Question about the Virgin Saint Mary

hi, friends, this is a question i was asked by a protestant friend, and i'd like some help with the answer, please.
i was asked why there is nothing written about saint mary in the new testament after the book of acts if she was so important to the early church and what evidence is there that the very early church venerated her and asked for her intercessions.

my usual answer to these sorts of questions is that the book of hebrews speaks of a 'great cloud of witnesses' and this is why we know the saints are aware of what goes on down here on earth and so it is natural that they was also intercede with God on our behalf. as they prayed for the Christians while on earth, they will not stop that once they stand in the presence of God, indeed it will be much easier for them to do it.
also i explained that when saint mary said in the gospel of luke 'all generations will call me blessed' this was predicting her veneration, not just the fact that people would be impressed that she was Jesus' mother.

but the list of saints here does not include saint mary the virgin, so my friend says this means she wasn't venerated at this time. i think it is because she didn't die yet by this time, but my friend says she would have been over 80 by then if she was still alive.

so if you have a better answer, please share it with us, also i would like it if someone could post a link to information about the end of her life and how she died that is approved by the coptic church.

sorry, this is quite a big question but i have loads of protestant friends and am trying to explain orthodoxy to them.


  • I think a simple answer would be that she was still alive at that point of time. the apostles did not venerate each other when they were alive.

    another thing that happened that i think have to do with this, her body was taken up. why would that happen?! HEM Bishoy gives a nice answer; simply so people would not worship her as GOD. Think about it, people believe that Jesus Christ is God. HE left up to heaven. His Mother's body is still on earth. Wouldn't you "worship it" (as God and not saints' veneration) because she would be the last physical thing of Jesus on earth?!
  • hi mabsoota,

    I think the details of the original apostles or the first christian communities reverence towards the blessed mother are not revealed. The reason for that might be the humility of our Blessed Virgin Mary.

    The Virgin Mary was a very humble person before the Annunication. In her prayers she says "looked upon the lowliness of His handmaiden". Imagine, how much more humble she had grown after the Nativity. The thing is,the Lord himself prohibited people to speak about him. For example, in John 5:41, the Lord says "I do not accept praise from men".If that is so, then how could we expect the humble Holy Mother to ask the Apostles to glorify her and say or write more stuff  about her more than she herself permitted them to report ?? Although the apostles chose to remain silent about her,because she was absolutely silent about herself,the Lord himself spoke of her greatness when he says "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted". A woman ,when she heard the word of Jesus blessed the womb that bore Him.

    The Holy Apostles, who themselves wrote the Scriptures of the New Testament, knew that "the Mighty One has done great things " for the Mother of God, and that she was to be "blessed"; meaning glorified ;by "all generations", as you correctly stated. They themselves had witnessed and observed her moral character ;  "the lowliness of the handmaiden' of God, upon which the Lord looked. And they honoured her as " full of grace, blessed among women"

    They came to believe in the Lord as the Saviour only through her mediation ( intercession),when she prevailed over her son to perform the first miracle at the wedding of Cana of Galilee.This means, she brought the Holy apostles to faith in Him.

    The fact that "all generations shall call me blessed" proves to us that the holy Apostles were the first to revere and glorify her. Regarding the  details of the Annunciation and the Nativity of Christ, the apostles learned about it firsthand from her and they recorded this in the NT exactly as she had desired.

    Also I think,the veneration of the Blessed mother began from the 2nd century onwards, partly because in the days of the apostles and 1st century christians ,it was unusual in a male dominated community for men to revere woman. That would have looked weird.
  • "Mozer and minagir" your explanation is beautiful, so I am not going to try to explain, however, I believe the original question itself is wrong!!!
    Why; when the reformation took place at the time of Luther, Calvin, Swindel...etc. some were hard reformers at the early move of protestantism and they had what is called the "Sola Scriptura" i.e the scripture is the sole source of knowledge and they allowed any one to interpret the scripture according to his own needs. In Orthodoxy we do not agree on this because up untill the bible was compelled in its final form (roughly around the 4th or 5th century) every thing was handed down by the tradition. Secondly and most importantly, biblical interpretation comes through and comply with the churches teaching. We believe and accept other sources than the bible only. Unfortunatley Protestant will miss a lot because of this. By the way they have more "Solas"
    Sola gradis : Grace only
    Sola fide : Faith only
    Sola gloria: glorification to God only
    As such fundamentally u can not answer such questions, becuase he will not accept. as an Orthodox we have the answer, becuase we believe in the sources

