Thursday, December 10, 2009

Epiphanius: on adoration of Mary and the saints

Here are some quotes, mainly from one source (The first quote is from here), of Epiphanius of Salamis about Mary:

“Mary should be honored, but the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit should be worshipped; no one should worship Mary...Even though 'The tree is lovely' it is not for food; and even though Mary is all fair, and is holy and held in honor, she is not to be worshipped...And they drink impious drinks as the word of God says, 'And the women grind flour, and their sons gather wood to make cakes for the host of heaven.' Such women should be silenced by Jeremiah, and not frighten the world. They must not say, 'We honor the queen of heaven.'”
(Epiphanius, Panarion, Section VII, 59 [79], 7.5-8.2).




Let the saints be in honor, and their rest in glory. It is not, however, fitting to honor the saints more highly than is proper, but rather to honor their Lord. ... The honor which the saints in their time showed to God has become for others who did not see it truth turned into error.

(Epiphanius, Panarion, as quoted in Examination of the Council of Trent III, p. 467)


Some think and speak contemptuously about Mary; others however, inclining toward the other side, glorify her beyond what is fitting. ... Under the pretext that it is right, the devil secretly enters the mind of men and deifies mortal nature; he models statues which bear the human image, in order that they may adore the dead and introduce images for adoration, committing adultery with the mind against the one and only God. Yes, certainly, the body of Mary was holy, but she was not God. Yes, indeed, the Virgin was a virgin, and honorable, but she was not given to us to worship. She worshiped him to whom she gave birth from her flesh; the one who is from heaven and from the Father’s bosom. And for this reason the Gospel reassures us of this, the Lord himself declaring that: “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come” [Jn 2:4]. And so that no one would think from the words, “O woman, what have you to do with me,” that the holy Virgin is superior, he calls her “woman.”

(Epiphanius, Panarion 3.2:4, as quoted [in part] in Examination of the Council of Trent III, p. 468, and [in part] by the Tübingen theologians in Augsburg and Constantinople, p. 141)


What Scripture has told this? Which prophet has commanded to adore man? Elijah did not see death, but was taken into heaven. John reclined against the breast of the Lord. But neither was Elijah worshiped, even though he was among the living. Neither was John worshiped, although by his own prayers he attained a wondrous death, and received grace from God. Not even Thecla, nor any of the saints, were worshiped. For the ancient error will not conquer us: to abandon the Living and to worship those who have been made by him. For they worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, and became fools [cf. Rom 1:25]. For if he does not want the angels to be worshiped, how much more does he not want her who was born from Anna, who was given by Joachim to Anna, to be worshiped?

(Epiphanius, Panarion 3.2:5, as quoted [in part] in Examination of the Council of Trent III, p. 468, and [in part] by the Tübingen theologians in Augsburg and Constantinople, p. 140)


The Word, which is God, took on flesh from Mary, not however in order that the Virgin might be adored, neither that he might make her God. Let Mary be held in honor, but let the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit be worshiped; let no one worship Mary. This mystery is due God, not to women, neither to man. Nor does such a doxology belong to the angels. Let those things be erased which have been wrongly written in the heart of those who have been deceived. Let the lust of the idol be extinguished from the eyes. Let the creature return again to the Master. Let Eve with Adam return to honor God alone. Let no one be led by the voice of the serpent. Let him abide by the command of God. ... Although Mary is holy and to be honored, nevertheless she is not meant to be adored.

(Epiphanius, Panarion 3.2:7, as quoted [in part] in Examination of the Council of Trent III, p. 468, and [in part] by the Tübingen theologians in Augsburg and Constantinople, pp. 140-41)

4 comments:

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Great and insightful post! Mary is holy and to be honored but not adored/worshipped. I like that!

You know, as Christians, our bodies are holy, because our bodies are God's temple. We are holy, just as Mary was holy. She carried the Son of God within her body, and we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us.

If any Christian does not think that they are holy, then they DO NOT belong to Christ. Be ye holy, as He is holy.

Amen.

Jennie said...

I agree; I thought this was interesting also:

The honor which the saints in their time showed to God has become for others who did not see it truth turned into error.

I think this is saying that those who unduly honor the saints of the past are turning the truth (of the past saints who honored God alone) into error (of ironically honoring these saints too highly by venerating them, which is a form of worship; the Bible says repeatedly to worship God alone).

Jennie said...

Here's another quote that came from the same website as the first quote:
"For I have heard in turn that others, who are out of their minds on the subject of this holy Ever-virgin, have done their best and are doing their best, in the grip both of madness and of folly, to substitute her for God...The words, 'Some shall depart from sound doctrine, giving heed to fables and doctrines of devils,' apply to these people as well. For as the scriptures say, they will be 'worshipping the dead' as the dead were given divine honors in Israel...For in Shechem, that is, the present day Neapolis, the inhabitants offer sacrifices in the name of Core, because of Jephthah's daughter, if you please, who was offered to God as a sacrifice. And for those who have been taken in by it, this has become the misfortunate of idolatry and the worship of vain things."
(Ephipanius, Panarion, Section VII, 58 [78], 23.2-23.6).

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Wow Jennie! That is some quote!

People do not realize the serious and grave error involved in trying to contact the dead to intercede for us or to pray for us. Contacting the spirits of dead persons is strictly forbidden in scripture, whether the dead person was a saint or sinner.