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Many of the titles that were used for Isis, such as “Queen of Heaven,” “Mother of God,” and theotokos(“God-bearer”) were attached to Mary.

Mary was given an exalted role in the Christian faith, far beyond what the Bible ascribes to her, in order to attract Isis worshippers to a faith they would not otherwise embrace.

Wherefore were addressed to her the words: “The Lord with thee”; and again also, “The Lord from thee.” As if this: ” He will save him that is in His image as being pitiful.” As purse of the Divine mystery the Holy Virgin made herself ready, in which the Pearl of Life was enveloped in flesh and sealed; and she also became the receptacle of supramundane and Divine salvation. Therefore let us also come, O my friends, and discharge our debt according to our ability; and following the voice of the archangel, let us cry aloud: “Be thou glad and rejoice; the Lord with thee.” Nor any heavenly bridegroom He, but the very Lord Himself, the Father of purity and the guardian of virginity, and the Lord of holiness, the creator of inviolability, and the giver of freedom, overseer of salvation, and ordainer of true wisdom and bestower thereof—-the Lord Himself with thee; for as much as even in thee the Divine grace reposed [and] upon thee, in order to make alive the race of men like a compassionate Lord.

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What does the history of praying to Mary look like? And so that being the case, if you can’t approach Christ as a compassionate and faithful high priest who will intercede for us, we need mediators between us and Christ himself. But such individual hands are hard to date, and it is almost incredible that a prayer addressed directly to the Virgin in these terms could be written in the third century. Athanasius of Alexandria (296-373), but the evidentiary trail goes back even further. It was an old term of Catholic Theology, and the very word was used by bishop Alexander in a letter from the synod held at Alexandria in a.d.

It’s easy to think of Marian prayer as a later addition to the faith, a sort of Medieval superstition that seeped in slowly. And as the knowledge of God declined so Christ receded into heaven. So the thought grew: Well, if I can’t approach Christ, I will approach his mum who will put in a good word for me to Christ. The Virgin was spoken of as Θεοτόκος by Athanasius ; but there is no evidence even for private prayer addressed to her (cf. The (Protestant) historian Philip Schaff notes that was coined to express the peculiar view of the Incarnation held by St. 320, to condemn the Arian heresy (more than a hundred years before the meeting of the Council of Ephesus) Alexander of Alexandria’s statement was that “we receive the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead, of which Jesus Christ our Lord became the first-fruits; who bore a body in truth, not in semblance, which he derived from Mary the Mother of God (ἐκ τῆς Θεοτόκου Μαρίας).” But we can go even earlier than 320. the fifth-century Church historian Socrates Scholasticus relates that “Origen also in the first volume of his is used.

The latter are private conversations between the believer and God and the Saints.

That said, where we do see written private prayers, like the inscriptions on the tombs in the Catacombs, we do see prayers to the departed. Thou hast learned, O Mary, that which till now was hidden from angels.

But do thou alone, O Holy Virgin, receive the mystery unknown by them, and learn and be not perplexed as to how this shall be unto thee. New radiance now of eternal light gleams forth for us in the inspired fitness (or harmony) of these words.

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