Mary (mother of Jesus)
Overview
Mary commonly referred to as "Saint Mary", "Mother Mary", the "Virgin Mary", the "Blessed Virgin Mary", or "Mary, Mother of God", was a Jewish woman of Nazareth
Nazareth
Nazareth is the largest city in the North District of Israel. Known as "the Arab capital of Israel," the population is made up predominantly of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel...

 in Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

. She is identified in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

and in the Quran as the mother of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 through divine intervention
Annunciation
The Annunciation, also referred to as the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary or Annunciation of the Lord, is the Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to Virgin Mary, that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus the Son of God. Gabriel told Mary to name her...

.

The canonical gospels of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

 and Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

 describe Mary as a virgin (Greek παρθένος, parthénos). Traditionally, Christians believe that she conceived her son miraculously by the agency of the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit (Christianity)
For the majority of Christians, the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and is Almighty God...

.
Encyclopedia
Mary commonly referred to as "Saint Mary", "Mother Mary", the "Virgin Mary", the "Blessed Virgin Mary", or "Mary, Mother of God", was a Jewish woman of Nazareth
Nazareth
Nazareth is the largest city in the North District of Israel. Known as "the Arab capital of Israel," the population is made up predominantly of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel...

 in Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

. She is identified in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

and in the Quran as the mother of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 through divine intervention
Annunciation
The Annunciation, also referred to as the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary or Annunciation of the Lord, is the Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to Virgin Mary, that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus the Son of God. Gabriel told Mary to name her...

.

The canonical gospels of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

 and Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

 describe Mary as a virgin (Greek παρθένος, parthénos). Traditionally, Christians believe that she conceived her son miraculously by the agency of the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit (Christianity)
For the majority of Christians, the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and is Almighty God...

. Muslims believe that she conceived by the command of God. This took place when she was already betrothed to Saint Joseph
Saint Joseph
Saint Joseph is a figure in the Gospels, the husband of the Virgin Mary and the earthly father of Jesus Christ ....

 and was awaiting the concluding rite of marriage, the formal home-taking ceremony. She married Joseph and accompanied him to Bethlehem
Bethlehem
Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank of the Jordan River, near Israel and approximately south of Jerusalem, with a population of about 30,000 people. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority and a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism...

, where Jesus was born. In keeping with Jewish custom, the betrothal would have taken place when she was around 12, and the birth of Jesus about a year later.

The New Testament begins its account of Mary's life with the Annunciation, when the archangel
Archangel
An archangel is an angel of high rank. Archangels are found in a number of religious traditions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Michael and Gabriel are recognized as archangels in Judaism and by most Christians. Michael is the only archangel specifically named in the Protestant Bible...

 Gabriel
Gabriel
In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel is an Archangel who typically serves as a messenger to humans from God.He first appears in the Book of Daniel, delivering explanations of Daniel's visions. In the Gospel of Luke Gabriel foretells the births of both John the Baptist and of Jesus...

 appeared to her and announced her divine selection to be mother of Jesus. Church tradition and early non-biblical writings state that her parents were an elderly couple, Saint Joachim and Saint Anne
Saint Anne
Saint Hanna of David's house and line, was the mother of the Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus Christ according to Christian and Islamic tradition. English Anne is derived from Greek rendering of her Hebrew name Hannah...

. The Bible records Mary's role in key events of the life of Jesus from his conception to his Ascension. Apocryphal writings tell of her subsequent death and bodily assumption
Assumption of Mary
According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life...

 into heaven.

Christians of the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

, Oriental Orthodox Church, Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

, and Lutheran churches believe that Mary, as mother of Jesus, is the Mother of God (Μήτηρ Θεοῦ) and the Theotokos
Theotokos
Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...

, literally Birthgiver of God. Mary has been venerated in Christianity since the Apostolic Age
Apostolic Age
The Apostolic Age of the history of Christianity is traditionally the period of the Twelve Apostles, dating from the Crucifixion of Jesus and the Great Commission in Jerusalem until the death of John the Apostle in Anatolia...

. Throughout the ages she has been a favorite subject in Christian art, music, and literature.

There is significant diversity in the Marian beliefs
Mariology
Roman Catholic Mariology is theology concerned with the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ as developed by the Catholic Church. Roman Catholic teachings on the subject have been based on the belief that "The Blessed Virgin, because she is the Mother of God, is believed to hold a certain...

 and devotional practices of major Christian traditions. The Catholic Church has a number of Marian dogmas, such as the Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Conception
The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin. It is one of the four dogmata in Roman Catholic Mariology...

 and the Assumption. Catholics refer to her as Our Lady
Our Lady
As a general concept, Our Lady may refer to:*Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mary, the mother of Jesus of Nazareth*Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary in Roman Catholic teachings...

 and venerate
Veneration
Veneration , or veneration of saints, is a special act of honoring a saint: an angel, or a dead person who has been identified by a church committee as singular in the traditions of the religion. It is practiced by the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic, and Eastern Catholic Churches...

 her as the Queen of Heaven
Queen of Heaven
Queen of Heaven is a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary by Christians, mainly of the Roman Catholic Church, and also, to some extent, in the Anglican, Lutheran, and Eastern Orthodox churches, to whom the title is a consequence of the Council of Ephesus in the fifth century, where the Virgin...

 and Mother of the Church
Mother of the Church
Mother of the Church is a title, officially given to Mary during the Second Vatican Council by Pope Paul VI. The title was first used by Saint Ambrose of Milan and rediscovered by Hugo Rahner, the brother of Karl Rahner.- Ambrose and Hugo Rahner :...

; most Protestants do not share these beliefs. Many Protestants see a minimal role for Mary within Christianity, based on the brevity of biblical references.

New Testament


The English name "Mary" comes from the Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 Μαρία, which is a shortened form of Μαριάμ. The New Testament name was based on her original Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 name מִרְיָם or Miryam
Miriam (given name)
Miriam is an ancient female Hebrew given name that has taken on many other forms in other languages and cultures, including the English name Mary. -Origin and variants:...

. Both Μαρία and Μαριάμ appear in the New Testament.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is referred to by name fewer than twenty times in the New Testament.

