Mary Greets Elizabeth by St. Athanasius of Alexandria

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“[Mary] greets Elizabeth: the Mother of the Master greets [the mother] of the servant; the Mother of the King greets the mother of the soldier; the Mother of God greets the mother of the man; the Virgin greets the married woman, She greets Elizabeth with an outward greeting, and when the two greet each other in a visible manner, the Holy Spirit, who dwelt in Mary’s womb,  incites him who is in Elisabeth’s womb, as one who urges on his friend, “Hurry, get up!”

Therefore he who dwelt in Elizabeth‘s womb leapt. And behold:[Christ spoke to him] saying, “Go forth; make straight my paths, so that I may realise the plan [economy] that has been determined for me.” When Mary and Elizabeth greeted one another, Christ also greeted John in his mother’s womb, as it is [said] in the Gospel: “It happened that, when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby stirred in her womb for joy.” 

Come now, raving Arius: do you not hear that he who is in Mary’s womb and he who is in Elizabeth‘s womb are exchanging greetings, while the son of the barren woman announces to the whole world: “Behold the son of God in the womb of the holy Virgin, Mary.”

But you say, “How does this happen?” Listen, and I will tell you. The moment John heard his Master’s voice, he greeted Him through the mouth of His mother, and then he rejoiced and delighted to hasten forth from his mother’s womb, in advance of his Master. Then unable to contain his joy, he cried out, through his mother’s mouth addressing the Virgin: “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. But who am I that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?”

My dear friends, do not think that John was the instrument; Elizabeth is the instrument, and john speaks through her mouth. Now, just as john was not an instrument, so also the Savior greets John, by the greeting Mary addresses to Elizabeth through the mouth of his mother.”

AthanasiusHomily of the Papyrus of Turin, ed. T. Lefort, in Le Musèon 71 (158) : 214

If you are interested in more quotes on Virgin Mary, you can find them in Mary and the Fathers of the Church on Amazon in both in Kindle and paperback formats.


Gambero, L., 1999. Mary and the Fathers of the Church 1st ed. Translated by Buffer, T., San Francisco: Ignatius Press. p.105-106

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