Mary is the New Eve and Most Blessed Among Women (Cont.)
“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).
“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 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.” Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 2:24-25 (A.D. 355).
“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).
“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).
“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 fullness 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).
“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).
“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).
“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).