When did Mary the mother of Jesus begin to be worshipped

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Milkman | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, May 8 2020 8:21 PM

So a 'protestant' wants to know when and why the mother of Jesus began to be worshipped (?) or venerated (?) by those  who do worship her?

Not an argument, but a question because I simply don't know.

mm.

mm.

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Pam Larson | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 8 2020 8:42 PM

Found this from searching my resources (I'm not a Catholic but this is a Catholic resource):

"During the first three centuries, the veneration of Mary was intimately connected with the veneration of Christ. From the fourth century onwards we find a formal veneration of Mary herself. The hymns of St. Ephrem the Syrian († 373) on the birth of the Lord “are almost equally songs of praise for the Virgin Mother” (Bardenhewer, Sermons on Mary II). St. Gregory Nazianzus († about 390) refers to the invocation of Mary’s intercession by saying of the Christian maiden Justina, that she had “besought the Virgin Mary to assist a maiden in danger,” when her virginity was threatened (Or. 24, 11). St. Epiphanius († 403) teaches in opposition to the sect of the Collyridians whose members paid an idolatrous veneration to Mary: “Mary should be honoured, but the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost should be adored. Nobody should adore Mary” (Haer. 79, 7). Saints Ambrose and Jerome depict Mary as the prototype of virginity, and demand that she should be imitated (St. Ambrose, De virginibus, II 2, 6–17; St. Jerome, Ep. 22, 38; 107, 7).

The veneration of Mary was greatly promoted by the definition of her dignity as Mother of God, advocated by St. Cyril of Alexandria, at the Council of Ephesus (431). In the years following Mary was glorified in numerous sermons and hymns; in her honour Churches were built and feasts instituted. Side by side with the Candlemas of Mary (Hypapante = meeting), and the Annunciation, which were originally feasts of the Lord, there emerged, even in Patristic times, the Feast of the Home-Going (Assumption) of Mary, and of the Birth of Mary. The veneration of Mary achieved its richest development in the Middle Ages."

Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (St. Louis: B. Herder Book Company, 1957), 215–216.

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Milkman | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 8 2020 8:47 PM

Thanks Pam.

Can you supply me with an URL for it?

mm.

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Pam Larson | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 8 2020 9:07 PM

I can't find the resource on the current Logos website. The resource links to the old website:

https://classic.logos.com/resources/LLS_FUNDCATDOGMA/fundamentals-of-catholic-dogma 

I may have inherited it from my mom's legacy Verbum package.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 8 2020 9:10 PM

To the best of my knowledge,no orthodox theology has ever permitted worship of Mary - worship is reserved only to God as the Ten Ritual Commandments clearly show.

 "Beneath Thy Protection" (GreekὙπὸ τὴν σὴν εὐσπλαγχνίανLatinSub tuum praesidium) is the earliest hymn to the Theotokos - still in common use in the Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, and Catholic Traditions. The oldest manuscript of it is third century,

Justin Martyr and Irenaeus laid the theological basis for the veneration; Hippolytus gives the first liturgical mention.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 8 2020 9:37 PM

MJ. Smith:
To the best of my knowledge,no orthodox theology has ever permitted worship of Mary - worship is reserved only to God as the Ten Ritual Commandments clearly show.

Genuinely curious...what does "worship" mean in this context?

MJ. Smith:
Justin Martyr and Irenaeus laid the theological basis for the veneration; Hippolytus gives the first liturgical mention.

What does "veneration" mean in this context?

How are these different? They seem like the kind of words that would be used to define each other. Since they seem like the kinds of words that have a distinction without a difference, what is the difference?

I know if you asked many people what it means to worship, many would say "to pray to"...and many pray to Mary. So, I'd like to understand and have some clarity. Thanks. Quote Logos resources if you like...or not.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 8 2020 9:55 PM

Pam Larson:
I can't find the resource on the current Logos website.

