Tuesday 18th January 2022

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Mary’s Perpetual Virginity . . . The Faith Of The Early Christians

May 11, 2014 Our Catholic Faith No Comments


Part 6

What did the Early Christians believe about the Catholic doctrine on the perpetual virginity of the Mother of Jesus? Those men, women, and children who sacrificed everything for the true faith — even their very own lives?
They were imprisoned, tortured, murdered. Some were burned alive, racked, beheaded. Others were crucified, flayed alive, or eaten by wild beasts. And they preferred to die rather than to deny Jesus Christ and their belonging to His Church.
What did those great Christian heroes believe about Mary’s perpetual virginity? Let us see some examples from the extant documentation:
Didymus the blind lived in the fourth century. He taught St. Jerome. In his book on the Trinity, written around the year 385, twelve years before the New Testament was put together, he wrote:
“It helps us to understand the terms firstborn and only-begotten when the evangelist tells us that Mary remained a Virgin ‘until she brought forth her firstborn son’ (Matt. 1:25). For neither did Mary, who is to be honoured and praised above all others, marry anyone (else, apart from Joseph) nor did she ever become the Mother of anyone else (with Joseph her husband), but even after childbirth she remained always and forever an immaculate virgin” (WJ 2:1073).
St. Epiphanius the Pentaglot, bishop of Salamis, in Cyprus, is called the Pentaglot by St. Jerome because he was fluent in five languages, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Syriac, and Coptic. He wrote a book called Agkyrotos, or The Man Well-Anchored (AD 374). It is a treatise on theology, widely known by the learned and the simple at the time. There he composed a Creed, which was used by catechumens on their Baptism day. It is very similar to the one we say in Mass today. It is too long to read, but just one article will suffice for our purpose:
“We believe . . . in One Lord Jesus Christ…who for us men and for our salvation came down and took flesh, that is, was born perfectly of the holy ever-virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit” (WJ 2:1089a).
Shortly thereafter, he wrote the panacea Against All Heresies, in which he says, “Was there ever anyone of any breeding who dared to speak the name of Holy Mary, and being questioned, did not immediately add, ‘the Virgin’? For by such added names the positive proofs of merit are apparent. . . . . And to Holy Mary, ‘virgin’ in invariably added, for that Woman remains undefiled” (WJ 2:1111).
It is interesting to notice that to this day many call Jesus the Christ, Paul the Apostle, John the Baptist, Alexander the Great, Stephen the Martyr, and of course Mary the Virgin, among others.
St. Jerome (Against Helvidius, AD 383): “We believe that God was born of a Virgin, because we read it [in the Scriptures]. We do not believe that Mary was married after She brought forth her Son, because we do not read it. . . . Joseph himself was a virgin, so that a Virgin son might be born of a virginal wedlock.”
St. Augustine’s sermon written between AD 391 and 430: “Let us rejoice, brethren, let the nations exult and be glad. It was not the visible sun, but its invisible Creator who consecrated this day for us, when the Virgin Mother, fertile of womb and integral in her virginity, brought Him forth, made visible for us, by whom, when He was invisible, She too was created.
“A Virgin conceiving, a Virgin bearing, a Virgin pregnant, a Virgin bringing forth, a Virgin perpetual. Why do you wonder at this, O man? It was fitting for God to be born thus, when He deigned to become man.”
St. Augustine: On Holy Virginity (AD 401): “In being born of a Virgin who chose to be a Virgin even before She knew who was to be born of Her, Christ wanted to approve virginity rather than to impose it. And He wanted Virginity to be of free choice even in that woman in whom He took upon Himself the form of a slave.”
Leporius was a monk from Gaul who became a heretic but was converted by St. Augustine. In his Document of Amendment he affirms the faith of the Church (AD 426): “We confess, therefore, that Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, born of the Father before all ages, and in times most recent, made man by the Holy Spirit and the Ever-virgin Mary, was born God.”
St. Cyril of Alexandria, in a work titled, Against those who do not wish to confess that the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God, quoted in a treatise written by the Emperor Justinian I against the heresy of the Monophysites (AD 542), wrote: “Jesus did not first come into being as a simple man, before the union and communion of God in Him; but the Word Himself, coming into the Blessed Virgin Herself, assumed for Himself His own Temple from the substance of the Virgin, and came forth from Her a man in all that could be externally discerned, while interiorly He was true God. Therefore He kept His Mother a Virgin even after her childbearing, which was done for none of other saints.”
St. Peter Chrysologus, a great preacher, in his Sermons, post AD 432 — he died in 450, wrote: “A Virgin conceived, a Virgin bore, and a Virgin she remains.”
St. Leo I, Pope, in his Sermons before 461, wrote: “Christ was begotten in a new kind of nativity, conceived by a Virgin, born of a Virgin. . . . By divine power it was brought about that a Virgin conceived, a Virgin bore, and Virgin she remained.”
St. Sophronius of Jerusalem, a monk born in Damascus, was patriarch of Jerusalem and died there in AD 638. In his Synodal Letter to the Patriarch of Constantinople, he referred to Mary’s “Immaculate virginity which was unblemished before the birth, during the birth, and after the birth. . . .”
St. John Damascene wrote The Source of Knowledge (AD 743): “The Ever-Virgin remains after birth a Virgin still, never having consorted with man until death. . . . For how were it possible that she, who had borne God, and had come to know the miracle from her experience of subsequent events, should receive the embrace of a man? Perish the thought.”
St. John Damascene, on the Holy Trinity, wrote: “Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . was conceived of the Holy Ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of God. . . .”
The Council of Lateran (against Monothelitism) in AD 649 said: “If anyone does not, according to the holy Fathers, confess truly and properly that Holy Mary, ever virgin and Immaculate, is Mother of God, since in this latter age She conceived in true reality without human seed from the Holy Spirit, God the Word Himself, who before the ages was born of God the Father, and gave birth to Him without corruption, Her virginity remaining equally inviolate after the birth, let him be condemned” (TCF, p.193).
So we can safely conclude that, historically speaking, the denial of Mary’s perpetual virginity is just a recent man-made tradition that denies the word of God in Scripture and the apostolic Tradition. Only anti-Catholic bigotry can lead someone to deny the faith of the early Christians, which not even the founders of Protestantism (Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli) did. Those who deny it expect us to believe them and not the Apostolic Faith of nearly 2,000 years.
Next article: The “Other Mary” and St. Joseph’s “other children.”

