, 'Be it unto me according to thy word.' And by her has He been born, to whom we have proved so many Scriptures refer, and by whom God destroys both the serpent and those angels and men who are like him; but works deliverance from death to those who repent of their wickedness and believe upon Him."
Justin Martyr,Dialogue with Trypho,100(A.D. 155),in ANF,I:249
"[H]e was born of Mary the fair ewe."
Melito de Sardo,Easter Homily(c.A.D. 177),in PAT,I:244
"In accordance with this design, Mary the Virgin is found obedient, saying, 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.' But Eve was disobedient; for she did not obey when as yet she was a virgin. And even as she, having indeed a husband, Adam, but being nevertheless as yet a virgin (for in Paradise 'they were both naked, and were not ashamed,' inasmuch as they, having been created a short time previously, had no understanding of the procreation of children: for it was necessary that they should first come to adult age, and then multiply from that time onward), having become disobedient, was made the cause of death, both to herself and to the entire human race; so also did Mary, having a man betrothed [to her], and being nevertheless a virgin, by yielding obedience, become the cause of salvation, both to herself and the whole human race. And on this account does the law term a woman betrothed to a man, the wife of him who had betrothed her, although she was as yet a virgin; thus indicating the back-reference from Mary to Eve, because what is joined together could not otherwise be put asunder than by inversion of the process by which these bonds of union had arisen; s so that the former ties be cancelled by the latter, that the latter may set the former again at liberty. And it has, in fact, happened that the first compact looses from the second tie, but that the second tie takes the position of the first which has been cancelled. For this reason did the Lord declare that the first should in truth be last, and the last first. And the prophet, too, indicates the same, saying, "instead of fathers, children have been born unto thee.' For the Lord, having been born "the First-begotten of the dead,' and receiving into His bosom the ancient fathers, has regenerated them into the life of God, He having been made Himself the beginning of those that live, as Adam became the beginning of those who die. Wherefore also Luke, commencing the genealogy with the Lord, carried it back to Adam, indicating that it was He who regenerated them into the Gospel of life, and not they Him. And thus also it was that the knot of Eve's disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith."
Irenaeus,Against Heresies,3:22(A.D. 180),in ANF,I:455
"For whereas the Word of God was without flesh, He took upon Himself the holy flesh by the holy Virgin, and prepared a robe which He wove for Himself, like a bridegroom, in the sufferings of the cross, in order that by uniting His own power with our moral body, and by mixing the incorruptible with the corruptible, and the strong with the weak, He might save perishing man."
Hippolytus,Treatise on Christ and antiChrist,4(A.D. 200),in ANF,V:205
"Accordingly, a virgin did conceive and bear 'Emmanuel, God with us.' This is the new nativity; a man is born in God. And in this man God was born, taking the flesh of an ancient race, without the help, however, of the ancient seed, in order that He might reform it with a new seed, that is, in a spiritual manner, and cleanse it by the re-moral of all its ancient stains. But the whole of this new birth was prefigured, as was the case in all other instances, in ancient type, the Lord being born as man by a dispensation in which a virgin was the medium. The earth was still in a virgin state, reduced as yet by no human labour, with no seed as yet cast into its furrows, when, as we are told, God made man out of it into a living soul. As, then, the first Adam is thus introduced to us, it is a just inference that the second Adam likewise, as the apostle has told us, was formed by God into a quickening spirit out of the ground,--in other words, out of a flesh which was unstained as yet by any human generation. But that I may lose no opportunity of supporting my argument from the name of Adam, why is Christ called Adam by the apostle, unless it be that, as man, He was of that earthly origin? And even reason here maintains the same conclusion, because it was by just the contrary operation that God recovered His own image and likeness, of which He had been robbed by the devil. For it was while Eve was yet a virgin, that the ensnaring word had crept into her ear which was to build the edifice of death. Into a virgin's soul, in like manner, must be introduced that Word of God which was to raise the fabric of life; so that what had been reduced to ruin by this sex, might by the selfsame sex be recovered to salvation. As Eve had believed the serpent, so Mary believed the angel. The delinquency which the one occasioned by believing, the other by believing effaced. But (it will be said) Eve did not at the devil's word conceive in her womb. Well, she at all events conceived; for the devil's word afterwards became as seed to her that she should conceive as an outcast, and bring forth in sorrow. Indeed she gave birth to a fratricidal devil; whilst Mary, on the contrary, bare one who was one day to secure salvation to
Tertullian,Flesh of Christ,17(A.D. 212),in ANF,III:536
"But the Lord Christ, the fruit of the Virgin, did not pronounce the breasts of women blessed, nor selected them to give nourishment; but when the kind and loving Father had rained down the Word, Himself became spiritual nourishment to the good. O mystic marvel! The universal Father is one, and one the universal Word; and the Holy Spirit is one and the same everywhere, and one is the only virgin mother. I love to call her the Church. This mother, when alone, had not milk, because alone she was not a woman. But she is once virgin and mother--pure as a virgin, loving as a mother. And calling her children to her, she nurses them with holy milk, viz., with the Word for childhood. Therefore she had not milk; for the milk was this child fair and comely, the body of Christ, which nourishes by the Word the young brood, which the Lord Himself brought forth in throes of the flesh, which the Lord Himself swathed in His precious blood."
