Sunday, March 8, 2009

Papal Infallibility & Primacy

Update 10/26/2010: See the new version of this post by clicking here.

3rd Century
West: Bishop St. Cyprian the Martyr of Carthage in 252 [Epistle 59:14 in PL ],
After such things as these, moreover, they still dare--a false bishop having been appointed for them by, heretics--to set sail and to bear letters from schismatic and profane persons to the throne of Peter, and to the chief church whence priestly unity takes its source; and not to consider that these were the Romans whose faith was praised in the preaching of the Apostle, to whom faithlessness could have no access.
The Latin reads:
Post ista adhuc insuper pseudopeiscopo sibi ab haereticis constituto nauigare audent et ad Petri cathedram adque ad ecclesiam prncipalem unde unitas sacerdotalis exorta est ab schismaticis et profanis litteras ferre nec cogitare eos esse Romanos quorum fides apostolo praedicante laudata est, ad quos perfidia habere non possit accessum.
WRH: (1) heterodoxy will never prevail over the Roman see; (2) the pope of Rome is the supreme pastor of the universal Church; (3) disobedience of Rome is unacceptable; (4) final doctrinal decisions rest with Rome; (5) the pope has the special authority to teach the entire Christian world; (6) St. Peter is the prince of Apostles who rules over them; (7) this authoritative primacy of Rome is permanent and non-transferable; (8) communion with Rome is necessary.4th Century

East: Patriarch St. John I Chrysostom the Great of Constantinople (Doctor & Holy Hierarch) says [Homilies on the Gospel of St. John 88:1 in PG 59:478],
He says to him, "Feed My Sheep." Why does He pass over the others and speak about these to him? He was the chosen one of the Apostles, the mouth of the disciples, the head of the choir; for this reason Paul went up to see him rather than the other ... He entrusts him with the primacy of the brethren; and as He does not bring forward the denial, or reproach him with the past, but says: "If you love Me, rule the brethren." ... And if anyone would say "How did James receive the chair of Jerusalem," I would reply that He appointed Peter a teacher not of the chair, but of the world...
The Greek reads:
Λέγει αυ̉τω̃· Βόσκε τά πρόβατά μου. Καί τί δήποτε, τούς ά̉λλους παραδραμών, τούτω περί τούτων διαλέγεται; ̉Έκκριτος η̉ν τω̃ν α̉ποστόλων, καί στόμα τω̃ν μαθητω̃ν, καί κορυφή του̃ χορου̃·διά του̃το καί Παυλος α̉νέβη τότε αυ̉τόν ιστορησαι παρά τους ά̉λλους … ̉Εγχειρίζεται τήν προστασίαν τω̃ν α̉δελφω̃ν. Καί την μέν ά̉ρνησιν ου̉ προφέρει, ου̉δέ ο̉νειδίζει το γεγονός· λέγει δέ ότι ̉Ει φιλεις με, προϊστασο τω̃ν α̉δελφω̃ν … ̉Ει δέ λέγοι τις πω̃ς ουν ο Ιάκωβος τόν θρόνον έ̉λαβε των Ιεροσολύμων;ε̉κει̃νο ά̉ν εί̉ποιμι, ότι τουτον ου̉ του̃ θρόνου, α̉λλά τη̃ς οι̉κουμένης.
WRH: In the absence of any reason to deny that St. John believed that the successors of St. Peter in the See of Rome inherited the Petrine power, we can deduce the following: (2) the pope of Rome is the supreme pastor of the universal Church; (5) the pope has the special authority to teach the entire Christian world; (6) St. Peter is the prince of Apostles who rules over them.

West: Bishop St. Augustine the Great of Hippo (Doctor) in 393 [Psalm Against the Party of Donatus 18 in PL 43:30], "Number the bishops from the See of Peter itself. And in that order of Fathers see who has succeeded whom. That is the rock against which the gates of Hell do not prevail."
WRH: (1) heterodoxy will never prevail over the Roman see.
5th Century
East: Patriarch St. Cyril of Alexandria (Doctor of the Incarnation) says in 430 [Epistle 11:7 to Pope St. Celestine I of Rome in PG 77:86],
I was unwilling to openly sever communion with him until I had laid all the facts before you. Deign therefore to ordain what seems right, whether we ought to communicate at all with him, or to tell him plainly that no one communicates with a person who holds and teaches what he does. Further the purpose of your holiness ought to be made known by letter to the most religious and God-loving bishops of Macedonia, and to all the bishops of the East, for we shall then give them, according to their desire, the opportunity of standing together in unity of soul and mind, and lead them to contend earnestly for the orthodox faith which is being attacked.
The Greek reads as follows:
Ού πρότερον δέ τη̃ς πρός αυ̉τον κοινωνίας ε̉κβάλομεν ε̉αυτους μετά παρρησίας, πρίν άν ταυ̃τα τη̃ ση̃ θεοσεβεία α̉νακοινωσώμεθα. Διό δή καταξίωσον τυπω̃σαι το δοκου̃ν, καί πότερόν ποτε χρή κοινωνειν αυ̉τω̃, ή̉ λοιπόν α̉πειπει̃ν μετά παρρησίας, ό̉τι τοιαυ̃τα φρονου̃ντι καί διδάσκοντι ου̉δείς κοινωνει̃. Τόν δέ ε̉πί τούτοις σκοπόν τη̃ς ση̃ς θεοσεβείας χρή γενέσθαι διά γραμμάτων καταφανη̃ καί τοι̃ς ευ̉σεβεστάτοις καί θεοφιλεστάτοις ε̉πισκόποις τοι̃ς κατά Μακεδονίαν, καί ά̉πασι τοι̃ς κατά την ̉Ανατολήν. ̉Επιθυμουσι γάρ αυ̉τοις δώσομεν α̉φορμάς του̃ πάντας μια̃ ψυχη̃ και μια̃ γνώμη στη̃ναι, καί ε̉παγωνίσασθαι τη̃ ο̉ρθη̃ πίστει πολεμουμένη.
WRH: (2) The pope of Rome is the supreme pastor of the universal Church; (4) final doctrinal decisions rest with Rome; (5) the pope has the special authority to teach the entire Christian world.

Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (431), Council Decree:
As, in addition to other things, the impious Nestorius has not obeyed our citation, and did not receive the holy bishops who were sent by us to him, we were compelled to examine his ungodly doctrines. We discovered that he had held and published impious doctrines in his letters and treatises, as well as in discourses which he delivered in this city, and which have been testified to. Compelled thereto by the canons and by the letter (αναγκαιως κατεπειξθεντες απο τε των κανονων, και εκ της επιστολης, κ. τ. η.) of our most holy father and fellow-servant Celestine, the Roman bishop, we have come, with many tears, to this sorrowful sentence against him, namely, that our Lord Jesus Christ, Whom he has blasphemed, decrees by the holy Synod that Nestorius be excluded from the episcopal dignity, and from all priestly communion.
WRH: (2) the pope of Rome is the supreme pastor of the universal Church; (3) disobedience of Rome is unacceptable; (4) final doctrinal decisions rest with Rome; (5) the pope has the special authority to teach the entire Christian world.

Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451 [To Pope St. Leo I, Epistle 98:1-2],
The great and holy and universal the metropolis of the most holy and blessed archbishop of Rome, Leo ... being set as the mouthpiece unto all of the blessed Peter, and imparting the blessedness of his Faith unto all ...and besides all this he [Dioscorus] stretched forth his fury even against him who had been charged with the custody of the vine by the Savior, we mean of course your holiness ...
WRH: (2) the pope of Rome is the supreme pastor of the universal Church; (3) disobedience of Rome is unacceptable; (5) the pope has the special authority to teach the entire Christian world; (6) St. Peter is the prince of Apostles who rules over them.
WRH: In his winter 1964-1965 journal article, "St. Cyril's 'One Physis or Hypostasis of God the Logos Incarnate' and Chalcedon," the Eastern Orthodox Fr. John S. Romanides († 2001) wrongly infers Cyrillian primacy at the Council of Chalcedon, when the truth is Leonine primacy; i.e., Fr. John wrongly declared that the Tome of Leo was subordinate to the Cyrillian writings, i.e., was of lesser authority. The bishops intended to stress, against the Eutychians, that their acceptance of the Leonine definition did not put them at odds with the Christology of the most holy Cyril, and they would not have thought it possible that Leo could err in his ex cathedra definition and contradict the earlier ecumenically-approved writings (which derived their authority from the sanction of the Pope in the first place) of that soldier of Christ, St. Cyril the Great [Rivington 411]. The Council did not judge as a superior the two pillars of orthodoxy when it said that the two saints agree Christologically, just as I do not act superior to the great-martyrs Sts. James and Paul the Apostles when I truthfully proclaim that they agree soteriologically [411]. The Council did not, by mentioning the Roman and Alexandrian bulwarks together, put them on the same official level, just as no one puts St. Paul the Apostle and a Greek poet on the same level when he says that they are in accord [411]. Just because someone notices my agreement with my master St. Thomas Aquinas and says that we believe alike, that does not mean that he puts me on the same level as that great wonderworking doctor, for it is manifest that I am but a shadow while he is brilliant light invincibly defending, better than anyone else, the truths our Lord handed down through the Apostles. The bishops assumed from the outset the agreement between Leo and Cyril [414]. It was not that they could dissent from the Leonine definition and modify it, but that they wanted to see the agreement between the two illustrious Doctors and adhere to the definition with an enlightened faith, and not a blind faith [416].

East: Patriarch St. Flavian the Martyr of Constantinople in 449 [Epistle to Pope St. Leo I the Great of Rome in ],
Prince of the Apostles, and to the whole sacred synod, which is obedient to Your Holiness, at once a crowd of soldiers surrounded me and barred my way when I wished to take refuge at the holy altar. ... Therefore, I beseech Your Holiness not to permit these things to be treated with indifference ... but to rise up first on behalf of the cause of our orthodox Faith, now destroyed by unlawful acts. ... Further to issue an authoritative instruction ... so that a like faith may everywhere be preached by the assembly of an united synod of fathers, both Eastern and Western. Thus the laws of the fathers may prevail and all that has been done amiss be rendered null and void. Bring healing to this ghastly wound.
WRH: (2) the pope of Rome is the supreme pastor of the universal Church; (3) disobedience of Rome is unacceptable; (4) final doctrinal decisions rest with Rome; (5) the pope has the special authority to teach the entire Christian world; (8) communion with Rome is necessary.West: Monk Bachiarius of Spain in 420 [Professio fidei 2 in PL 20:1023]: "...none of the heresies could gain hold of or move the Chair of Peter, that is the See of faith."
WRH: (1) heterodoxy will never prevail over the Roman see.

  • Likoudis, James. Ending the Byzantine Greek Schism. Benedictus Books: Catholics United for the Faith, 1992.
  • Rivington, Rev. Luke, M.A. The Primitive Church and the See of Peter. London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1894. 25 Mar. 2009 <>.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Real Presence of Christ in Eucharist

2nd Century
East: Bishop St. Ignatius the Martyr of Antioch says in 110 [Epistle to the Smyrnaeans 7:1],
They [heretics] abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again. Those, therefore, who speak against this gift of God, incur death in the midst of their disputes.
West: Bishop St. Irenaeus of Lyons says in 200 [Against Heresies 4:18:4-5],
But how can they be consistent with themselves, [when they say] that the bread over which thanks have been given is the body of their Lord, and the cup His Blood, if they do not call Himself the Son of the Creator of the world, that is, His Word, through whom the wood fructifies, and the fountains gush forth, and the earth gives "first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear" [Mk 4:28]. Then, again, how can they say that the flesh, which is nourished with the body of the Lord and with His Blood, goes to corruption, and does not partake of life?


Originally posted 3/6/2009.

This post is a Patristic catena to provide the basis for CCC 1376:
The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: "Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly His Body that He was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the Body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of His Blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation."204

204. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1642; cf. Mt 26:26 ff.; Mk 14:22 ff.; Lk 22:19 ff.; 1 Cor 11:24 ff.
East: St. Justin Martyr the Philosopher of Alexandria says in 150 [First Apology 66 in PG 6:428C],
For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Savior, having been made Flesh and Blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the Flesh and Blood of that Jesus Who was made Flesh.
West: Bishop St. Irenaeus of Lyons says [Against Heresies 5:2:2], "He has acknowledged the cup (which is a part of the creation) as His own Blood, from which He bedews our blood; and the bread (also a part of the creation) He has established as His own Body, from which He gives increase to our bodies."

East: Bishop St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Doctor) says in 350 [Catechetical Lectures 22:2], "He once in Cana of Galilee, turned the water into wine, akin to blood, and is it incredible that He should have turned wine into Blood?"