Specific references

  • Luke's gospel mentions Mary most often, identifying her by name twelve times, all of these in the infancy narrative .
  • Matthew's gospel mentions her by name five times, four of these in the infancy narrative and only once outside the infancy narrative.
  • Mark's gospel names her only once and mentions her as Jesus' mother without naming her in .
  • John's gospel refers to her twice but never mentions her by name. Described as Jesus' mother, she makes two appearances in John's gospel. She is first seen at the wedding at Cana of Galilee which is mentioned only in the fourth gospel. The second reference in John, also exclusively listed this gospel, has the mother of Jesus standing near the cross of her son together with the (also unnamed) "disciple whom Jesus loved." is the only text in the canonical gospels in which Mary speaks to (and about) the adult Jesus.
  • In the Book of Acts, Luke's second writing, Mary and the "brothers of Jesus" are mentioned in the company of the eleven who are gathered in the upper room after the ascension.
  • In the Book of Revelation, John's apocalypse never explicitly identifies the "woman clothed with the sun" as Mary of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus. However, some interpreters have made that connection.

Family and early life

The New Testament tells little of Mary's early history. The 2nd century Protoevangelium of James is the first source to name her parents as Joachim and Anne
Saint Anne
Saint Hanna of David's house and line, was the mother of the Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus Christ according to Christian and Islamic tradition. English Anne is derived from Greek rendering of her Hebrew name Hannah...

.

According to Luke, Mary was a cousin of Elizabeth, wife of the priest Zechariah
Zechariah (priest)
In the Bible, Zechariah , is the father of John the Baptist, a priest of the sons of Aaron, a prophet in , and the husband of Elisabeth who is the cousin of Mary the mother of Jesus.In the Qur'an, Zechariah plays a similar role as the father of John the Baptist and ranks him as a prophet alongside...

 of the priestly division of Abijah
Abijah
Abijah or Abiah or Abia is a Biblical unisex name that means Aviya or "my Father is Yahweh" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament the name Abijah was borne by several characters:Women...

, who was herself part of the lineage of Aaron
Daughter of Aaron
The description Daughter of Aaron is given to several women in the New Testament, among them Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist.This was a title given to all Kohanim , who nearly always intermarried: a "daughter of Aaron" was thus allowed to wed with Levites.Aaron, elder brother of Moses, is...

 and so of the tribe of Levi. Some of those who consider that the relationship with Elizabeth was on the maternal side, consider that Mary, like Joseph, to whom she was betrothed, was of the House of David and so of the tribe of Judah, and that the genealogy of Jesus
Genealogy of Jesus
The genealogy of Jesus is described in two passages of the Gospels: Luke 3:23–38 and Matthew 1:1–17.* Matthew's genealogy commences with Abraham and then from King David's son Solomon follows the legal line of the kings through Jeconiah, the king whose descendants were cursed, to Joseph, legal...

 presented in Luke from Nathan, third son of David and Bathsheba
Nathan (son of David)
Nathan was the third of four sons born to King David and Bathsheba in Jerusalem. He was an older brother of Solomon.In the New Testament, the genealogy of Jesus according to the Gospel of Luke traces Jesus' lineage back to King David through the line of Nathan, although the Gospel of Matthew...

, is in fact the genealogy of Mary, while the genealogy from Solomon
Solomon
Solomon , according to the Book of Kings and the Book of Chronicles, a King of Israel and according to the Talmud one of the 48 prophets, is identified as the son of David, also called Jedidiah in 2 Samuel 12:25, and is described as the third king of the United Monarchy, and the final king before...

 given in Matthew is that of Joseph. (Aaron's wife Elisheba was of the tribe of Judah, so all his descendents are from both Levi and Judah.)
Mary resided in "her own house" in Nazareth
Nazareth
Nazareth is the largest city in the North District of Israel. Known as "the Arab capital of Israel," the population is made up predominantly of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel...

 in Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

, possibly with her parents, and during her betrothal – the first stage of a Jewish marriage
Jewish view of marriage
In Judaism, marriage is viewed as a contractual bond commanded by God in which a man and a woman come together to create a relationship in which God is directly involved. Though procreation is not the sole purpose, a Jewish marriage is also expected to fulfill the commandment to have children. The...

 – the angel
Angel
Angels are mythical beings often depicted as messengers of God in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles along with the Quran. The English word angel is derived from the Greek ἄγγελος, a translation of in the Hebrew Bible ; a similar term, ملائكة , is used in the Qur'an...

 Gabriel announced to her that she was to be the mother of the promised Messiah
Messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

 by conceiving him through the Holy Spirit. After a number of months, when Joseph was told of her conception in a dream by "an angel of the Lord", he was surprised; but the angel told him to be unafraid and take her as his wife, which Joseph did, thereby formally completing the wedding rites.

Since the angel Gabriel had told Mary (according to ) that Elizabeth, having previously been barren, was then miraculously pregnant, Mary hurried to see Elizabeth, who was living with her husband Zechariah in "Hebron, in the hill country of Judah". Mary arrived at the house and greeted Elizabeth who called Mary "the mother of my Lord", and Mary spoke the words of praise that later became known as the Magnificat
Magnificat
The Magnificat — also known as the Song of Mary or the Canticle of Mary — is a canticle frequently sung liturgically in Christian church services. It is one of the eight most ancient Christian hymns and perhaps the earliest Marian hymn...

from her first word in the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 version. After about three months, Mary returned to her own house.

According to the Gospel of Luke, a decree of the Roman emperor Augustus required that Joseph return to his hometown of Bethlehem
Bethlehem
Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank of the Jordan River, near Israel and approximately south of Jerusalem, with a population of about 30,000 people. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority and a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism...

 to be taxed
Census of Quirinius
The Census of Quirinius refers to the enrollment of the Roman Provinces of Syria and Iudaea for tax purposes taken in the year 6/7 during the reign of Emperor Augustus , when Publius Sulpicius Quirinius was appointed governor of Syria, after the banishment of Herod Archelaus from the Tetrarchy of...

. While he was there with Mary, she gave birth to Jesus; but because there was no place for them in the inn, she used a manger
Manger
A manger is a trough or box of carved stone or wood construction used to hold food for animals . Mangers are mostly used in livestock raising. They are also used to feed wild animals, e.g., in nature reserves...

 as a cradle.
After eight days, he was circumcised
Circumcision of Christ
The Feast of the Circumcision of Christ is a Christian celebration of the circumcision of Jesus in accordance with Jewish tradition, eight days after his birth, the occasion on which the child was formally given his name.The circumcision of Jesus has traditionally been seen, as explained in the...

 according to Jewish law, and named "JESUS" in accordance with the instructions that the angel had given to Mary in , and Joseph was likewise told to call him Jesus in .