    God bless
  • sure, i take yr point, coptic mark, but its the other orthodox sources i am looking for.
    i could say 'my priests say this happened' but i would rather find out a bit more about the original sources and the patristic writings. in the same way i turned to orthodoxy after careful study (i didn't want just to trust my emotions), others will do to and i hope i can point them in the right direction.
  • Hello again,
    Thanks for yr prompt reply. The 1st source that comes to my mind is the synaxarion, U will find a lot about her under the following dates May 9 (1 pachons) her antivity, Dec 12 (3 koiahk) her entry to the temple, jan 29 (21 Tobi) falling asleep, Aug 22 (16 Mesori) ascending of her holy body, and Jun 28 (21 Paoni) dedication of the first church on her name.
    another source would be all the prayers that are in the church so old even before the schism, for example, the tasbeha (midnight praise) the daily glorification of Mary called the theotokia (from theotokos), also The kiahk praises, Many will say that the fathers of the church praised u ......etc.
    Now and unfortunatley if the person does not accept these sources, then u can not convince them, I hope this would help.
    God bless
  • I don't get the point that your protestant friends are making. First of all, everything after Acts is the apostles trying to teach the people and direct them in the right direction; why would they bring the blessed Virgin St. Mary into this? Also, so what if they didn't, isn't it enough that there are prophecies in the Old Testament about her?
  • mabsoota,

    The problem, as I heard it:
    - they think that the Virgin Mary fulfilled her mission as a great Saint but that's all there is
    - they don't believe in any intercession and apply that to everything
    - they consider her a sister not a mother a mistake, corrected:
    - they consider her our sister not our mother

    In the life of The Virgin, miracles begin before her birth, and
    continue after her death. From these:
    1. She was generated with a miracle, from sterile parents, with an
    annunciation from the angel.
    2. The miracle of her betrothal, in a divine manner which
    determined who will take her and care for her.
    3. The miracle of her conception of Christ while she is a virgin, and
    the continuation of her virginity after giving birth.
    4. The miracle during her visit to Elizabeth who, when she heard the
    voice of her greeting, the babe leaped for joy in her womb, and she was
    filled with the Holy Spirit.
    5. Innumerable miracles during her visit to Egypt, one of which is
    the fall of idols (Is. 19:1).
    6. The first miracle which the Lord did in Cana of Galilea, happened
    through her request.
    7. The miracle of the dissolution of iron, and the deliverance of the
    apostle Matthias, happened through her intervention.
    8. The miracle of Christ receiving her soul, at the hour of her death.
    9. The miracle of the striking of the Jews by the Lord, when they
    wanted to attack her corpse after her death.
    10. The miracle of the ascent of her body to heaven.
    11. The miracles which happened everywhere by her hands, about
    which books were written.
    12. Her apparition in numerous places, and especially her wonderful
    apparition in our churches in Zeitoun, and in Papadopoulo.
    Miracles are still happening everywhere, and will happen as a
    testimony to the honor of this saint.

    quoted from HH Pope Shenouda book:
    Name of the book: The Holy Virgin St. Mary
    Author: His Holiness Pope Shenouda III
    Editor: Orthodox Coptic Clerical College, Cairo
    Edition: 1999
    Press: Anba Rueiss, (Offset)
    Deposition number at "The Library": 9173/96

    Please read it it's full of answers to these questions.

  • wow, thanks, so many sources!  :)
    so when u see me online but not responding to any posts it will be because i am following all these links!  ;)
    what convinced me about the virgin mary remaining virgin was ezekiel 44 verse 2. suddenly it all fell into place (the east gate represents her womb) but others need more convincing, so i'm going to read up on all this.
    i am really grateful,
    may God bless u all
  • John,

    Some of the things that are listed in the "Life surrounded by miracles" are not in the bible and hence are not helpful when trying to argue with people who demand the source of evidence. Everything what Pope Shunoda says about the Blessed Virgin is great for us, but it makes for a weak argument when discussing with protestants who reject everything that is outside the bible. The best thing is to have them first agree with us with the Orthodox interpretation of the scriptures.Once we secure that, then we could ultimately invite them to consider the traditions and oral transmissions of the scriptures.As an example, we could point out to them the clash between St Michael and Satan at the death of Moses. The story is not mentioned in the OT, but only in NT.Such examples may stimulate  good discussions and provoke some curiosity in the mind of others to think and find out how the writer of the NT book Knew about it. I admit, mabsoota is in for a tough fight,but hopefully one that results in victory.
  • [quote author=mabsoota link=topic=8551.msg108160#msg108160 date=1260054940]
    so if you have a better answer, please share it with us, also i would like it if someone could post a link to information about the end of her life and how she died that is approved by the coptic church.

