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Germanus of Constantinople. ca 633 - 733 AD

Germanus of Constantinople

ca 633 - 733 AD

Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople, is mainly known for his ardent defence of the veneration of icons against Emperor Leo II the Isauran.

His homelies have been published in the Patrologiae Cursus. Series Graeca (PG), Migne, Paris 1857-1866, vol. 98. In the first two excerpts I follow the translation offered in Hilda Graeff, Mary. A history of Doctrine and Devotion, London 1963, pp. 145 - 147. The rest is translated by John Wijngaards.

Mary mediates in redemption

“You are the mother of true life. You are leaven of the reformation of Adam. You are the freedom from the shame of Eve . . . . There is no limit to your help.”
“If you did not lead the way, no one would become spiritual, no one would adore God in truth; for then did humankind become spiritual, when you, Theotokos, were made the dwelling of the Holy Spirit. No human being is filled with the knowledge of God except through you, all-holy one; no human being is saved except through you, Theotokos; no human being is freed from dangers except through you, virgin and mother; no human being is redeemed, except through you, Mother of God . . . . ” Homily on the Assumption, PG 98, cols. 349A-B.

Mary intercedes for sinners

“But you, having maternal power with God, can obtain abundant forgiveness even for the greatest sinners. For he can never fail to hear you, because God obeys you through and in all things, as his true Mother.
. . . . You turn away the just threat and the sentence of damnation, because you love the Christians . . . . Therefore, the Christian people trustfully turn to you, o refuge of sinners.” Homily on the Assumption, PG 98, cols. 352A-B.

Mary sanctified the Holy of Holies

“[Holy of Holies] . . . . receive her who, in turn, will receive the spiritual and incomprehensible fire; give hospitality to her who will give hospitality to him who is the Son of God and Word of the Father.”
“ . . . . Today she who will receive the Holy of Holies, that is the Christ, through the sanctification of the Holy Spirit is, through an even greater sanctification, placed in the Holy of Holies with holiness and majesty.”
“[The Virgin is] . . . spiritual altar of the divine victim, altar consecrated and dedicated to God.”First Homily on the Presentation, PG 98, cols. 293C, 300, 301.

Though a woman, Mary lived where only priests may enter

“There where only the High Priest may enter, and then rarely: only once a year, it is there in this holy sanctuary of grace that Mary is offered to stay there indefinitely. Who has ever heard anything similar? Who has ever seen or heard, now or formerly, that a woman was introduced into the intimacy of the Holy of Holies, and that it was in this place, almost inaccessible even to men, that she lived and ate. Is this not a striking demonstration of the strange magnificence of which her womb would be the object? Is it not a manifest sign, a irrefutable proof?”
“[The Virgin] direct the governings of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. She vests priests with justice and with the joy of a glorious, irreproachable and immaculate faith.”
“[Mary is] . . . the fulfilment of the Lord’s [Old Testament] laws . . . . the seal on his Covenant . . . . the end of his plans . . . . the achievement of his mysteries.”Second Homily on the Presentation, PG 98, cols. 309C, 307D, 316B.

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