Virginity of St. Mary

edited December 1969 in Coptic Orthodox Church
I know that St. Mary is an ever-virgin but my protestant teacher thinks she isn't because of the verse that says Christ had brothers, but from my point of view, if anyone was his brother don't you think he'd be mentioned in the Bible?

Any thoughts?



  • Also to add to this, I think that the womb that carried the Son of God, cannot carry anyone else.

  • That is the why we believe she was ever-virgin. Because no one is holy enough to be carried in the same womb as Christ was.

    Let us give up: all evil causes: and purify our hearts: in the name of the Lord.
    - Chris
  • This is from

    All Christians believe that Mary was a virgin before and at the time of the birth of her son Jesus.
    Is 7:14
    The virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.
    Mt 1:18-25
    Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means "God is with us." When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus.
    Lk 1:26-27
    In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary.
    Nicene Creed (325), Constantinopolitan Creed (381)
    ... Who for us men and because of our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became human.

    Roman Catholic Christians and many other Christians also believe that Mary remained a virgin for the rest of her life.
    Constant faith of the Church

    Great teachers of the Church from at least the fourth century spoke of Mary as having remained a virgin throughout her life:
    Athanasius (Alexandria, 293 - 373)
    Epiphanius (Palestine, 315? - 403)
    Jerome (Stridon, present day Yugoslavia, 345? - 419)
    Augustine (Numidia, now Algeria, 354 - 430)
    Cyril (Alexandria, 376 - 444)
    and others.
    Magisterium of the Church

    Council of Constantinople II (553 - 554) twice referred to Mary as "ever-virgin."
    Protestant Reformers

    The great protestant reformers affirmed their belief in Mary's perpetual virginity:
    German reformer Martin Luther's (1483-1546) writings often address the subject of Mary: On the Divine Motherhood of Mary, he wrote
    In this work whereby she was made the Mother of God, so many and such great good things were given her that no one can grasp them. ... Not only was Mary the mother of him who is born [in Bethlehem], but of him who, before the world, was eternally born of the Father, from a Mother in time and at the same time man and God. (Weimer's The Works of Luther, English translation by Pelikan, Concordia, St. Louis, v. 7, p. 572.)
    Luther, true to Catholic tradition, wrote on the Virginity of Mary:
    It is an article of faith that Mary is Mother of the Lord and still a virgin. ... Christ, we believe, came forth from a womb left perfectly intact. (Weimer's The Works of Luther, English translation by Pelikan, Concordia, St. Louis, v.11, pp. 319-320; v. 6. p. 510.)
    The French reformer John Calvin (1509-1564) also held that Mary was the Mother of God
    It cannot be denied that God in choosing and destining Mary to be the Mother of his Son, granted her the highest honor. ... Elizabeth called Mary Mother of the Lord, because the unity of the person in the two natures of Christ was such that she could have said that the mortal man engendered in the womb of Mary was at the same time the eternal God. (Calvini Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Braunschweig-Berlin, 1863-1900, v. 45, p. 348, 35.)
    On the perpetual virginity of Mary, "Calvin routinely brushes aside the difficulties sometimes raised from "first born" and "brothers of the Lord."" (O'Carroll, M., 1983, Theotokos, M Glazier, Inc.: Wilmington, DE, p. 94.)
    The Swiss reformer, Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531), wrote, on the divine motherhood of Mary:
    It was given to her what belongs to no creature, that in the flesh she should bring forth the Son of God. (Zwingli Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Berlin, 1905, v. 6, I, p. 639.)
    On the perpetual virginity of Mary, Zwingli wrote,
    I firmly believe that Mary, according to the words of the gospel as a pure Virgin brought forth for us the Son of God and in childbirth and after childbirth forever remained a pure, intact Virgin. (Zwingli Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Berlin, 1905, v. 1, p. 424.)
    In another place Zwingli professed
    I esteem immensely the Mother of God, the ever chaste, immaculate Virgin Mary ...; Christ ... was born of a most undefiled Virgin. (Stakemeier, E. in De Mariologia et Oecumenismo, Balic, K., ed., Rome, 1962, p. 456.)
    The more the honor and love for Christ grows among men, the more esteem and honor for Mary grows, for she brought forth for us so great, but so compassionate a Lord and Redeemer. (Zwingli Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Berlin, 1905, v. 1, pp. 427-428.)
    Objections to Continued Virginity

