Protoevangelium of James (Large Print / Paperback)
In the Coptic Orthodox Church we have many traditions passed down through many centuries about the virgin Saint Mary. With many of these traditions, the average believer does not know where they originated from. However, the Coptic Orthodox Church loves Saint Mary and takes pleasure in offering her glorifications and medleys asking for her intercession for the human race. In fact, on any given Sunday psalmody the mention of the name of the virgin Saint Mary is in excess of seventy times.
Much of the information about the virgin Saint Mary is taken from this apocryphal text. We have included in the footnotes examples of parts of prayers and doxologies that have been taken from this text, whether in part or entire sentences. Similarly, when required, we have highlighted some similarities and differences present in the corresponding scripture.
From this text it is obvious that the early church believed in the ever-virginity of saint Mary, which was a concept that was difficult to understand, let alone defend, and thus was unlikely to be invented by the faithful if it was not solemnly believed to be fact.
Apocryphal texts are those texts that are biblical or related writings that are not part of the accepted canon scripture. There are many reasons for texts not becoming part of scriptural canon, most of which are attributed to difficulty ascertaining the authenticity of the author. In this specific text the authenticity of the author being saint James is in question, along with the date of when it was written.
We hope that through this text we enlighten your eyes and your mind to the internal conflict and emotions that the virgin Mother must have felt through this trying time. We hope that you gain an appreciation for the texts and prayers of the church, specifically understanding where they came from. Finally we ask for the intercession of the ever-virgin saint Mary and the prayers of all the saints. Amen.