Church History Forum: Mary, Queen of Heaven

Mary, Queen of Heaven QUESTION from Richard McLellan October 20, 2001
I have often heard charges like these two.
Catholicism didn't begin until the reign of Constantine, when Christianity was made legal, but it was under compromising conditions. The Christians were to worship in the temples of Dianna. Of course, all of the church did not adhere to this, and those that did took on some of the worship practices of the Roman gods, including transferring the Dianna worship over to Mary.
This is loosely referenced from the book THe Two Babylons.â€
A pro-Rome opinion will tell you Mariology has been with the church since the beginning, while a staunch reformer will tell you it's been around since BEFORE the Christian church, but back in those times it was Semiramis worship, or Diana, or whichever goddess cult was popular in certain cultures of the day - and was just adopted into the Roman church, and Mary replaced the false goddesses.
The fact is, the modern adoration of Mary, has been a progressive movement within the Roman church. With each passing century, she has become more and more worshipped and adored, venerated or idolized (however you want to phrase it.)
If you read the NT, you will notice an astounding SILENCE on Mary. This is should be quite striking to anyone, who wonders how she was thought of, by the earliest NT church fathers. If she were a person to be exalted as she is now, in the Roman church, surely someone in the NT would have had that revealed to them. Yet all the writings, wisdom, information, and importance of Mary, are found OUTSIDE the Holy Scriptures.
This also, should be a red flag to anyone truly seeking the truth on this issue. The moment anyone steps outside of the bounds of Scripture, when searching for truths of this stature, they've made their first wrong move.
While there are probably hundreds of thousands of books, articles, letters, and other things written on the issue, we have to ask ourselves what saith the Scriptures?
Eusebius, Tertullian, Justin Martyr, Clement, Augustine, are just SOME of the authors of some of the early writings, around since the beginning of the NT church. But what you'll find when you read these guys, is a STRIKING lack of Mary exaltation. The early church did NOT exalt her, the way the modern Roman church does.â€
I have also heard the charge that the Queen of Heaven was an old testament cult that some Protestants believe was the worship of a demon who is responsible for the more recent ( last 1000 Yrs.) Marian apparitions.
Question one. Did the early Christians worship in pagan temples?
Question Two. What are some quotes from Christians before the edict of Milan exalting Mary in any way but I would be especially interested in Traditions about her Assumption or Immaculate Conception?
Question Three. Who was the Queen of Heaven in the O.T?
Question Four. When was the first apparition, Miracle attributed to Mary’s intercession after her Assumption, And prayers said to Mary?
I think these are issues I just forgot about during my conversion and have come up again recently.
Thanks again for your help.
God bless.
ANSWER by Q & A Staff on October 20, 2001 Dear Richard,
You are asking several questions, as well as citing a text which I ought to comment on. I will make some comments on your citations first, then will address the individual questions.

