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The Early Church Fathers on the title of Mary, Mother of God.


  • Early Church Fathers
  • From the Scriptures



  1. St. Cyprian of Carthage, (A.D. 200-258)
    St. Methodius of Olympus, (A.D. 250-311)
    St. Gregory of Nazianzen, (A.D. 318-389)
    Ammianus (Marcellinus), (A.D. c.325-post 391)
    St. Epiphanius of Salamis, (A.D. 332-403)
    St. Gregory of Nyssa, (A.D. c.335 - c.394)
    St. Ambrose of Milan, (A.D. 340-396)
    St. Jerome, (A.D. 342-420)
    St.Theodore of Mopsuestia, (A.D. 350-428)
St. Cyprian of Carthage, (A.D. 200-258), North African; bishop; biblical scholar, martyr.

[T]o all generations they [the prophets] have pictured forth the grandest subjects for contemplation and for action. Thus, too, they preached of the advent of God in the flesh to the world, his advent by the spotless and God-bearing (theotokos) Mary in the way of birth and growth, and the manner of his life and conversation with men, and his manifestation by baptism, and the new birth that was to be to all men, and the regeneration by the laver [of baptism]

Discourse on the End of the World 1 [A.D. 217]

St. Methodius of Olympus, (A.D. 250-311), Asia Minor; bishop, ecclesiastical writer, martyr.

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.

Oration on Simeon and Anna 7 [A.D. 305]

St. Gregory of Nazianzen, (A.D. 318-389), Cappadocian; archbishop, theologian, Doctor of the Church.

If anyone does not agree that holy Mary is Mother of God, he is at odds with the Godhead.

Letter to Cledonius the Priest 101 [A.D. 382]

Ammianus (Marcellinus), (A.D. c.325-post 391) was a fourth-century Roman historian. He wrote the penultimate major historical account surviving from Antiquity, His work chronicled in Latin the history of Rome from A.D. 96 to 378, although only the sections covering the period: A.D. 353-378, are extant.

The Word begotten of the Father from on high, inexpressibly, inexplicably, incomprehensibly, and eternally, is he that is born in time here below of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God

The Incarnation of the Word of God 8 [A.D. 365]

St. Epiphanius of Salamis, (A.D. 332-403), Palestinian; bishop, abbot, scholar.

Being perfect at the side of the Father and incarnate among us, not in appearance but in truth, he [the Son] reshaped man to perfection in himself from Mary the Mother of God through the Holy Spirit

The Man Well-Anchored 75 [A.D. 374]

St. Gregory of Nyssa, (A.D. c.335 - c.394), bishop of Nyssa in A.D. 371, an erudite theologian who made significant contributions to the doctrine of the Trinity and the Nicene creed. Gregory's philosophical writings were influenced by Origen. He was the brother of the great St. Basil.

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

Four Homilies 1 [A.D. 262]

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!"

Four Homilies, 2

St. Ambrose of Milan, (A.D. 340-396), German; reluctantly made bishop in the A.D. 374., Doctor of the Church. He closed a great and glorious career in A.D. 396. We have his life by Paulinus.

They came to the church of the most blessed Mother of God, and ever-virgin Mary, which, as we began to say, he had constructed in the western quarter, in a suburb, for a cemetery of the martyrs.

The Genuine Acts of Peter of Alexandria [A.D. 305]

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?

The Virgins 2:2 [7] [A.D. 377]

St. Jerome, (A.D. 342-420), Dalmatian; born in Strido; priest, hermit, abbot, biblical scholar, translator and Doctor of the Church. In an age distinguished by men of the greatest eloquence and learning, St. Jerome, especially in all matters connected with the Sacred Scriptures, was then preeminent, and has probably never since been equalled.

As to how a virgin became the Mother of God, he [Rufinus] has full knowledge; as to how he himself was born, he knows nothing.

Against Rufinus 2:10 [A.D. 401]

St. Theodore of Mopsuestia, (A.D. 350-428), bishop of Mopsuestia in Cilicia and ecclesiastical writer. A friend of St. Pachomius.

When, therefore, they ask, "Is Mary mother of man or Mother of God?" we answer, "Both!" The one by the very nature of what was done and the other by relation.

The Incarnation 15 [A.D. 405]



Mary's title being, the Mother of God, is a teaching and reflection on "Who Jesus Christ is", then on who Mary is.


The Early Church Fathers had no problem referring to Mary as the Mother of God. They saw it as a natural consequence of the Incarnation. It was not an affirmation that Mary was the originator of God the Father, but that she bore the God-Man, her Divine Son, Jesus, in her womb and as Revelation would show, would become incarnate for the sake of our salvation. As a consequence, Jesus is a Divine person, not a human person like many heretics were saying.



The Church's Scriptures that support Mary being the Mother of God [the God-bearer of Jesus]:


Even those in the community where Jesus lived recognized Mary as His mother

55 Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary?

Matthew 13:55

Mary's cousin Elizabeth also testifies that Mary is the Mother of [my Lord] God.

41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

Luke 1:41-43

John acknowledges that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was at the marriage at Cana

1 On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.

John 2:1

John acknowledges, for a second time, that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was at the foot of the Cross

25 So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

John 19:25

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