    There are some very common objections to the belief that Mary remained a virgin after the birth of Jesus. The first considers the "brothers" of Jesus from the Gospels.
    Mt 12:46-50; Mk 3:31; Lk 8:19
    While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers (adelphoi) appeared outside, wishing to speak with him. (Someone told him, "Your mother and your brothers (adelphoi) are standing outside, asking to speak with you.") But he said in reply to the one who told him, "Who is my mother? Who are my brothers (adelphoi)?" And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers (adelphoi). For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother (adelphos), and sister (adelpha), and mother."
    Mk 6:3
    Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother (adelphos) of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters (adelphai) here with us?

    First it is important to note that the Bible does not say that these "brothers and sisters" of Jesus were children of Mary.

    Second, the word for brother (or sister), adelphos (adelpha) in Greek, denotes a brother or sister, or near kinsman. Aramaic and other semitic languages could not distinguish between a blood brother or sister and a cousin, for example. Hence, John the Baptist, a cousin of Jesus (the son of Elizabeth, cousin of Mary) would be called "a brother (adelphos) of Jesus." In the plural, the word means a community based on identity of origin or life. Additionally, the word adelphos is used for (1) male children of the same parents (Mt 1:2); (2) male descendants of the same parents (Acts 7:23); (3) male children of the same mother (Gal 1:19); (4) people of the same nationality (Acts 3:17); (5) any man, a neighbor (Lk 10:29); (6) persons united by a common interest (Mt 5:47); (7) persons united by a common calling (Rev 22:9); (8) mankind (Mt 25:40); (9) the disciples (Mt 23:8); and (10) believers (Mt 23:8). (From Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Thomas Nelson, Publisher.)

    A second objection to Mary's virginity arises from the use of the word, heos, in Matthew's gospel.
    Mt 1:25
    He (Joseph) had no relations with her until (heos) she bore a son, and he named him Jesus.

    The Greek and the Semitic use of the word heos (until or before) does not imply anything about what happens after the time indicated. In this case, there is no necessary implication that Joseph and Mary had sexual contact or other children after Jesus.

    A third objection to the perpetual virginity of Mary arises from the use of the word, prototokos, translated "first-born" in Luke's gospel.
    Lk 2:7
    (Mary) gave birth to her firstborn son (prototokos). She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger ...

    The Greek word prototokos is used of Christ as born of Mary and of Christ's relationship to His Father (Col 1:25). As the word does not imply other children of God the Father, neither does it imply other children of Mary. The term "first-born" was a legal term under the Mosaic Law (Ex 6:14) referring to the first male child born to Jewish parents regardless of any other children following or not. Hence when Jesus is called the "first-born" of Mary it does not mean that there were second or third-born children.

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  • Your awesome Mike, Banoub was definietly right, we needed someone like you all along, I think I'll print out ur article and give it to my teacher....


    Your Friend,
    The other unworthy Mike

  • [glow=red,2,300]Happy Pentecost!!![/glow]

    I love The Holy Theotokos sooo much!!!!!! ;D......

    In the Bible, an only child was still called a first-born due to his opening the womb thus having a favored status:

    [glow=red,2,300]Deuteronomy 21[/glow]
    "17But he shall acknowledge the son of the unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is."

    He also had birthrights of a double portion of his father's assetsupon his death as seen in the above verse. Plus the child would receive a special blessing from the father and the privilege of leadership of the family. We see this in the sitting arrangement of the Patriarch Joseph in Egypt. They were seated according to age...starting from the oldest to the youngest:

    [glow=red,2,300]Genesis 43[/glow]
    "33And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth; and the men looked in astonishment at one another."

    Thus everything that the father had belonged to the first-born. Notice when the father, who was the oldest of the family, died, the next eldest would take over this case the first-born. The Lord Jesus is the first-born Son of the Father (John 3:16) and of the Holy Theotokos (Luke2:7)!

