Did any of the Early Church Fathers believe that Revelation 12:1-5 is about the Virgin Mary?
I would like to point out one thing before going on this this post. No one in the Early Church would have used Scriptures the way we do today in reference to a particular part of Sacred Scriptures. The Bible was not referenced to with chapter and verse until the Middle Ages when the Archbishop of Canterbury Cardinal Stephan Langton set the Scriptures with chapter and verse. Ergo one is not going to find a lot text using Scripture and verse in the Early Church, especially in the verses in question.
The identification of Mary as the
“woman clothed with the sun”
in Revelation 12 finds support in the Fathers of the Church. The first extant patristic source on the Marian identification of the woman of Revelation 12 is St. Epiphanius of Salamis (d. 403). He wrote:
“But elsewhere, in the Apocalypse of John, we read that the dragon hurled himself at the woman who had given birth to a male child; but the wings of an eagle were given to the woman, and she flew into the desert, where the dragon could not reach her” (Rev. 12:13-14). This could have happened in Mary‟s case.”
Steve Puluka, a liturgy, church history and patristics teacher at Manor College comments that:
“This passage merely mentions the association exists without really endorsing theview wholeheartedly himself. He qualifies the identification with [Mary] dare not affirmthis with absolute certainty. But this silence of the early evidence is as much a reflectionof the dearth of material interpreting Revelation at all from the time period. Thereferences to any aspect of the book are few and far between in the extant literature. Butthe tepid mention by Epiphanius demonstrates that the existence of a Marianidentification of the woman in the same time period was widespread enough that he couldnot pass the text without comment on it
.” (underscoring supplied)
Mariologist Michael O’Carroll notes that “[t]here is in the same age a vague reference in
Andrew of Caesarea to people who identified the woman with Mary.”
Both Epiphanius of Salamis and Andrew of Caesarea both record that some „some people‟ identified the woman clothed with the sun
as Mary the mother of Jesus; but they do not say who those people were. Hence, it can be said that the opinion was known inthe fourth century.
In 430 A.D., Quodvultdeus, a disciple and friend of St. Augustine of Hippo ,made the first overtly Marian identification of the woman of Revelation 12:
“None of you is ignorant of the fact that the dragon was the devil. The woman signified the Virgin Mary.”