Clement of Alexandria,The Instructor,I:6(A.D.202),in ANF,II:220
"And I think it in harmony with reason that Jesus was the first-fruit among men of the purity which consists in chastity, and Mary among women; for it were not pious to ascribe to any other than to her the first-fruit of virginity."
Origen,Commentary on Matthew,10:17(A.D. 244),in ANF,X:424
"In what remains we have the appointment of the Father's will. The Virgin, the birth, the Body, then the Cross, the death, the visit to the lower world; these things are our salvation. For the sake of mankind the Son of God was born of tile Virgin and of the Holy Ghost. In this process He ministered to Himself; by His own power--the power of God--which overshadowed her He sowed the beginning of His Body, and entered on the first stage of His life in the flesh. He did it that by His Incarnation He might take to Himself from the Virgin the fleshly nature, and that through this commingling there might come into being a hallowed Body of all humanity; that so through that Body which He was pleased to assume all mankind might be hid in Him, and He in return, through His unseen existence, be reproduced in all. Thus the invisible Image of God scorned not the shame which marks the beginnings of human life. He passed through every stage; through conception, birth, wailing, cradle and each successive humiliation. What worthy return can we make for so great a condescension? The One Only-begotten God, ineffably born of God, entered the Virgin's womb and grew and took the frame of poor humanity. He Who upholds the universe, within Whom and through Whom are all things, was brought forth by common childbirth; He at Whose voice Archangels and Angels tremble, and heaven and earth and all the elements of this world are melted, was heard in childish wailing. The Invisible and Incomprehensible, Whom sight and feeling and touch cannot gauge, was wrapped in a cradle. If any man deem all this unworthy of God, the greater must he own his debt for the benefit conferred the less such condescension befits the majesty of God. He by Whom man was made had nothing to gain by becoming Man; it was our gain that God was incarnate and dwelt among us, making all flesh His home by taking upon Him the flesh of One. We were raised because He was lowered; shame to Him was glory to us. He, being God, made flesh His residence, and we in return are lifted anew from the flesh to God."
Hilary of Poitiers,On the Trinity,2:24-25(A.D. 355),in NPNF2,IX:58-59
"Many, my beloved, are the true testimonies concerning Christ. The Father bears witness from heaven of His Son: the Holy Ghost bears witness, descending bodily in likeness of a dove: the Archangel Gabriel bears witness, bringing good tidings to Mary: the Virgin Mother of God [Theotokos] bears witness: the blessed place of the manger bears witness"
Cyril of Jerusalem,Catechetical Lectures,10:19(A.D. 350),in NPNF2,VII:62
"And as the grace of the Triad is one, so also the Triad is indivisible. We can see this in regard to Saint Mary herself. The archangel Gabriel when sent to announce the coming of the Word upon her said, 'The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee', knowing that the Spirit was in the Word. Wherefore he added: 'and the Power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.'"
Athanasius,To Serapion of Thmuis,III:6(A.D. 360),in SHA,176
"And when he had taken her, 'he knew her not, till she had brought forth her first-born Son.' He hath here used the word 'till,' not that thou shouldest suspect that afterwards he did know her, but to inform thee that before the birth the Virgin was wholly untouched by man."
John Chrysostom,Homily on Matthew,5:5(A.D. 370),in NPNF1,X:33
"It was, to divulge by the manner of His Incarnation this great secret; that purity is the only complete indication of the presence of God and of His coming, and that no one can in reality secure this for himself, unless he has altogether estranged himself from the passions of the flesh. What happened in the stainless Mary when the fulness of the Godhead which was in Christ shone out through her, that happens in every soul that leads by rule the virgin life."
