Fourth to Sixth Centuries: The Church Fathers and Mary

In the 4th century, thanks to the political turn about brought by Emperor Constantine, the Church enjoyed a new religious and cultural position in the Empire. As a consequence Church liturgy also profited by this new status and freedom.

Interest for the Scriptures grew at the same time as an effort was made toward doctrinal formulation, in response to new heresies about Christ's identity, and the subject of the Blessed Virgin Mary was also involved in these subtle debates.

Ecumenical councils follow regional councils. In this period full of tensions a total of five councils took place: Nicea (325), Constantinople (381), Ephesus (431), Chalcedon (451), and Constantinople II (553). Their influence on the development of Catholic doctrine and Marian devotion was enormous.

A richer liturgy emerged, replete with homilies, hymns, icons etc. All these different expressions of faith did not forsake the Virgin Mary, whose place was quite central, if not  the center, in the History of Salvation.

Now that persecutions had ceased, male and female monasticism was on the rise, witness ing that Christians live in this world without being of it. In this context the Virgin Mary became the model of consecrated life.

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A. Gila