St. Maximus on Perpetual Virginity and Luke 2:23

Lk. 2:22-23 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”)…

 

St. Maximus the Confessor ca. 580-662

There is only one child that is first-born and holy before the Lord, the one whose conception took place not through desire and the male seed — certainly not! — but through grace and the coming of the Holy Spirit, and His birth took place not in corruption and pain but through the power and wisdom of the Most High God. That is why the child was born holy, and the Holy of Holies according to the words of Isaiah. And not only was the holy womb opened by His birth, but it remained closed, as Ezekiel, the seer of invisible things, said, “This gate will be closed, and it will not be opened, and no one will go forth through it, but the Lord God of Israel alone will enter in and come out through it, and the gate will be closed” (Ezek. 44:2) Truly, then, in both cases it remained closed and sealed, before the conception and at the conception, and after the conception and after the birth. But how was it both closed and open, inasmuch as it says, “every child that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”? According to the nature of virginity it was closed and unopened, but by the power of the one born, every closure of nature is open and obedient before Him. Who else is there, then, who Himself opened the mother’s womb and kept it closed except the very one whose conception and birth is ineffable, supernatural and incomprehensible? (The Life of the Virgin, 47)

He purified nature from the law of sin in not having permitted pleasure to precede His incarnation on our behalf. Indeed, His conception wondrously came about without seed, and His birth took place supernaturally without corruption: with God being begotten of a mother and tightening much more than nature can the bonds of virginity by His birth. (Commentary on the Our Father, 2)

Comments

  1. This article also addresses the Orthodox teaching that the Theotokos even maintained her virginity during the birth of Christ. http://orthodoxinfo.com/phronema/review_winter.aspx

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