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Mary in Early Christian Faith and Devotion$
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Stephen J. Shoemaker

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300217216

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300217216.001.0001

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The Memory of Mary

The Memory of Mary

The Fourth and Early Fifth Centuries

(p.166) Chapter Five The Memory of Mary
Mary in Early Christian Faith and Devotion

Stephen J. Shoemaker

Yale University Press

This chapter examines other evidence for Marian devotion in the fourth and early fifth centuries, including the writings of the church fathers and nonliterary evidence for the cult of the Virgin. It begins with a discussion of Marian cult and devotion in the works of fourth-century church fathers such as Peter of Alexandria, Alexander of Alexandria, Ephrem the Syrian, and John Chrysostom. In particular, it considers the subject of Mary’s virginity and her role as an ascetic model in these writings as well as patristic evidence for Marian intercession and apparitions. It then explores liturgical evidence for the cult of the Virgin, including feast days and shrines in her honor, miracles, and prayer to her in the Sunday liturgies. It also assesses early hymnography and evidence from material culture for early devotion to the Virgin. Based on this evidence, the chapter shows that the cult of the Virgin had already begun by the second half of the fourth century.

Keywords:   apparitions, Marian devotion, church fathers, Marian cult, Mary, virginity, feast days, liturgies, hymnography, material culture

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