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Author Topic: Did the Virgin Mary marry St. Joseph?  (Read 3607 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: August 14, 2011, 04:05:38 PM »

The reason I ask is that this is historically disputed on the grounds that it would not have been possible for a man and women of marriageable age who were not related to live together as betrothed for an extended period of time in a first century Jewish community. Also, the sources for this tradition may be apocryphal - not sure about this though.
Also on scriptural grounds -  

Matthew 1
Quote
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[f] because he will save his people from their sins.”

 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuelhe did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
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« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2011, 04:07:51 PM »


The reason I ask is that this is historically disputed on the grounds that it would not have been possible for a man and women of marriageable age who were not related to live together as betrothed for an extended period of time in a first century Jewish community. Also, the sources for this tradition may be apocryphal - not sure about this though.
Also on scriptural grounds - 

Matthew 1
Quote
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[f] because he will save his people from their sins.”

 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuelhe did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.



Edit: forgot to add chapter
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« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2011, 04:11:00 PM »

The reason I ask is that this is historically disputed on the grounds that it would not have been possible for a man and women of marriageable age who were not related to live together as betrothed for an extended period of time in a first century Jewish community. Also, the sources for this tradition may be apocryphal - not sure about this though.

My understanding of the small t-tradition is two-fold. First, Joseph was an older man, a widower, and they were betrothed not with the intent of ever consummating the marriage, but for the protection of Mary. Second, I believe they were of the same tribe, thus they were related. My understanding of Jewish custom was in any a case where the only child of the couple was a daughter, she was to marry within the tribe--not bearing any children--thus keeping her inheritance within the extended tribal group.

I won't comment on the scripture as I can't to have the grounding in biblical scholarship necessary. That is just my understanding of the history and reasoning of the betrothal between St Joseph and the Theotokos.
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« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2011, 04:50:59 PM »

The Orthodox Church refers to St. Joseph as "the Betrothed."  (I too am not informed well enough to explain the scripture quoted.)  (I think Roman Catholicism considers St. Joseph as having been married to the Virgin Mother, and agree that she was "Ever Virgin.")
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« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2011, 07:36:43 PM »

The story I've heard from Orthodox is that they just never got married. There is another possibility, though it's just speculation. There are stories of a number of saintly couples that got married but never consummated the marriage; that is, to the world they appeared to get married, but in reality they lived as brother and sister.
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« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2011, 08:59:03 PM »

The story I've heard from Orthodox is that they just never got married. There is another possibility, though it's just speculation. There are stories of a number of saintly couples that got married but never consummated the marriage; that is, to the world they appeared to get married, but in reality they lived as brother and sister.

Then they weren't really married.
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« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2011, 09:10:38 PM »

The story I've heard from Orthodox is that they just never got married. There is another possibility, though it's just speculation. There are stories of a number of saintly couples that got married but never consummated the marriage; that is, to the world they appeared to get married, but in reality they lived as brother and sister.

Then they weren't really married.

Sure they were.
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« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2011, 09:12:25 PM »

The Orthodox Church refers to St. Joseph as "the Betrothed."  (I too am not informed well enough to explain the scripture quoted.)  (I think Roman Catholicism considers St. Joseph as having been married to the Virgin Mother, and agree that she was "Ever Virgin.")

Liturgically, the Mother of God is never referred to as a wife, only as a mother, and as Bride of God. St Joseph is never referred to liturgically as a husband, only as "the betrothed". The society in which they lived might have regarded them as married, but no consummation of the merriage ever took place.
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« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2011, 10:42:22 PM »

I'm not arguing either way, but if they were not married, doesn't that erode the general Patristic consensus that "Mary the mother of James" (Mk 16:1, LK 24:1-12, Jn 20:1-10) was the Virgin Mary?

I couldn't find the reference I wanted to, but the OSB reads (at LK 24:10): Certain Fathers teach that "Mary the mother of James" was the wife of Alphaeus, and this James was one of the Twelve (6:15).  Most, however, hold that this is the Virgin Mary, being in fact the step-mother of a different James, 'the Lord's brother.'"

I understand the explanation of her being referred to as the mother of James, if she was actually the step-mother.  But, if she wasn't even the step-mother...

Edit: Fixed Grammar/Format 


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« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2011, 11:16:44 PM »

In those days betrothed people did almost everything together.  It was a very serious engagement.  Joseph wanted to break it off, "But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the LORD appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit[/b]." -- Matthew 1:20.
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« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2011, 03:32:48 AM »


Liturgically, the Mother of God is never referred to as a wife, only as a mother, and as Bride of God. St Joseph is never referred to liturgically as a husband, only as "the betrothed". The society in which they lived might have regarded them as married, but no consummation of the merriage ever took place.

That's OK then. I think the historical problem kicks in once you argue they never went through the full marriage ceremony, bar consummation, because I have heard that this would not have been acceptable in 1st century Jewish society, much less from people of high class.


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« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2011, 04:44:42 AM »

This will tell you what happen:
http://www.pseudepigrapha.com/apocrypha_nt/histjoe.htm

Sola Imagination versus historical documents ....
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« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2011, 05:23:54 AM »

This will tell you what happen:
http://www.pseudepigrapha.com/apocrypha_nt/histjoe.htm

Sola Imagination versus historical documents ....

Apparently written in the 5th century.  Even if it is earliar, it contails post-nicene language concerning the trinity, so still very late. That doesn't mean its contents aren't true, but it can hardly be considered a reliable historical document of the life of St. Joseph, can it?
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« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2011, 08:21:43 AM »

Many historical documents are rewritten in 5th 6th century since original papers/ papyrus/ whatever do not resists too much. So from history point of view I think is OK. Anyhow read point 26.
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« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2011, 09:20:04 AM »

To understand the issue, it's necessary to have some knowledge of the Jewish marriage process. It occurs in two distinct stages.

  • Kiddushin (commonly translated as betrothal): This ritual sets aside the woman to be the wife of one man and no other. It is far more binding than a modern engagement, and when kiddushin is complete, the woman is legally the wife of the man. The relationship created can only be dissolved by death or divorce. The spouses do not live together at this time and the mutual obligations of marriage do not take effect until the second stage.
  • Nisuin:The husband brings the wife into his home and they begin living together, thus completing the marriage.

In the past, kiddushin and nisuin would occur separately, sometimes as much as a year apart, thus giving the husband time to prepare a home for his family. Modern Jews generally perform the two ceremonies together.

The Annunciation happened after the Panagia and St Joseph had performed the kiddushin, but not the nisuin.
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« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2011, 09:32:39 AM »

Quote
And I saw a woman coming down from the hill-country, and she said to me: O man, whither are you going? And I said: I am seeking an Hebrew midwife. And she answered and said unto me: Are you of Israel? And I said to her: Yes. And she said: And who is it that is bringing forth in the cave? And I said: A woman betrothed to me. And she said to me: Is she not your wife? And I said to her: It is Mary that was reared in the temple of the Lord, and I obtained her by lot as my wife. And yet she is not my wife, but has conceived of the Holy Spirit. 
Gospel of James, 19. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0847.htm
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« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2011, 09:55:04 AM »

To understand the issue, it's necessary to have some knowledge of the Jewish marriage process. It occurs in two distinct stages.

  • Kiddushin (commonly translated as betrothal): This ritual sets aside the woman to be the wife of one man and no other. It is far more binding than a modern engagement, and when kiddushin is complete, the woman is legally the wife of the man. The relationship created can only be dissolved by death or divorce. The spouses do not live together at this time and the mutual obligations of marriage do not take effect until the second stage.
  • Nisuin:The husband brings the wife into his home and they begin living together, thus completing the marriage.

In the past, kiddushin and nisuin would occur separately, sometimes as much as a year apart, thus giving the husband time to prepare a home for his family. Modern Jews generally perform the two ceremonies together.

The Annunciation happened after the Panagia and St Joseph had performed the kiddushin, but not the nisuin.

Oh, I see. Since both parts of the marriage were eventually completed, St. Joseph was fully the husband of the Theotokos.