There are copyright issues with the English translation of this German work. It is no longer sold by Faithlife.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 8 2020 10:11 PM

David Paul:
many would say "to pray to"...and many pray to Mary

Sloppy language, think Shakespearean English ... one only "prays to" Mary in the same sense that you could ask a neighbor "pray thee, pray for me." i.e. prayer is always to God; pray has an archaic meaning - don't let these two facts confuse you.

veneration (Lat. veneratio, “reverence”; Gr. douleia, “homage”) The act of honoring and reverencing a person or object. In the Roman Catholic tradition, varieties of veneration are latria or adoration (for God), hyperdulia (for Mary), and dulia (for saints). See also adoration; dulia; hyperdulia; saints, devotion to.

. . .

worship (Old Eng. weorthscipe, “worth-ship”) The service of praise, adoration, thanksgiving, and petition directed toward God through actions and attitudes. Christian worship is Trinitarian in form as praise is offered to God through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Donald K. McKim, The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, Second Edition, Revised and Expanded (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2014), 348.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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GaoLu | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 9 2020 6:10 AM

For Catholic theological perspectives on your question, I happened across what follows a few weeks ago:


An accessible book from Logos is: De Montfort, Louis Mary. The Secret of the Rosary. Trans. Mary Barbour.

But don't buy it like that, buy it like this: https://www.logos.com/product/31760/st-louis-de-montfort-collection

Discussions will include reasons for veneration such as:

  • "Pray to Mary" when you "Have you lost the state of grace" or "[have] lost God's protection."
  • Suggested solutions include, "because I am the Mother of the King of heaven, and He calls me full of grace. And, being full of grace, I am able to dispense grace freely to my dear children.”

If you want to go way back to OT origins: https://www.logos.com/product/42676/the-mother-of-the-lord-vol-1

This is not Catholic in perspective, yet interesting.

Searching Logos for these notions will help:

  • "Mother of God" Mater Dei Meter  / Theotokos / Christotokos
  • "God-bearer" Deipara, Dei genitrix
  • "Ever-virgin" semper virgo


Regarding origins, search Logos (and elsewhere) for:

  • Council of Ephesus 431

Specifically research: 

  • La Maternita Spirituale De Maria Prima E Dopo Il Concilio Di Efeso
  • “The Spiritual Maternity of Mary Before and After the Council of Ephesus"

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Into Grace | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 9 2020 6:39 AM

MJ. Smith:

To the best of my knowledge,no orthodox theology has ever permitted worship of Mary - worship is reserved only to God as the Ten Ritual Commandments clearly show.

A distinction should be made between Roman Catholic theology and practice. Mary is worshiped as the mother of God by many.

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 9 2020 6:59 AM

Into Grace:
A distinction should be made between Roman Catholic theology and practice. Mary is worshiped as the mother of God by many.

Excellent point, though MJ was careful in her wording to be specific. And all theologies are largely academic (vs actual behavior).

The Fundementals quote above was suspiciously worded, similar to protestant traditions. But watching the gospel move into folk worlds, I wouldn't be surprised if 'Mary' preceded the 'theology', the churchmen playing catch-up.

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Friedrich | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 9 2020 8:10 AM

Milkman:

So a 'protestant' wants to know when and why the mother of Jesus began to be worshipped (?) or venerated (?) by those  who do worship her?

Not an argument, but a question because I simply don't know.

mm.

here is a lengthy quote from an article on Mary in the Dictionary of Catholic Spirituality which is offered in Logos/Verbum. I got it when purchasing Verbum Gold, I believe.

In the Synoptic Gospels the mother of Jesus makes few appearances during Jesus’ public life. One significant incident is recounted by all the Synoptics. When the family of Jesus come searching for him, Jesus comments to the disciples that his true family is constituted by “those who hear the word of God and act on it” (Mark 3:20–35; Matt 12:46–50; Luke 8:19–21). Each of the Synoptic texts, however, interprets this incident somewhat differently. Mark implies a contrast between the physical family and the eschatological family, so that Mary and the brothers appear as examples of unbelievers in contrast to true believers. Matthew weakens this negative interpretation somewhat, while Luke’s Gospel makes Mary and the brothers positive examples of disciples who hear and act on the word of God. This Lukan interpretation anticipates and prepares for Acts 1:14, where Mary is pictured among the gathered disciples on Pentecost, traditionally considered the foundation event of the Church.
Central to understanding John’s view of Mary is the account of her role at the foot of the cross (John 19:25–27). When Mary is given to the beloved disciple as his mother and he is given to her as her son, she is seen as a model of belief and discipleship, member par excellence of the believing community.
From this rather meager biblical information has grown the complex and sometimes extravagant history of Marian devotion in the Church. Countless artists have taken Mary as their subject, poets have found inspiration in her, and theologians have analyzed her role in the mystery of redemption. The symbolic truth that the Marian tradition reveals about God, ourselves, and the Church far exceeds the limited historical information we possess. Nevertheless, the sober limitations of the biblical material provide a check against the extravagance that has been a permanent temptation of the Marian tradition.

HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT
In spite of the scarcity of information about Mary supplied by the Gospels, she very quickly became an object of both interest and devotion. The apocryphal mid-2nd-century Protoevangelium of James purported to supply a good deal of biographical information lacking in the orthodox Scriptures, such as the names of Mary’s parents, her presentation in the Temple, the choosing of Joseph as her husband, etc. Belief in the virginal conception and birth of Jesus, which became important themes for many of the Church Fathers, was also reinforced by the Protoevangelium. This work provided the background for much later popular devotion and artistic imagination. Another early evidence of popular devotion to Mary is found in the prayer Sub tuum praesidium, “Mother of God, [hear] my supplications; suffer us not [to be] in adversity, but deliver us from danger,” which is thought to date in an early form to the 3rd or early 4th century. Many scholars see in this prayer aspects borrowed from the goddess tradition, especially noting that in it Mary is invoked as a power in her own right.
Theological themes of the patristic period concerning Mary include an increasing tendency to parallel Eve and Mary. Eve is depicted as the woman whose disobedience brought sin into the world, while Mary’s obedience, in the words of Irenaeus, became “the cause of salvation both for herself and for the whole human race” (Adv.Haer., 3.22). The early dogmas concerning Mary’s virginity and motherhood became part of the Church’s tradition during this period. Belief in the virginal conception of Jesus has its roots in the infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke. Scripture scholars today remind us that the intent of the affirmation of virginal conception is Christological: It is an affirmation that Jesus is Son of God and Son of David, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. Although this belief reinforced early ascetic ideals, it is reinterpreted today within a different worldview. “Society and religion should not esteem [Mary’s] virginity for ascetic reasons; rather, like her motherhood, her virginity points toward service to the poor of Yahweh” (Gebara and Bingemer, p. 108). Belief in Mary’s virginity during and after Jesus’ birth is postbiblical in origin and is indicative of the growing interest in Mary herself, which eventually developed into Mariology.
The greatest early impulse toward Marian theology and devotion, however, came from the proclamation of Mary as Theotokos, or “God-bearer,” at the Council of Ephesus in A.D. 431. Although the concern was Christological, the affirmation of both the full humanity and divinity of Jesus led to the conviction that the woman who bore him can appropriately be called not only Mother of Jesus but Mother of God.
The relationship of Mary and the Church, a theme retrieved as a central image at Vatican II, also appeared for the first time in the creative pastoral theologizing of the Church Fathers, especially Ambrose. The official teaching of the Church through the patristic period, exemplified by the Latin Fathers Ambrose and Augustine, although increasing in Marian devotion, continued to emphasize its Christological origin and impetus.
Before moving to the medieval period, it is important to mention the most important Marian hymn of the Greek Church, the Akathistos, which is thought to have originated in the 6th century. This hymn celebrating the incarnation and Mary’s virgin motherhood is still used in the Byzantine liturgy. It is punctuated by a series of salutations to Mary that celebrate her role as Theotokos in the salvation of the world. “Hail, you who carried in your womb/the guide for all who stray …. Hail, pardon for those who have repented; / Hail refuge for those who despair.” Mary is the receptacle of wisdom, mighty intercessor, and minister of divine goodness. In this very influential hymn, the tendency to attribute to Mary power and activity more properly belonging to God alone is clearly evident. The poetic imagery of this lovely hymn and others of the same genre began to be taken literally and to influence the development of the theological tradition about Mary.
This became very obvious in medieval times, which saw the development of ever-increasing Marian devotion sometimes leaning toward extravagance. Jesus appeared more and more distant in the theology of the period, as well as in the popular imagination, and was often viewed as stern king and judge. Mary became the gentle intercessor, able to change her Son’s mind...


