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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VIII:
Two Epistles Concerning Virginity.: Chapter XV

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XV.—The Example of Jesus; How We May Allow Ourselves to Be Served by Women.

And, not to extend our discourse to too great length, what shall we say concerning our Lord Jesus Christ?  Our Lord Himself was constantly with His twelve disciples when He had come forth to the world.  And not only so; but also, when He was sending them out, He sent them out two and two together, men with men; but women were not sent with them, and neither in the highway nor in the house did they associate with women or with maidens:  and thus they pleased God in everything.  Also, when our Lord Jesus Christ Himself was talking with the woman of Samaria by the well alone, “His disciples came” and found Him talking with her, “and wondered that Jesus was standing and talking with a woman.” 500   Is He not a rule, such as may not be set aside, an example, and a pattern to all the tribes of men?  And not only so; but also, when our Lord was risen from the place of the dead, and Mary came to the place of sepulture, she ran and fell at the feet of our Lord and worshipped Him, and would have taken hold of Him.  But He said to her:  “Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father.” 501   Is it not, then, matter for astonishment, that, while our Lord did not allow Mary, the blessed woman, to touch His feet, yet thou livest with them, and art waited on by women and maidens, and sleepest where they sleep, and women wash thy feet for thee, and anoint thee!  Alas for this culpable state of mind!  Alas for this state of mind which is destitute of fear!  Alas for this affrontery and folly, which is without fear of God!  Dost thou not judge thine own self?  Dost thou not examine thine own self?  Dost thou not know thine own self and the measure of thy strength?  These things, moreover, are trustworthy, and these things are true and right; and these are rules immutable for those who behave themselves uprightly in our Lord.  Many holy women, again, ministered to holy men of their substance, as the Shunammite woman ministered to Elisha; but she did not live with him, but the prophet lived in a house apart.  And, when her son died, she wanted to throw herself at the feet of the prophet; but his attendant would not allow her, but restrained her.  But Elisha said to his servant:  “Let her alone, because her soul is distressed.” 502   From these things, then, we ought to understand their manner of life.  To Jesus Christ our Lord women ministered of their substance:  but they did not live with him; but chastely, and holily, and unblameably they behaved before the Lord, and finished their course, and received the crown in 503 our Lord God Almighty.



John iv. 27.


John xx. 17.


2 Kings iv. 27.


Beelen suggests the reading “from,” or to render the present text “by.”

Next: Chapter XVI