Before 300: Pre-Constantinian Christianity


A couple of weeks ago, a lady named Monica raised several objections to the Catholic treatment of the Blessed Mother.

I have been writing a series of responses to these objections and this will be my final post in reply, at least for the time-being.

At the end of her comments, Monica asserted that the Catholic Church was founded by the Emperor Constantine around AD 300.

In my previous post, I pointed out some of the problems with Monica’s theory that Constantine started the Catholic Church, but now I would like to do something a little different. In this post I would like to set forth the positive historical case for the presence of Catholicism in the generations prior to Constantine:

Part #1: The Church
1. The Church is Catholic
2. The Church has a three-fold structure of leadership
3. There is unity through episcopal authority and schism is evil
4. Sacred Tradition is authoritative
5. Worship is liturgical
6. There is Apostolic Succession
7. Peter has Primacy

Part #2: Salvation & Sacraments
1. The Eucharist is a Sacrifice
2. Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist
3. The Eucharist is taken to the sick
4. Infants are to be baptized
5. Baptism actually washes away sin
6. Priests forgive sins
7. Works are involved in salvation

Part #3: The Saints and Our Lady
1. Prayers are said for the dead
2. There is purgation after death
3. Relics are venerated and Saints are celebrated
4. Mary is the New Eve
5. Mary was a perpetual virgin
6. Mary is the Mother of God
7. Prayers are made and songs are sung to Mary

I will demonstrate early Christian belief in these doctrines by looking at primary sources alone, restricting myself to writings produced prior to Monica’s proposed date of AD 300.

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Mary, the interfering mother? (4)

Continuing my response to Monica’s comments concerning Mary, today I would like to continue providing a Catholic response to her objections, which today will chiefly focus around the subject of mediation.


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Mary, the centre of attention? (3)

Today we return to the my series of articles about Our Lady. In this post I’d like to look at a reader’s concerns regarding the level of attention which is given to Mary within the Catholic Church.


The concerns expressed by Monica are common among many Protestants. Are they valid? Do we lose Christ when we give attention to His mother?

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Mary, the right “type” of mother? (2)

Yesterday I took a break from my series on Mary, but today I would like to continue looking at some further objections raised by a reader, Monica in the comments section of an old post concerning The Ark of the New Covenant.


Today’s discussion will focus around the notion that Mary is enthroned as Queen of Heaven.

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New Ark of the Covenant Response (Introduction)


Last week a comment appeared on my post Biblical Mary: The Ark of the New Covenant by a lady named Monica. Here’s what she had to say:

People praying the rosary, singing Mary songs, etc is a form a worship no matter how much catholics want to deny it. These things only belong to God. I have seen pictures of Mary sitting next to God in His throne as she was was co-equal with God when she was only a human like any of us. Of course she was blessed by God and deserves to be honored but it does not imply a godly position. God chose her by His grace, grace is God giving us something we dont deserve.

Why do we need Mary as mediator when Jesus Christ already paid the price for our sins so that we could approach God directly? Saying that we need Mary as mediator is like saying that what Christ did in the cross is worthless or meaningless. Read Luke 23:45 which says that the curtain in the temple was broken apart in two, this symbolizing that the use of mediators (like in the old testament where only the priests could enter the most holy of the holy places and approach God to intercede for people) was terminated.

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Serenading Our Lady

In Catholic devotion, there are many songs addressed to Mary, such as the Regina Coeli and the Salve Regina. However, it may surprise you to know that the oldest text we have for a Marian hymn comes from about AD 250 written in Greek, preceding the Hail Mary by several centuries. I mention it today because this hymn is often sung at the end of evening prayer in Eastern Christianity during Lent. The hymn is known as “Beneath thy compassion”  and was used in the liturgy around Christmas time.

Beneath your compassion we take refuge, Theotokos!
Our prayers, do not despise necessities,
but from danger deliver us, only pure, only blessed one.

What is particularly significant is that the text refers to Mary by the Greek title of “Theotokos”, which in English means “God bearer”, the name so objectionable to Nestorius, but which was later affirmed by the Council of Ephesus in AD 431.


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