After Mary continued in the "blood of her purifying" another thirty three days for a total of forty days, she brought her burnt offering and sin offering to the temple, so the priest could make atonement for her sins, being cleansed from her blood. They also presented Jesus – "As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord" . After the prophecies of Simeon and the prophetess Anna in concluded, Joseph and Mary took Jesus and "returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth."

Sometime later, the "wise men
Magi
Magi is a term, used since at least the 4th century BC, to denote a follower of Zoroaster, or rather, a follower of what the Hellenistic world associated Zoroaster with, which...

" showed up at the "house" where Jesus and his family were staying, and they fled by night and stayed in Egypt for awhile, and returned after Herod died in 4 BC and took up residence in Nazareth.

Mary in the life of Jesus

Mary is involved in the only event in Jesus' adolescent life that is recorded in the New Testament. At the age of twelve Jesus, having become separated from his parents on their return journey from the Passover
Passover
Passover is a Jewish holiday and festival. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt...

 celebration in Jerusalem, was found among the teachers in the temple.

After Jesus' baptism
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

 by John the Baptist
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

 and his temptations by the devil in the desert, Mary was present when, at her suggestion, Jesus worked his first Cana
Cana
In the Christian New Testament, the Gospel of John refers a number of times to a town called Cana of Galilee.-The marriage at Cana:Among Christians and other students of the New Testament, Cana is best known as the place where, according to the Fourth Gospel, Jesus performed his first public...

 miracle during a marriage they attended, by turning water into wine. Subsequently there are events when Mary is present along with James
James the Just
James , first Bishop of Jerusalem, who died in 62 AD, was an important figure in Early Christianity...

, Joseph, Simon, and Judas
Jude, brother of Jesus
Jude was the brother of Jesus, according to the New Testament. He is traditionally identified as the author of the Epistle of Jude, a short epistle which is reckoned among the seven General epistles of the New Testament and considered canonical by Christians.-Sources: and write of Jesus family:...

, called Jesus' brothers, and unnamed "sisters". In later centuries when the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary developed, the early Church reinterpreted the words commonly translated "brother" and "sister" as actually meaning close relatives (see Perpetual virginity).

There is also an incident in which Jesus is sometimes interpreted as rejecting his family. "And his mother and his brothers arrived, and standing outside, they sent in a message asking for him ... And looking at those who sat in a circle around him, Jesus said, 'These are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.'"

Mary is also depicted as being present during the crucifixion
Crucifixion
Crucifixion is an ancient method of painful execution in which the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until dead...

 standing near "the disciple whom Jesus loved" along with Mary of Clopas and Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene was one of Jesus' most celebrated disciples, and the most important woman disciple in the movement of Jesus. Jesus cleansed her of "seven demons", conventionally interpreted as referring to complex illnesses...

, to which list adds "the mother of the sons of Zebedee", presumably the Salome
Salome (disciple)
Salome , sometimes venerated as Mary Salome, was a follower of Jesus who appears briefly in the canonical gospels and in more detail in apocryphal writings...

 mentioned in . This representation is called a Stabat Mater
Stabat Mater (art)
Stabat Mater is a topic in Christian Marian art in which the Virgin Mary is depicted under the cross during the Crucifixion of Christ...

. Mary, cradling the dead body of her Son, while not recorded in the Gospel accounts, is a common motif in art, called a "pietà
Pietà
The Pietà is a subject in Christian art depicting the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus, most often found in sculpture. As such, it is a particular form of the Lamentation of Christ, a scene from the Passion of Christ found in cycles of the Life of Christ...

" or "pity".

After the Ascension of Jesus

In Mary is the only one to be mentioned by name other than the eleven apostles, who abode in the upper room
Cenacle
The Cenacle , also known as the "Upper Room", is the term used for the site of The Last Supper. The word is a derivative of the Latin word cena, which means dinner....

, when they returned from mount Olivet. (It is not stated where the later gathering of about one hundred and twenty disciples was located, when they elected Matthias
Saint Matthias
Matthias , according to the Acts of the Apostles, was the apostle chosen by the remaining eleven apostles to replace Judas Iscariot following Judas' betrayal of Jesus and his suicide.-Biography:...

 to fill the office of Judas Iscariot
Judas Iscariot
Judas Iscariot was, according to the New Testament, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. He is best known for his betrayal of Jesus to the hands of the chief priests for 30 pieces of silver.-Etymology:...

 who perished.) Some speculate that the "elect lady" mentioned in may be Mary. From this time, she disappears from the biblical accounts, although it is held by Catholics that she is again portrayed as the heavenly woman of Revelation
Book of Revelation
The Book of Revelation is the final book of the New Testament. The title came into usage from the first word of the book in Koine Greek: apokalupsis, meaning "unveiling" or "revelation"...

.

Her death is not recorded in scripture. However, Catholic and Orthodox tradition and doctrine have her assumed
Assumption of Mary
According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life...

 (taken bodily) into Heaven. Belief in the corporeal assumption of Mary is universal to Catholicism
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

, in both Eastern and Western Catholic Churches
Western Christianity
Western Christianity is a term used to include the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church and groups historically derivative thereof, including the churches of the Anglican and Protestant traditions, which share common attributes that can be traced back to their medieval heritage...

, as well as the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

, Coptic Churches, and parts of the Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

 and Continuing Anglican Churches.

Later Christian writings and traditions

According to the apocrypha
Apocrypha
The term apocrypha is used with various meanings, including "hidden", "esoteric", "spurious", "of questionable authenticity", ancient Chinese "revealed texts and objects" and "Christian texts that are not canonical"....

l Gospel of James
Gospel of James
The Gospel of James, also known as the Infancy Gospel of James or the Protoevangelium of James, is an apocryphal Gospel probably written about AD 145, which expands backward in time the infancy stories contained the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and presents a narrative concerning the birth and...

 Mary was the daughter of Saint Joachim and Saint Anne
Saint Anne
Saint Hanna of David's house and line, was the mother of the Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus Christ according to Christian and Islamic tradition. English Anne is derived from Greek rendering of her Hebrew name Hannah...

. Before Mary's conception Anna had been barren. Mary was given to service as a consecrated virgin in the Temple in Jerusalem when she was three years old, much like Hannah
Hannah (Bible)
Hannah is the wife of Elkanah mentioned in the Books of Samuel. According to the Hebrew Bible she was the mother of Samuel...

 took Samuel to the Tabernacle as recorded in the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

.