    Now what does this have to do with the perpetual virginity of the Holy Theotokos? ALOT! Here comes the "boom-shaka-laka"! Who did the Lord give charge of His Mother to in John 19:26-27? Not to a biological sibling....but to the Beloved Apostle, St John the Evangelist! Tha's right! Here is the Lord Jesus Christ giving His last will and testimony ...dying for our salvation and He lovingly gives St mary to st John ( who by the way took her in for us as well...thus she is OUR Mother too since Jesus is the first of many spiritual brothers -[glow=red,2,300] Romans 8:29[/glow]: 29For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.)

    So combining the biblical evidence as well as the patristic as brother Michael thoma has so nicely shared with us, we can see and praise God for preserving the perpetual virginity of the Holy Theotokos, St Mary!!!
  • thanks guys
  • The Ever Virgin Theotokos St. Mary - our beloved Mother of God -
    If I may add to the great post of Michael Thomas a couple of points about this subject:
    1- We all know that the Old Testament and the journey of the people of Israel were all leading and prophesizing the salvation of the world by the first coming of Christ The Messiah. Many of these prophecies were about the Virgin who will give birth to the Savior. In Ezekiel 44: 1-3 “Then He brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary which faces toward the east, but it was shut. And the Lord said to me, “This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the Lord God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut.” The Sanctuary (Al Heikal) is the Theotokos St. Mary, and the gate is Her womb that the Lord has entered to our world through it and Her virginity was and has always been sealed. No man can or had ever entered by it to our world except the Lord Jesus Christ our God and Savior.
    2- Our church always resembled Aaron’s golden censer to The Virgin St. Mary and the amber and aroma burning inside the censer as the one united Divine & Human nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. The censer is not burnt or consumed by the fire of the amber like The Holy Theotokos who bore our Lord Jesus without being burnt by His Divinity (Ti Shoori’s hymn prior to the Pauline – Midnight praises, the doxology), but if anybody else try to touch the censer that held the amber and aroma, he will be burnt by the Fire of His Divinity.
    3- Another symbol is the burning bush that Moses had seen on top of mount Sinai. “And the Angel of the Lord (the Son) appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said. “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn”. So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said: Moses, Moses! And he said: Here I am. Then He (God) said, Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet for the place where you stand is holy ground.” Exodus 3:2-5. The bush was burning by the fire of God’s Divinity yet it was green and not consumed. And the grounds around that bush were Holy that Moses could not approach it when God was present; and in verse 6 Moses hid his face for he was afraid to look upon God. Also check Exodus 33 & 34. … “for no man shall see Me (God) and live”. So what about the Holy womb, the vessel that bore Him for nine months, and served Him throughout His childhood. When Moses spent 40 days and 40 nights with the Lord on top of mount Sinai (Exodus 34:28), his face and skin were shining from being in the presence of God to the extent that Aaron and the people of Israel “were afraid to come near him”. So if he was in the presence of God for only 40 days, and the people were afraid to get near him, how about the Holy Ever Virgin that bore Christ for nine months in her womb. Who among the human race can dare to approach Her while the Holy Spirit protects her.

    A great book to read and for Defender to give it to your teacher: Becoming Orthodox written by Fr. Peter Gillquist (he was a protestant preacher before turning to Orthodox Christianity) It’s a good book that tackle to the core all of the Protestants claims about many subjects of our faith and tradition. Also, Fr. Gillquist will be lecturing in the Southern Coptic Conference for Evangelism Under the auspices of H.G. Bishop Youssef, between July 3rd and July 5th in Nashville, Tennessee. Check this web site:

    We ask you, O Virgin Mary the holy Theotokos, the faithful advocate for all mankind: Intercede on our behalf before Christ, Whom you have brought forth that He may forgive us our sins.

    God bless you all and please remember me in your prayers.
  • The greatness of our Coptic Orthodox Church and her authenticity was witnessed by the whole world during the apparations of the Theotokos, ever Virgin St. Mary
    in Her church in Zeitun in April 1968 and in St. Demiana's church in Shobra in 1986.
  • I showed this pic to my teacher yet she still doesn't believe in Coptic Orthodoxy and still critizises it and is against it.

