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The term Antidicomarianites (Greek ἀντιδικοµαριανῖται, literally "opponents of Mary", from ἀντίδικ-ος adversary + Μαρία Mary)[1] was a term used by defenders of the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary during the 3rd-5th centuries. The term was applied to Christians who believed that the brothers and sisters of Jesus mentioned in the New Testament were not children of Joseph by an earlier marriage, as had become orthodoxy by the 3rd Century, but the younger children of Joseph and Mary after the birth of Jesus. There is no evidence that these Christians considered themselves to be "against Mary" in any sense, except of her being the "Queen of Heaven", which Roman Catholics and the Orthodox Christians used as a title for her, a reflection of the biblical image in Revelation 12.

Writings against these "Antidicomarianite" Christians are found in various church writings of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries. The earliest reference to this sect appears in Tertullian, and the doctrines taught by them are expressly mentioned by Origen (Homilia in Lucam, III, 940). The opinion is grounded in mentions of Jesus' brothers and sisters in the New Testament (Matthew 13:56 and Mark 6:3 etc.).


Certain Arians, Eudoxius and Eunomius, were great supporters of the teaching. The sect attained its greatest development in Arabia towards the end of the fourth century. The name Antidicomarianites was specifically applied to it by St. Epiphanius, who wrote against them in an interesting letter giving the history of the doctrine and claiming proofs of its falsity (St. Epiphanius, Contra Hæres., lxxviii, 1033 sqq.).


The Ebionites were the first who maintained that Jesus was the son of Joseph and Mary, not of God. This doctrine was controversial even to the sect's own adherents, and it was later modified so as to teach that; although Jesus was born of Mary through the Holy Ghost, afterwards Joseph and Mary lived in wedlock and had many other children. The sect denied the formula "ever-Virgin Mary" used in the Greek and Roman Liturgies.


Although Luther defended the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary, today some Protestants share the conviction of Lutheran Richard C. H. Lenski, as per the "Antidocomarianites," that Mary and Joseph had children of their own after the birth of Jesus.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary
  2. ^ Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant: A Doctrinal Comparison of Three ... - Page 251 Gregory Lee Jackson - 1993 "Comments from various Lutheran writers suggest that the perpetual virginity of Mary was assumed by most of them until recently, Lenski being an exception. "