East: Patriarch St. Athanasius I the Great of Alexandria (Doctor) says before 373 [Sermon to the Newly Baptized in PG 26:1325C],
You will see the Levites bringing the loaves and a cup of wine, and placing them on the table. So long as the prayers and invocations have not yet been made, it is mere bread and a mere cup. But when the great and wondrous prayers have been recited, then the bread becomes the Body and the cup the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ... When the great prayers and holy supplications are sent up, the Word descends on the bread and the cup, and it becomes His Body.
West: Bishop St. Ambrose the Great of Milan (Doctor) says in 380 [On the Christian Faith 4, 10:125],
Then He added: "For My Flesh is meat indeed, and My Blood is drink [indeed]." Thou hearest Him speak of His Flesh and of His Blood, thou perceivest the sacred pledges, [conveying to us the merits and power] of the Lord's death, and thou dishonourest His Godhead. Hear His own words: "A spirit hath not flesh and bones." Now we, as often as we receive the Sacramental Elements, which by the mysterious efficacy of holy prayer are transformed into the Flesh and the Blood, "do show the Lord's Death."
East: Bishop St. Gregory of Nyssa (Cappadocian Father) says after 383 [The Great Catechism 37],
Rightly, then, do we believe that now also the bread which is consecrated by the Word of God is changed into the Body of God the Word. For that Body was once, by implication, bread, but has been consecrated by the inhabitation of the Word that tabernacled in the flesh [εν σαρκί]. Therefore, from the same cause as that by which the bread that was transformed in that Body was changed to a Divine potency, a similar result takes place now. For as in that case, too, the grace of the Word used to make holy the Body, the substance of which came of the bread, and in a manner was itself bread, so also in this case the bread, as says the Apostle, "is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer;" not that it advances by the process of eating to the stage of passing into the Body of the Word, but it is at once changed into the Body by means of the Word, as the Word itself said, "This is My Body."
West: Pope St. Leo I the Great of Rome (Doctor) says before 461 [Sermons 91:3 in PL 54:452AB],
Dearly beloved, utter this confession with all your heart and reject the wicked lies of heretics, that your fasting and almsgiving may not be polluted by any contagion with error: for then is our offering of the sacrifice clean and oar gifts of mercy holy, when those who perform them understand that which they do. For when the Lord says, "unless ye have eaten the flesh of the Son of Man, and drunk His Blood, ye will not have life in you," [Jn 6:53] you ought so to be partakers at the Holy Table, as to have no doubt whatever concerning the reality of Christ's Body and Blood. For that is taken in the mouth which is believed in Faith, and it is vain for them to respond Amen who dispute that which is taken.
East: Hieromonk St. John of Damascus says in 743 [An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith 4:13 in PG 94:1144A-1145A],
The Body which is born of the holy Virgin is in truth Body united with divinity, not that the Body which was received up into the heavens descends, but that the bread itself and the wine are changed into God's Body and Blood. But if you inquire how this happens, it is enough for you to learn that it was through the Holy Spirit, just as the Lord took on Himself flesh that subsisted in Him and was born of the holy Mother of God through the Spirit. And we know nothing further save that the Word of God is true and energizes and is omnipotent, but the manner of this cannot be searched out. But one can put it well thus, that just as in nature the bread by the eating and the wine and the water by the drinking are changed into the body and blood of the eater and drinker, and do not become a different body from the former one, so the bread of the table and the wine and water are supernaturally changed by the invocation and presence of the Holy Spirit into the Body and Blood of Christ, and are not two but one and the same.

Dormition and Assumption of Mary

1st Century
East: Bishop St. Dionysius the Areopagite Martyr of Athens says [On the Divine Names 3:2 in PG 3:681CD-683A],
For, amongst our inspired hierarchs (when both we, as you know, and yourself, and many of our holy brethren, were gathered together to the depositing of the Life-springing and God-receptive body, and when there were present also James, the brother of God, and Peter, the foremost and most honored pinnacle of the Theologians, when it was determined after the depositing, that every one of the hierarchs should celebrate, as each was capable, the Omnipotent Goodness of the supremely Divine Weakness), he, after the Theologians, surpassed, as you know, all the other divine instructors, being wholly entranced, wholly raised from himself, and experiencing the pain of his fellowship with the things celebrated, and was regarded as an inspired and divine Psalmist by all, by whom he was heard and seen and known, and not known.
WRH: This early witness, if you hold fast to tradition and are not persuaded by the anti-Dionysian sophistry springing from the poisonous well of agnosticism and rationalism, clearly refutes Marian immortalism. Indeed the Θεοτόκος, in conformity with her Son the Good Shepherd, underwent bodily death, but no decay [φθορά]. Though the Doctor St. Dionysius the Great of Athens does not mention the disappearance of her most pure and virginal body, this was common knowledge and it can only mean that our Lady was assumed bodily into Heaven.4th Century

6th Century
West: Bishop St. Gregory of Tours says in 580 [Eight Books on Miracles 1:4 in PL 71:708C],
The 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.


8th Century
East: Patriarch St. Germanus of Constantinople says before 733 [Sermon 1 in PG 98:346B],
You are she who, as it is written, appears in beauty, and your virginal body is all holy, all chaste, entirely the dwelling place of God, so that it is henceforth completely exempt from dissolution into dust. Though still human, it is changed into the Heavenly life of incorruptibility, truly living and glorious, undamaged and sharing in perfect life.

Purgatory & Prayers for the Dead

There are plenty of other Biblical passages which form a solid basis for the belief that those in Purgatory are tried by fire, and what reason is there to think that these are merely allegorical? Indeed, all senses of Scripture are based upon the literal:
Sir 2:5: For gold and silver are tried in the fire, but acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation.
Zech 13:8-9: And there shall be in all the earth, saith the Lord, two parts in it shall be scattered, and shall perish: but the third part shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined: and I will try them as gold is tried. They shall call on My name, and I will hear them. I will say: Thou art My people: and they shall say: The Lord is my God.
1 Cor 3:11-17: For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid: which is Christ Jesus. Now, if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble. Every man's work shall be manifest. For the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire. And the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is. If any man's work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work burn, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire. Know you not that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? But if any man violate the temple of God, him shall God destroy. For the temple of God is holy, which you are.
Heb 12:29: For our God is a consuming fire.
Jude 1:23: But others save, pulling them out of the fire. And on others have mercy, in fear, hating also the spotted garment which is carnal.

1st Century
East: Bishop St. Dionysius the Areopagite Martyr of Athens says [Ecclesiastical Hierarchy 7:3:7 in PG 3:561D-564AB,
For the Hierarch, the expounder of the supremely Divine Justice, would never seek things, which were not most pleasing to the Almighty God, and divinely promised to be given by Him [Ap. C. viii. 43]. Wherefore, he does not offer these prayers over the unholy fallen asleep, not only because in this he would deviate from his office of expounder, and would presumptuously arrogate, on his own authority, a function of the Hierarchy, without being moved by the Supreme Legislator, but because he would both fail to obtain his abominable prayer, and he, not unnaturally, would hear from the just Oracle, "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss" [Jam 4:3].
WRH: The divinely illuminated martyred bishop says that it is not only useless, but sinful, to pray that the damned should receive some respite. Therefore Mark Eugenikos of Ephesus was guilty of heresy when he said that prayers for the damned give them some respite.

3rd Century
West: Bishop St. Cyprian the Martyr of Carthage says in 253, [Epistle 51:20, To Antonianus],
For to adulterers even a time of repentance is granted by us, and peace is given. Yet virginity is not therefore deficient in the Church, nor does the glorious design of continence languish through the sins of others. The Church, crowned with so many virgins, flourishes; and chastity and modesty preserve the tenor of their glory. Nor is the vigour of continence broken down because repentance and pardon are facilitated to the adulterer. It is one thing to stand for pardon, another thing to attain to glory: it is one thing, when cast into prison, not to go out thence until one has paid the uttermost farthing; another thing at once to receive the wages of faith and courage. It is one thing, tortured by long suffering for sins, to be cleansed and long purged by fire; another to have purged all sins by suffering. It is one thing, in fine, to be in suspense till the sentence of God at the day of judgment; another to be at once crowned by the Lord.
4th Century
West: Lactantius of North Africa says in 307 [The Divine Institutes 7:21 in PL 6:802AB],
The same divine fire, therefore, with one and the same force and power, will both burn the wicked and will form them again, and will replace as much as it shall consume of their bodies, and will supply itself with eternal nourishment: which the poets transferred to the vulture of Tityus. Thus, without any wasting of bodies, which regain their substance, it will only burn and affect them with a sense of pain. But when He shall have judged the righteous, He will also try them with fire. Then they whose sins shall exceed either in weight or in number, shall be scorched by the fire and burnt: but they whom full justice and maturity of virtue has imbued will not perceive that fire; for they have something of God in themselves which repels and rejects the violence of the flame.
East: Bishop St. Epiphanius of Salamis says in 375 [Panarion 75:8], "Useful too is the prayer fashioned on their [the dead's] behalf... it is useful, because in this world we often stumble either voluntarily or involuntarily."
WRH: The prayer would not be useful unless there were some obstacle, some impurity, preventing the dead from achieving the beatific vision immediately. The stumblings are venial sins, because mortal sins cannot be forgiven after death.

