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Cyprian, and the stress laid upon the "satisfactory" character of the sufferings of the martyrs, emphasizing the view that by their death they could obtain graces and blessings for others, naturally and immediately led to their direct invocation.

A further reinforcement, of the same idea, was derived from the cult of the angels, which, while pre-Christian in its origin, was heartily embraced by the faithful of the sub-Apostolic age.

The existence of the obscure sect of the Collyridians, whom St. 403) denounces for their sacrificial offering of cakes to Mary, may fairly be held to prove that even before the Council of Ephesus there was a popular veneration for the Virgin Mother which threatened to run extravagant lengths.

Hence Epiphanius laid down the rule: "Let Mary be held in honour.

Nonetheless the same Epiphanius abounds in the praises of the Virgin Mother, and he believed that there was some mysterious dispensation with regard to her death implied in the words of Revelations : "And there were given to the woman two wings of a great eagle that she might fly into the desert unto her place." Certain it is, in any case, that such Fathers as St. Jerome, partly inspired with admiration for the ascetic ideals of a life of virginity and partly groping their way to a clearer understanding of all that was involved in the mystery of the Incarnation, began to speak of the Blessed Virgin as the model of all virtue and the ideal of sinlessness.Irenæus more especially who has deserved to be called the first theologian of the Virgin Mother.Thus he has drawn out the parallel between Eve and Mary, urging that, "as the former was led astray by an angel's discourse to fly from God after transgressing His word, so the latter by an angel's discourse had the Gospel preached unto her that she might bear God, obeying His word.the annual commemoration, which the Christians might be expected to keep in his honour.This attitude of mind becomes still more explicit in Tertullian and St.

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