Gregory of Nyssa, On Virginity,2(A.D. 371),in NPNF2,V:344
"Thou alone and thy Mother are in all things fair; for there is no flaw in thee and no stain in thy Mother. Of these two fair ones, to whom are my children similar?"
Ephraem,Nisbene Hymns,27:8(ante A.D. 373),in THEO,132
"Whoever honors the Lord also honors the holy [vessel]; who instead dishonors the holy vessel also dishonors his Master. Mary herself is that holy Virgin, that is, the holy vessel"
Epiphanius,Panarion,78:21(A.D. 377),in MFC,127
"And if the God-bearing flesh was not ordained to be assumed of the lump of Adam, what need was there of the Holy Virgin?"
Basil,To the Sozopolitans,Epistle 261(A.D. 377),in NPNF2,VIII:300
"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, who stained the sincerity of its disposition by no guile, who was humble in heart, grave in speech, prudent in mind, sparing of words, studious in reading, resting her hope not on uncertain riches, but on the prayer of the poor, intent on work, modest in discourse; wont to seek not man but God as the judge of her thoughts, to injure no one, to have goodwill towards all, to rise up before her elders, not to envy her equals, to avoid boastfulness, to follow reason, to love virtue."
Ambrose,On Virginity,2:15(A.D. 377),in NPNF2,X:374
"Recalling these and other circumstances and imploring the Virgin Mary to bring assistance, since she, too, was a virgin and had been in danger, she entrusted herself to the remedy of fasting and sleeping on the ground."
Gregory of Nazianzen, Oration 24:11(A.D. 379),in MFC,167
"If anyone does not believe that Holy Mary is the Mother of God, he is severed from the Godhead. If anyone should assert that He passed through the Virgin as through a channel, and was not at once divinely and humanly formed in her (divinely, because without the intervention of a man; humanly, because in accordance with the laws of gestation), he is in like manner godless."
Gregory of Nazianzen,To Cledonius, Epistle 101(A.D. 382),in NPNF2,VII:439
" 'There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a flower shall grow out of his roots.' The rod is the mother of the Lord--simple, pure, unsullied; drawing no germ of life from without but fruitful in singleness like God Himself... Set before you the blessed Mary, whose surpassing purity made her meet to be the mother of the Lord."
Jerome,To Eustochium,Epistle 22:19,38(A.D. 384),in NPNF2,VI:29,39
"We must except the holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom I wish to raise no question when it touches the subject of sins, out of honour to the Lord; for from Him we know what abundance of 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."
Augustine,Nature and Grace,36:42(A.D. 415),in NPNF1,V:135
"Hail, Mary, you are the most precious creature in the whole world; hail, Mary, uncorrupt dove; hail, Mary, inextinguishable lamp; for from you was born the Sun of justice...through you, every faithful soul achieves salvation"
Cyril of Alexandria,Homily 11 at Ephesus(A.D. 431),in MFC,243-245
"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."
"A Virgin conceived, a Virgin bore, and a Virgin she remains."
Peter Chyrsologus,Sermon 117(post A.D. 432),in JUR,III:267
"Therefore, when the time came, dearly beloved, which had been fore-ordained for men's redemption, there enters these lower parts of the world, the Son of GOD, descending from His heavenly throne and yet not quitting His Father's glory, begotten in a new order, by a new nativity. In a new order, because being invisible in His own nature He became visible in ours, and He whom nothing could contain, was content to be contained: abiding before all time He began to be in time: the LORD of all things, He obscured His immeasurable majesty and took on Him the form of a servant: being GOD, that cannot suffer, He did not disdain to be man that can, and immortal as He is, to subject Himself to the laws of death. And by a new nativity He was begotten, conceived by a Virgin, born of a Virgin, without paternal desire, without injury to the mother's chastity: because such a birth as knew no taint of human flesh, became One who was to be the Saviour of men, while it possessed in itself the nature of human substance. For when GOD was born in the flesh, GOD Himself was the Father, as the archangel witnessed to the Blessed Virgin Mary: 'because the Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee: and therefore, that which shall be born of thee shall be called holy, the Son of God.' The origin is different but the nature like: not by intercourse with man but by the power of God was it brought about: for a Virgin conceived, a Virgin bare, and a Virgin she remained. Consider here not the condition of her that bare but the will of Him that was born; for He was born Man as He willed and was able. If you inquire into the truth of His nature, you must acknowledge the matter to be human: if you search for the mode of His birth, you must confess the power to be of GOD. For the LORD Jesus Christ came to do away with not to endure our pollutions: not to succumb to our faults but to heal them. He came that He might cure every weakness of oar corruptness and all the sores of our defiled souls: for which reason it behoved Him to be born by a new order, who brought to men's bodies the new gift of unsullied purity. For the uncorrupt nature of Him that was born had to guard the primal virginity of the Mother, and the infused power of the Divine Spirit had to preserve in spotlessness and holiness that sanctuary which He had chosen for Himself: that Spirit (I say) who had determined to raise the fallen, to restore the broken, and by overcoming the allurements of the flesh to bestow on us in abundant measure the power of chastity: in order that the virginity which in others cannot be retained in child-bearing, might be attained by them at their second birth."
