All posts tagged: Gnosticism in the early church

The Discovery of an ancient description, ‘Christ, born of Mary,’ hints to an earlier battle with heresy

Israeli archaeologists working in the Jezreel Valley recently announced that they found an ancient description of Jesus dated to the fifth century. It was found in the remains of a Byzantine Church located near the village of et-Taiyiba. Curiously, the phrase, “Christ, born of Mary,” may hint of a great theological battle that raged in the early church a couple of centuries earlier. The Greek inscription, that was carved on stone and appeared on top of the entrance, reads in full: “Christ, born of Mary. This work of the most God-fearing and pious bishop [Theodo]sius and the miserable Th[omas] was built from the foundation… Whoever enters should pray for them.” According to Dr. Leah Di-Segni who works at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem the phrase “Christ, born of Mary” was used by the people to ward off curses associated with an evil eye. As part of this, people often included this phrase in letters they were sending to friends. One of the persons mentioned in the greeting was Theodosius, the archbishop for the area around …

Festival of the Assumption of Mary being held at a Roman Catholic church in Sicily. Credit: effems/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Why did Mary become so prominent in the Roman Catholic Church?

Español: ¿Por qué María se hizo tan prominente en la Iglesia Católica Romana? Several years ago, my wife and I adopted our daughter from a Roman Catholic orphanage in Peru. Part of the process included being in the country for several weeks as we worked through the adoption. We ended up staying at the orphanage where our daughter was living. It was a well-run orphanage and clearly the men and women working there were dedicated to helping these children. My wife and I became friends with a young Peruvian couple working at the orphanage who could speak English. Though committed Catholics, they were also actively involved in the Roman Catholic charismatic movement that held services every Saturday night at the local cathedral, where they emphasized the filling of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. I remember one evening, my wife and I went to their home for supper and we began talking about doctrine which invariably led to a discussion of Mary. The husband who helped lead the Charismatic group defended the Catholic church’s theological …