+    +    +

(Raymond de Souza is director of the Evangelization and Apologetics Office of the Winona Diocese, Minn.; EWTN program host; regional coordinator for Portuguese-speaking countries for Human Life International [HLI], president of the Sacred Heart Institute and a member of the Sovereign, Military, and Hospitaller Order of the Knights of Malta. His web site is: www.RaymonddeSouza.com.)

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Pro-Life Group Calls for Removing Fauci After He's Caught Funding Aborted Baby Parts - https://t.co/kqxQXGgoG8

LifeNews.com - The Pro-Life News Source



Load More...

Vatican and USCCB leave transgender policy texts unpublished

While U.S. bishops have made headlines for releasing policies addressing gender identity and pastoral ministry, guidelines on the subject have been drafted but not published by both the U.S. bishops’ conference and the Vatican’s doctrinal office, leaving diocesan bishops to…Continue Reading

Biden says Pope Francis told him to continue receiving communion, amid scrutiny over pro-abortion policies

President Biden said that Pope Francis, during their meeting Friday in Vatican City, told him that he should continue to receive communion, amid heightened scrutiny of the Catholic president’s pro-abortion policies.  The president, following the approximately 90-minute-long meeting, a key…Continue Reading

Federal judge rules in favor of Gov. DeSantis’ mask mandate ban

MIAMI (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge this week handed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis another legal victory on his mask mandate ban for schools. On Wednesday, Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida denied a petition from…Continue Reading

The Eucharist should not be received unworthily, says Nigerian cardinal

Priests have a duty to remind Catholics not to receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin and to make confession easily available, a Nigerian cardinal said at the International Eucharistic Congress on Thursday. “It is still the doctrine…Continue Reading

Donald Trump takes a swipe at Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him

Donald Trump complained about Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him in 2020. The former president made the comments in a conference call featuring religious leaders. The move could be seen to shore up his religious conservative base…Continue Reading

Y Gov. Kathy Hochul Admits Andrew Cuomo Covered Up COVID Deaths, 12,000 More Died Than Reported

When it comes to protecting people from COVID, Andrew Cuomo is already the worst governor in America. New York has the second highest death rate per capita, in part because he signed an executive order putting COVID patients in nursing…Continue Reading

Prayers For Cardinal Burke . . . U.S. Cardinal Burke says he has tested positive for COVID-19

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said he has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. In an Aug. 10 tweet, he wrote: “Praised be Jesus Christ! I wish to inform you that I have recently…Continue Reading

Democrats Block Amendment Banning Late-Term Abortions, Stopping Abortions Up to Birth

Senate Democrats have blocked an amendment that would ban abortions on babies older than 20 weeks. During consideration of the multi-trillion spending package, pro-life Louisiana Senator John Kennedy filed an amendment to ban late-term abortions, but Democrats steadfastly support killing…Continue Reading

Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to a transgender former public high school student who waged a six-year legal battle against a Virginia county school board that had barred him from using the bathroom corresponding…Continue Reading

New York priest accused by security guard of assault confirms charges have now been dropped

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.  Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following…Continue Reading

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1


Today . . .

Alice von Hildebrand . . . Catholic Icon . . . Dead at 98

The readers of The Wanderer have been blessed to read the wisdom and the vast understanding of the Catholic faith that Alice Von Hildebrand shared in her columns with the readers of The Wanderer for over four decades. Her contribution to the Church and to the defense of Catholicism is immeasurable. The countless people she touched in her witness to the Catholic faith will not be fully known until the end of time. Her words are even more valuable today as our…Continue Reading

Brazil to have a statue of Jesus larger than Christ the Redeemer

A statue of Christ is being built in Brazil that will be larger than the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue of Rio de Janeiro. The image, which has been under construction since 2019, will be called Cristo Protector and is being erected on the Cerro de las Antenas, a hill near Encantado in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. The project was planned to be completed by the end of 20

Vatican orders forced concelebrations, new restrictions on traditional Mass and sacraments

The document released restricts the traditional celebration of the sacraments, hints at a future withdrawal of permission to celebrate the traditional Mass at all , and issues penalties for priests who will not concelebrate.

