Among all those whom the world has brought forth from the beginning of God’s creation, the Holy Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary rightly holds the highest place of sanctity and dignity, who has the joy of a mother with the honor of a virgin, and brought forth the king of Angels, while the seal of Her virginity remained intact. Indeed, human nature has produced nothing more excellent than Her; the flesh has brought forth nothing holier than Her, apart from the only-begotten Son of God and Herself. It is She that stands between the Old and New Testaments, and thus joins them both together, so that what those who were inspired by the Holy Spirit to foretell what would come to pass through a Virgin, might be saved by Christ the Redeemer, and so confess that it was fulfilled through the Virgin Mary; and thus rightly might all the choir of the elect venerate Her and proclaim Her the Queen of Heaven and Lady of the Angels.
|The Virgin and Child with the Prophet Isaiah, from the Catacomb of Priscilla in Rome. This is the oldest known image of the Virgin Mary, dating to about 180 A.D.|