Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Epiphanius on the Title "Queen of Heaven"

Speaking of women who offered cakes of bread to Mary (the Kollyridians), Epiphanius (310/320-403) wrote:
Let no one eat of the error which has arisen on St. Mary’s account. Even though ‘The tree is lovely’ it is not for food; and even though Mary is all fair, and is holy and held in honor, she is not to be worshiped.

But again, these women are “renewing the potion for Fortune and preparing the table for the demon and not for God,” as the Scripture says, “And the women grind flour, and their sons gather wood to make cakes for the host of heaven.” Such women should be silenced by Jeremiah, and not frighten the world. They must not say, ‘We honor the queen of heaven.’
- Epiphanius, as found in Frank Williams, trans., The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis: Book II and III (Sects 47-80, De Fide) 79. Against Collyridians, 7,7-8,2 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994), p. 627.

He was referring to this:

Jeremiah 7:18 The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.

Jeremiah 44:15-19

Then all the men which knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying,

As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil. But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine. And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?

Jeremiah 44:24-27

Moreover Jeremiah said unto all the people, and to all the women, Hear the word of the LORD, all Judah that are in the land of Egypt: thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying;

Ye and your wives have both spoken with your mouths, and fulfilled with your hand, saying, We will surely perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her: ye will surely accomplish your vows, and surely perform your vows. Therefore hear ye the word of the LORD, all Judah that dwell in the land of Egypt; Behold, I have sworn by my great name, saith the LORD, that my name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The Lord GOD liveth. Behold, I will watch over them for evil, and not for good: and all the men of Judah that are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by the famine, until there be an end of them.

But compare:
By this Encyclical Letter We are instituting a feast so that all may recognize more clearly and venerate more devoutly the merciful and maternal sway of the Mother of God. We are convinced that this feast will help to preserve, strengthen and prolong that peace among nations which daily is almost destroyed by recurring crises. Is she not a rainbow in the clouds reaching towards God, the pledge of a covenant of peace? "Look upon the rainbow, and bless Him that made it; surely it is beautiful in its brightness. It encompasses the heaven about with the circle of its glory, the hands of the Most High have displayed it." Whoever, therefore, reverences the Queen of heaven and earth - and let no one consider himself exempt from this tribute of a grateful and loving soul - let him invoke the most effective of Queens, the Mediatrix of peace; let him respect and preserve peace, which is not wickedness unpunished nor freedom without restraint, but a well-ordered harmony under the rule of the will of God; to its safeguarding and growth the gentle urgings and commands of the Virgin Mary impel us.
- Pius XII, Ad Caeli Reginam (To the Queen of Heaven), Section 51, October 11, 1954

-TurretinFan

UPDATE: By the way, Pilgrims' Daughter has some additional relevant material (link).

3 comments:

Geoffrey Miller said...

Very intriguing. Do you know where the source for the full writings of Epiphanius can be found? I'd like to read more.

Turretinfan said...

There is a full English translation in print. Unfortunately, it is published by Brill so it gets a bit pricey.

http://books.google.com/books?id=kOYRAQAAIAAJ << volume 1

http://books.google.com/books?id=N8xaPwAACAAJ << volumes 2-3

Geoffrey Miller said...

Thanks! :-)