According to Sacred Tradition
Sacred Tradition
Sacred Tradition or Holy Tradition is a theological term used in some Christian traditions, primarily in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox traditions, to refer to the fundamental basis of church authority....

, Mary died surrounded by the apostles
Apostle (Christian)
The term apostle is derived from Classical Greek ἀπόστολος , meaning one who is sent away, from στέλλω + από . The literal meaning in English is therefore an "emissary", from the Latin mitto + ex...

 (in either Jerusalem or Ephesus
Ephesus
Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era...

) between three days and 24 years after Christ's ascension. When the apostles later opened her tomb, they found it to be empty and they concluded that she had been assumed
Assumption of Mary
According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life...

 into Heaven
Heaven
Heaven, the Heavens or Seven Heavens, is a common religious cosmological or metaphysical term for the physical or transcendent place from which heavenly beings originate, are enthroned or inhabit...

. Mary's Tomb
Mary's Tomb
Mary's Tomb is a tomb located in the Kidron Valley, on the foothills of Mount of Olives, near the Church of All Nations and Gethsemane garden, originally just outside Jerusalem...

, an empty tomb in Jerusalem, is attributed to Mary. The Roman Catholic Church teaches Mary's assumption
Assumption of Mary
According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life...

, but does not teach that she necessarily died.

Hyppolitus of Thebes claims that Mary lived for eleven years after the death of her Son, dying in 41 AD.

The earliest extant biographical writing on Mary is Life of the Virgin
Life of the Virgin (Maximus)
The Life of the Virgin is the earliest known biographical work on the Virgin Mary. Its only extant copy is in a Georgian translation attributed to the seventh century saint, Maximus the Confessor, although the attribution remains less than certain....

attributed to the 7th century saint, Maximus the Confessor
Maximus the Confessor
Maximus the Confessor was a Christian monk, theologian, and scholar. In his early life, he was a civil servant, and an aide to the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius...

 which portrays her as a key element of the early Christian Church
Early Christianity
Early Christianity is generally considered as Christianity before 325. The New Testament's Book of Acts and Epistle to the Galatians records that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included James, Peter and John....

 after the death of Jesus.

In the 19th century, a house near Ephesus
Ephesus
Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era...

 in Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 was found which has since been visited as the House of the Virgin Mary
House of the Virgin Mary
The House of the Virgin Mary is a Christian and Muslim shrine located on Mt...

by pilgrims who consider it the place where Mary lived until her assumption. The Gospel of John states that Mary went to live with the Disciple whom Jesus loved
Disciple whom Jesus loved
The phrase the disciple whom Jesus loved or, in John 20:2, the Beloved Disciple is used five times in the Gospel of John, but in no other New Testament accounts of Jesus. claims that the Gospel of John is based on the written testimony of the "Beloved Disciple".Since the end of the 2nd century,...

, identified as John the Evangelist
John the Evangelist
Saint John the Evangelist is the conventional name for the author of the Gospel of John...

. Irenaeus
Irenaeus
Saint Irenaeus , was Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, then a part of the Roman Empire . He was an early church father and apologist, and his writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology...

 and Eusebius of Caesarea
Eusebius of Caesarea
Eusebius of Caesarea also called Eusebius Pamphili, was a Roman historian, exegete and Christian polemicist. He became the Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine about the year 314. Together with Pamphilus, he was a scholar of the Biblical canon...

 wrote in their histories that John later went to Ephesus, which may provide the basis for the early belief that Mary also lived in Ephesus with John.

2nd to 5th centuries

Christian devotion to Mary goes back to the 2nd century and predates the emergence of a specific Marian liturgical system in the 5th century, following the First Council of Ephesus in 431. The Council itself was held at a church in Ephesus which had been dedicated to Mary about a hundred years before. In Egypt the veneration of Mary had started in the 3rd century and the term Theotokos
Theotokos
Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...

 was used by Origen
Origen
Origen , or Origen Adamantius, 184/5–253/4, was an early Christian Alexandrian scholar and theologian, and one of the most distinguished writers of the early Church. As early as the fourth century, his orthodoxy was suspect, in part because he believed in the pre-existence of souls...

, the Alexandrian Father of the Church.

The earliest known Marian prayer (the Sub tuum praesidium
Sub tuum praesidium
Beneath thy protection is the oldest extant hymn to the Theotokos .-History:The earliest text of this hymn was found in a Coptic Orthodox Christmas liturgy of the third century. It is written in Greek and dates to approximately 250. It is used in the Coptic liturgy to this day, as well as in the...

, or Beneath Thy Protection) is from the 3rd century (perhaps 270), and its text was rediscovered in 1917 on a papyrus in Egypt. Following the Edict of Milan
Edict of Milan
The Edict of Milan was a letter signed by emperors Constantine I and Licinius that proclaimed religious toleration in the Roman Empire...

 in 313, by the 5th century artistic images of Mary began to appear in public and larger churches were being dedicated to Mary, e.g. S. Maria Maggiore
Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
The Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major , known also by other names, is the largest Roman Catholic Marian church in Rome, Italy.There are other churches in Rome dedicated to Mary, such as Santa Maria in Trastevere, Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Santa Maria sopra Minerva, but the greater size of the...

 in Rome.

Middle Ages

The Middle Ages saw many legends about Mary, and also her parents and even grandparents.

Since the Reformation

Over the centuries, devotion and veneration to Mary has varied greatly among Christian traditions. For instance, while Protestants show scant attention to Marian prayers or devotions, of all the saints whom the Orthodox venerate, the most honored is Mary, who is considered "more honorable than the Cherubim and more glorious than the Seraphim."

Orthodox theologian Sergei Bulgakov
Sergei Bulgakov
Fr. Sergei Nikolaevich Bulgakov was a Russian Orthodox Christian theologian, philosopher and economist. Until 1922 he worked in Russia; afterwards in Paris.-Early life:...

 wrote: "Love and veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the soul of Orthodox piety. A faith in Christ which does not include his mother is another faith, another Christianity from that of the Orthodox church."

