Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Andreas of Caesarea: Woman of Revelation 12 is not Mary

Rev. 12:1 And a great sign was seen in heaven, a woman who had been wrapped in with the sun, and [the] moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars;

Some, on the one hand, had understood this woman entirely to be the Theotokos before her divine birth was made known to her, (before she) experienced the things to happen. But the great Methodios took (it) to be (referring to) the holy Church, considering these things concerning her (the woman) to be incongruous with the begetting of the Master for the reason that already the Lord had been born long before. It is good to remember also these words of the Blessed Methodios who says in his so-called Symposium through the person of the virgin Procle thus: "The woman wrapped in the sun is the Church. That which to us is our garment, to her is light. And that which gold is for us, or glowing gemstones, for her are the stars, the superior and more brilliant stars." And the following: "She stood upon the moon. The moon I regard figuratively (to be) the faith of those who are cleansed of corruption by the washing (of baptism) for the condition of liquid substance is regulated by the moon. She labored and gave birth anew to those carnal-minded into spiritually minded and formed and fashioned them according to the likeness of Christ." And again he says: "We must not think that Christ is him who is to be born. For formerly, before the Apocalypse, the mystery of the Incarnation of the Logos had been fulfilled. John speaks with authority about the present and future things." And afterwards (he mentioned) other things, (and then says), "Therefore, it is necessary to confess that the Church must be the one in labor and gives birth to those redeemed as the spirit said in Isaiah: Before she labored to give birth, she escaped and gave birth to a male. Whom did she escape? Either the dragon, certainly, in order for the spiritual Zion to give birth to virile people." And in continuation, "so that in each one Christ is to be born mentally. Because of this the Church is swollen and in great pain until Christ having been born might be formed in us, so that each one partaking of Christ becomes Christ." Moreover, the Church has been clothed in the Sun of Righteousness And the legalistic light of the moon which shines by night and the alterable secular life like the moon has been mastered under the feet, and round about upon her head (is) the crown of the apostolic precepts and virtues. Since (it is) from the moon that liquid substance depends, the same one (Methodios) also says that by the moon is meant baptism, figuratively called "sea," which (is) on the one hand the salvation for those who are reborn and on the other hand ruination for the demons.

- Andreas of Caesarea, Commentary on the book of Revelation, at Revelation 12:1 (translated by Eugenia Constantinou, 2008)