East: Bishop St. Gregory of Nyssa says before 394 [Sermon on the Dead], "When he has quitted his body and the difference between virtue and vice is known he cannot approach God till the purging fire shall have cleansed the stains with which his soul was infested. That same fire in others will cancel the corruption of matter, and the propensity to evil."

West: Bishop St. Ambrose the Great of Milan (Doctor) says in 395 [Funeral Oration for Emperor St. Theodosius I the Great in PL 16:1397], "Give, Oh Lord, rest to Thy servant Theodosius, that rest Thou hast prepared for Thy saints... I love him, therefore will I follow him to the land of the living; I will not leave him till by my prayers and lamentations he shall be admitted unto the Holy Mount of the Lord, to which his deserts call him."
WRH: The most holy bishop says that St. Theodosius might not yet have entered Heaven. The radiant Ambrose, though, will pray for him until his venial sins are completely wiped away so that he can enter Heaven.

East: Patriarch St. John Chrysostom the Great of Constantinople (Doctor) says [Homilies on First Corinithians 9:5-6 in PG 61:] with regard to 1 Cor 3:15,
And his meaning is, He himself shall not perish in the same way as his works, passing into nought, but he shall abide in the fire. And so here in saying, "he shall be saved," he has but darkly hinted at the intensity of the penalty: as if he had said, "But himself shall remain forever in punishment."
WRH: Clearly the great saint interprets the Pauline passage as discussing those who suffer the eternal punishment of the Hell of the lost, not those who suffer the temporary punishment of the hell of purgatory. Though our beloved father among the saints John Chrysostom is the greatest of preachers and one of the greatest Doctors, his individual authority does not trump the consensus of the Fathers that St. Paul was discussing Purgatory, just as his idiosyncratic Marian exegesis of St. Matthew does not diminish the fact that the consensus of the Fathers is that the Theotókos never sinned. The Purgatory consensus, according to Fr. Joseph Gill's The Council of Florence, is justified by meticulous study of the context, the contrast between the materials St. Paul enumerates, and the Pauline usage of the words in other passages.5th Century
West: Bishop St. Augustine the Great of Hippo (Doctor of Grace) says in 413 [Faith and Works 1:1 in PL 40:197-198],
If the baptized person fulfills the obligations demanded of a Christian, he does well. If he does not--provided he keeps the faith, without which he would perish forever--no matter in what sin or impurity remains, he will be saved, as it were, by fire; as one who has built on the foundation, which is Christ, not gold, silver, and precious stones, but wood, hay straw, that is, not just and chasted works but wicked and unchaste works.

Mary the Theotókos

2nd Century
East: Bishop St. Ignatius the Martyr of Antioch says in 107 [Letter to the Ephesians 7 in PG 5:652A], "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 passible and then impassible—even Jesus Christ our Lord." Mary gave birth to God.

West: Bishop St. Irenaeus of Lyons says in 189 [Against Heresies 5:19:1 in PG 7B:1175B], "The Virgin Mary, being obedient to his word, received from an angel the glad tidings that she would bear God." The Blessed Virgin Mary is thus the Θεοτόκος, which means the Bearer of God.

3rd Century
East: Bishop St. Gregory the Wonderworker of Neocaesarea says in 262 [Homily 1 On the Annunciation to the Holy Virgin Mary in PG 10:1153B], "For Luke, in the inspired Gospel narratives, delivers a testimony not to Joseph only, but also to Mary, the Mother of God, and gives this account with reference to the very family and house of David." The same great bishop, to whom the Mother of God herself appeared, adds [Homily 2 On the Annunciation to the Holy Virgin Mary in PG 10:1156B], "It is our duty to present to God, like sacrifices, all the festivals and hymnal celebrations; and first of all, [the feast of] the Annunciation to the holy Mother of God, to wit, the salutation made to her by the angel, 'Hail, full of grace!'"

4th Century
East: Bishop St. Methodius the Martyr of Olympus says in 305 [Oration on Simeon and Anna 7 in PG 18:364A], "While the old man [St. Simeon] was thus exultant, and rejoicing with exceeding great and holy joy, that which had before been spoken of in a figure by the prophet Isaiah, the holy Mother of God now manifestly fulfilled." In n. 14 of the same oration [PG 18:382ABC], the illustrious martyr and great hierarch adds,
Hail to you forever, you virgin Mother of God, our unceasing joy, for unto you do I again return. ... Hail, you fount of the Son's love for man. ... Wherefore, we pray you, the most excellent among women, who boast in the confidence of your maternal honors, that you would unceasingly keep us in remembrance. O holy Mother of God, remember us, I say, who make our boast in you, and who in august hymns celebrate your memory, which will ever live, and never fade away.
East: Patriarch St. Alexander of Alexandria says in 324 [Letter to Bishop Alexander of Constantinople 12 in PG 18:568CD],
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 in the fullness 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.
East: Patriarch St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Doctor) says in 350 [Catechetical Lectures 10:19 in PG 33:685A], "The Father bears witness from Heaven to His Son. The Holy Spirit bears witness, coming down bodily in the form of a dove. The archangel Gabriel bears witness, bringing the good tidings to Mary. The Virgin Mother of God bears witness."

East: Patriarch St. Athanasius I the Great of Alexandria (Doctor) says in 362 [Orations 3:14 in PG 26:349C], "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."

East: Bishop St. Gregory of Nyssa says in 377 [On Virginity 13 in PG 46:377D], "Just as, in the age of Mary the Mother of God, He who had reigned from Adam to her time found..."

West: Bishop St. Ambrose the Great of Milan (Doctor) says in 377 [Concerning Virginity 2:2:7 in PL 16:209A], "The first thing which kindles ardor 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?"

East: Patriarch St. Gregory I the Theologian of Nazianzus (Doctor) says in 382 [Epistle 101 To Cledonius the Priest Against Apollinarius in PG 37:177C], "If anyone does not believe that holy Mary is the Mother of God, he is severed from the Godhead."

5th Century
West: Hieromonk St. Jerome the Great of Strido (Doctor) says in 401 [Apology Against Rufinus 2:10 in PL 23:452A], "As to how a virgin became the Mother of God, he has full knowledge; as to how he himself was born he knows nothing."