Although the Catholics and the Orthodox may honor and venerate Mary, they do not view her as divine, nor do they worship her. Catholics view Mary as subordinate to Christ, but uniquely so, in that she is seen as above all other creatures. Similarly Theologian Sergei Bulgakov
Sergei Bulgakov
Fr. Sergei Nikolaevich Bulgakov was a Russian Orthodox Christian theologian, philosopher and economist. Until 1922 he worked in Russia; afterwards in Paris.-Early life:...

 wrote that although the Orthodox view Mary as "superior to all created beings" and "ceaselessly pray for her intercession" she is not considered a "substitute for the One Mediator" who is Christ. "Let Mary be in honor, but let worship be given to the Lord" he wrote. Similarly, Catholics do not worship Mary, but venerate her. Catholics use the term hyperdulia for Marian veneration rather than latria
Latria
Latrīa is a Latin term used in Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic theology to mean adoration, a reverence directed only to the Holy Trinity. Latria carries an emphasis on the internal form of worship, rather than external ceremonies.-Catholic teachings:In Catholic teachings, latria also applies...

that applies to God and dulia for other saints. The definition of the three level hierarchy of latria, hyperdulia and dulia goes back to the Second Council of Nicaea
Second Council of Nicaea
The Second Council of Nicaea is regarded as the Seventh Ecumenical Council by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic Churches and various other Western Christian groups...

 in 787.

Devotions to artistic depictions of Mary vary among Christian traditions. There is a long tradition of Roman Catholic Marian art
Roman Catholic Marian art
The Blessed Virgin Mary has been one of the major subjects of Christian Art, Catholic Art and Western Art for many centuries. Literally hundreds of thousands of pieces of...

 and no image permeates Catholic art
Art in Roman Catholicism
Roman Catholic art consists of all visual works produced in an attempt to illustrate, supplement and portray in tangible form the teachings of the Catholic Church. This includes sculpture, painting, mosaics, metalwork, embroidery and even architecture. Catholic art has played a leading role in the...

 as does the image of Madonna and Child. The icon of the Virgin is without doubt the most venerated icon among the Orthodox. Both Roman Catholics and the Orthodox venerate images and icons of Mary, given that the Second Council of Nicaea
Second Council of Nicaea
The Second Council of Nicaea is regarded as the Seventh Ecumenical Council by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic Churches and various other Western Christian groups...

 in 787 permitted their veneration by Catholics with the understanding that those who venerate the image are venerating the reality of the person it represents, and the 842 Synod of Constantinople established the same for the Orthodox. The Orthodox, however, only pray to and venerate flat, two-dimensional icons and not three-dimensional statues.

The Anglican position towards Mary is in general more conciliatory than that of Protestants at large and in a book he wrote about praying with the icons of Mary, Rowan Williams
Rowan Williams
Rowan Douglas Williams FRSL, FBA, FLSW is an Anglican bishop, poet and theologian. He is the 104th and current Archbishop of Canterbury, Metropolitan of the Province of Canterbury and Primate of All England, offices he has held since early 2003.Williams was previously Bishop of Monmouth and...

, the Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

 said: "It is not only that we cannot understand Mary without seeing her as pointing to Christ; we cannot understand Christ without seeing his attention to Mary".

Titles

Titles to honor Mary or ask for her intercession are used by some Christian traditions such as the Eastern Orthodox or Catholics, but not others, e.g. the Protestants. Common titles for Mary include Mother of God (Theotokos), The Blessed Virgin Mary (also abbreviated to "BVM"), Our Lady (Notre Dame, Nuestra Señora, Nossa Senhora, Madonna) and the Queen of Heaven
Queen of Heaven
Queen of Heaven is a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary by Christians, mainly of the Roman Catholic Church, and also, to some extent, in the Anglican, Lutheran, and Eastern Orthodox churches, to whom the title is a consequence of the Council of Ephesus in the fifth century, where the Virgin...

(Regina Caeli).

Specific titles vary among Anglican views of Mary
Anglican Marian theology
Anglican Marian theology is the summation of the doctrines and beliefs of Anglicanism concerning the Blessed Virgin Mary. As Anglicans believe that Jesus was both human and God the Son, the second Person of the Trinity, within the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglican churches, Mary is...

, Ecumenical views of Mary, Lutheran views of Mary, Protestant views on Mary, and Roman Catholic views of Mary
Blessed Virgin Mary (Roman Catholic)
Roman Catholic veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary is based on Holy Scripture: In the fullness of time, God sent his son, born of a virgin. The mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God through Mary thus signifies her honour as Mother of God...

, Latter Day Saints' views of Mary, Orthodox views of Mary. In addition to Islamic views on Mary.

Mary is referred to by the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

, Oriental Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy is the faith of those Eastern Christian Churches that recognize only three ecumenical councils — the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople and the First Council of Ephesus. They rejected the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon...

, the Anglican Church, and all Eastern Catholic Churches as Theotokos, a title recognized at the Third Ecumenical Council (held at Ephesus to address the teachings of Nestorius
Nestorius
Nestorius was Archbishop of Constantinople from 10 April 428 to 22 June 431.Drawing on his studies at the School of Antioch, his teachings, which included a rejection of the long-used title of Theotokos for the Virgin Mary, brought him into conflict with other prominent churchmen of the time,...

, in 431). Theotokos (and its Latin equivalents, "Deipara" and "Dei genetrix") literally means "Godbearer". The equivalent phrase "Mater Dei", (Mother of God) is more common in Latin and so also in the other languages used in the Western Catholic Church, but this same phrase in Greek (Μήτηρ Θεοῦ), in the abbreviated form of the first and last letter of the two words (ΜΡ ΘΥ), is the indication attached to her image in Byzantine icons. The Council stated that the Church Fathers "did not hesitate to speak of the holy Virgin as the Mother of God".

Some titles have a Biblical basis, for instance the title Queen Mother has been given to Mary since she was the mother of Jesus, who was sometimes referred to as the "King of Kings" due to his lineage of King David. The biblical basis for the term Queen can be seen in the Gospel of Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

 1:32 and the Book of Isaiah
Book of Isaiah
The Book of Isaiah is the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, preceding the books of Ezekiel, Jeremiah and the Book of the Twelve...

 9:6, and Queen Mother from and . Other titles have arisen from reported miracles, special appeals or occasions for calling on Mary, e.g. Our Lady of Good Counsel
Our Lady of Good Counsel
Our Lady of Good Counsel is a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary, after an allegedly miraculous painting now found in the thirteenth century Augustinian church at Genazzano, near Rome, Italy. Measuring 40 by 45 centimeters the image is a fresco executed on a thin layer of porcelain no thicker...

