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E05940: Ildefonsus of Toledo (Spain) begins his work On the Virginity of Holy Mary with an elaborate prayer to *Mary (mother of Christ, S00033). Composed in Latin in Toledo, before 667.

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posted on 2018-07-10, 00:00 authored by mszada
Ildefonsus of Toledo, De virginitate Sanctae Mariae

Domina mea, dominatrix mea, dominans mihi, mater Domini mei, ancilla Filii tui, genetrix factoris mundi, te rogo, te oro, te quaeso, habeam spiritum Domini tui, habeam spiritum Filii tui, habeam spiritum redemptoris mei, ut de te uera et digna sapiam, de te uera et digna loquar, de te uera et digna, quaecumque sunt, diligam.

Tu, electa a Deo, adsumpta a Deo, aduocata a Deo, proxima Deo, adhaerens Deo, coniuncta Deo; uisitata ab angelo, salutata ab angelo, benedicta ab angelo, beatificata ab angelo; turbata in sermone, adtonita in cogitatione, stupefacta in salutatione, admirata in dictorum enuntiatione, inuenisse te apud Deum gratiam audis, ne timeas iuberis, fiducia roboraris, cognitione miraculorum instrueris, ad nouitatis inauditae gloriam proueheris: de prole pudicitia admonetur, de nomine prolis uirginitas certificatur; nasciturum ex te sanctum - Dei Filius uocitandus - edicitur et quae sit nascentis regni potentia mirabiliter intimatur.

Quomodo fiet quaeris? de origine interrogas? de ratione praescrutaris? de experientia requiris? de ordine sciscitaris? Audi inauditum oraculum, considera inusitatum opus, animaduerte incognitum arcanum, adtende inuisum factum: Spiritus Sanctus superueniet in te et Altissimi uirtus obumbrabit tibi.

Tota inuisibiliter Trinitas conceptionem operabitur in te, sola persona Filii Dei in corpore nascitura carnem adsumet de te; ideoque quod concipietur in te, quod nascetur ex te, quod prodiet ex te, quod generabitur ex te, quod parturietur ex te, sanctum uocabitur, Filius Dei. Erit enim magnus hic Deus uirtutum, hic rex saeculorum, hic factor omnium rerum.

Ecce beata tu inter mulieres, integra inter puerperas, domina inter ancillas, regina inter sorores. Ecce ex hoc beatam te dicunt omnes gentes, beatam nouerunt caelestes uirtutes, beatam praedicant omnes uates, beatam omnes celebrant nationes. Beata tu fidei meae, beata tu animae meae, beata tu dilectioni meae, beata tu praeconiis et praedicationibus meis. Praedicem te donec praedicanda es, diligam te donec diligenda es, laudem te donec laudabilis es, seruiam tibi donec seruiendum est gloriae tuae.

Tu accipiens Deum solum, postrema Filio Deo, tu generans Deum simulet hominem, prima homine Filio, cui in suscipiendo tantum hospes Deus, cui in concipiendo incola homo simul et Deus. In praeterito munda Deo, in praesenti plena homine et Deo, in futuro generans hominem simul et Deum, et fetu et uirginitate laeta, et prole et pudore gauisa, et filio et sponso fidelis. Ita seruans filio fidem, ne ipse quidem carnis suae nouerit genitorem, ita seruans sponso fidem, ut ipse te sine uiro nouerit genetricem. Tanto gloriabunda in filio, quanto uirorum omnium nescia tactu, instructa quid nosses, edocta quid crederes, certificata quid sperares, roborata quid sine amissione teneres.

'My Lady, my Ruler, who rules over me, my Lord's Mother, servant of Your Son, Mother of the Creator of the world, I ask You, I beg You, I seek from You that I may have the spirit of Your Lord, that I may have the spirit of Your Son, that I may have the spirit of my Redeemer, so I may learn what is true and worthy about You, so I may speak what is true and worthy about You, so I may love what is true and worthy about You, whatever it is.

You, chosen by God, taken up by God, summoned by God, nearest to God, clinging to God, joined to God, visited by the angel, blessed by the angel, glorified by the angel, troubled at this saying, amazed in reflection, awed in his salutation, wondering at the annunciation of his words, you hear that you had found favour with God, You are told not to be afraid, You are strengthened in your trust, You are instructed with the knowledge of miracles, and You are exalted to the glory of unheard novelty. Your offspring reminds about your purity, Your virginity is made certain in the name of Your offspring. You are told that from You the holy One, the One to be called the Son of God will be born and His ruling power is miraculously disclosed.

