The Mystery of Incarnation by John Chrysostom

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Virgin Mary was not a channel

“Neither the angel Gabriel nor the evangelist Matthew can say anything except that the birth of Christ was the work of the Holy Spirit, but neither of the two explains how the Spirit did this, since such a mystery is totally beyond words. Do not believe that you have understood the mystery, just because you hear the words “of the Holy Spirit”. For even after we have learned this, there remain many things we do not know about. For example: How could the Infinite be contained in a womb? How could the Virgin give birth and continue to be a virgin? Tell me, how did the Spirit fashion that temple? How did he take from his Mother, not all of her body, but only a part that he augmented and formed?

The evangelist clearly states that Christ came forth from the Virgin’s body in these words: “That which is conceived in you” (Mt 1:20), and Paul does the same: “Born of a woman” (Gal 4:4), in order to stop the mouths of those who say that Christ passed through his Mother’s womb as if through a channel.”

John Chrysostom, Homily on Matthew 4, 3; PG 57, 43.

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.

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