The term Antidicomarianites (Greek ἀντιδικοµαριανῖται, literally "opponents of Mary", from ἀντίδικ-ος adversary + Μαρία Mary) was a term used by defenders of the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary during the 4th and 5th centuries. It was pejoratively 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 — though that name was not yet coined — began in the 3rd century. The earliest reference to this sect appears in Tertullian (c. 160–c. 225), and the doctrines taught by them are expressly mentioned by Origen (185–254). Their views were grounded in mentions of Jesus' brothers and sisters (the desposyni) in the New Testament. The name "Antidicomarianites" was specifically applied to advocates of the doctrine by St. Epiphanius (ca. 315–403), who wrote against them in an interesting letter giving the history of the doctrine and claiming proofs of its falsity. Church writing against the "Antidicomarianites" continued into the 5th century.
The Ebionites — the very early Jewish-Christian movement that regarded Jesus as a non-divine Messiah — were the first Christians to maintain that Jesus was the son of Joseph and Mary, not of God. This doctrine was highly controversial to the later Antidicomarianites, as well as their opponents, 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 Ebionites continued to deny the formula "ever-Virgin Mary", later used in both Greek and Roman liturgies. (The Ebionites survived at least into the late 4th century.)
Certain Arians — namely, Eudoxius of Antioch (died 370) and Eunomius of Cyzicus (died c. 393) — were great supporters of Antidicomarianism. The sect — the major early anti-trinitarians — arose in the early 4th century and attained its greatest development in Arabia towards the end of the same century.
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.
- Oxford English Dictionary
- Homilia in Lucam, III, 940.
- Matthew 13:56 and Mark 6:3 etc.
- St. Epiphanius, Contra Hæres., lxxviii, 1033 sqq.
- 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. "
|Wikisource has the text of the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia article Antidicomarianites.|