    She even thinks that Ever-Virgin, Theotokos St. Mary shouldn't be a saint!!!

  • hey i have a question for you guy. why do you go to a protostant school anyway?
  • Defender:
    You know my confession father told me once that arguments with certain people are useless and waist of time because of their stuborness. It's better to pray for them to find the truth. If they are sencere in their love to Christ, just like those moslems who converts to Christianity, eventualy they will reach the truth on their own through the help of God - Who can change the hearts like He did with St. Paul the Apostle - and the intersession of the Saints especially St. Mary who prays for the salvation of the whole world.

    So I would stop arrguing with this teacher, better yet to show him/her the greatness of our Orthodox belief through your acts instead of arguments.
    God bless you
  • Hey Coptic Avengar and ibrahimf,

    C. A.:

    I go to a Protestant school because when we applied we were promised they wouldn't force they're beliefs on us, yet now they do, esp. coz they know that I lie in their grips. However I can't switch anymore, it's not worth it.


    I would leave her alone, yet she won't stop. What is pissing me off is that I absoloutley can't ask for intercession while praying, I'm planning on a huge strike, by asking for intercession while praying on announcements.

  • what do you mean you can't ask for intercession?? how will anyone stop you from praying the way you want? I think any school, public or private legally has to allow religious freedom as long as it doesn't interfere with others. Even in my Catholic university a group of Muslims would get together during their break and pray in an empty room, they got permission for a room, but they dont need permission to pray. I would suggest that you pray in general terms when praying with Protestants, and pray to the saints on your own, or in your mind...Unless you want your prayer to be a challenge to there beliefs... its up to you. Either way, you are correct in asking for intercession, no matter what they teach...
  • Thanks you, Mike. I know that any one of you would feel so much hurt if 1. A collegue says: You don't need no Pope, ur Church is messed up.

    2. Principal accusing you doing something you never did, and he knows that well because of all the evidences and says: Do they teach you that at ur Church?
    I think you need to Confess to God
    Me: I will, today I'm going to my Father of Confession

    3. Collegue: I'm a disciple of Jesus but ur a disciple of screw...

    4.I have absoloutley no right to say "Our Lord's Prayer" or intercessions when praying publicly.

    5. Question on test: Monostacism is from the devil. Explain why...

    I do not, shall not, will never give in to their threats, and I will challenge their beliefs, even if it costs that the Principal calls the police and tells them that I made a death threat while I didn't just like he did last time. And ruin my profile and record. "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerers through Him who loved us."

  • I strongly strongly suggest you transfer to another school or a public school. Which city are you in Mike, if your near me, I think I want to have a talk with your school administrators.
  • Defender, one question: Do your parents know what you are going through???? Does your father in confession know it too?
    This is serious man. It's not about declaring your faith anymore.
    You already did that bluntly, but now they do not have respect to your believes, yet they would sympathize with Moslems or other religions in their right to choose and worship. Some times stuborness and confrontations such as what you are going through will lead to very bad outcome. You need to ask for wisdom and for advice from God first and then from elderly people and from your priest. I totally agree with Michael. Change your school. Go to a Catholic or public school. Have a serious talk with your parents and get the priest involved. It's not a war .. you know. And may be the more you fight them, the more they turn against your belief and this is not wise. God be with you and remember He said: "Here is what I am commanding you to do. Be strong and brave. Do not be terrified. Do not lose hope. I am the Lord your God. I will be with you everywhere you go." Josh 1:9
    & " The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace (be silent)" Exodus 14:14
  • they r right Defender, sometimes stubbernouss is not always the smart thing to do. and we r only sugesting this cause we care and dont want to see anything happen, intentional or unintentional. may God be with you. you have my prayers
  • Well first of all, my parents know, second, my Father of Confession knows yet his only reaction was laughing and then he said talk to your parents about it.

    Today I was walking with my Gym Teacher, and all of sudden he asked when I became a Christian and I said 40 days after my birth and then he started asking how could someone get the Spirit yet never believe in Jesus and we got in this discussion and at the end he said we'll talk on monday and then laughing he said to one of the other teachers: I don't agree with him but he's gotta point and he knows what he's talking about." so he said I need Scriptural proof and I ran to the Computer lab and printed him off all the stuff we found as proof and then I showed it to him and he said well we'll defienitly continue the discussion on monday and he took our Church's name to get info on it. Now what I ask you guys to do is get my ready by then so I would have everything ready, esp. you mike, by the way at the end he said bye my Catholic friend which kinda shows me that both our Churches are amazingly alike!