Catholicism didn't begin until the reign of Constantine, when Christianity was made legal, but it was under compromising conditions. The Christians were to worship in the temples of Dianna. Of course, all of the church did not adhere to this, and those that did took on some of the worship practices of the Roman gods, including transferring the Dianna worship over to Mary.
A pro-Rome opinion will tell you Mariology has been with the church since the beginning, while a staunch reformer will tell you it's been around since BEFORE the Christian church, but back in those times it was Semiramis worship, or Diana, or whichever goddess cult was popular in certain cultures of the day - and was just adopted into the Roman church, and Mary replaced the false goddesses. The fact is, the modern adoration of Mary, has been a progressive movement within the Roman church. With each passing century, she has become more and more worshipped and adored, venerated or idolized (however you want to phrase it.)
Mary has never been worshipped or idolized. (I note that Hislop can’t seem to distinguish the terms veneration and worship). The book from which you quote, „the Two Babylons“, by Alexander Hislop has been discredited as a scholarly source by Ralph Woodrow ( a non-Catholic) in his book The Babylon Connection?, which is a response to his own earlier work Babylon Mystery Religion“ itself based on The Two Babylons. Anyone who wants to see the errors in Hislop's book should obtain a copy of The Babylon Connection? Hislop's effort to find the worship of Semiramis, Diana, or any other pagan goddess in the veneration we pay to Mary shows his despair at trying to find historical connections where none exist. Please see Catholic Encyclopedia: Christian Worship . It can be seen that there is no connection between ancient goddess worship and authentic Christian veneration of the saints.
If you read the NT, you will notice an astounding SILENCE on Mary. This is should be quite striking to anyone, who wonders how she was thought of, by the earliest NT church fathers. If she were a person to be exalted as she is now, in the Roman church, surely someone in the NT would have had that revealed to them. Yet all the writings, wisdom, information, and importance of Mary, are found OUTSIDE the Holy Scriptures. For a Scriptural case where Mary is exalted, please see Luke 1:43
Regarding the supposed silence on Mary inthe New Testament, I did a search and discovered Mary the Mother of Our Lord is mentioned by name 20 times in the New Testament: Matthew 1:16; Matthew 1:18; Matthew 1:20; Matthew 2:11; Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; Luke 1:27; Luke 1:30; Luke 1:34; Luke 1:38; Luke 1:39; Luke 1:41; Luke 1:46; Luke 1:56; Luke 2:5; Luke 2:16; Luke 2:19; Luke 2:34; John 19:25; Acts 1:14
Look at the places where Mary IS mentioned – all critical places: the annunciation, the birth of Jesus, the presentation in the Temple, the first public miracle of Jesus, the death of Jesus on the Cross. Mary was with Jesus from His virginal conception until His death on the Cross, at all the critical moments in His earthly life. This does not even include the places where she is referred to as the Mother of Jesus, for example at the start of Jesus public ministry in John 2, or where she is designated the Queen of Heaven, as in Revelation 12:1. Not to mention the all-important prophecy from Genesis 3:15.
In contrast, Adam gets only 7 mentions in the New Testament: Luke 3:38; Romans 5:14; 1 Corinthians 15:22; 1 Corinthians 15:45 ; 1 Timothy 2:13; 1 Timothy 2:14; Jude 14 and Eve gets only 2 mentions 1 Timothy 2:13 and 1 Timothy 2:14. Yet no one would deny their significance in the history of salvation!
This also, should be a red flag to anyone truly seeking the truth on this issue. The moment anyone steps outside of the bounds of Scripture, when searching for truths of this stature, they've made their first wrong move. As mentioned above, Luke 1:43 refutes Hislop’s claim. I will avoid the temptation to discredit the principle of sola scriptura in this question.

While there are probably hundreds of thousands of books, articles, letters, and other things written on the issue, we have to ask ourselves what saith the Scriptures? I have shown above the number of times Mary is mentioned in the New Testament. As I mentioned above, for a Scriptural case where Mary is exalted, please see Luke 1:43 where Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit says But why am I so favoured that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

“Eusebius, Tertullian, Justin Martyr, Clement, Augustine, are just SOME of the authors of some of the early writings, around since the beginning of the NT church. But what you'll find when you read these guys, is a STRIKING lack of Mary exaltation. The early church did NOT exalt her, the way the modern Roman church does.†Hislop doesn’t mention the second century Saint Irenaeus, who in his Against Heresies wrote in depth on the role of Mary as the New Eve and paved the way centuries later for the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception to be officially defined in 1854. Neither does Hislop mention the apocryphal work The Protoevangelium of James which also deals greatly with the subject of Mary as the New Eve.
Hislop is also obviously unaware of St. Augustine’s De nat. et gratis, 36 in which he treats of Mary’s sinlessness, nor of St. Jerome’s Ep. xxxix, (Migne, P. L., XXII, 472). But as I have said already, Hislop cannot be taken seroiusly as a scholar.
Regarding the charge that the Queen of Heaven was an Old Testament cult, this is correct: The cult is mentioned in the book of Jeremiah (for example, Jer. 7:18; 44:18 ) However, the attribution of the title Queen of Heaven to Our Lady no more make her into a pagan goddess than does giving Jesus the title King of Kings turn him into King David! Further we should note that as Jesus is the King, then Mary is the Queen Mother. There can be no objection to this, in fact the queen mother had a very important role in ancient Jewish society, and is mentioned in the Old Testament in Jeremiah 13:18; 2 Kings 10:13; 1 Kings 1: 16-17, 28-30 Proverbs 31 was written by the queen mother Bathsheba as advice to her son Solomon before he takes the throne. Most striking is the following passage, showing the intercessory power of the Queen Mother in ancient Israel; how much more the intercessory power of our Heavenly Queen Mary with her son, Jesus.

