The Virgin’s obedience destroys the power of the serpent by Epiphanius of Salamis.

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“And as in paradise Eve, still a virgin, fell into the sin of disobedience, once more through the Virgin came the obedience of grace, when the joyful announcement was given that eternal life in the flesh was descending from heaven. For God said to the serpent: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and hers” (Gen 3:1s). Woman’s seed is found nowhere; and so it is in a figurative sense that this enmity is applied to Eve in relation to her and the serpent and to that which was represented by the serpent, namely, the devil and envy.

But all this cannot be perfectly fulfilled in her. Instead, it will be realised truly in the holy, elect, and unique seed, which comes from Mary alone and not from relations with a man. This seed came to destroy the power of the dragon, that is, the tortuous and fleeting serpent, who boasted of holding possession of the whole world.

For this reason, the Only-begotten was born of a woman for the ruin of the serpent, that is to say, the ruin of false doctrine, of corruption, of deceit, error, and lawlessness. He is the one who truly opened the womb of his Mother (cf. Ex 13:12). For all the other firstborn sons who preceded him were not able – to speak with decency – to realize a condition of that sort. Only the Only-begotten opened the virginal womb. That happened to him alone and to nobody else.”

Epiphanius of Salamis, Adversus haereses 78, 17-19; PG 42, 728 B-729 C.

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. 129-130

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