Quote
And I saw a woman coming down from the hill-country, and she said to me: O man, whither are you going? And I said: I am seeking an Hebrew midwife. And she answered and said unto me: Are you of Israel? And I said to her: Yes. And she said: And who is it that is bringing forth in the cave? And I said: A woman betrothed to me. And she said to me: Is she not your wife? And I said to her: It is Mary that was reared in the temple of the Lord, and I obtained her by lot as my wife. And yet she is not my wife, but has conceived of the Holy Spirit. 
Gospel of James, 19. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0847.htm

Does "she is not my wife" mean that there was no consummation, since as seen above, they were both betrothed and begin living together.
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« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2011, 03:51:55 PM »

The Akathist of the Virgin Mary cites "Rejoice O Bride unwedded".

No she was not wedded but was betrothed. In Jewish Tradition a betrothed individual was a true husband or wife, if they consumated the betrothal thenthey were married but no wedding occurred.

This impacts current Orthodox wedding practices where one is betrothed and then wedded---in the US the two have been joined into one action done on the wedding day, however, I have seen Orthodox in the Old country who are betrothed weeks or months before the wedding and then have a full blown "Big fat Greek (Russian/ Bulgarian/Syrian etc) Wedding" after which the marriage is consummated.

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« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2011, 04:39:48 PM »

No she was not wedded but was betrothed. In Jewish Tradition a betrothed individual was a true husband or wife, if they consumated the betrothal thenthey were married but no wedding occurred.

So they were married but not wedded?

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« Reply #19 on: August 15, 2011, 05:26:24 PM »


Liturgically, the Mother of God is never referred to as a wife, only as a mother, and as Bride of God. St Joseph is never referred to liturgically as a husband, only as "the betrothed". The society in which they lived might have regarded them as married, but no consummation of the merriage ever took place.

That's OK then. I think the historical problem kicks in once you argue they never went through the full marriage ceremony, bar consummation, because I have heard that this would not have been acceptable in 1st century Jewish society, much less from people of high class.



Father Thomas Hopko theorizes they may have been Essenes. We know the Essenes practiced celibacy, but I'm not sure whether they had a concept of sexless marriage.
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« Reply #20 on: August 15, 2011, 07:07:11 PM »

Quote
Father Thomas Hopko theorizes they may have been Essenes. We know the Essenes practiced celibacy, but I'm not sure whether they had a concept of sexless marriage.

Fr Thomas Hopko also has some strange ideas about other teachings concerniong the Mother of God which are not supported by the liturgical and iconographic traditions of the Church. Best to regard his pronouncements on the Mother of God with caution, to say the least. The fact that the Virgin and Joseph never consummated their marriage does not require their membership of a sect which frowned upon sex in marriage, nor is it simply a consequence of Joseph being an eighty-year-old man when he was betrothed: there are far more profound theological reasons which explain why the marriage remained unconsummated.
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« Reply #21 on: August 15, 2011, 08:21:30 PM »

I know.
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« Reply #22 on: August 15, 2011, 10:21:40 PM »

Some food for thought:

As I mentioned before, the Virgin is never referred to liturgically as a wife, only as a mother, and the Mother of our God, no less, as the hymn It is truly meet, and any number of Orthodox theokia, say. Therefore, any approach by another man, including Joseph the Betrothed, would be seen as unseemly. This is not at all to denigrate or belittle Joseph, far from it.

Consider Joseph's situation: Joseph would have been familiar with what we call OT scripture. Exodus in particular is stuffed full of terms and imagery which we know are prefigurations of the Mother of God. Mary bears the Root of Jesse, the Bread of Heaven (John 6), the Word of God (John 1). The Ark contains the rod of Aaron, Manna and the Law. Mary is the human Ark of the New Covenant, a constant motif in both liturgical language, and in the iconography of all the feasts of the Virgin (the four-posted structure with a domed roof).

Now, Joseph was a good Jew, he would have been brought up with a strong sense of the sacred. He would have been raised knowing the stories in scripture of people touching the Ark of the Covenant and suffering instant death. He would have also known that only the high priest dared enter the Holy of Holies of the Temple to offer the yearly sacrifice to the presence of God who "dwelt there". Undoubtedly, at some stage, Joseph would have been inspired by the Holy Spirit to realise the true meaning behind these images and stories from scripture, as well as the temple rituals. Once the meaning of these became clear to him, how, then, could Joseph possibly consider marital relations with this woman, the living Tabernacle, the new Ark, the Holy of Holies, knowing that she has given birth to the Son of God? Not that sex is bad, evil or wrong between married couples, just as eating and cooking meat are not bad, evil, or wrong in themselves, but when put into service to God in the Temple, be it sacrificial animals, or the little daughter of Joachim and Anna dedicated to the Temple as a child, they became holy, and only the high priests could participate in the sacrifice. Christ Himself is the great and eternal High Priest, the "prince who eats bread before the Lord" (Ezekiel 44), a reading which is one of the standard OT readings at Vespers for feasts of the Mother of God.

Good man that he was, Joseph would most likely have regarded himself as utterly unworthy to be in the presence of such a treasure blessed by God, let alone consider sleeping with her. There is no need to invoke the Essenes, nor, as some have tried to say, a midrash or allegory, to explain the absence of consummation of the marriage of the Virgin and her betrothed. The truth is far richer and deeper than these pale imitations.
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« Reply #23 on: August 15, 2011, 10:58:15 PM »

But what I want to know is, if they never married, weren't they in fact living in sinful cohabitation?
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« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2011, 11:04:31 PM »

But what I want to know is, if they never married, weren't they in fact living in sinful cohabitation?

Sinful cohabitation? Never heard of it.

You mean fornication?
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« Reply #25 on: August 15, 2011, 11:06:26 PM »

Isn't it giving the appearance of evil for a man and woman not married to each other to live together?
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« Reply #26 on: August 15, 2011, 11:12:43 PM »

Isn't it giving the appearance of evil for a man and woman not married to each other to live together?

Maybe. Depends on the society and the circumstances.

I am vary wary of this "appearance of evil" or "causing my brother to stumble" logic, even though it is undoubtedly scriptural and godly in certain wisely-discerned instances. If we apply such logic indiscriminately we are led to the conclusion that we should not even breathe, for breathing may cause offence to some weaker brother, somewhere.
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« Reply #27 on: August 15, 2011, 11:17:38 PM »

Isn't it giving the appearance of evil for a man and woman not married to each other to live together?

It was once a small-t tradition in some Orthodox cultures for the betrothal service and the marriage proper to occur some time apart. In between the two services, the betrothed couple would live together as brother and sister.
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« Reply #28 on: August 16, 2011, 01:02:01 AM »

Without getting into a Scripture v Tradition debate, I'm still having trouble understanding why the strict 'they never married' view doesn't contradict Matthew 1:24-25.
 
Are we to assume that much of the post-Gospel Church (including the Fathers), particularly in gentile areas, would've been familiar with the intricacies of Hebrew marriage?  I'm slightly confused by the Greek, but it refers to the Virgin Mary as Joseph's wife.  Repeating my question from above, is there some sort of distinction between being married and being wedded?

Yes, the Akathist to the Theotokos references the "bride unwedded," but it was written as a devotional in the mid 6th century.  While I'm familiar with the phrase "what is liturgical is theological" for the Church, It's simultaneously been explained that many devotionals, particularly prayers, akathists, etc. contain magnific language which may not be entirely theologically correct.   

Regarding It Is Truly Meet, it seems reasonable to omit any reference to being Joseph's wife, as this is not relevant to why we are calling her blessed.
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« Reply #29 on: August 16, 2011, 01:15:33 AM »

Remember, "nymphe" and "anymphevte" share the same root in Greek, unlike "bride" and "unwedded" in English.

I don't see the problem in saying that the Theotokos was married to the blessed St Joseph in one sense (ie, as far as the Jewish community was concerned), though very much not in another sense (ie, according to the union of the flesh). I don't think the liturgical language excludes my interpretation.
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« Reply #30 on: August 16, 2011, 01:23:17 AM »

Isn't it giving the appearance of evil for a man and woman not married to each other to live together?

Maybe. Depends on the society and the circumstances.

I am vary wary of this "appearance of evil" or "causing my brother to stumble" logic, even though it is undoubtedly scriptural and godly in certain wisely-discerned instances. If we apply such logic indiscriminately we are led to the conclusion that we should not even breathe, for breathing may cause offence to some weaker brother, somewhere.
Yeah, I suppose.

Good point.
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« Reply #31 on: August 16, 2011, 01:45:53 AM »

Remember, "nymphe" and "anymphevte" share the same root in Greek, unlike "bride" and "unwedded" in English.