East: Patriarch St. Cyril I of Alexandria (Doctor of the Incarnation) says in 427 [Letter 1 To the Monks of Egypt in PG 77:13B], "I have been amazed that some are utterly in doubt as to whether or not the holy Virgin is able to be called the Mother of God. For if our Lord Jesus Christ is God, how should the holy Virgin who bore Him not be the Mother of God?" The same great pillar of the faith explains this in greater detail in Letter 4, his second epistle to Nestorius [PG 77:48D-49A]:
This expression, however, "the Word was made flesh" [John 1:14], can mean nothing else but that He partook of flesh and blood like to us; He made our body His own, and came forth man from a woman, not casting off His existence as God, or His generation of God the Father, but even in taking to Himself flesh remaining what He was. This the declaration of the correct faith proclaims everywhere. This was the sentiment of the holy Fathers; therefore they ventured to call the holy Virgin "the Mother of God," not as if the nature of the Word or His divinity had its beginning from the holy Virgin, but because of her was born that holy body with a rational soul, to which the Word, being personally united, is said to be born according to the flesh.

6th Century

7th Century

8th Century

Notes & References
The statement in Discourse on the End of the World 1 [PG 10:905A] calling our Lady "the spotless and God-bearing Mary" is from Pseudo-Hippolytus.

Mary Queen of Heaven

4th Century
East: Deacon St. Ephrem the Syrian (Doctor) says [Prayer to the Holy Mother of God], "Majestic and Heavenly Maid, Lady, Queen, protect and keep me under your wing lest Satan the sower of destruction glory over me, lest my wicked foe be victorious against me."

7th Century
East: Patriarch St. Modestus of Jerusalem says before 634 [Encomium on the Dormition of the Holy Mother of God in PG 86B:3305B], "the Queen of mortal man, the most holy Mother of God."

West: St. Idelphonsus of Toledo says before 669 [On the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in PL 96:58], "O my Lady, my Sovereign, You who rule over me, Mother of my Lord ... Lady among handmaids, Queen among sisters."

8th Century
East: Hieromonk St. John of Damascus (Doctor) [Homily 1 on the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin in PG 96:720A] calls the Theotókos "Queen, ruler, and lady" and [An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith 4:14 in PG 94:1157B] honors her with the title, "the Queen of every creature."

West: Pope St. Gregory II of Rome says [Letter to Patriarch St. Germanus of Constantinople in PL 89:508B] described our Lady as "the Queen of all, the true Mother of God" and "the Queen of all Christians." In 787 the Seventh Ecumenical Council (Nicaea II) approved this letter.

East: Archbishop St. Andrew of Crete says [Homily 2 on the Dormition of the Holy Mother of God in PG 97:1080B], "Today He transports from her earthly dwelling, as Queen of the human race, His ever-Virgin Mother, from whose womb He, the living God, took on human form." In Homily 3 on the same subject [PG 97:1100A], the composer of the Great Canon refers to the Blessed Virgin Mary as "the Queen of the entire human race faithful to the exact meaning of her name, who is exalted above all things save only God Himself."


3rd Century

4th Century
East: Bishop St. Basil the Great of Caesarea (Doctor) says in 374 [Rule Briefly Treated 288], "It is necessary to confess our sins to those whom the dispensation of God's mysteries is entrusted."
WRH: Priests are entrusted with dispensing the Almighty's mysteries, so the great St. Basil says we must confess our sins to priests.

Perpetual Virginity of Mary

East: Patriarch St. Athanasius the Great of Alexandria (Doctor) says in 362 [Against the Arians 2:70],
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.
East: Bishop St. Epiphanius of Salamis says in 374 [The Well-Anchored Man 120], "The Son of God...was born perfectly of the holy ever-virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit."

East: Bishop St. Basil the Great of Caesarea (Doctor & Holy Hierarch) says before 379 [Homily On the Holy Birth of Christ 5], "The friends of Christ do not tolerate hearing that the Mother of God [Θεοτόκος] ever ceased to be a Virgin [παρθένος]."

West: Pope St. Siricius of Rome says in 393 [Letter to Bishop Anysius],
You had good reason to be horrified at the thought that another birth might issue from the same virginal womb from which Christ was born according to the flesh. For the Lord Jesus would never have chosen to be born of a virgin if He had ever judged that she would be so incontinent as to contaminate with the seed of human intercourse the birthplace of the Lord's body, that court of the eternal King.
West: Bishop St. Ambrose the Great of Milan (Doctor) says in 396 [Letter 63:111 to the Christians at Vercellæ in PL 16:1218D], "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."

West: Bishop St. Augustine the Great of Hippo (Doctor of Grace) says in 401 [On Holy Virginity 4:4],
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.
East: Patriarch St. Cyril of Alexandria (Doctor of the Incarnation) says after 431 [Against Those Who Do Not Wish to Confess That the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God 4], "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."

West: Pope St. Leo I the Great of Rome (Doctor) says before 461 [Sermon 22:2 On the Feast of the Nativity in PL 54:195AB],
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 Savior 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" [Lk 1:35]. 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.
WRH: The great pontiff not only teaches the perpetual virginity of the Theotókos, but the fact of two nativities in Christ. There is one eternal nativity whereby Christ is ever-begotten of the Father, while there is one temporal nativity from the Blessed Virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit.

East: Hieromonk St. John of Damascus (Doctor) says in 743 [An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith 4:14 in PG 94:1161BC],
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.
WRH: Here the great Doctor corrects the fallacy of previous heretics and future Protestants that the diction of St. Matthew means that St. Mary had conjugal relations with St. Joseph after the birth of her Divine Son.

Immaculate Conception

1. N.B.: This is the under-construction revised second edition of my July 2008 post: "Immaculate Conception of Ever-Virgin Mary Mother of God."

2. This will consider the witness of the following, in order to see which men justly can be said to have held (1) the freedom of the Blessed Virgin Mary from original sin or (2) the principles that are compatible with and lead to it. I will give special attention to those texts that the Eastern Orthodox such as Daniel Photios Jones, Perry Robinson, and Fr. Michael Azkoul, and such Anglicans as John Harvey Treat, look to in favor of their opposition to the dogma that the Blessed Virgin Mary never contracted original sin (esp. the Doctors Sts. John Chrysostom the Great, Basil the Great, Cyril, Bernard of Clairvaux, and Thomas Aquinas).

3. N.B. Many of these unequivocal texts come from the great Cardinal Luigi Lambruschini's 1855 outstanding Polemical Treatise on the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. Several others come from Edward D. O'Connor's The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception: History and Significance. See the "Works Cited" section at the end.

4. While many of these illustrious men speak of Christ alone as naturally without sin, these statements cannot exclude the Immaculate Conception as a privilege of grace in light of the other statements that they make. It is of no avail to quote Scripture against the Immaculate Conception, when it is implied by Gen 3:15 and Lk 1:28. For, as regards, e.g. Rom 3:23, we cannot exclude the Immaculate Conception because the Blessed Virgin was exempt from other general laws: She conceived and gave birth virginally and painlessly, she did not commit venial or mortal sins, her body did not undergo corruption, and she was resurrected before the General Judgment [Lambruschini 46-47]. Now we shall try to give an account of what numerous Fathers, some of whom are quoted as opponents, say with respect to the Blessed Virgin Mary and original sin.