, Our Lady of Navigators
Our Lady of Navigators
Our Lady of Navigators is a devotional title given to the Virgin Mary by Roman Catholics. It is a widespread devotion in South America, specially Brazil, where the Feast of Our Lady of Navigators is celebrated on February 2 as an official holiday...

 or Our Lady of Ransom who protects captives.

The three main titles for Mary used by the Orthodox are Theotokos
Theotokos
Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...

, i.e., Mother of God (Greek Θεοτόκος), Aeiparthenos
Aeiparthenos
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Aeiparthenos is the title of the Theotokos which refers to the "Ever Virgin" Mary, mother of Jesus, thus affirming the doctrine of the Perpetual virginity of Mary...

, i.e. Ever Virgin (Greek ἀειπαρθὲνος), as confirmed in the Fifth Ecumenical Council 553, and Panagia
Panagia
Panagia , also transliterated Panayia or Panaghia, is one of the titles of Mary, the mother of Jesus, used especially in Orthodox Christianity....

, i.e., All Holy (Greek Παναγία). A large number of titles for Mary are used by Roman Catholics, and these titles have in turn given rise to many artistic depictions, e.g. the title Our Lady of Sorrows
Our Lady of Sorrows
Our Lady of Sorrows , the Sorrowful Mother or Mother of Sorrows , and Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows or Our Lady of the Seven Dolours are names by which the Blessed Virgin Mary is referred to in relation to sorrows in her life...

 has resulted in masterpieces such as Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

's Pietà
Pietà (Michelangelo)
The Pietà is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture by Michelangelo Buonarroti, housed in St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. It is the first of a number of works of the same theme by the artist. The statue was commissioned for the French cardinal Jean de Billheres, who was a representative in...

.

Marian feasts

Main article: Marian feast days
Marian feast days
Marian feast days are specific holy days of the liturgical year celebrated by Christians as significant Marian days for the celebration of events in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her veneration...

(includes lists of feast days)


The earliest feasts that relate to Mary grew out of the cycle of feasts that celebrated the Nativity of Jesus
Nativity of Jesus
The Nativity of Jesus, or simply The Nativity, refers to the accounts of the birth of Jesus in two of the Canonical gospels and in various apocryphal texts....

. Given that according to the Gospel of Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

 , forty days after the birth of Jesus, along with the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple
Presentation of Jesus at the Temple
The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, which falls on 2 February, celebrates an early episode in the life of Jesus. In the Eastern Orthodox Church and some Eastern Catholic Churches, it is one of the twelve Great Feasts, and is sometimes called Hypapante...

 Mary was purified according to Jewish customs, the Feast of the Purification began to be celebrated by the 5th century, and became the "Feast of Simeon
Simeon the Righteous
Simeon is the "just and devout" man of Jerusalem who, according to , met the Virgin Mary, Joseph, and Jesus as they entered the Temple to fulfill the requirements of the Law of Moses on the 40th day from Jesus' birth.According to the Biblical account,...

" in Byzantium
Byzantium
Byzantium was an ancient Greek city, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas . The name Byzantium is a Latinization of the original name Byzantion...

.
In the 7th and 8th centuries four more Marian feasts were established in the Eastern Church. In the Western Church a feast dedicated to Mary, just before Christmas was celebrated in the Churches of Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 and Ravenna
Ravenna
Ravenna is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and the second largest comune in Italy by land area, although, at , it is little more than half the size of the largest comune, Rome...

 in Italy in the 7th century. The four Roman Marian feasts of Purification, Annunciation, Assumption and Nativity of Mary were gradually and sporadically introduced into England by the 11th century.

Over time, the number and nature of feasts (and the associated Titles of Mary
Titles of Mary
Mary is known by many titles , epithets , invocations and other names ....

) and the venerative practices that accompany them have varied a great deal among diverse Christian traditions. Overall, there are significantly more titles, feasts and venerative Marian practices among Roman Catholics than any other Christians traditions. Some such feasts relate to specific events, e.g. the Feast of Our Lady of Victory was based on the 1571 victory of the Papal States
Papal States
The Papal State, State of the Church, or Pontifical States were among the major historical states of Italy from roughly the 6th century until the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia .The Papal States comprised territories under...

 in the Battle of Lepanto
Battle of Lepanto (1571)
The Battle of Lepanto took place on 7 October 1571 when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of Catholic maritime states, decisively defeated the main fleet of the Ottoman Empire in five hours of fighting on the northern edge of the Gulf of Patras, off western Greece...

.

Differences in feasts may also originate from doctrinal issues – the Feast of the Assumption is such an example. Given that there is no agreement among all Christians on the circumstances of the death, Dormition
Dormition of the Theotokos
The Dormition of the Theotokos is a Great Feast of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches which commemorates the "falling asleep" or death of the Theotokos , and her bodily resurrection before being taken up into heaven. It is celebrated on August 15 The Dormition...

 or Assumption of Mary
Assumption of Mary
According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life...

, the feast of assumption is celebrated among some denominations and not others.
While the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Assumption on August 15, some Eastern Catholics celebrate it as Dormition of the Theotokos
Dormition of the Theotokos
The Dormition of the Theotokos is a Great Feast of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches which commemorates the "falling asleep" or death of the Theotokos , and her bodily resurrection before being taken up into heaven. It is celebrated on August 15 The Dormition...

, and may do so on August 28, if they follow the Julian calendar
Julian calendar
The Julian calendar began in 45 BC as a reform of the Roman calendar by Julius Caesar. It was chosen after consultation with the astronomer Sosigenes of Alexandria and was probably designed to approximate the tropical year .The Julian calendar has a regular year of 365 days divided into 12 months...

. The Eastern Orthodox also celebrate it as the Dormition of the Theotokos
Dormition of the Theotokos
The Dormition of the Theotokos is a Great Feast of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches which commemorates the "falling asleep" or death of the Theotokos , and her bodily resurrection before being taken up into heaven. It is celebrated on August 15 The Dormition...

, one of their 12 Great Feasts
Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church
The feast of the Resurrection of Jesus, called Pascha , is the greatest of the feasts of the Eastern Orthodox Church. In addition, there are other days of great importance in the life of the Church - the Twelve Great Feasts ....

. Protestants do not celebrate this, or any other Marian feasts.

Christian doctrines

There is significant diversity in the Marian doctrines accepted by various Christian churches. The key Marian doctrines held in Christianity can be briefly outlined as follows:
  • Mother of God: holds that Mary, as mother of Jesus is therefore Theotokos
    Theotokos
    Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...

