Mary and the Early Church

It is not odd that the Catholic Church venerates the mother of Christ, but rather, that others do not. Of all Christians, only the Catholic and Orthodox trace directly back to Christ and both venerate Mary. Others, which are much newer and founded by men, do not. That is an innovation, and not a good one.

you said, catholic and orthodox.
actually,there is eastern orthodox,which is what most pople refer to whe they say orthodox,there is also oriental orthodox which people ignore…
and church of the east helps you to see all articles on this site about mary

To Catholics, the notion of asking the Christian saints in heaven to pray for us is akin to St Paul writing to the Thessalonians, “Brethren, pray for us.” (1 Thessalonians 5:25)

The notion that the righteous dead pray for the living predates Christianity and comes from Judaism. For instance, in 2 Maccabees 15:11-14, Judas Maccabeus relates a credible vision he had of the late high priest Onias and the late prophet Jeremiah praying for the Jewish community. (Note: 2 Maccabees and the verses in Daniel mentioned below are not normally found in Protestant Bibles.)

The notion that the living can prayerfully address the righteous dead (and angels) also comes from Judaism. For instance, in Daniel 3:86, the three young men in the fiery furnace prayerfully address the righteous souls, saying, “Spirits and souls of the just, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.” (Similar prayerful addresses to angels can be found in Psalm 103:20 and Psalm 148:2 and Daniel 3:58.)

Since the righteous dead are ready, willing, and able to pray for the living and since it is ok to prayerfully address them, doesn’t it make sense that, like Christians in another town, we can ask our departed Christian brothers and sisters, such as the Virgin Mary, to pray for us?

How about starting with our Jewish roots:

What is the Protoevangelium of James? I’m just a humble Christian who doesn’t know a lot more than the few books I’ve been able to get my hands on.

I guess I was thinking there would be more teaching about this from the earlier apostolic desciples. I will do more resesrch tomorrow morning. I’m very thankful that you all have been so welcoming with my questions and all. God bless!

As I said above, how about going even earlier…our Jewish roots:

In the Introduction to the book, titled “How I Discovered the Jewish Origins of Catholicism”, essentially giving an overview of his conversion to Catholicism after being a priest in another faith, Dr. Marshall recounts an experience he had talking with a Rabbi in a hospital waiting room (Dr. Marshall was visiting someone as a priest), who told him that Jews believe that “if someone is suffering and you invoke the name of his or her mother in prayer, God will be more merciful in granting your prayer for that person“. Dr. Marshall then goes on to make a connection with the Catholic veneration of the Virgin Mary, and goes on from there:
If Jews believed that invoking the mother of someone caused God to be more gracious in answering an intercession, then wouldn’t the name of Mary be worth invoking? Even more, Mary wasn’t just an ordinary mother. She was the only person ever created who could speak to God about our Son. That’s when it hit me. Catholic devotion to Mary is not merely based on sound Christological arguments. Veneration for the Blessed Mother is not just only in the writings of the early Church. Reaching back even further, the Church reveres and invokes the Blessed Mother because it inherited the Jewish custom of showing profound reverence for the spiritual role of the mother in a family. The rabbi’s answer was a surprising confirmation that Catholic customs are rooted in a Jewish understanding of reality.

What is the Protoevangelium of James? I’m just a humble Christian who doesn’t know a lot more than the few books I’ve been able to get my hands on.

I think someone had provided you a link to the Proto of James. Here is another one by John the Theologian on the Dormition:

And while she was praying, I John came, the Holy Spirit having snatched me up by a cloud from Ephesus, and set me in the place where the mother of my Lord was lying. And having gone in beside her, and glorified Him who had been born of her, I said: Hail, mother of my Lord, who brought forth Christ our God, rejoice that in great glory you are going out of this life. And the holy mother of God glorified God, because I John had come to her, remembering the voice of the Lord, saying: Behold your mother, and, Behold your son. John 19:26-27

If you are concerned about teachings of early Christians, close to the Apostles, and the second century doesn’t do it for you, why in the world would you accept teachings, never before held, that arose 1580 years later from Luther? I’m not bagging on Luther, I’m just saying… wouldn’t it make more sense to look at the earliest Christian writings in order to determine what the earliest Christians believed, even if they aren’t from the first century?