1st Century
East: Patriarch St. Mark I the Apostle of Alexandria [Bryant 69] says before 60 [Liturgy of St. Mark the Evangelist], "Most holy, immaculate, and blessed Mother of God, and ever Virgin Mary." Latin: "Sanctissima, immaculata, et benedicta, Deipara et semper virgine Maria."East: Bishop St. James the Just Apostle of Jerusalem [Bryant 68-69] says [Liturgy of St. James], "Most holy, most glorious, immaculate, Mother of God and ever Virgin," and that Mary is "in every respect out of the range of sinful men."
WRH: The holy St. James, brother of the Lord, taught that Mary was not a sinner, i.e., she never contracted original sin or committed venial or mortal sin.
East: Bishop St. Andrew the First-Called Apostle of Byzantium [Lambruschini 66-67] says in 62 [Acts of Andrew]: "And therefore, because the first man was created of immaculate earth, it was necessary that of an immaculate Virgin should be born a perfect man, that the Son of God should restore that eternal life which men had lost." Latin: "Et propterea, quod ex immaculatâ terrâ ereatus fuerat primus homo, necesse erat ut ex immaculatâ Virgine nasceretur perfectus homo, quo Filius Dei, qui antè condiderat hominem, vitam æternam quam perdiderant hominess, repararet."
WRH: The earth from which Adam was created had always been immaculate, and so the Blessed Virgin was always immaculate, or else we would make the glorious and all-praised St. Andrew guilty of a false analogy. Though the book The Acts of Andrew is not part of the Biblical Canon, it is historically accurate; one can see from the myriad lives of the saints published in the Eastern Orthodox Church (e.g., Nov. 30 entry in Bishop Nikolai Velimirovch's The Prologue from Ohrid) that that Church takes its historicity for granted.East: Bishop St. Dionysius the Areopagite Martyr of Athens says

2nd Century
East: St. Justin Martyr the Philosopher of Caesarea
West: St. Hippolytus the Martyr of Rome says in
West: Bishop St. Irenaeus of Lyons says

3rd Century
West: Bishop St. Cyprian the Martyr of Carthage [Lambruschini 162] says [Homily on Psalm 77], "Nor did justice endure that that vessel of election should be open to common injuries; for being far exalted above others, she partook of their nature, not of their sin." Latin: "Nec sustinebat justitia, ut illud vas electionis communibus lassaretur injuriis; quoniam plurimum a cæteris differens, natura communicabat, non culpa."

East: Patriarch St. Dionysius the Great of Alexandria says in
4th Century
East: Bishop St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Doctor)
West: Bishop St. Hilary of Poitiers (Doctor)

East: Patriarch St. Athanasius I the Great of Alexandria (Doctor)

East: Bishop St. Basil the Great of Caesarea (Doctor, Cappadocian Father, & Holy Hierarch)

West: Marius Victorinus

East: Patriarch St. Gregory Nazianzen the Great Theologian of Constantinople (Doctor, Cappadocian Father, & Holy Hierarch)

East: Bishop St. Gregory of Nyssa (Cappadocian Father)

East: Bishop St. Amphilochius of Iconium [Lambruschini 70] says [Discourse 4 in S. Deiparam], says that God formed Mary "without sin and without stain [sine macula et sine peccato]."
WRH: Mary was sinless at the moment of her formation, i.e., she did not contract original sin.

The saintly bishop [Lambruschini 162] adds [Orat. in S. Deip. et Simeon], "He who formed the first Virgin without deformity, also made the second one without spot or sin." Latin: "Qui antiquam illam virginem sine probro condidit; Ipse, et secundam, sine nota et crimine fabricatus est."
WRH: Since Mary, like Eve, was made without sin, Mary did not contract original sin. St. Amphilochius [On the Presentation 8 in PG 39:57C] interprets the sword of St. Simeon as a sadness from the brutal death of her Son, but does not indicate that she was an unbeliever or that she otherwise sinned.
West: Bishop St. Optatus of Mileve

West: Bishop St. Gregory of Elvira

East: Bishop St. Epiphanius of Salamis [Lambruschini 71] says [De Laudibus Virginis], "She was superior to all beings, God alone excepted; more beautiful by nature than the Cherubim, the Seraphim, and all the angelic host, … the immaculate sheep who brought forth Christ the Lamb." Latin: "Solo Deo excepto, eunctis superior extitit, naturâ formosior est ipsis Cherubim, Seraphim, et omni exercitu Angelorum, ... ovis immaculate, quæ peperit Agnum Christum."
WRH: Angels have no original sin, and the human nature of Mary, which is holier than the nature of the angels, never contracted original sin.

West: St. Zeno of Verona
East: Deacon St. Ephraim the Syrian (Doctor)
West: Hieromonk St. Jerome the Great of Strido (Doctor) [Lambruschini 71-72] says [Commentary on Psalm 77 in PL 26:1049BC],
Behold the Lord cometh into Egypt in a light cloud. The light cloud we must understand, either as properly signifying the body of the Savior, as being light and burdened with no sin: or we may certainly take the light cloud as signifying Holy Mary … Behold the Lord cometh into the Egypt of this world on a light cloud, which is the Virgin. "And He conducted them with a cloud by day." He said beautifully "by day," for that cloud was never in darkness, but always in light.
Ecce Dominus venit Ægyptum in nebulâ levi. Nubem levem, aut propriè Salvatoris corpus debemus accipere, quia leve fuit, et nullo peccato prægravatm: aut certè nubem levem debemus sanctam Mariam accipere, nullo semine humano prægravatam. Ecce Dominus venit in Ægyptum sæculi istius super nubem levem, Virginem. "Et deduxit eos in nube diei." Pulchrè dixit diei; nubes eniem illa non fuit in tenebris, sed semper in luce.
WRH: Since Mary is the light cloud that was always in light and never in darkness, she did not contract original sin.

East: Patriarch St. John Chrysostom the Great of Constantinople (Doctor & Holy Hierarch) says

West: Bishop St. Ambrose the Great of Milan (Doctor) says in 388 [On Psalm 118 in PL 15:1521B]: St. Mary is "a virgin freed by grace from every stain of sin." Latin: "Virgo per gratiam ab omni integra labe peccati."

West: Bishop St. Augustine the Great of Hippo (Doctor of Grace) [Lambruschini 75] says [Sermon 12 On the Birth of the Lord], "The Church, like Mary, has perpetual integrity and incorrupt fruitfulness. For that which Mary merited in the flesh, the Church preserved in the spirit; the only difference is that the former bore one, the latter many." Latin: "Ecclesiæ, sicut Mariæ, perpetua integritas et incorrupta fœcunditas. Quod enim illa meruit in carne, hæc servavit in mente, nisi quod illa peperit unum, hæc parit multos.."
WRH: If we are to avoid accusing the great Doctor of a false analogy, we must say that, like the Church, Mary has always been perfectly pure.