Pope Leo the Great[regn A.D. 440-461],in Sermon 22:2(ante A.D. 461),in NPNF2,128
Devotion to and Intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary
"For as Eve was seduced by the word of an angel to flee from God, having rebelled against His Word, so Mary by the word of an angel received the glad tidings that she would bear God by obeying his Word. The former was seduced to disobey God, but the latter was persuaded to obey God, so that the Virgin Mary might become the advocate of the virgin Eve. As the human race was subjected to death through [the act of] a virgin, so it was saved by a virgin."
Irenaeus, Against Heresies, V:19,1(A.D. 180),in ANF,I:547
"Under your mercy we take refuge, O Mother of God. Do not reject our supplications in necessity, but deliver us from danger,[O you] alone pure and alone blessed."
"O noble Virgin, truly you are greater than any other greatness. For who is your equal in greatness, O dwelling place of God the Word? To whom among all creatures shall I compare you, O Virgin? You are greater than them all O Covenant, clothed with purity instead of gold! You are the
Athanasius, Homily of the Papyrus of Turin,71:216(ante AD 373),in MCF,106
"Recalling these and other circumstances and imploring the Virgin Mary to bring assistance, since she, too, was a virgin and had been in danger, she entrusted herself to the remedy of fasting and sleeping on the ground."
Gregory of Nazianzen, Oration 24:11(A.D. 379),in MCF,167
"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.... Nor would I hesitate to admit you to the altars of God, whose souls I would without hesitation call altars, on which Christ is daily offered for the redemption of the body. For if the virgin's body be a
Ambrose, On Virginity II:6,18(AD 378),in NPNF2,X:374,376
"For it is said that he[Gregory the Wonderworker] heard the one who had appeared in womanly form exhorting John the Evangelist to explain to the young man the mystery of the true faith. John, in his turn, declared that he was completely willing to please the Mother of the Lord even in this matter and this was the one thing closest to his heart. And so the discussion coming to a close, and after they had made it quite clear and precise for him, the two disappeared from his sight."
Gregory of Nyssa,On Gregory the WonderWorker(AD 380),PG 46:912,in MCF,94
"Mary, the holy Virgin, is truly great before God and men. For how shall we not proclaim her great, who held within her the uncontainable One, whom neither heaven nor earth can contain?"
Epiphanius, Panarion, 30:31(ante AD 403),in MCF,127
In light of the Marian heresy of adoration(Collyridians): "Let Mary be held in honour. Let the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost be adored, but let no one adore Mary"
Epiphanius,ten Marian medeis prosknueito(ante AD 403),in CE
"Give milk, Mother to him who is our food, give milk to the bread coming down from heaven ... give milk to him who made you such that he could be made fruitfulness in conception and in birth, did not take from you the ornament of virginity."
Augustine,Sermon 369:1(AD 430),in THEO,187
"Hail to thee Mary, Mother of God, to whom in towns and villages and in island were founded churches of true believers"
Cyril of Alexandria, Homily 11(ante AD 444),in CE
"Hail, our desirable gladness; Hail, O rejoicing of the Churches; Hail, O name that breathes out sweetness; Hail, face that radiates divinity and grace; Hail, most venerable memory;"
Theodotus of Ancrya, Homily 4:3(ante AD 446),in MCF,267
"The Virgin's festival (parthenike panegyris) incites our tongue today to herald her praise ... handmaid and Mother, Virgin and heaven, the only bridge of God to men, the awful loom of the Incarnation, in which by some unspeakable way the garment of that union was woven, whereof the weaver is the Holy Ghost; and the spinner the overshadowing from on high; the wool the ancient fleece of Adam; the woof the undefiled flesh from the virgin, the weaver's shuttle the immense grace of Him who brought it about; the artificer the Word gliding through the hearing"
Proclus of Constantinople, Homily 1(ante AD 446),in CE
"The Virgin received Salvation so that she may give it back to the centuries."