I don't see the problem in saying that the Theotokos was married to the blessed St Joseph in one sense (ie, as far as the Jewish community was concerned), though very much not in another sense (ie, according to the union of the flesh). I don't think the liturgical language excludes my interpretation.

Very interesting.  Thanks for the point on the Greek roots. 
I'm inclined to share your view on the liturgical language not excluding that interpretation.  As well, it doesn't seem to contradict Scripture.
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« Reply #32 on: August 16, 2011, 04:21:42 AM »

Quote
Regarding It Is Truly Meet, it seems reasonable to omit any reference to being Joseph's wife, as this is not relevant to why we are calling her blessed.

Cognomen, the Mother of God is never referred to as Joseph's wife liturgically, other than in the single Gospel reading from Matthew you referred to. I can also provide hymnography from Vespers and Matins for the post-Nativity feast commemorating Prophet David, James the Brother of the Lord, and Joseph the Betrothed. Nowhere is Joseph referred to there as the Husband of the Virgin, only ever as the Betrothed.

There is nothing random or accidental in Orthodoxy.  Smiley
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« Reply #33 on: August 16, 2011, 04:51:56 AM »

I still don't get why they are referred to as "betrothed" and "unwedded" if both parts of the Jewish marriage ceremony were completed- Kiddushin and Nisuin? Is it only because their marriage was never consummated, yet they appeared married to all in their Jewish community?
If this were the case, then this is fully in line with both the Gospel of Matthew, the ever-virginity of the theotokos, the hymns, and 1st century Jewish practice.
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« Reply #34 on: August 16, 2011, 08:13:36 AM »

I still don't get why they are referred to as "betrothed" and "unwedded" if both parts of the Jewish marriage ceremony were completed- Kiddushin and Nisuin? Is it only because their marriage was never consummated, yet they appeared married to all in their Jewish community?
If this were the case, then this is fully in line with both the Gospel of Matthew, the ever-virginity of the theotokos, the hymns, and 1st century Jewish practice.

That seems to have been the case. They were, for all social purposes, married. But, also, everybody in that society knew that they had gotten married so Mary could be protected, not that they wanted a real marital relationship. According to tradition, Joseph was well into an elderly age and Mary had probably just ceased being a child to be a young maiden. Tradition also says that Joseph thought the idea as preposterous, since he had grandchildren who were older than she. But then he was explained that she was a very devout young girl, that she wanted to devote her life entirely to God. Marrying an elderly widower would give her the social protection she needed, and as he was certainly going to die rather soon, she could live the rest of her life as widow instead of the socially unacceptable state of a spinster. St. Joseph understood that it would be good for her, he was to protect her and even support her in her growth and accepted the arrangement.

Besides all the spiritual and religious reasons mentioned above in another post about Mary being the New Ark, all true, one very big reason is that St. Joseph was well over 60 and Mary was probably 13 or 14. Their marriage was to give her social protection in her intention of full dedication to God (there was not such a thing as a nun back then) and St. Joseph was not a pedophile. He wanted to protect the child, not abuse her.
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« Reply #35 on: August 16, 2011, 08:32:53 AM »

Fabio, take a look at post #22.  Smiley
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« Reply #36 on: August 16, 2011, 08:35:32 AM »

Fabio, take a look at post #22.  Smiley

That's the "another post" I was talking about. Smiley
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« Reply #37 on: August 16, 2011, 08:40:35 AM »

Thanks, both of you.  Smiley
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« Reply #38 on: August 16, 2011, 10:14:18 AM »

I still don't get why they are referred to as "betrothed" and "unwedded" if both parts of the Jewish marriage ceremony were completed- Kiddushin and Nisuin? Is it only because their marriage was never consummated, yet they appeared married to all in their Jewish community?
If this were the case, then this is fully in line with both the Gospel of Matthew, the ever-virginity of the theotokos, the hymns, and 1st century Jewish practice.

That seems to have been the case. They were, for all social purposes, married. But, also, everybody in that society knew that they had gotten married so Mary could be protected, not that they wanted a real marital relationship. According to tradition, Joseph was well into an elderly age and Mary had probably just ceased being a child to be a young maiden. Tradition also says that Joseph thought the idea as preposterous, since he had grandchildren who were older than she. But then he was explained that she was a very devout young girl, that she wanted to devote her life entirely to God. Marrying an elderly widower would give her the social protection she needed, and as he was certainly going to die rather soon, she could live the rest of her life as widow instead of the socially unacceptable state of a spinster. St. Joseph understood that it would be good for her, he was to protect her and even support her in her growth and accepted the arrangement.

Besides all the spiritual and religious reasons mentioned above in another post about Mary being the New Ark, all true, one very big reason is that St. Joseph was well over 60 and Mary was probably 13 or 14. Their marriage was to give her social protection in her intention of full dedication to God (there was not such a thing as a nun back then) and St. Joseph was not a pedophile. He wanted to protect the child, not abuse her.
btw, such arrangements, back in the days before social security and aid to dependent children, were common and attested elsewhere.  In reverse, another common device was childless couples adopting so they would be cared for and then the adoptee would inherit.  I recall various papers documenting these things in the Cairo Geniza in the Medieval Jewish community there.
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« Reply #39 on: August 16, 2011, 02:18:35 PM »

I'm sorry, I'm confused.

Do we think Mary and Joseph went through the betrothal but not the wedding? Or do we tend to think they went through both ceremonies and just lived as brother and sister? I understand the 'betrothal means you're married without the 'benefits' thing - my priest actually mentioned that to me when we were talking about the Orthodox engagement/wedding ceremony, so it would seem to me that maybe the first scenario is the most commonly held Orthodox one, but I'm just a little confused.
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« Reply #40 on: August 16, 2011, 10:45:16 PM »

Quote
Father Thomas Hopko theorizes they may have been Essenes. We know the Essenes practiced celibacy, but I'm not sure whether they had a concept of sexless marriage.

Fr Thomas Hopko also has some strange ideas about other teachings concerniong the Mother of God which are not supported by the liturgical and iconographic traditions of the Church. Best to regard his pronouncements on the Mother of God with caution, to say the least

He doesn't theorize. He wonders aloud and says as much. He says some theorize this and uses the Essenes tradition as musings on understanding other aspects of the Gospel: the calendar being used.

He doesn't teach it as dogma.

And please explain what "strange ideas" he has. You are criticizing a Professor Emeritus of Dogmatics who is careful to separate his "musings" and "speculations" from dogma. *Sensing the Theotokos and the Temple going to be mentioned.*

And liturgy and iconography do not dogma make. They serve to inform dogma, teach it, but do not define it, or are not necessarily presenting dogma at all but traditions at times.

Please list the accusations as they are serious and I know Fr. Thom likes to be told when he is wrong in his presentation of dogma. It might be hard to get a word in edgewise to do so, but he welcomes correction.

Since I am basically taught in the wake of his teaching, among the teaching of others who were his contemporaries and teachers, if I have been taught something incorrect, I would like to know.

So that I can pass it on to both my Priest and Fr. Thom.

Thanks.
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« Reply #41 on: August 16, 2011, 11:02:27 PM »

Remember, "nymphe" and "anymphevte" share the same root in Greek, unlike "bride" and "unwedded" in English.

I don't see the problem in saying that the Theotokos was married to the blessed St Joseph in one sense (ie, as far as the Jewish community was concerned), though very much not in another sense (ie, according to the union of the flesh). I don't think the liturgical language excludes my interpretation.

Neither do I.

But you don't need the liturgy to come to the same conclusion.

She remained a virgin and was married. NBD.

And some of the liturgical language is poetical excess to say the least, especially that Akathist. My Priest loves it and thinks it has wonderful insights and is beautifully constructed, but is careful to point out, there is a poetics to it that goes beyond the dogmatic and into excess, but piously so.

Again, better know your genres, history, commentaries, and order of authority.

Since most of don't, we have folks who study this things their entire lives and are charged to teach us under severe condemnation to themselves if they become lax or frivolous.
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« Reply #42 on: August 16, 2011, 11:50:59 PM »

I'm sorry, I'm confused.

Do we think Mary and Joseph went through the betrothal but not the wedding? Or do we tend to think they went through both ceremonies and just lived as brother and sister? I understand the 'betrothal means you're married without the 'benefits' thing - my priest actually mentioned that to me when we were talking about the Orthodox engagement/wedding ceremony, so it would seem to me that maybe the first scenario is the most commonly held Orthodox one, but I'm just a little confused.