Even more explicitly, the Doctor of Grace says [Against Julian in PL 45:1418]: "We do not transfer Mary to the devil by the condition of her birth, for this reason, that that condition is dissolved by the grace of her new birth." Latin: "Non transcribimus diabolo Mariam conditione nascendi; sed ideo, quia ipsa conditio solvitur gratia renascendi."
East: Patriarch St. Cyril of Alexandria (Doctor of the Incarnation) [Lambruschini 78] says [In. Conc. Eph. N. 6], "Who ever heard of an architect, building a house for himself, and giving possession of it to his greatest enemy?" Latin: "Quis unquam audivit architectum, qui sibi domum ædificavit, ejus occupationem et possessionem primò suo inimico cessisse."
WRH: Mary was built at her conception, and neither then nor any time afterwards did Christ let sin touch His All-Holy Mother who was His temple.
East: Bishop St. Theodotus of Ancyra [Homily 6:11 on the Holy Mother of God in PG 77:1427A],
In the place of Eve, an instrument of death, is chosen a Virgin, most pleasing to God and full of His grace, as an instrument of life. A Virgin included in woman's sex, but without a share in woman's fault. A Virgin innocent; immaculate; free from all guilt; spotless; undefiled; holy in spirit and body; a lily among thorns.
East: Archbishop St. Proclus of Constantinople before 446 [Homily 1:3 in PG 65:683B]: "As He formed her without any stain of her own, so He proceeded from her contracting no stain."
WRH: Mary was formed without stain, meaning that she had no stain at the moment of her formation, meaning that she never contracted original sin.
West: Archbishop St. Peter Chrysologus of Ravenna (Doctor) says in 449 [Sermon 140 in PL 52:576A], "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."
WRH: Mary could not be pledged to Christ at the instant she was made if at that instant she was infected with original sin.
East: Hieromonk St. Hesychius of Jerusalem says

West: Pope St. Leo I the Great of Rome (Doctor) says

West: Bishop St. Maximus of Turin [Lambruschini 78] says [Hom. V, ante Natale Domini in in PL 57:235D], "Mary was a fit dwelling for Christ, not because of the disposition of her body, but on account of original grace." Latin: "Idoneum plane Maria Christo habitaculum non pro habitu corporis, sed pro gratiâ originali."
WRH: Mary was originally in a state of grace, and so she did not contract original sin.

East: Bishop Basil of Seleucia

West: Pope St. Gelasius I of Rome

East: Bishop St. Jacob of Serugh says before 521, "The 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."
WRH: Since no stain ever disfigured her soul, Mary did not contract original sin.
West: Hieromonk St. Bede the Venerable of England (Doctor) says
West: Bishop St. Fulgentius of Ruspe [Lambruschini 161-162] says [Sermon 36 De laudibus Mariae ex partu Salvatoris in PL 65:899C], "By these words [Hail, full of grace], the angel shows that she [Mary] was altogether excluded from the wrath of the first sentence, and restored to the full grace of blessing." Latin: "Cum dixit, gratia plena, ostendit ex integro, iram exclusam primæ sententiæ, et plenam benedictionis gratiam restitutam."

West: Pope St. Gregory I the Great of Rome (Doctor)

West: Bishop St. Venantius Honorius Clementianus Fortunatus of Poitiers

East: Patriarch St. Anastasius I the Sinaite of Antioch before 598 [Oration 3:6 on the Incarnation in PG 89:1338].

East: Monk St. Maximus the Confessor of Constantinople

East: Patriarch St. Modestus of Jerusalem

East: Patriarch St. Sophronius of Jerusalem [Oration 2:25 on the Annunciation to the Holy Mother of God in PG 87:3248A]: "Many saints appeared before thee, but none was as filled with grace as thou… No one has been purified in advance as thou hast been… Thou dost surpass all that is most excellent in man, as well as all the gifts which have been bestowed by God upon all others."

8th Century
East: St. Andrew of Crete [Homily 1 on the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in PG 97:809D-812]:
Today, Adam presents Mary to God as the first fruits of our nature… Today, humanity recovers the gift it had received when first formed by divine hands, and returns immaculate to its original nobility. The shame of sin had cast a shadow upon the splendor and charm of human nature; but when the Mother of Him Who is Beauty itself is born, this nature recovers in her person its ancient privileges, and is fashioned according to a perfect model, truly worthy of God. And this fashioning is a perfect restoration; this restoration is a divinization, and this divinization is an assimilation to the primitive state… In a word, the reformation of our nature begins today; the world, which had grown old, undergoes a transformation which is wholly divine, and receives the first fruits of its second creation.
East: Patriarch St. Germanus I of Constantinople [Homily 1 on the Presentation of the Holy Mother of God in PG 98:300D]: "Accept her whom you have chosen, predestined, and sanctified, … her whom you have chosen as a lily among the thorns of our unworthiness."

East: Hieromonk St. John of Damascus (Doctor) says [O'Connor 97] before 749 [Homily on the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in PG 96:664AB]:
Nature was defeated by grace and stopped, trembling, not daring to take precedence over it [grace]. Since the Virgin Mother of God was to be born of Anne, nature did not dare to precede the product of grace; but remained sterile until grace had produced its fruit. O happy loins of Joachim, which had produced a germ which is all immaculate. O wondrous womb of Anne in which an all-holy child slowly grew and took shape!
WRH: Mary was spotless as a zygote and was infused with grace before she could receive the wounds of nature; meaning she had no original sin at the moment of her conception.
The same John [Lambruschini 162], teacher beloved of God, says [Orat. 2 de Nat. B.V.M.], "the serpent never had any access to this paradise." Latin: "In hunc paradisum serpenti adytum non patuit."
WRH: The paradise is the person of Mary. Since the serpent never had access to Mary, Mary did not contract original sin.

Abbot St. Theodore of Studion [On the Nativity of the Blessed Mary 4 in PG 96:685A]:
Mary is the earth on which the thorns of sin did not grow. On the contrary, she brought forth a plant through which sin has been uprooted and taken away. She is an earth which was not cursed as was the first earth, fertile in thorns and thistles, but was blessed by the Lord; and her fruit is also blessed, as says the word of the Lord.
The same great saint adds [On the Nativity of the Blessed Mary 4 in PG 96:685D]: "She is the new dough that has been remade by God, the holy first-fruits of the human race, the root of that stem spoken of by the prophet."

East: Bishop John of Euboea

East: St. Joseph the Hymnographer [O'Connor 104] says before 883 [In pervigilio Dormit., Canon III in PG 105:1000C,1001D], "Thou art dying now in consequence of a law which was not made for thee, thou, who art the only pure one."

East: Patriarch St. Photius the Great of Constantinople [O'Connor 102] says [Homily 2 On the Annunciation]: "Mayest thou rejoice, furnace forged by God, in which the Creator, having leavened anew our nature with the most pure and virginal dough, has cleansed us of that sour and distressing staleness, renovating man into a new creature."
East: Bishop George of Nicomedia

East: Patriarch St. Euthymius I Synkellos of Constantinople, In conceptionem Annae in PO 16 before 911: Mary was "fully sanctified (kathagiazei)" on "this very day (touto semerou)" of her creation.

