St Augustine on Mary without "Sins"


The following quote explicitly states that Mary was excepted from committing sins on account of her privilege of being the Theotokos. Obviously, the doctrine of Original Sin comes to full fruition in the writings of St Augustine. And yet even at this source we find a very strong reluctance to explain Mary’s moral status as anything but sinless.
“Having excepted the Holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom, on account of the honor of the Lord, I wish to have absolutely no question when treating of sins – for how do we know what abundance of grace for the total overcoming of sin was conferred upon her, who merited to conceive and bear him in whom there was no sin?–so, I say, with the exception of the Virgin, if we could have gathered together all those holy men and women, when they were living here, and had asked them whether they were without sin, what do we suppose would have been their answer?”

(Nature and Grace 36:45)

There is one thing to be noted here. St Augustine, in this passage, refers to Our Lady as without “sins” in the plural. He is not talking about the inherited Original Sin, or so it seems. All that can be concluded is that she was without “sins,” by which I understand him to be referring to actual sins and Original Sin. Am I right on this?

Compare this quote to St Ephrem and St Ambrose who explicit refer to Our Lady as being without “stain of sin.”

“Thou alone and thy Mother are in all things fair, there is no flaw in thee and no stain in thy Mother.”

(St Ephraem, Nisibene Hymns, 27:8)

“Mary, a Virgin not only undefiled but a Virgin whom grace has made inviolate, free of every stain of sin.”

(St Ambrose, Sermon 22:30)

It seems that St Ambrose was much more explicit in his definition of Mary as without the stain of sin.

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  • Heshimu Colar

    a human without sin other than the Son of God Himself?  Mary was conceived in sin, as all others.  He who is God overshadowed her and brought forth her Lord.  She worshiped, even when she didn’t know what God was saying.

    I implore you to cast all hope on the Christ and not on creatures He’s saved.

St Augustine on Mary without "Sins"


The following quote explicitly states that Mary was excepted from committing sins on account of her privilege of being the Theotokos. Obviously, the doctrine of Original Sin comes to full fruition in the writings of St Augustine. And yet even at this source we find a very strong reluctance to explain Mary’s moral status as anything but sinless.
“Having excepted the Holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom, on account of the honor of the Lord, I wish to have absolutely no question when treating of sins – for how do we know what abundance of grace for the total overcoming of sin was conferred upon her, who merited to conceive and bear him in whom there was no sin?–so, I say, with the exception of the Virgin, if we could have gathered together all those holy men and women, when they were living here, and had asked them whether they were without sin, what do we suppose would have been their answer?”

(Nature and Grace 36:45)

There is one thing to be noted here. St Augustine, in this passage, refers to Our Lady as without “sins” in the plural. He is not talking about the inherited Original Sin, or so it seems. All that can be concluded is that she was without “sins,” by which I understand him to be referring to actual sins and Original Sin. Am I right on this?

Compare this quote to St Ephrem and St Ambrose who explicit refer to Our Lady as being without “stain of sin.”

“Thou alone and thy Mother are in all things fair, there is no flaw in thee and no stain in thy Mother.”

(St Ephraem, Nisibene Hymns, 27:8)

“Mary, a Virgin not only undefiled but a Virgin whom grace has made inviolate, free of every stain of sin.”

(St Ambrose, Sermon 22:30)

It seems that St Ambrose was much more explicit in his definition of Mary as without the stain of sin.

Comments Policy: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. If your comment contains a hyperlink to another site, your comment automatically goes into "Comments Purgatory" where it waits for release by way of moderation.

  • Heshimu Colar

    a human without sin other than the Son of God Himself?  Mary was conceived in sin, as all others.  He who is God overshadowed her and brought forth her Lord.  She worshiped, even when she didn’t know what God was saying.

    I implore you to cast all hope on the Christ and not on creatures He’s saved.