They went through both cerimonies. But St. Joseph was over 60 and Mary around 13 or 14. They never had sex. The idea was to give Mary social protection before the law and prejudices of the day, not to have any real marital relationship. He was an elderly pious man helping a young girl who wanted to not mary and devote her life to God to achieve her dream without being the victim of a society that could not bear a non-married woman.

They were married before the law, but never consumated the marriage, thus she is poetically called a "bride unwedded". They wouldn't have sex for two reasons: first, Joseph was a pious man, and married the child to protect her, not to abuse her. He was not a pedophile. Second, the visitation of the Archangel Gabriel led him to understand the true nature of what was happening. Even if they were about the same age, Mary is the New Ark of the New Convenant, something you can't touch.
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« Reply #43 on: August 17, 2011, 12:19:07 AM »

I don't think marrying a 13 year-old was pedophilia back then if she was already menstruating.

I agree with the rest of your explanation, though.
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« Reply #44 on: August 17, 2011, 01:16:49 AM »

I don't think they could have been married. I ran a few circles in hyper-Jewish Protestantism long ago, and by all accounts sexual relations were part of the Jewish marriage process.

As it was described to me by various individuals: the couple was not married until it was consummated, which apparently occurred after the formal liturgy portion. The consummation occurred in the presence of a witness, who then went out and announced the fact to the wedding guests, who then celebrated and carried on. (A bit awkward by our standards, I would say, but when in Israel...)

And really, we see this across many traditional cultures that do not wrap marriage into contract law. Sex is what makes people married. So if the Theotokos was ever-virgin, she could not possibly be considered married, because she would have had to lose her virginity by definition.

I think it's more reasonable to say she was ever-betrothed, than to say she and St Joseph somehow scammed everybody, because by their cultural definition that would not be a marriage. It would be like us today getting a marriage license, but never affixing our signatures. Well, as far as the law is concerned, that's not a marriage is it?

(Plus, also hearkening back to my semi-Jewish days, there is an interesting theory among some Protestants that Jesus was stigmatized all his life by the Jews as a bastard child, or mamzer. If St Joseph and the Theotokos had never married, that would actually play into that theory. I have never encountered this view in the Fathers, however, but I think it's plausible.)
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« Reply #45 on: August 17, 2011, 01:18:10 AM »

I don't think marrying a 13 year-old was pedophilia back then if she was already menstruating.

I agree with the rest of your explanation, though.

The "liberality" of the past is badly overrated. Evidence shows that the famed acceptance of homossexuality among the Greeks was limited to the "intellectuals" of the time, while the common folk actually despised it (much like today). Likewise, tradition tells us that St. Joseph was disgusted at the idea of marrying Mary because he had grandchildren older than her. Once he understood his task was to oversee and look after her, he accepted it. As Isa said, this kind of arranged marriage was not uncommon. Society wants to force a young girl to marry just because she menstruated, marry her to an elderly distant cousin. She will be a widower in 10 to 15 years, will be cared for and stay close to family, and there were chances she could marry again.
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« Reply #46 on: August 17, 2011, 01:25:50 AM »

I don't think they could have been married. I ran a few circles in hyper-Jewish Protestantism long ago, and by all accounts sexual relations were part of the Jewish marriage process.

Bogdan, I really appreciate your posts, but is this serious?  The determining factor comes down to what hyper-Jewish Protestants believe about Ancient Hebrew marriages?

I think The Church's teaching on this is far more important.
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« Reply #47 on: August 17, 2011, 01:28:43 AM »

I don't think marrying a 13 year-old was pedophilia back then if she was already menstruating.

I agree with the rest of your explanation, though.

The "liberality" of the past is badly overrated. Evidence shows that the famed acceptance of homossexuality among the Greeks was limited to the "intellectuals" of the time, while the common folk actually despised it (much like today). Likewise, tradition tells us that St. Joseph was disgusted at the idea of marrying Mary because he had grandchildren older than her. Once he understood his task was to oversee and look after her, he accepted it. As Isa said, this kind of arranged marriage was not uncommon. Society wants to force a young girl to marry just because she menstruated, marry her to an elderly distant cousin. She will be a widower in 10 to 15 years, will be cared for and stay close to family, and there were chances she could marry again.
Ok.
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« Reply #48 on: August 17, 2011, 01:31:16 AM »

The determining factor comes down to what hyper-Jewish Protestants believe about Ancient Hebrew marriages?

Heavens, no!  Cheesy

I just thought it was an interesting angle that inadvertently supports the traditional Orthodox view. While I wouldn't listen to their theology if they paid me, I think some of my former coreligionists have respectable scholarship about ancient Jewish culture.

But no, no, no. Lest anyone be unclear, I would never accept these things as primary sources or use them to trump what the Church says. They're just supporting cast.  I am highly critical of what I call "forensic theology"... which this would also be if it didn't match the Church's a priori teaching. Cheesy
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« Reply #49 on: August 17, 2011, 01:31:28 AM »

I don't think they could have been married. I ran a few circles in hyper-Jewish Protestantism long ago, and by all accounts sexual relations were part of the Jewish marriage process.

As it was described to me by various individuals: the couple was not married until it was consummated, which apparently occurred after the formal liturgy portion. The consummation occurred in the presence of a witness, who then went out and announced the fact to the wedding guests, who then celebrated and carried on. (A bit awkward by our standards, I would say, but when in Israel...)

And really, we see this across many traditional cultures that do not wrap marriage into contract law. Sex is what makes people married. So if the Theotokos was ever-virgin, she could not possibly be considered married, because she would have had to lose her virginity by definition.

I think it's more reasonable to say she was ever-betrothed, than to say she and St Joseph somehow scammed everybody, because by their cultural definition that would not be a marriage. It would be like us today getting a marriage license, but never affixing our signatures. Well, as far as the law is concerned, that's not a marriage is it?

(Plus, also hearkening back to my semi-Jewish days, there is an interesting theory among some Protestants that Jesus was stigmatized all his life by the Jews as a bastard child, or mamzer. If St Joseph and the Theotokos had never married, that would actually play into that theory. I have never encountered this view in the Fathers, however, but I think it's plausible.)

Betrothal and marriage

In Jewish law, marriage consists of two separate acts, called erusin (or kiddushin, meaning sanctification), which is the betrothal ceremony, and nissu'in or chupah, the actual ceremony for the marriage. Erusin changes the couple's interpersonal status, while nissu'in brings about the legal consequences of the change of status. In Talmudic times, these two ceremonies usually took place up to a year apart; the bride lived with her parents until the actual marriage ceremony (nissuin), which would take place in a room or tent that the groom had set up for her. Since the Middle Ages the two ceremonies have taken place as a combined ceremony performed in public.
According to the Talmud,[5] erusin involves the groom handing an object to the bride - either an object of value such as a ring, or a document stating that she is being betrothed to him. In order to be valid, this must be done in the presence of two unrelated male witnesses. After erusin, the laws of adultery apply, and the marriage cannot be dissolved without a religious divorce. After nisuin, the couple may live together.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_views_on_marriage

It does not mention any need of anyone actually watching the intercourse. Most probably both cerimonies were performed. Jesus was called a bastard because everybody knew that Mary had appeared pregnant while not living with Joseph yet. Even Joseph thought she had cheated and if it were not for the angel, he would have died thinking she had betrayed her vows.
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« Reply #50 on: August 17, 2011, 03:32:14 AM »

The determining factor comes down to what hyper-Jewish Protestants believe about Ancient Hebrew marriages?
Heavens, no!  Cheesy

I just thought it was an interesting angle that inadvertently supports the traditional Orthodox view. While I wouldn't listen to their theology if they paid me, I think some of my former coreligionists have respectable scholarship about ancient Jewish culture.