East: Michael Psellos of Constantinople

West: St. Bernard of Clairvaux (Mellifluous Doctor) says
West: St. Bruno the Confessor of Cologne (Founder of the Carthusians) [Lambruschini 163] says [Homily on Psalm 101 in PL 152:1167D], "that Mary is that uncorrupted earth which God blessed, and was therefore free from all contagion of sin." Latin: "Hæc estincorrupta terra illa, cui benedixit Dominus, ab omni propterea peccati contagione libera, per quam vitæ viam agnovimus, et promissam vertatem accepimus."
WRH: Mary was free of sin, not in the sense that she contracted sin that God wiped away, but that God made sure she was never corrupted by original sin.

East: Archbishop Theophylact of Ohrid [On the Presentation of the Blessed Mary 6 in PG 126:137A]: "She who surpassed all nature in purity and holiness, and who was justified from her mother’s womb, had to be exempt from a law made not for the just but for sinners."

East: John Phournes

East: Neophyte the Recluse of Cyprus before 1214 [Homily on the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary 3 in PO 16:530,534].

East: Theodore Prodromus

West: Archbishop St. Anselm of Canterbury (Magnificent Doctor) [Lambruschini 80] says [Commentary on 1 Corinthians 12], "All have been dead in sin, whether original, or willfully incurred; no one has ever been excepted, save only the Mother of God." Latin: "Omnes mortui sunt in peccatis sive originalibus, sive voluntate additis, nemine prorsus excepto, demptâ Matre Dei."

West: Bishop-Monk St. Peter Damian of Ostia (Doctor) [Lambruschini 80] says [Sermon 40 On the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in PL 144:721C], "The flesh of the Virgin, received from Adam, admitted none of Adam's guilt." Latin: "Caro Virginis, ex Adam sumpta, maculas Adam non admisit."
WRH: The Virgin received her nature from Adam, but God graced her by preventing her from inheriting the concupiscence that everyone else contracts from Adam.

West: Richard of St. Victor

West: St. Dominic

West: St. Albert the Great (Universal Doctor) [Lambruschini 103] says [Book on Mary, On the Gospel of St. Luke], "The guilt of sin is threefold, to wit, original, mortal, and venial. Now, the most Blessed Virgin Mary was exempt from this triple woe." Latin: "Væ culpæ est triplex, scilicet originalis, mortalis et venialis: porro sine isto triplice væ fuit Beatissima Virgo Maria."
WRH: The great Doctor and teacher of the great St. Thomas Aquinas referred to original and actual sin in the same way, so he says that the Blessed Virgin never contracted original sin.
West: St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelic Doctor)
West: St. Bonaventure (Seraphic Doctor) [Lambruschini 81] says in 1275 [Sermon 2 on the Blessed Virgin in Peltier 14:111], "Our Lady was full of grace in her sanctification, a grace truly preservative against the defilement of original guilt." Latin: "Domina nostra fuit plena gratiâ in suâ sanctificatione, gratiâ, scilicet præservativâ contra fœditatem originalis culpæ."
WRH: The grace of Mary prevented her from contracting original sin.

The same radiant Doctor [Lambruschini 154] says in the same paragraph,
For it is to be believed that the Holy Ghost, as a very special favor, redeemed and preserved her from original sin by a new kind of sanctification, and this in the very moment of her conception; not that sin was in her, but that it otherwise would have been.
Credendum est enim, quod novo sanctificationis genere, in ejus conceptionis primordio, Spiritus sanctus eam a peccato originali (non quod infuit, sed quod infuisset) redemit, atque singulari gratia præservavit.
West: Bl. John Duns Scotus
14th Century
East: Archbishop St. Gregory Palamas of Thessalonica [Homily 14 on the Annunciation in PG 151:172A-C]: "Mary escaped the malediction of Eve. Free from the old servitude, she became the source of deliverance of men from it."
East: Nicholas Cabasilas [Homily on the Annunciation 3 in PO 19:486]:
The wall of separation, the barrier of enmity, did not exist for her, and everything which kept the human race away from God was removed in her. She alone made her peace [with God] before the general reconciliation; or rather she never needed reconciliation of any sort, because from the beginning she occupied the first place in the choir of the friends [of God].
The same writer, whom the Orthodox venerate as a saint, adds [Homily on the Dormition of the Blessed Mary 4 in PO 19:498]: "Earth she is, because she is from the earth; but she is a new earth, since she derives in no way from her ancestors and has not inherited the old leaven. She is … a new dough and has originated a new race."

West: St. Bernardine of Siena (Apostle of Italy)
[Lambruschini 110] says before 1380 [Sermon 49], "It is wholly incredible that the Son of God would Himself vouchsafe to be born and assume flesh of a virgin who had once been tainted with original sin." Latin: "Non enim credendum est quod ipse Filius Dei voluerit nasci ex virgine, et sumere ejus carnem, quæ esset maculata aliquo originali peccato."

15th Century
West: St. Vincent Ferrer of Valencia [Lambruschini 101-102] says in 1417 [Sermon 2 On The Nativity], "Think not that it was as with us, who are conceived in sin; for, as soon as her soul was created, it was sanctified, and immediately the angels in Heaven celebrated the Feast of the Conception." Latin: "Non credatis quia fuerit sicut in nobis, qui in peccatis concipimur; sed statim ac anima fuit creata, fuit sanctificata, et statim angeli in cœlo celebrarunt festum Conceptionis."

East: Archbishop Symeon of Thessalonica before 1429 [Response to Gabriel of Pentapolis 45 in PG 155:892C].

West: St. Lawrence Justinian [Lambruschini 163] says before 1456 [Sermon on the Annunciation], "that she was prevented in blessings, from her very conception." Latin: "Ab ipsa namque sui conceptione, in benedictionibus est præventa."
WRH: God blessed the conception of Mary by preventing her soul from contracting original sin.

West: Archbishop St. Thomas of Valencia [Lambruschini 110] says in 1530 [Conc. III de Nativit. Virg. Mariæ], "It became the Mother of God to be most pure, sinless, and unspotted. Wherefore, she was not only sanctified when she became a maid, but in the womb, and in her very conception, she was most holy." He adds [Lambruschini 111] that "the soul, when it was infused, had no stain of sin from the flesh, neither did it contract any."

West: Priest St. Peter Canisius (Doctor) says

West: Bishop St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori of Santa Agata dei Goti (Most Zealous Doctor) says

Works Cited
  • Bryant, John Delavau, M.D. The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God: A Dogma of the Catholic Church. Boston: Patrick Donahoe, 1855. 24 Mar. 2009 <>.
  • Lambruschini, Cardinal Luigi. A Polemical Treatise on the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. New York: D. & J. Sadlier & Co., 1855. 24 Mar. 2009 <>.
  • O'Connor, Edward D. The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception: History and Significance. Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1958.
  • Ullathorne, Archbishop William Bernard. The Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God: An Exposition. London: Richardson & Son, 1855. 24 Mar. 2009 <>.