Byzantine part of the Church, theologians and preachers had been reflecting on
Mary's relationship to Jesus the Highpriest. They realised that Mary had to be
priestly herself since she gave birth to the Priest of Priests.
A legend grew up that stated
that Mary had spent her youth in the Holy of Holies of the temple of Jerusalem.
“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?” - St
Germanus 633 - 733
The Greek Fathers expressed
their belief in Mary's priestly status in
the many new
titles which they gave her.
St Andrew of
Crete mentions the following:
* ‘spiritual altar of the divine
victim, altar consecrated and dedicated to God’;
* ‘sanctuary of all sacrificial
* 'the most holy table [= altar] which has carried
by itself the living bread, Our Lord and God Jesus Christ, eternal life made
bread . . . . ’.
from an ancient fresco