     (God-bearer), or Mother of God.
  • Virgin birth of Jesus: states that Mary miraculously conceived Jesus by action of the Holy Spirit
    Holy Spirit (Christianity)
    For the majority of Christians, the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and is Almighty God...

     while remaining a virgin.
  • Dormition
    Dormition of the Theotokos
    The Dormition of the Theotokos is a Great Feast of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches which commemorates the "falling asleep" or death of the Theotokos , and her bodily resurrection before being taken up into heaven. It is celebrated on August 15 The Dormition...

    : the Orthodox understanding of the Assumption.
  • Assumption
    Assumption of Mary
    According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life...

    : the doctrine which states that Mary was taken bodily into Heaven either at, or before, her death.
  • Immaculate Conception
    Immaculate Conception
    The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin. It is one of the four dogmata in Roman Catholic Mariology...

    : states that Mary herself was conceived without original sin
    Original sin
    Original sin is, according to a Christian theological doctrine, humanity's state of sin resulting from the Fall of Man. This condition has been characterized in many ways, ranging from something as insignificant as a slight deficiency, or a tendency toward sin yet without collective guilt, referred...

    .
  • Perpetual Virginity: holds that Mary remained a virgin all her life, even after the act of giving birth to Jesus.


The acceptance of these Marian doctrines by Christians can be summarized as follows:
Doctrine Church action Accepted by
Mother of God First Council of Ephesus, 431 Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists,
Latter Day Saints (as Mother of Son of God)
Virgin birth of Jesus  First Council of Nicaea
First Council of Nicaea
The First Council of Nicaea was a council of Christian bishops convened in Nicaea in Bithynia by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325...

, 325
Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans,
Protestants, Latter Day Saints
Assumption of Mary
Assumption of Mary
According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life...

 
Munificentissimus Deus
Munificentissimus Deus
Munificentissimus Deus is the name of an Apostolic constitution written by Pope Pius XII. It defines ex cathedra the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was the first ex-cathedra infallible statement since the official ruling on papal infallibility was made at the First Vatican...

encyclical
Pope Pius XII
Pope Pius XII
The Venerable Pope Pius XII , born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli , reigned as Pope, head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City State, from 2 March 1939 until his death in 1958....

, 1950
Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, some Anglicans, some Lutherans
Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Conception
The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin. It is one of the four dogmata in Roman Catholic Mariology...

 
Ineffabilis Deus
Ineffabilis Deus
Ineffabilis Deus is the name of a Papal bull by Pope Pius IX. It defines ex cathedra the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary...

encyclical
Pope Pius IX
Pope Pius IX
Blessed Pope Pius IX , born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, was the longest-reigning elected Pope in the history of the Catholic Church, serving from 16 June 1846 until his death, a period of nearly 32 years. During his pontificate, he convened the First Vatican Council in 1869, which decreed papal...

, 1854
Roman Catholics, some Anglicans, some Lutherans, early Martin Luther
Perpetual Virginity  Council of Constantinople
Second Council of Constantinople
The Second Council of Constantinople is recognized as the Fifth Ecumenical Council by the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Old Catholics, and a number of other Western Christian groups. It was held from May 5 to June 2, 553, having been called by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian...

, 533
Smalcald Articles
Smalcald Articles
The Smalcald Articles or Schmalkald Articles are a summary of Lutheran doctrine, written by Martin Luther in 1537 for a meeting of the Schmalkaldic League in preparation for an intended ecumenical Council of the Church.-History:...

, 1537
Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Some Anglicans, Some Lutherans,
Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

, John Calvin
John Calvin
John Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530...

, John Wesley
John Wesley
John Wesley was a Church of England cleric and Christian theologian. Wesley is largely credited, along with his brother Charles Wesley, as founding the Methodist movement which began when he took to open-air preaching in a similar manner to George Whitefield...



The title "Mother of God" (Theotokos
Theotokos
Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...

) for Mary was confirmed by the First Council of Ephesus, held at the Church of Mary
Church of Mary
The Church of Mary is an ancient Christian cathedral dedicated to the Theotokos , located in Ephesus, Turkey. It is also known as the Church of the Councils because two councils of importance to the history of Early Christianity are assumed to have been held within...

 in 431. The Council decreed that Mary is the Mother of God because her son Jesus is one person who is both God and man, divine and human. This doctrine is widely accepted by Christians in general, and the term Mother of God had already been used within the oldest known prayer to Mary, the Sub tuum praesidium
Sub tuum praesidium
Beneath thy protection is the oldest extant hymn to the Theotokos .-History:The earliest text of this hymn was found in a Coptic Orthodox Christmas liturgy of the third century. It is written in Greek and dates to approximately 250. It is used in the Coptic liturgy to this day, as well as in the...

 which dates to around 250 AD.

The Virgin birth of Jesus has been a universally held belief among Christians since the 2nd century, It is included in the two most widely used Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 creed
Creed
A creed is a statement of belief—usually a statement of faith that describes the beliefs shared by a religious community—and is often recited as part of a religious service. When the statement of faith is longer and polemical, as well as didactic, it is not called a creed but a Confession of faith...

s, which state that Jesus "was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary" (the Nicene Creed
Nicene Creed
The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...

 in what is now its familiar form) and the Apostles' Creed
Apostles' Creed
The Apostles' Creed , sometimes titled Symbol of the Apostles, is an early statement of Christian belief, a creed or "symbol"...

. The Gospel of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

 describes Mary as a virgin who fulfilled the prophecy of . The authors of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

 consider Jesus' conception not the result of intercourse and assert that Mary had "no relations with man" before Jesus' birth. This alludes to the belief that Mary conceived Jesus through the action of God the Holy Spirit, and not through intercourse
Sexual intercourse
Sexual intercourse, also known as copulation or coitus, commonly refers to the act in which a male's penis enters a female's vagina for the purposes of sexual pleasure or reproduction. The entities may be of opposite sexes, or they may be hermaphroditic, as is the case with snails...

 with Joseph or anyone else.

The doctrines of the Assumption
Assumption of Mary
According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life...

 or Dormition
Dormition of the Theotokos
The Dormition of the Theotokos is a Great Feast of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches which commemorates the "falling asleep" or death of the Theotokos , and her bodily resurrection before being taken up into heaven. It is celebrated on August 15 The Dormition...

 of Mary relate to her death and bodily assumption to Heaven
Heaven
Heaven, the Heavens or Seven Heavens, is a common religious cosmological or metaphysical term for the physical or transcendent place from which heavenly beings originate, are enthroned or inhabit...