    I have not noticed this part of your question.I have a link to a brilliant book.It is a treasure to have this book at home.
  • Mozes, thanks for the ebook I'll read it and keep it in my collection.

    Some of the things that are listed in the "Life surrounded by miracles" are not in the bible

    Amazingly, who started teaching the sola scriptura principle was not attentive reading Scripture. The proof: in concluding his Gospel the beloved Apostle St John wrote:

    John 21
    24 This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.
    25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.

    According to St John, not everything was written down in the Gospels and the canon books of the New Testament. I do not mean the apocrypha books but the legacy and sayings of early witnesses and preachers of the Church, especially all Apostles and disciples and the early fathers, the disciples of the disciples.

    Real Apostolic Churches understand well that what the Apostles and the early saint fathers left for us by the guidance of the Holy Spirit is an elaborate holy tradition and a very rich legacy of deep Christian resources that contributed in the establishment and the proliferation of the early Church's faith and practice. These combined with Scripture are our valued references and our treasure. The Lord's will was not to confine the preaching of sound teaching in just few disciples but to many through the edifying glorious gifts of the Holy Spirit.

  • mabsoota,

    This is a very recent apparition in the Virgin Mary's CO Church in Waraq, a very crowded area.

    Some captured this miracle with mobile cams.
    You can hear in the background many can see her others were skeptic or couldn't see. Amazing!

    EDIT: right now it's night there is a light dove appearing above this Church everyone see (contact from a close relative who's there and just spoke with me). Glory be to God forever.

    Pls pray for me.
  • [quote author=John_S2000 link=topic=8551.msg108300#msg108300 date=1260488695]
    John 21
    24 This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.
    25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written


    Thanks for your observation.

    I do not think any protestant would have a problem with the above verse,for the verse seems to talk only about other stories that the Lord Jesus performed. Martin Luther the protester knew about it as well. If I were to tell a protestant about a miracle that the Lord did and is not recorded in  all 4 Gospels, it would not sound strange to a him for he already believes that nothing is impossible to the Lord. The problem is,how are you going to convince them,for example, that it is right to pray to the Saints for help or intercession or on the perpetual virginity of the Virgin Mary, church sacraments, etc etc. Unless, things are clearly outlined in the bible,they won't accept it and that is what I'm trying to point out.

    Moslems do not believe that Jesus is the son of God , because their prophet told them so.They won't budge from that position. In the same way, Martin Luther revolted against the Roman Catholic and rejected teachings and traditions that were outside the Bible. Like the prophet Mohammed, he told  his followers,the scripture alone is authoritative for the faith of the christian. As a result,when discussing with protestants, it would be tough or impossible to argue without biblical evidences to substantiate one's point.

    To make use of the apparition's of St Mary as proof of her glory and being the Theotokos,why should we expect them to believe such miracles as authentic, when our brethen from the Eastern Orthodox church think,that the unparalleled apparitions of Zeitoun are hoax?

    Thanks for the good news on the current apparition of our Blessed Mother.  Looking forward to more updates.
  • John,

    Do you know if there is better quality video available. It seems impressive but a mobile phone is not brilliant quality. I can't believe that no-one in Egypt doesn't have a decent video camera. Have you found better quality video uploaded anywhere?

    God bless

    Father Peter
  • Dear Father Peter,

    About the captured video I think it is not easy to find something better right away I'm sorry, but if available I'll point to it. The apparitions were in two churches in Waraq area: the Virgin Mary and Archangel Mikhail (started on on the 3rd of December 2009 - not sure) and the Virgin Mary called 'the old church' (started on on the 10th of December 2009 - again not sure). People were not ready with quality cams and these place(s) were overcrowded with comers and the streets thus very busy to blocked.

    the Eastern Orthodox church think,that the unparalleled apparitions of Zeitoun are hoax

    That's really strange because even the RC acknowledged the Virgin Mary's Zeitun church apparitions after thorough investigation and asking many of their local representatives in Egypt.

    [It appears there was a difficulty logging in to Tasbeha from my PC so I had to reset my account.]

  • I looked around a bit but didn't find newer video.
    I'll have to check more, and the COC forums.

    I found this one describing the Zeitun apparitions - it's different, probably everybody saw it:

  • A quick addition, one more video, some TV comments good or bad
    (& thanking sodr2 for his tip)

    more news on local TVs

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