But no, no, no. Lest anyone be unclear, I would never accept these things as primary sources or use them to trump what the Church says. They're just supporting cast.  I am highly critical of what I call "forensic theology"... which this would also be if it didn't match the Church's a priori teaching. Cheesy

Thanks for the clarification.   Grin  As I misunderstood it, I thought it seemed out of character.
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« Reply #51 on: August 17, 2011, 04:40:32 AM »

I just wondered if anyone could tell me what the main written sources for St. Josephs life are, or is it something that was just passed down orally? Do any of the early Fathers talk about St. Joseph?
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« Reply #52 on: August 17, 2011, 05:51:30 AM »

His first wife was called Solomina according to, I think, St. Epiphanius. He was of the tribe of Judah and from Bethlehem, as we see in the Gospels. According to St. Epiphanius, Solomina was the mother of St. James and the other brothers and sisters. St. Jerome calls them all children of Cleopas and the other Mary, though this seems to be ideologically driven as Jerome has this odd idea that Joseph had to have been a virgin as well. The Protoevangelium of James might say more, though of suspect accuracy.
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« Reply #53 on: August 17, 2011, 07:56:19 AM »

I'm sorry, I'm confused.

Do we think Mary and Joseph went through the betrothal but not the wedding? Or do we tend to think they went through both ceremonies and just lived as brother and sister? I understand the 'betrothal means you're married without the 'benefits' thing - my priest actually mentioned that to me when we were talking about the Orthodox engagement/wedding ceremony, so it would seem to me that maybe the first scenario is the most commonly held Orthodox one, but I'm just a little confused.

They went through both cerimonies. But St. Joseph was over 60 and Mary around 13 or 14. They never had sex. The idea was to give Mary social protection before the law and prejudices of the day, not to have any real marital relationship. He was an elderly pious man helping a young girl who wanted to not mary and devote her life to God to achieve her dream without being the victim of a society that could not bear a non-married woman.

They were married before the law, but never consumated the marriage, thus she is poetically called a "bride unwedded". They wouldn't have sex for two reasons: first, Joseph was a pious man, and married the child to protect her, not to abuse her. He was not a pedophile. Second, the visitation of the Archangel Gabriel led him to understand the true nature of what was happening. Even if they were about the same age, Mary is the New Ark of the New Convenant, something you can't touch.

If they went trough BOTH CEREMONIES how come St Joseph is known to us as St Joseph THE BETROTHED?

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« Reply #54 on: August 17, 2011, 08:41:31 AM »

St Joseph the Betrothed is commemorated, along with Prophet David and Apostle James, the Brother of the Lord, on the Sunday following the Nativity of the Lord (or, if the Nativity falls on a Sunday, on December 26). Below are all the verses where St Joseph is mentioned in this feast:

Vespers:

At "Lord, I have cried"
In old age Joseph the Betrothed beheld the things foretold by the prophets clearly fulfilled, having received a strange betrothal and a revelation from angels who cry: Glory to God, who has imparted peace upon the earth.

Troparion at the Blessing of Bread:
Proclaim, O Joseph, the glad tidings to David the ancestor of God, for you have seen the Virgin give birth. With the shepherds give glory, and with the Magi offer worship. You that were instructed by an angel, entreat Christ our God that He save our souls.

Matins:

from the festal Canon:

Ode 1:
The choirs of angels stood before Joseph in Bethlehem, saying: Glory to God in the highest. With them let us hymn Him whose good pleasure it was to become incarnate.

Sessional Hymns
Let us fittingly hymn the righteous Joseph, the betrothed of the Virgin, with James and David; for, having trod the righteous path, they have attained the mansions of heaven, and fittingly joining chorus with the angels, they beg remission of sins for us.

The choir of prophets divinely celebrates the wonder which took place in you, O Virgin; for you gave birth to God, incarnate upon earth. Therefore, angels and shepherds hymn, and the Magi and Joseph sing of the wonders to David, the forefather of God.


Ode 4:
With the Magi let us worship Him who has been born; and with the angels and Joseph let us join chorus, singing in godly manner: Glory to Christ our God in the highest.

Ode 5:
Glory to You; glory to You, O God incarnate, whose good pleasure it was to take flesh of the pure Virgin; thus Joseph sang.

Kontakion
Today the divine David is filled with gladness, and Joseph offers praise with James. They rejoice, receiving a crown through kinship with Christ; they praise Him, ineffably born on earth, as they sing: O compassionate One, save those who honour You.

Ode 7:
Amazed beyond words by the birthgiving of Mary, the Mother of God, the angelic choirs cried out to Joseph: Glory in the highest, and on earth peace.

Ode 8:
Christ incarnate, glorified by the hosts of heaven, is also unceasingly hymned by Joseph the Betrothed: All you works of the Lord, hymn and exalt Him above all for ever.

Ode 9, eirmos:
On the mountain Moses beheld the unconsumed bush; and in the cave Joseph witnessed the ineffable birth: O Mother of God, Virgin undefiled and unwed Mother, we magnify you in hymns.

Exaposteilarion:
Let us hymn David, the forefather of God, and divine Joseph, the betrothed of the Mother of God, with James, the glorious brother of God, for, with the angels, the Magi and the shepherds, they ministered in godly manner at the divine nativity of Christ in the city of Bethlehem, singing a hymn to Him as God and Master.
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« Reply #55 on: August 17, 2011, 09:55:58 AM »

I'm sorry, I'm confused.

Do we think Mary and Joseph went through the betrothal but not the wedding? Or do we tend to think they went through both ceremonies and just lived as brother and sister? I understand the 'betrothal means you're married without the 'benefits' thing - my priest actually mentioned that to me when we were talking about the Orthodox engagement/wedding ceremony, so it would seem to me that maybe the first scenario is the most commonly held Orthodox one, but I'm just a little confused.

They went through both cerimonies. But St. Joseph was over 60 and Mary around 13 or 14. They never had sex. The idea was to give Mary social protection before the law and prejudices of the day, not to have any real marital relationship. He was an elderly pious man helping a young girl who wanted to not mary and devote her life to God to achieve her dream without being the victim of a society that could not bear a non-married woman.

They were married before the law, but never consumated the marriage, thus she is poetically called a "bride unwedded". They wouldn't have sex for two reasons: first, Joseph was a pious man, and married the child to protect her, not to abuse her. He was not a pedophile. Second, the visitation of the Archangel Gabriel led him to understand the true nature of what was happening. Even if they were about the same age, Mary is the New Ark of the New Convenant, something you can't touch.

If they went trough BOTH CEREMONIES how come St Joseph is known to us as St Joseph THE BETROTHED?

Orthodoc

I suppose because it emphasizes he did not consumate the marriage. But to have just the first cerimony and not the second would probably be as problematic as not marrying at all.
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« Reply #56 on: August 17, 2011, 10:04:28 AM »

I am still having a lot of trouble accepting these traditions. I know that it is wrong to judge the traditions of the Church, but I just feel that at the moment I have to voice my thoughts. When you consider the written sources for these traditions it just seems that they were fantastical or legendary stories written to protect the virginity and ever-virginity of the theotokos. Then again, perhaps they were written down precisely because these things were being attacked. St. Joseph being an old man, referred to as "betrothed", being a temple virgin - all seem to be there to ensure that no-one could ever accuse them of having intercourse after Christ was born.

On the same subject, as I was reading the nativity accounts today, I noticed both Matthew and Luke say that Mary was "pledged" to be married to Joseph. Is this a hint of an arrangement or arranged marriage situation that is in the Tradition, rather than the man and wife situation stated in protestant circles?

From the Gospel of Matthew 1:
Quote
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[d]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph

Luke 1:

Quote
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David.


If anyone knows the Greek for this word, I would very much appreciate any input.

If they went trough BOTH CEREMONIES how come St Joseph is known to us as St Joseph THE BETROTHED?

Orthodoc

Since no-one has answered yet, I'll state what I think has been the consensus so far. They were married in the sense that they went through both ceremonies and were fully man and wife according to Jewish law. Anything else would have been scandalous. However, they are referred to as "Unwedded" and "Betrothed" because they never consummated the marriage, so were not married according to the flesh, and never intended the marriage to be of a sexual nature, or for children to be produced from the arrangement.
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« Reply #57 on: August 17, 2011, 10:33:54 AM »

Matt. 1:18 :

18 Τοῦ δὲ ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἡ γέννησις οὕτως ἦν. μνηστευθείσης γὰρ τῆς μητρὸς αὐτοῦ Μαρίας τῷ ᾿Ιωσήφ, πρὶν ἢ συνελθεῖν αὐτοὺς εὑρέθη ἐν γαστρὶ ἔχουσα ἐκ Πνεύματος ῾Αγίου.