1 Kings 2:16-20: Pray ask king Solomon- he will not refuse you- to give me Abishag the Shunammite as my wife. Bathsheba said, Very well, I will speak for you to the king. So Bathsheba went to king Solomon, to speak to him on behalf of Adonijah. And the king rose to meet her, and bowed down to her; then he sat on his throne, and had a seat brought for the king's mother, and she sat on his right. Then she said, I have one small request to make of you; do not refuse me. and the king said to her, Make your request, my mother, for I will not refuse you. So we see that Mary as Queen Mother is rightly called queen of Heaven as she is mother of the King. See also Revelation 12:1
To answer your individual questions:
Question one. Did the early Christians worship in pagan temples?
Please see Catholic Encyclopedia: Christian Worship for full details. Especially the section titled Jewish and Pagan Influences.
Question Two. What are some quotes from Christians before the edict of Milan exalting Mary in any way but I would be especially interested in Traditions about her Assumption or Immaculate Conception?
See my comments above. Also below is a quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia: Devotion to The Blessed Virgin Mary

The Age of the Fathers The existence of the obscure sect of the Collyridians, whom St. Epiphanius (d. 403) denounces for their sacrificial offering of cakes to Mary, may fairly be held to prove that even before the Council of Ephesus there was a popular veneration for the Virgin Mother which threatened to run extravagant lengths. Hence Epiphanius laid down the rule: Let Mary be held in honour. Let the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost be adored, but let no one adore Mary (ten Marian medeis prosknueito). Nonetheless the same Epiphanius abounds in the praises of the Virgin Mother, and he believed that there was some mysterious dispensation with regard to her death implied in the words of Revelations 12:14: And there were given to the woman two wings of a great eagle that she might fly into the desert unto her place. Certain it is, in any case, that such Fathers as St. Ambrose and St. Jerome, partly inspired with admiration for the ascetic ideals of a life of virginity and partly groping their way to a clearer understanding of all that was involved in the mystery of the Incarnation, began to speak of the Blessed Virgin as the model of all virtue and the ideal of sinlessness. Several striking passages of this kind have been collected. ?

In heaven, St. Ambrose tells us, she leads the choirs of virgin souls; with her the consecrated virgins will one day be numbered. ?
St. Jerome (Ep. xxxix, Migne, P. L., XXII, 472) already foreshadows that conception of Mary as mother of the human race which was to animate so powerfully the devotion of a later age. ?
St. Augustine in a famous passage (De nat. et gratis, 36) proclaims Mary's unique privilege of sinlessness ?
In St.Gregory of Nazianzen's sermon on the martyr St. Cyprian (P.G., XXXV, 1181) we have an account of the maiden Justina, who invoked the Blessed Virgin to preserve her virginity.
But in this, as in some other devotional aspects of early Christian beliefs, the most glowing language seems to be found in the East, and particularly in the Syrian writings of St. Ephraem.
Question Three. Who was the Queen of Heaven in the O.T?
She was a pagan goddess mentioned in Jeremiah. See above.
Question Four. When was the first apparition, Miracle attributed to Mary’s intercession after her Assumption, And prayers said to Mary?
Regarding the first reported apparition of the Blessed Virgin, according to the Penguin Dictionary of Saints, St. Gregory of Nyssa (335-95) records that St. Gregory Thaumaturgos, the wonder worker (213-270) was graced with an apparition. Today, the most common prayer is the Hail Mary, whose first part consists of words from the Gospel (cf. Lk 1:28, 42). So prayer to Mary started then. Prayer to Mary after her earthly life is rooted in the doctrine of the Communion of Saints (see, e.g. Hebrews 12:1)
The first miracle that happened that was attributed to Mary’s intercession was the turning of the water into wine at the Wedding Feast of Cana in John chapter 2.
Thanks Richard
God bless,
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