Peter Chrysologus, Sermon 140(ante AD 450),in MIRA,16
"O Virgin all holy, he who has said of you all that is honorable and glorious has not sinned against the truth, but remains unequal to your merit. Look down upon us from above and be propitious to us. Lead us in peace and having brought us without shame to the throne of judgment, grant us a place at the right hand of your Son, that we may borne off to heaven and sing with angels to the uncreated, consubstantial Trinity"
Basil of Seleucia, PG 85:452(ante AD 459),in THEO,187
According to Romanos the Singer, the BVM replies: "Cease your laments; I will make myself your advocate in my Son's presence. Meanwhile, no more sadness, because I have brought joy to the world. For it is to destroy the kingdom of sorrow that I have come into the world: I full of grace ... Then curb your tears; accept me as your mediatrix in the presence of him who was born from me, because the author of joy is the God generated before all ages. Remain calm; be troubled no longer: I come from him, full of grace."
Romanos the Singer,On Christmas 2,10-11(ante AD 560),in MCF,327
"Raised to heaven, she remains for the human race an unconquerable rampart, interceding for us before her Son and God."
Theoteknos of Livias, Assumption 291(ante AD 560),in THEO,187
"Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, because thou didst conceive Christ, the Son of God, the Redeemer of our souls"
Coptic Ostraca (AD 600),in CE
"Mary the Ever-Virgin -- radiant with divine light and full of grace, mediatrix first through her supernatural birth and now because of the intercession of her maternal assistance -- be crowned with neverending blessings ... seeking balance and fittingness in all things, we should make our way honestly, as sons of light."
Germanus of Constantinople, Homily on the Liberation of Constantinople, 23(ante AD 733),in MCF,387
"O, how marvelous it is! She acts as a mediatrix between the loftiness of God and the lowliness of the flesh, and becomes Mother of the Creator."
Andrew of Crete, Homily 1 on Mary's Nativity(ante AD 740),in MCF,398
"She is all beautiful, all near to God. For she, surpassing the cherubim. Exalted beyond the seraphim, is placed near to God."
John of Damascene, Homily on the Nativity,9(ante AD 749),in MCF,403
"We today also remain near you, O Lady. Yes, I repeat, O Lady, Mother of God and Virgin. We bind our souls to your hope, as to a most firm and totally unbreakable anchor, consecrating to you mind, soul, body, and all our being and honoring you, as much as we can, with psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles."
John of Damascene, Homily 1 on the Dormition,14(ante AD 749),in MCF,408
"Let us entrust ourselves with all our soul's affection to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin: let us all, with all our strength, beg her patronage, that, at the moment when on earth we surround her with our suppliant homage, she herself may deign in heaven to commend us with fervent prayer. For without any doubt she who merited to bring ransom for those who needed deliverance, can more than all the saints benefit by her favor those who have received deliverance"
Ambrose Autpert, Assumption of the Virgin, (ante AD 778)PL 39:2134,in THEO,188
"Let us approach with confident spirit the throne of the high Priest, where he is our victim, priest, advocate and judge."
Radbert Paschasius, On the Assumption(ante AD 786), PL 96:249B,in THEO,188
"For she who brought forth the source of mercy, Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, receiving from him all things, will and through him, grant the wishes of all"
Paul the Deacon, (ante AD 799),PL 95,1574,in THEO,188
"You scatter your favors with still greater abundance since you possess more fully him who is their source and who is entirely willing to give them to us, rather you possess almost everything by yourself and you show largesse to whom you will and to him who begs it of you."
John the Geometer, Life of Mary(AD 989),in THEO,187
"May we deserve to have the help of your intercession in heaven, because as the Son of God has deigned to descend to us through you, so we also must come to him with you"
Peter Damian,(ante AD 1072),PL 144:761B,in THEO,188
"The Mother of God is our mother. May the good mother ask and beg for us, may she request and obtain what is good for us."
Anselm, Oration 7(ante AD 1109),in THEO,188
"O whoever you may be who feel yourself on the tide of this world drifting in storms and tempests rather than treading firm ground, turn not your eyes from the effulgence of this star, unless you wish to be submerged ... if she holds you, you do not fall, if she protects you, you have no fear; with her to lead you, you tire not; with her favour, you will reach your goal, conscious thus within yourself how rightly the word was spoken: 'And the Virgin's name was Mary' "
Bernard, Homily 2:17,Respice stellam(ante AD 1153),in THEO,76