You ask: how it may be so? You ask about the origin. You look for a reason. You request a proof. You are concerned about the order [of events]. Listen to an unheard oracle, consider the unusual work, take notice of unknown mystery, pay attention to the unseen fact: "The Holy Spirit will come upon You, and the power of the Most High will overshadow You" [Luke 1:34]

The whole Trinity will bring about the conception in You in the way that cannot be seen, the Person of the Son of God alone who is to be born will take flesh from You. Therefore the One who is conceived in You, who will be born from You, who will proceed from You, who will be generated from You, who will be given birth to, will be called Holy, the Son of God. Because He will be the great God of Hosts, the King of the ages, the Maker of all things.

Behold, you are blessed among women, whole among those in childbirth, the Lady among slaves, the Queen among sisters. Behold, "from now on all generations will call me blessed" [Luke 1:48], all the heavenly powers know that You are blessed, all the prophets preach that You are blessed, all the nations celebrate You as blessed. You are blessed in my faith, You are blessed in my soul, You are blessed in my love, You are blessed in my announcements and teachings. I will preach about You as long as you are to be preached, I will love You as long as You are to be loved, I will praise You as long as You are praiseworthy, and I will serve You as long as Your glory should be served.

You are receiving God alone, You are the last next to the Son of God, You give birth to God and a man, first to the Son of Man in whose begetting only God was the host, in whose conceiving the man and God is the inhabitant. In the past, You were pure for God, in the present, You are filled with man and God, in the future, You are giving birth to the man and God, and You are joyous both in Your offspring and in Your virginity, you enjoy both Your child and Your purity, and You are faithful both to the Son and the husband. Thus, You keep faith to the Son so he do not know the parent of his flesh, and You keep faith to Your husband so that he knows that you are a Mother without a man. You are so glorious in the Son as You are free from touch of any man, having been taught what You had known, taught in what You believed, certain in what You hoped, and assured in what You kept without loss.'

Text: Yarza Urquiola 2007, 152–156. Translation: M. Szada.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Theological works


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Iberian Peninsula

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Toledo Osset Osset Osen (castrum) Osser castrum

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


Ildefonsus was abbot of the important monastery of Agali and later bishop of Toledo. Here he succeeded his uncle, Eugenius II, in 657 and was bishop until his death in 667. He was then succeeded by Quiricius. Julian, bishop of Toledo in 680-690 and also a former abbot of Agali, wrote an Elogium in honour of Ildefonsus, which is our main source for his life. In his capacity as abbot of Agali, Ildefonsus was present at the Eighth and Ninth Councils of Toledo in 653 and 655. Because of his Marian devotion, he is sometimes considered responsible for the project to establish the feast of Mary in December, which was introduced by the Tenth Council of Toledo in 656. Ildefonsus, however, does not appear amongst the signatories of the council, so it seems that he did not take part in the proceedings. Four works were certainly authored by Ildefonsus of Toledo – On the Virginity of Holy Mary, On the Lives of Famous Men, On the Understanding of Baptism and On the Way of the Desert. There are also letters and liturgical texts (see CPL 1247-1256). Their exact chronology is uncertain. On the Virginity of Holy Mary consists of three main parts in which Ildefonsus defends the perpetual virginity of Mary against Jovinian, Helvidius and the Jews. The work was transmitted in a huge number of manuscripts, the earliest from the 9th century. For a detailed discussion on the composition, argument, language, and manuscript tradition, with further reading, see the introduction by Yarza Urquiola in the 2007 edition. See also the list of manuscripts here:


On the Virginity of Holy Mary opens with two prayers – the first is directed to God as the source of illumination, the second, quoted here in extenso, to the Virgin Mary. It has been noticed by Brou and Aldama that the prayer bears resemblance to the texts of Mozarabic liturgy (the mass and divine office) for the feast of the Virgin Mary on 18 December; possibly Ildefonsus was responsible for the composition of those texts.


Edition: Yarza Urquiola, V., De virginitate sanctae Mariae, in: Ildefonsi Toletani opera omnia (Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina 114A; Turnhout, 2007), 145-264. Further reading: Aldama, J.A., "Valoración teológica de la literatura litúrgica hispana," in: La Patrologia toledano-visigoda (Madrid, 1970), 137-157. Brou, L., "Les plus anciennes priéres liturgiques addressées a la Vierge en Occident," Hispania Sacra 3 (1950), 371-381.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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