Luke 1:27 :

27 πρὸς παρθένον μεμνηστευμένην ἀνδρί, ᾧ ὄνομα ᾿Ιωσήφ, ἐξ οἴκου Δαυΐδ, καὶ τὸ ὄνομα τῆς παρθένου Μαριάμ.

Both bolded words are variants of suitor or betrothed . They do not mean married.
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« Reply #58 on: August 17, 2011, 10:41:10 AM »

In icons, the Theotokos is always portrayed wearing a veil--a sign of marriage.
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« Reply #59 on: August 17, 2011, 10:48:14 AM »

In icons, the Theotokos is always portrayed wearing a veil--a sign of marriage.

That doesn't explain the large number of virgin and virgin-martyr female saints which are also shown veiled in their icons.
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« Reply #60 on: August 17, 2011, 10:50:15 AM »

In icons, the Theotokos is always portrayed wearing a veil--a sign of marriage.

With three stars proclaiming her ever virginity.

===================================================================================

1 And her parents gat them down marveling, and praising the Lord God because tile child was not turned away backward.

And Mary was in the temple of the Lord as a dove that is nurtured: and she received food from the hand of an angel.

2 And when she was twelve years old, there was a council of the priests, saying: Behold Mary is become twelve years old in the temple of the Lord. What then shall we do with her ? lest she pollute the sanctuary of the Lord. And they said unto the high priest: Thou standest over the altar of the Lord. Enter in and pray concerning her: And whatsoever the Lord shall reveal to thee, that let us do.

3 And the high priest took the vestment with the twelve bells and went in unto the Holy of Holies and prayed concerning her. And lo, an angel of tile Lord appeared saying unto him: Zacharias, Zacharias~ go forth and assemble them that are widowers of the people, and let them bring every man a rod, and to whomsoever the Lord shall show a sign, his wife shall she be. And the heralds went forth over all the country round about Judaea, and the trumpet of the Lord sounded, and all men ran thereto.

IX

1 And Joseph cast down his axe and ran to meet them, and when they were gathered together they went to the high priest and took their rods with them. And he took the rods of them all and went into the temple and prayed. And when he had finished the prayer he took the rods and went forth and gave them back to them: and there was no sign upon them. But Joseph received the last rod: and lo, a dove came forth of the rod and flew upon the bead of Joseph. And the priest said unto Joseph: Unto thee hath it fallen to take the virgin of the Lord and keep her for thyself.

2 And Joseph refused, saying: I have sons, and I am an old man, but she is a girl: lest I became a laughing-stock to the children of Israel. And the priest said unto Joseph: Year the Lord thy God, and remember what things God did unto Dathan and Abiram and Korah, how the earth clave and they were swallowed up because of their gainsaying. And now fear thou, Joseph, lest it be so in thine house. And Joseph was afraid, and took her to keep her for himself. And Joseph said unto Mary: Lo, I have received thee out of the temple of the Lord: and now do I leave thee in my house, and I go away to build my buildings and I will come again unto thee. The Lord shall watch over thee.

X

1 Now there was a council of the priests, and they said: Let us make a veil for the temple of the Lord. And the priest said: Call unto me pure virgins of the tribe of David. And the officers departed and sought and found seven virgins. And the priests called to mind the child Mary, that she was of the tribe of avid and was undefiled before God: and the officers went and fetched her. And they brought them into the temple of the Lord, and the priest said: Cast me lots, which of you shah weave the gold and the undefiled (the white) and tile fine linen and the silk and the hyacinthine, and the scarlet and the true purple. And the lot of the true purple and the scarlet fell unto Mary, and she took them and went unto her house.

And at that season Zacharias became dumb, and Samuel was in his stead until the time when Zacharias spake again. But Mary took the scarlet and began to spin it.

XI

1 And she took the pitcher and went forth to fill it with water: and lo a voice saying: Hail, thou that art highly favoured; the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

And she looked about her upon the right hand and upon the left, to see whence this voice should be: and being filled with trembling she~ went to her house and set down the pitcher, and took the purple and sat down upon her seat and drew out the thread.

2 And behold an angel of the Lord stood before her saying: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace before the Lord of all things, and thou shalt conceive of his word. And she, when she heard it, questioned in herself, saying: Shall I verily conceive of the living God, and bring forth after the manner of all women? And the angel of the Lord said: Not so, Mary, for a power of the Lord shall overshadow thee: wherefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of the Highest. And thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord is before him: be it unto me according to thy word.

XII

1 And she made the purple and the scarlet and brought them unto the priest. And the priest blessed her and said: Mary, the Lord God hath magnified thy name, and thou shalt be blessed among all generations of the earth.

2 And Mary rejoiced and went away unto Elizabeth her kinswoman: and she knocked at the door. And Elizabeth when she heard it cast down the scarlet and ran to the door and opened it, and when she saw Mary she blessed her and said: Whence is this to me that the mother of my Lord should come unto me? for behold that which is in me leaped and blessed thee. And Mary forgot the mysteries which Gabriel the archangel had told her, and she looked up unto the heaven and said: Who am I, Lord, that all the generations of the earth do bless me?

3 And she abode three months with Elizabeth, and day by day her womb grew: and Mary was afraid and departed unto her house and hid herself from the children of Israel. Now she was sixteen years old when these mysteries came to pass.

XIII

1 Now it was the sixth month with her, and behold Joseph came from his building, and he entered into his house and found her great with child. And he smote his face, and cast himself down upon the ground on sackcloth and wept bitterly, saying: With what countenance shall I look unto the Lord my God? and what prayer shall I make concerning this maiden? for I received her out of the temple of the Lord my God a virgin, and have not kept her safe. Who is he that hath ensnared me? Who hath done this evil in mine house and hath defiled the virgin? Is not the story of Adam repeated in me ? for as at the hour of his giving thanks the serpent came and found Eve alone and deceived her, so hath it befallen me also.

2 And Joseph arose from off the sackcloth and called Mary and said unto her O thou that wast cared for by God, why hast thou done this? thou hast forgotten the Lord thy God. Why hast thou humbled thy soul, thou that wast nourished up in the Holy of Holies and didst receive food at the hand of an angel?

3 But she wept bitterly, saying: I am pure and I know not a man. And Joseph said unto her: Whence then is that which is in thy womb ? and she said: As the Lord my God liveth, I know not whence it is come unto me.

XIV

I And Joseph was sore afraid and ceased from speaking unto her (or left her alone), and pondered what he should do with her. And Joseph said: If I hide her sin, I shall be found fighting against the law of the Lord: and if I manifest her unto the children of Israel, I fear lest that which is in her be the seed of an angel, and I shall be found delivering up innocent blood to the judgement of death. What then shall I do ? I will let her go from me privily. And the night came upon him.

2 And behold an angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying: Fear not this child, for that which is in her is of the Holy Ghost, and she shall bear a son and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins. And Joseph arose from sleep and glorified the God of Israel which had shown this favour unto her: and he watched over her.

XV

I Now Annas the scribe came unto him and said to him: Wherefore didst thou not appear in our assembly? and Joseph said unto him: I was weary with the journey, and I rested the first day. And Annas turned him about and saw Mary great with child.

2 And he went hastily to the priest and said unto him: Joseph, to whom thou bearest witness [that he is righteous] hath sinned grievously. And the priest said: Wherein ? And he said: The virgin whom he received out of the temple of the Lord, he hath defiled her, and married her by stealth (lit. stolen her marriage), and hath not declared it to the children of Israel. And the priest answered and said: Hath Joseph done this? And Annas the scribe said: Send officers, and thou shalt find the virgin great with child. And the officers went and found as he had said, and they brought her together with Joseph unto the place of judgement.

3 And the priest said: Mary, wherefore hast thou done this, and wherefore hast thou humbled thy soul and forgotten the Lord thy God, thou that wast nurtured in the Holy of Holies and didst receive food at the hand of an angel and didst hear the hymns and didst dance before the Lord, wherefore hast thou done this?

But she wept bitterly, saying: As the Lord my God liveth I am pure before him and I know not a man.

4 And the priest said unto Joseph: Wherefore hast thou done this? And Joseph said: As the Lord my God liveth I am pure as concerning her. And the priest said: Bear no false witness but speak the truth: thou hast married her by stealth and hast not declared it unto the children of Israel, and hast not bowed thine head under the mighty hand that thy seed should be blessed. And Joseph held his peace.