    Please, help me put on the Armor of God ready for some and little evangelism.

    See, I think this was sent from God, or why would the teacher suddenly ask me that question?

    So please, help!

  • im ready to help in any way i can. where should i start? ;)
  • Oh Come on guyz, it's monday already and not a single post with valuable info?

  • i thought you would post some of his objections, and we could write rebuttals....
  • How about mentioning that the covenant of the OT was entered into by circumcision by parents on their children's behalf? This happened after 8 days in the time of Abraham and 40 in the time of moses. Parents have the right to make spiritual decisions on behalf of their children.

    Also is he implying that the baby Jesus didn't have the Spirit yet because His human understanding was undeveloped and it came later?

    His premis of understanding and Spirit is flawed, is he saying that intellectually disabled people can't get the Spirit because they don't understand?

    Also what is his definition of recieve the Spirit? God is infinite and its not a case of us making a decision to allow Him to come and dwell with us, in reality its more like God accepting us. While God can't work in children because of lack of understanding, He doesn't need to, why is understanding a restraint on God?

    All through Christ's childhood He was blessed and as the perfect image of a true Christian guided by the Spirit, isn't it right that we are the same? The issue your teacher displays is incorrect because a pure will is one founded in doing the will of God, that is a free will, the opposite is a sinful will that isn't free but is chained by sin so its natural for the will to be developed free and with Spirit before understanding. An example is Adam in the garden, he had the spirit and lost it AFTER his eyes were opened, where was the choice for faith then? The tests can come after the Spirit is recieved, they don't have to come before and Adam, Eve and our Lord as a Child are a perfect example of that...

    God bless,

  • There was a saying by H.H. about that, anyone has it??

  • The peace and love of God the Father, the Grace of His only Begotton son, Our lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit fill all of your hearts and lives for the glory of his Holy Name.
    1) st. Mar is called the mother of God, for she gave birth to our Lord jesus Christ and her virginity is sealed forever and ever. Exactly as the rays of the son goes through the glass without breaking it nor scratching it.
    2) Ezekiel says,"The he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, which faces toward the east, but it was shut. And the Lord said to me, "This gate shall be shut; It shall not be opened, and no man shall enetr by it, because the Lord God os Israel has enteren by it; therefore it shall be shut. As for the Prince, because he is the prince, He may sit in it to eat bread before the Lord; He shall enter by the way of the vestibule of the gateway, and go out the same way" (Ezekiel 44:1-3)
    3) this gateway that remains always shut is our queen the mother of God, the ever virgin St. Mary.
    4) Isaiah the prophet says, "Therefore the lord Himself will give you a sign: "Behold the Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call him Immanuel" (Is. 7:14)
    5) The meaning of the verse "And he did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son" (St. Matt 1:25). The word Till came after Not to implify the fact that Joseph never knew St. Mary neither before the Birth of Christ nor afterwords. This meaning come many times in the Bible such as, "Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no childer till the day she died" (2nd sam 6:23)
    6) The borthers of our Lord Jesus are not from St. Mary. They are called His brothers because they are the childer of St. Joseph. St. Joseph had been married in his live and had childern.
    7) Other prooves fo the Virginity of St. Mary:
    A) St. Luke 1:34, "Then mary said to the Angel, "How can this be , since I do not know man. And the angel answered and said to her, The Holy spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest willovershadow you...." Who would dare to approch the Mother of God?! Who woul dare to approch the one who is filled with the Fire of Divinity and overshadowed by the power of the Most High?!
    B) At the Cross, our Lord Jesus Christ entrusted St. John with St. Mary (St. John 19:26) Why? Because, Our mother St. Mary had no son other than our Lord, god, and Savior Jesus Christ.
    May the blessing and prayer of our mother, the ever virgin, St. Mary the mother of God be with all of us, Amen. Pray for me
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