Top European court rules all EU countries must recognize same-sex parents

(LifeSiteNews) – The top court of the European Union ruled Tuesday that all EU countries must recognize homosexuals and their legal children as family members regardless of national laws on same-sex parenting or homosexual “marriage.” In a ruling that applies to the entire 27-nation bloc, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) in Luxembourg declared that member countries must allow a same-sex couple to move and reside freely with a child legally recognized as their son or daughter…Continue Reading

Court won’t stop Texas abortion ban, but lets clinics sue

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Friday left in place Texas’ ban on most abortions, though it ruled that clinics in the state can sue over the most restrictive abortion law in the nation. The decision, little more than a week after the court signaled it would roll back abortion rights and possibly overturn its landmark Roe v. Wade decision, was greeted with dismay by abortion rights supporters. They said the outcome, by limiting…Continue Reading

COVID Gloom Shadows World

By JOHN J. METZLER As the New Year brings hope and possibility for a global reset and renewal, the tragic reality remains that COVID-19, with all its deadly variants, continues to plague the planet now fully two years after the malady emerged from Wuhan, China. Thus, despite much justified optimism over wider vaccinations, the pandemic…Continue Reading

Voter ID Requirements Make Sense

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY A young man who looks like a teenager walks into a liquor store and pulls a bottle of cheap whiskey off a shelf.He puts it down at the checkout counter and pulls out his wallet.The clerk at the counter looks at him skeptically. “Can I see your ID?” he asks.“Yes,” says…Continue Reading

The Road To Emmaus

By DONALD DeMARCO The road that stretched from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus, as Luke informs us (Luke 24:13-35), was about seven miles (60 estadia). What transpired in the story of the “Road to Emmaus,” however, has a far richer meaning than the route on which two people, and then a third, traveled. It…Continue Reading

Where Does NATO Enlargement End?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the Warsaw Pact dissolved, the breakup of the USSR began. But the dissolution did not stop with the 14 Soviet “republics” declaring their independence of Moscow.Decomposition had only just begun.Transnistria broke away from Moldova. South Ossetia and Abkhazia seceded from Georgia. Chechnya broke…Continue Reading

Our Entire System Of “Sexual Liberation” Depends On The Abortion Industry

By JONATHON VAN MAREN (Editor’s Note: Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as in print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator, and others.) + + (LifeSiteNews) — If…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Spirit Of The Lord Is Upon You

FR. ROBERT ALTIER Third Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Neh. 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-101 Cor. 12:12-30Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21 In the second reading today, St. Paul states: “You are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it.” This truth is of great importance to all of us, but we need to look at the Gospel reading to see what God teaches…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. Are archaeologists still looking for the original pieces of Christ’s Cross? – J.B., Pennsylvania.A. No, the true Cross was found by St. Helena in Jerusalem in the fourth century, and pieces of this holy relic can now be found in many churches and shrines throughout the world. Helena was sent to Jerusalem by her son, the Roman Emperor Constantine,…Continue Reading

Practicing Catholics: The Moral Connection

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK A Catholic acquaintance recounts having been asked, while being interviewed in preparation for hiring by a particular agency concerned with national security, “Have you slept with your friend’s girlfriend or wife?” His impulse was to answer, “No, I’m Catholic,” but only yes or no answers were allowed.That reminded me of an occasion in the Army…Continue Reading

From The Christmas Cycle… An Overlooked But Powerful Reading

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Pope posted this commentary on January 4, 2022 and it is reprinted here with permission. His website is msgrpope.com.) + + There is a Scripture reading proclaimed at the Christmas Liturgy that usually gets overlooked. And yet it should elicit considerable reflection since it is proclaimed at the Christmas Midnight Mass, one of…Continue Reading

Our Lord Gave Himself Entirely

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Isaiah 62:1-51 Cor. 12:4-11John 2:1-11 In calling Israel into a covenant relationship with Himself, God took His Chosen People into a relationship that is akin to a marriage. This marital relationship is mentioned many times in the Old Testament. Often it is because Israel was like an unfaithful…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Vincent Mary Pallotti (1795-1850)

By DEB PIROCH He lived during a different era . . . the same as the Curé of Ars. He attended a special Jesuit high school, the Collegio Romano where St. Aloysius Gonzaga had been schooled. And like his fellow alumnus, he came from a large family and was called early to religious life.One of ten, as a child Vincent…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… The Blessed Carmelites Of Compiègne

By DEB PIROCH There are those who make the capital error of equating France’s French Revolution with the American one. Bastille Day may have liberated the people from autocracy, but beyond that, the Revolution was vile. While phrases like “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity” were bantered about, it was actually only one motto used and it really had nothing whatsoever to…Continue Reading