Michael Downey, The New Dictionary of Catholic Spirituality (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2000), 635–637.

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David Wanat | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 9 2020 8:23 AM

Into Grace:

MJ. Smith:

To the best of my knowledge,no orthodox theology has ever permitted worship of Mary - worship is reserved only to God as the Ten Ritual Commandments clearly show.

A distinction should be made between Roman Catholic theology and practice. Mary is worshiped as the mother of God by many.

only God is worshipped. The title “Mother of God” implies no divinity. It acknowledges who Jesus is. I might suggest looking into the Refutation of the heresy of Nestorianism to understand this more fully.

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David Ames | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 9 2020 11:00 AM

Pam Larson:

Found this from searching my resources (I'm not a Catholic but this is a Catholic resource):

Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (St. Louis: B. Herder Book Company, 1957), 215–216.

Perhaps the prior paragraph would help from what was quoted above

"In view of her dignity as the Mother of God and her fullness of grace, a special veneration is due to Mary. This is substantially less than the cultus latriae (= adoration) which is due to God alone, but it is higher than the cultus Duliae (= veneration) due to the angels and to the other saints. The special veneration thus given to Mary is called cultus hyperduliae."

Ott, L. (1957). Fundamentals of Catholic dogma (p. 215). St. Louis: B. Herder Book Company.

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David Ames | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 9 2020 11:10 AM

Friedrich:

Michael Downey, The New Dictionary of Catholic Spirituality (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2000), 635–637.

The entire article is from page 635 to page 645 

and ends with "Mary calls us today particularly to listen to the voices of those traditionally marginalized by Church and society, women and the poor."

Downey, M. (2000). In The New dictionary of Catholic spirituality (electronic ed., p. 645). Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 9 2020 1:51 PM

This discussion has gotten derailed on the mistaken assumption that Marian devotion is a Catholic phenomena. Here is my annual appeal for you to read Macquarrie, John. Mary for All Christians. Edinburgh, Scotland: T&T Clark, 2001.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 9 2020 1:57 PM

Into Grace:
A distinction should be made between Roman Catholic theology and practice.

True, but no more so than in other groups. I find most American Catholics know and make the distinction even if it is not evident in their practice. Reminds me of a ninety-something retired Presbyterian missionary to China who was surprised to discover Catholics were not required to pray the Rosary and the reason for chant over metered music was that the former respects the original text while the latter requires that it be adapted to meter.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 9 2020 2:10 PM

David Wanat:
I might suggest looking into the Refutation of the heresy of Nestorianism to understand this more fully.

Having been reading Athanasius recently, I have read that his is the earliest preserved use of the term for the refutation of the Arians. This only reinforces your point that the use of the term Theotokos is a Christological and Incarnational issue. I also discovered that the Logos Preaching Themes do not have an entry for Incarnation but rather fold it into Jesus:Birth as if it were a matter of physicality rather than "before the beginning of time/nature of God" issue as presented in the church fathers.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Jan Krohn | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 9 2020 2:29 PM

Milkman:

So a 'protestant' wants to know when and why the mother of Jesus began to be worshipped (?) or venerated (?) by those  who do worship her?

Not an argument, but a question because I simply don't know.

Philipp Schaff, History of the Christian Church, was once a free book, so there is the chance that you have it in your library. Look at § 81 through § 83.

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Friedrich | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 9 2020 3:00 PM

David Ames:

Friedrich:

Michael Downey, The New Dictionary of Catholic Spirituality (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2000), 635–637.

The entire article is from page 635 to page 645 

and ends with "Mary calls us today particularly to listen to the voices of those traditionally marginalized by Church and society, women and the poor."

Downey, M. (2000). In The New dictionary of Catholic spirituality (electronic ed., p. 645). Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press.

interesting!

yeah, I only included what I did because it bridges NT origins with some theological development, which was the OP query.  I really like that ended, though.  Hadn't read through the whole article. Thanks, David.

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