St Lukas (33 AD) painted this Icon of Mary (about the year 60 AD) while she was staying with St. John the Apostle. According to tradition, when St. Luke “wrote” the Icon, he accurately rendered the Blessed Virgin’s authentic facial features.
The Icon was written directly onto a three foot by five foot cedar plank, believed to be part of a table that Jesus had originally hand crafted during his time in Nazareth. When Mary went to stay with St. John, in Ephesus (a town located in southwestern Turkey) the table evidently made the trip, as well.
St. Ignatii (50 AD) certainly acknowledges that there are visions from God which are shown to those “who are renewed by the Holy Spirit, who put off the old Adam, and put on the New”.
“Thus,” he writes, “the holy Apostle Peter during prayer saw a notable sheet descending from heaven.
Thus, an angel appeared to Cornelius the centurion during prayer.
Thus, when Apostle Paul was praying in the Jerusalem temple, the Lord appeared to him and commanded him to immediately leave Jerusalem…”
Eusebius of Caesarea (263 AD):
But since I have come to mention this city, I do not think it right to omit a story that is worthy to be recorded also from those that come after us. For they say that the woman who had a haemorrhage, and who, as we learn from the sacred Gospels, found at the hands of our Saviour relief from her affliction, came to this place, and that her house was pointed out in the city, and that marvelous memorials of the good deed, which the Savior wrought upon her, still remained. For that there stood on a lofty stone at the gates of her house a bronze figure of a woman, bending on her knee and stretching forth her hands like a suppliant, while opposite to this there was another of the same material, an upright figure of a man, clothed in comely fashion in a double cloak and stretching out his hand to the woman; at his feet on the monument itself a strange species of herb was growing, which climbed up to the double cloak of bronze, and acted as an antidote to all kinds of diseases. This statue, they said, bore the likeness of the Lord Jesus. And it was in existence even to our day, so that we saw it with out own eyes when we stayed in the city.
St. John Chrysostom (347 AD):
“One way of coming to a knowledge of God is that which is provided by the whole of creation; and another, no less significant, is that which is offered by conscience, the whole of which we have expounded upon at greater length, showing you how you have a self-taught knowledge of what is good and of what is not so good, and how conscience urges all this upon you from within.
Two teachers, then, are given you from the beginning: creation and conscience.
Neither of them has a voice to speak out; they teach men in silence…”
“From the beginning God placed the knowledge of Himself in men, but the pagans awarded this knowledge to sticks and stones, doing wrong the truth to such an extent as they were able. For really, the truth remained unharmed, its own glory being immutable.
And how, O Paul, is it plain that God put this knowledge in them? ‘Because,’ he says, ‘what can be known of Him is manifested in them’ (Romans 1.19). But this is assertion, not proof.
Only reason it out for me, and show me that the knowledge of God was evident to them, and that they wilfully turned aside from it.
Whence, then, was it plain? Did He send them a voice from above? Of course not!
But He did something that was better able to draw them to Him than a voice: He put creation in front of them so that the wise and the simple, the Scythian and the barbarian, having learned by vision the beauty of what they saw, might mount up to God."