It has been pointed out that during the times of the early persecutions we find more numerous references to the invocation of the Martyrs than to that of our Lady. But what conclusion is to be drawn from this fact ? It is equally true to say that we find more numerous references in the writings of this period to the invocation of the Martyrs than to prayer to our Lord Himself. Is it, then, suggested that the early Christians held that the holy Martyrs were more to be honoured, were more powerful intercessors than the Blessed Virgin, or even than the One Mediator of Redemption, through whom alone the prayers of Martyrs, or of Mary, or of any other creature can avail us aught ? To ask the question with regard to our Lord and Saviour is to expose its blasphemous character and therefore to answer it; whilst to show the mind of Antiquity with reference to the position of the Mother of God, in relation to the holy Martyrs, we may quote Basil of Seleucia, who evidently feels that he is expressing the sentiment of all:
"What sufficiently worthy praises shall we bestow upon her whose merit is above all things of earth? . . . What shall we say of the Mother of God, who shone as much beyond all the Martyrs in splendour, as the sun outshines with its blaze the twinkling rays of the stars ?"