XVI

1 And the priest said: Restore the virgin whom thou didst receive out of the temple of the Lord. And Joseph was full of weeping. And the priest said: I will give you to drink of the water of the conviction of the Lord, and it will make manifest your sins before your eyes.

2 And the priest took thereof and made Joseph drink and sent him into the hill-country. And he returned whole. He made Mary also drink and sent her into the hill-country. And she returned whole. And all the people marvelled, because sin appeared not in them.

3 And the priest said: If the Lord God hath not made your sin manifest, neither do I condemn you. And he let them go. And Joseph took Mary and departed unto his house rejoicing, and glorifying the God of Israel.

XVII

1 Now there went out a decree from Augustus the king that all that were in Bethlehem of Judaea should be recorded. And Joseph said: I will record my sons: but this child, what shall I do with her? how shall I record her? as my wife? nay, I am ashamed. Or as my daughter? but all the children of Israel know that she is not my daughter. This day of the Lord shall do as the Lord willeth.

2 And he saddled the she-ass, and set her upon it, and his son led it and Joseph followed after. And they drew near (unto Bethlehem) within three miles: and Joseph turned himself about and saw her of a sad countenance and said within himself: Peradventure that which is within her paineth her. And again Joseph turned himself about and saw her laughing, and said unto her: Mary, what aileth thee that I see thy face at one time laughing and at another time sad? And Mary said unto Joseph: It is because I behold two peoples with mine eyes, the one weeping and lamenting and the other rejoicing and exulting.

3 And they came to the midst of the way, and Mary said unto him: Take me down from the ass, for that which is within me presseth me, to come forth. And he took her down from the ass and said unto her: Whither shall I take thee to hide thy shame? for the place is desert.

XVIII

I And he found a cave there and brought her into it, and set his sons by her: and he went forth and sought for a midwife of the Hebrews in the country of Bethlehem.

2 Now I Joseph was walking, and I walked not. And I looked up to the air and saw the air in amazement. And I looked up unto the pole of the heaven and saw it standing still, and the fowls of the heaven without motion. And I looked upon the earth and saw a dish set, and workmen lying by it, and their hands were in the dish: and they that were chewing chewed not, and they that were lifting the food lifted it not, and they that put it to their mouth put it not thereto, but the faces of all of them were looking upward. And behold there were sheep being driven, and they went not forward but stood still; and the shepherd lifted his hand to smite them with his staff, and his hand remained up. And I looked upon the stream of the river and saw the mouths of the kids upon the water and they drank not. And of a sudden all things moved onward in their course.

XIX

I And behold a woman coming down from the hillcountry, and she said to me: Man, whither goest thou? And I said: I seek a midwife of the Hebrews. And she answered and said unto me: Art thou of Israel? And I said unto her: Yea. And she said: And who is she that bringeth forth in the cave? And I said: She that is betrothed unto me. And she said to me: Is she not thy wife? And I said to her: It is Mary that was nurtured up in the temple of the Lord: and I received her to wife by lot: and she is not my wife, but she hath conception by the Holy Ghost. And the midwife said unto him: Is this the truth? And Joseph said unto her: Come hither and see. And the midwife went with him.

2 And they stood in the place of the cave: and behold a bright cloud overshadowing the cave. And the midwife said: My soul is magnified this day, because mine eyes have seen marvellous things: for salvation is born unto Israel. And immediately the cloud withdrew itself out of the cave, and a great light appeared in the cave so that our eyes could not endure it. And by little and little that light withdrew itself until the young child appeared: and it went and took the breast of its mother Mary. And the midwife cried aloud and said: Great unto me to-day is this day, in that I have seen this new sight.

3 And the midwife went forth of the cave and Salome met her. And she said to her: Salome, Salome, a new sight have I to tell thee. A virgin hath brought forth, which her nature alloweth not. And Salome said: As the Lord my God liveth, if I make not trial and prove her nature I will not believe that a virgin hath brought forth.

XX

1 And the midwife went in and said unto Mary: Order thyself, for there is no small contention arisen concerning thee. Arid Salome made trial and cried out and said: Woe unto mine iniquity and mine unbelief, because I have tempted the living God, and lo, my hand falleth away from me in fire. And she bowed her knees unto the Lord, saying: O God of my fathers, remember that I am the seed of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob: make me not a public example unto the children of Israel, but restore me unto the poor, for thou knowest, Lord, that in thy name did I perform my cures, and did receive my hire of thee.

3 And lo, an angel of the Lord appeared, saying unto her: Salome, Salome, the Lord hath hearkened to thee: bring thine hand near unto the young child and take him up, and there shall be unto thee salvation and joy.

4 And Salome came near and took him up, saying: I will do him worship, for a great king is born unto Israel. And behold immediately Salome was healed: and she went forth of the cave justified. And Io, a voice saying: Salome, Salome, tell none of the marvels which thou hast seen, until the child enter into Jerusalem.

XXI

1 And behold, Joseph made him ready to go forth into Judaea. And there came a great tumult in Bethlehem of Judaea; for there came wise men, saying: Where is he that is born king of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east and arc come to worship him.

2 And when Herod heard it he was troubled and sent officers unto the wise men. And he sent for the high priests and examined them, saying: How is it written concerning the Christ, where he is born? They say unto him: In Bethlehem of Judaea: for so it is written. And he let them go. And he examined the wise men, saying unto them: What sign saw ye concerning the king that is born? And the wise men said: We saw a very great star shining among those stars and dimming them so that the stars appeared not: and thereby knew we that a king was born unto Israel, and we came to worship him. And Herod said: Go and seek for him, and if ye find him, tell me, that I also may come and worship him.

3 And the wise men went forth. And lo, the star which they saw in the east went before them until they entered into the cave: and it stood over the head of the cave. And the wise men saw the young child with Mary, his mother: and they brought out of their scrip gifts, gold-and frankincense and myrrh.

4 And being warned by the angel that they should not enter into Judaea, they went into their own country by another way.

XXII

1 But when Herod perceived that he was mocked by the wise men, he was wroth, and sent murderers, saying unto them: Slay the children from two years old and under.

2 And when Mary heard that the children were being slain, she was afraid, and took the young child and wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid him in an ox-manger.

3 But Elizabeth when she heard that they sought for John, took him and went up into the hill-country and looked about her where she should hide him: and there was no hiding-place. And Elizabeth groaned and said with a loud voice: O mountain of God, receive thou a mother with a child. For Elizabeth was not able to go up. And immediately the mountain clave asunder and took her in. And there was a light shining alway for them: for an angel of the Lord was with them, keeping watch over them.

XXIII

I Now Herod sought for John, and sent officers to Zacharias, saying: Where hast thou hidden thy son? And he answered and said unto them: I am a minister of God and attend continually upon the temple of the Lord: I know not where my son is.

2 And the officers departed and told Herod all these things. And Herod was wroth and said: His son is to be king over Israel. And he sent unto him again, saying: Say the truth: where is thy son? for thou knowest that thy blood is under my hand. And the officers departed and told him all these things.

3 And Zacharias said: I am a martyr of God if thou sheddest my blood: for my spirit the Lord shah receive, because thou sheddest innocent blood in the fore-court of the temple of the Lord. And about the dawning of the day Zacharias was slain. And the children of Israel knew not that he was slain.

XXIV

1 But the priests entered in at the hour of the salutation, and the blessing of Zacharias met them not according to the manner. And the priests stood waiting for Zacharias, to salute him with the prayer, and to glorify the Most High.

2 But as he delayed to come, they were all afraid: and one of them took courage and entered in: and he saw beside the altar congealed blood: and a voice saying: Zacharias hath been slain, and his blood shall not be wiped out until his avenger come. And when he heard that word he was afraid, and went forth and told the priests.

3 And they took courage and went in and saw that which was done: and the panels of the temple did wail: and they rent their clothes from the top to the bottom. And his body they found not, but his blood they found turned into stone. And they feared, and went forth and told all the people that Zacharias was slain. And all tile tribes of the people heard it, and they mourned for him and lamented him three days and three nights. And after the three days the priests took counsel whom they should set in his stead: and the lot came up upon Symeon. Now he it was which was warned by the Holy Ghost that he should not see death until he should see the Christ in the flesh.

XXV

1 Now I, James, which wrote this history in Jerusalem, when there arose a tumult when Herod died, withdrew myself into the wilderness until the tumult ceased in Jerusalem. Glorifying the Lord God which gave me the gift, and the wisdom to write this history.