And by the way, you don’t have to keep apologizing for asking questions. You seem to be very respectful of the Catholic faith and we are happy to give you our views. :slight_smile:

God bless.


Isn’t the Sub Tuum prayer as early as 250, maybe earlier?

Thanks, Steve. I grew up within a family that went to church on Easter…can’t even add Christmas in there. We went to a Baptist church via the Sunday School bus and all I remember from that time is believing in God but being scared out of my wits because of the hellfire and brimstone messages. When I was a young adult I was introduced to Lutheran doctrine…I mean imagine growing up being threatened with hellfire and then you’re presented with the truth that we are reconciled with Christ thru faith in him! I didn’t need to be afraid of him any longer. I’m the crazy one in the family because I go to one of those “other” catholic type churches. LOL! I believe in infant baptism, ackmowledge the Real Presence of Christ at communion…and. …horrors of all horrors I was sprinkled and not dunked when I was baptized.

Within the last year I began to watch EWTN and Calvary Chapel services on my Roku bbecause I have a disability that limits my activity outside my house. This is where I’ve begun my interest in church history and have begun reading and asking questions.

As far as Luthers theology…I know he had some wild ideas that even the LCMS does not agree with. At this point in my life I am just very happy that I know Christ is my Savior and am daily regenerated asi repent of my sinful ways.

I guess I’m here asking questions so that I can know how best I can serve him…I’ve always been a seeker but very careful with that because the enemy can make things sound so much better than they are.

I appreciate your kind words and thoughtfulness in realizing I wasn’t here to offend anyone. I was going to quit the forums but I think I’ll hang out a while longer. God bless!

From my experience here at CAF, the Orthodox (as a group) tend to escape the “protestant” criticism of their structure, hierarchy and devotion. Those who vociferously oppose the Catholic Church seem never to have much of an opinion about the Orthodox. This is very curious, if not hypocritical on their parts.

That is pretty silly. I wonder if it’s because of the tumultuous background that protestant and Roman Catholics share. We really weren’t very Christlike back in the dark ages up into Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth.

Sadly, it has become little less than team sports competition in many cases. Competing theological teams. However, there are two Churches that trace in an unbroken line directly to Christ via the Apostles: the Orthodox and the Catholic. Aside from some long-standing differences, there are amazing (not so amazing, really) similarities in structure, theology and practice between the two. Every other ecclesial community on earth - every one without exception - split off from one of those two, or from someone else who did.

Yet, it is only the Catholic Church that receives the continual lambasting. A point to ponder.

Don’t give the LDS a date for their “great apostasy”! :smiley:


Thanks for this, spedteacherita. It is always good to know where someone sits before you question where they stand.

I applaud your efforts in going back through history in search of truth. As po18guy has already stated, what you will find is:

Originally Posted by po18guy
…there are two Churches that trace in an unbroken line directly to Christ via the Apostles: the Orthodox and the Catholic. …Every other ecclesial community on earth - every one without exception - split off from one of those two, or from someone else who did.

I will pray for you on this journey. It is not an accident that you feel drawn to find the truth. I am very happy that you have decided to stay on CAF.

God bless.


We shell-shocked Catholics playing defense generally respond very favorably to inquiries which are posed as questions.

Far too many have burst into this forum, both guns blazing against the Catholic Church, only to ultimately be banned for lack of charity or leave in a huff, likely telling friends and associates “I always knew Catholics were like that.”

It is refreshing when someone makes genuine, heartfelt inquiries.

I aspire to Steve’s level of charity and patience. :o

When indeed, Christians lived in the Catacombs of Rome, I believe they have found graffiti back at that early date showing Christians then persecuted, were already venerating the Virgin Mary.

Pathfinder, if you have or remember where you saw this info, I’d be interested in seeing it! So many cool things are being found in archaeological digs and early Christian habitations.



What, may I ask, keeps you from the church?

You’re right, I need to be aware of when certain beliefs became important and the earlier we go the more likely we’re in the realm of teaching that came from the apostles. But (sorry, I’ve been a “sola Scriptura” girl for going on 35 years now) why wouldn’t the apostles write and document these traditions that the Catholic Church follows?

Again, I’m not trying to be argumentative at all - just trying to make as much sense as my muddle brain allows me to.

Thanks again, all.

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