2 And grace shall be with those that fear our Lord Jesus Christ: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
  
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« Reply #61 on: August 17, 2011, 02:24:13 PM »

In icons, the Theotokos is always portrayed wearing a veil--a sign of marriage.

With three stars proclaiming her ever virginity.


No one is saying she wasn't ever-virgin, only that it would have been scandalous for her to have been living with a man not her husband, or to have stayed "betrothed" for ever. Also, she was taken into the house of St. Joseph, on the directive of the angel, completing the marriage in the eyes of the Jewish community.

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« Reply #62 on: August 17, 2011, 02:51:27 PM »

Since no-one has answered yet, I'll state what I think has been the consensus so far. They were married in the sense that they went through both ceremonies and were fully man and wife according to Jewish law. Anything else would have been scandalous. However, they are referred to as "Unwedded" and "Betrothed" because they never consummated the marriage, so were not married according to the flesh, and never intended the marriage to be of a sexual nature, or for children to be produced from the arrangement.

That's the traditional teaching. Smiley
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« Reply #63 on: August 18, 2011, 09:28:17 AM »

Concerning the perpetual virginity of the Theotokos, apparently some early Christians disputed this, Tertullian and Ignatius for example.


http://lifeofjesus2001.tripod.com/bvm-pvb.htm#cons


Quote
Tertullian

The primary early writer that denied the perpetual virginity of Mary was Tertullian. A dispute arose with the Docetists who denied that Jesus really appeared in flesh. The specific listing of the mother and brothers of Jesus was used as part of the evidence that Jesus had actual family relations as part of the counter apologetic argument. The brothers of Jesus are listed as being actual brothers, with no effort to explain that they were really not brothers at all. In fact, it would have made the argument moot about Jesus having brothers as proof of his being made of actual flesh, if they were really not brothers at all but rather stepbrothers (sons of Joseph by a prior marriage)(ref). Tertullian taught that Mary lost her virginity in the conception of Christ(ref).

Tertullian wrote that Mary had relations with Joseph after Jesus was born(ref). Tertullian also wrote that the brothers were actually borne by Mary. When Tertullian was later quoted by Helvidius to support his position against perpetual virginity, Jerome attempted to defeat Tertullian's credibility with a classical ad hominem(ref) argument(ref).

Quote
Ignatius

An interesting tidbit is found in one of the epistles of Ignatius in his desire to visit Mary and James, and in particular expresses a desire to see James who he described as bearing a remarkable similarity to Jesus(ref). If this quote is of early origin, this lends credibility to the view that Jesus and James were half brothers, due to the striking physical similarity reported. If they were simply sons of Joseph and not related by blood to Jesus, then how could the resemblance be explained(ref)? Cousins often bear a strong physical resemblance as well.

What do the Orthodox say to these kind of things - I know two Church Fathers do not invalidate the consensus of the Church, but if it is the case that these people believed otherwise, then could this not be the earlist views of the Church?
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« Reply #64 on: August 18, 2011, 09:51:34 AM »

Concerning the perpetual virginity of the Theotokos, apparently some early Christians disputed this, Tertullian and Ignatius for example.


http://lifeofjesus2001.tripod.com/bvm-pvb.htm#cons


Quote
Ignatius

An interesting tidbit is found in one of the epistles of Ignatius in his desire to visit Mary and James, and in particular expresses a desire to see James who he described as bearing a remarkable similarity to Jesus(ref). If this quote is of early origin, this lends credibility to the view that Jesus and James were half brothers, due to the striking physical similarity reported. If they were simply sons of Joseph and not related by blood to Jesus, then how could the resemblance be explained(ref)? Cousins often bear a strong physical resemblance as well.

What do the Orthodox say to these kind of things - I know two Church Fathers do not invalidate the consensus of the Church, but if it is the case that these people believed otherwise, then could this not be the earlist views of the Church?
For starters, the indirect quotation attributed to St Ignatius actually comes from a fictitious letter written in the fourth century. Even the (apparently archived but no longer active) website you quoted from makes reference to that. So it cannot be used to verify the earliest view of the Church. Nothing in the genuine letters of St Ignatius points to anything other than the virginity of the Theotokos.
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« Reply #65 on: August 18, 2011, 10:57:49 AM »

For starters, the indirect quotation attributed to St Ignatius actually comes from a fictitious letter written in the fourth century. Even the (apparently archived but no longer active) website you quoted from makes reference to that. So it cannot be used to verify the earliest view of the Church. Nothing in the genuine letters of St Ignatius points to anything other than the virginity of the Theotokos.

What about Tertullian though? I did read a Catholic website that suggested this may be because he was a heretic later in life, so cannot be expected to present authentic teachings.
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« Reply #66 on: August 18, 2011, 11:57:28 AM »

In icons, the Theotokos is always portrayed wearing a veil--a sign of marriage.

With three stars proclaiming her ever virginity.


No one is saying she wasn't ever-virgin, only that it would have been scandalous for her to have been living with a man not her husband, or to have stayed "betrothed" for ever. Also, she was taken into the house of St. Joseph, on the directive of the angel, completing the marriage in the eyes of the Jewish community.



I think the bigger scandal of a virgin birth pretty much silenced all others. The birth of Christ pretty much separated out the true from the false Jews, those who believed from those who did not. No need to keep up pretensions.
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« Reply #67 on: August 18, 2011, 12:01:05 PM »

Wolf,

Your whole argument here just seems very anachronistic. The very incarnation of God was a scandal and stumbling block form  most Jews at the time, so a virgin with child living with an old man  to whom she was betrothed in a context not much like today's engagement (another anachronism), would hardly have mattered much.
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« Reply #68 on: August 18, 2011, 12:09:45 PM »

Shanghaiski,

True, but the Gospel of Matthew says they were already betrothed, and St. Joseph need not fear to take her into his house, completing the marriage. Since they did this, they were married in the eyes of Jewish Law, whether or not they had children or even if no children were intended to be produced from the arrangement. According to the info in this thread, they became married when they started living together.

Edit: you are right, in that if this is the case, it would not have been scandal for her to live with her betrothed, because the situation would have made them married.
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« Reply #69 on: August 18, 2011, 01:06:13 PM »

For starters, the indirect quotation attributed to St Ignatius actually comes from a fictitious letter written in the fourth century. Even the (apparently archived but no longer active) website you quoted from makes reference to that. So it cannot be used to verify the earliest view of the Church. Nothing in the genuine letters of St Ignatius points to anything other than the virginity of the Theotokos.

What about Tertullian though? I did read a Catholic website that suggested this may be because he was a heretic later in life, so cannot be expected to present authentic teachings.

Yes, what about Tertullian? I'm less familiar with his works than Ignatius', so won't comment specifically. Even a pagan can get some things right from time to time - it's the old "even a stopped clock is right twice a day" idea. So, Tertullian, though not a saint, may have written some good things. That doesn't mean this was (or wasn't) one of them.

So however you rate Tertullian, you're down to ONE witness, and a questionable one at that. From where did Tertullian get his information? Why would he state something so different from his contemporaries and earlier writers?
(I don't have those answers, nor am I looking for them - I'm just raising them for someone who may want to pursue the matter.)
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« Reply #70 on: August 18, 2011, 01:21:00 PM »

Yes, what about Tertullian? I'm less familiar with his works than Ignatius', so won't comment specifically. Even a pagan can get some things right from time to time - it's the old "even a stopped clock is right twice a day" idea. So, Tertullian, though not a saint, may have written some good things. That doesn't mean this was (or wasn't) one of them.

So however you rate Tertullian, you're down to ONE witness, and a questionable one at that. From where did Tertullian get his information? Why would he state something so different from his contemporaries and earlier writers?
(I don't have those answers, nor am I looking for them - I'm just raising them for someone who may want to pursue the matter.)

Are there any writers earliar than Tertullian that mention this? I wasn't aware there were any who explicitly mentioned this issue until Origen.
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akimori makoto
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Faith: Non-heretical Christian
Jurisdiction: Fully-sik-hektic archdiocese of Australia, bro
Posts: 3,126

No-one bound by fleshly pleasures is worthy ...


« Reply #71 on: September 04, 2011, 11:19:52 PM »

(My) redundant post is redundant.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2011, 11:21:14 PM by akimori makoto » Logged

The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.
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