. While the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 has established the dogma of the Assumption, namely that the Mary directly went to Heaven without a usual physical death, the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 believes in the Dormition, i.e. that she fell asleep, surrounded by the Apostles.

Roman Catholics believe in the Immaculate Conception of Mary, as proclaimed Ex Cathedra
Ex Cathedra
Ex Cathedra is a British choir and early music ensemble based in Birmingham in the West Midlands, England. It performs choral music spanning the 15th to 21st centuries, and regularly commissions new works....

by Pope Pius IX in 1854, namely that she was filled with grace from the very moment of her conception in her mother's womb and preserved from the stain of original sin. The Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 has a liturgical feast by that name
Feast of the Immaculate Conception
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates belief in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is celebrated on 8 December, nine months before the Nativity of Mary, which is celebrated on 8 September. It is the patronal feast day of the United States and the Republic of the...

, kept on 8 December. The Eastern Orthodox reject the Immaculate Conception principally because their understanding of ancestral sin (the Greek term corresponding to the Latin "original sin") differs from that of the Roman Catholic Church, but also on the basis that without original sin.

The Perpetual Virginity of Mary, asserts Mary's real and perpetual virginity
Virginity
Virginity refers to the state of a person who has never engaged in sexual intercourse. There are cultural and religious traditions which place special value and significance on this state, especially in the case of unmarried females, associated with notions of personal purity, honor and worth...

 even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made Man. The term Ever-Virgin (Greek ) is applied in this case, stating that Mary remained a virgin for the remainder of her life, making Jesus her biological and only son, whose conception
Incarnation (Christianity)
The Incarnation in traditional Christianity is the belief that Jesus Christ the second person of the Trinity, also known as God the Son or the Logos , "became flesh" by being conceived in the womb of a woman, the Virgin Mary, also known as the Theotokos .The Incarnation is a fundamental theological...

 and birth
Nativity of Jesus
The Nativity of Jesus, or simply The Nativity, refers to the accounts of the birth of Jesus in two of the Canonical gospels and in various apocryphal texts....

 are held to be miraculous.

Christian perspectives on Mary

Christian Marian perspectves include a great deal of diversity. While some Christians such as Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox have well established Marian traditions, Protestants at large pay scant attention to Mariological themes.
Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox
Oriental Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy is the faith of those Eastern Christian Churches that recognize only three ecumenical councils — the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople and the First Council of Ephesus. They rejected the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon...

, Anglican
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

, and Lutherans
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

 venerate
Veneration
Veneration , or veneration of saints, is a special act of honoring a saint: an angel, or a dead person who has been identified by a church committee as singular in the traditions of the religion. It is practiced by the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic, and Eastern Catholic Churches...

 the Virgin Mary. This veneration especially takes the form of prayer
Prayer
Prayer is a form of religious practice that seeks to activate a volitional rapport to a deity through deliberate practice. Prayer may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words or song. When language is used, prayer may take the form of...

 for intercession with her Son, Jesus Christ. Additionally it includes composing poems and songs in Mary's honor, painting icons or carving statues of her, and conferring titles on Mary that reflect her position among the saints.

Anglican view

The multiple churches that form the Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

 and the Continuing Anglican movement have different views on Marian doctrines and venerative practices given that there is no single church with universal authority within the Communion and that the mother church (the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

) understands itself to be both "catholic" and "Reformed
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

". Thus unlike the Protestant churches at large, the Anglican Communion (which includes the Episcopal Church in the United States) includes segments which still retain some veneration of Mary.

Mary's special position within God's purpose of salvation as "God-bearer" (Theotokos
Theotokos
Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...

)
is recognised in a number of ways by some Anglican Christians. All the member churches of the Anglican Communion affirm in the historic creeds that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, and celebrates the feast days of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. This feast is called in older prayer books
Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer is the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion, as well as by the Continuing Anglican, "Anglican realignment" and other Anglican churches. The original book, published in 1549 , in the reign of Edward VI, was a product of the English...

 the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary on 2 February. The Annunciation
Annunciation
The Annunciation, also referred to as the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary or Annunciation of the Lord, is the Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to Virgin Mary, that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus the Son of God. Gabriel told Mary to name her...

 of our Lord to the Blessed Virgin on March 25 was from before the time of Bede
Bede
Bede , also referred to as Saint Bede or the Venerable Bede , was a monk at the Northumbrian monastery of Saint Peter at Monkwearmouth, today part of Sunderland, England, and of its companion monastery, Saint Paul's, in modern Jarrow , both in the Kingdom of Northumbria...

 until the 18th century New Year's Day in England. The Annunciation is called the "Annunciation of our Lady" in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer
Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer is the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion, as well as by the Continuing Anglican, "Anglican realignment" and other Anglican churches. The original book, published in 1549 , in the reign of Edward VI, was a product of the English...

. Anglicans also celebrate in the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin on May 31, though in some provinces the traditional date of July 2 is kept. The feast of the St. Mary the Virgin is observed on the traditional day of the Assumption, August 15. The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin is kept on September 8.

The Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is kept in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, on December 8. In certain Anglo-Catholic parishes this feast is called the Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Conception
The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin. It is one of the four dogmata in Roman Catholic Mariology...

. Again, the Assumption of Mary
Assumption of Mary
According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life...

 is believed in by most Anglo-Catholics, but is considered a pious opinion by moderate Anglicans. Protestant minded Anglicans reject the celebration of these feasts.

Prayers and venerative practices vary a great deal. For instance, as of the 19th century, following the Oxford Movement
Oxford Movement
The Oxford Movement was a movement of High Church Anglicans, eventually developing into Anglo-Catholicism. The movement, whose members were often associated with the University of Oxford, argued for the reinstatement of lost Christian traditions of faith and their inclusion into Anglican liturgy...

, Anglo-Catholics frequently pray the Rosary
Rosary
The rosary or "garland of roses" is a traditional Catholic devotion. The term denotes the prayer beads used to count the series of prayers that make up the rosary...

, the Angelus
Angelus
The Angelus is a Christian devotion in memory of the Incarnation. The name Angelus is derived from the opening words: Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariæ The Angelus (Latin for "angel") is a Christian devotion in memory of the Incarnation. The name Angelus is derived from the opening words: Angelus...

, Regina Caeli, and other litanies and anthems of Our Lady that are reminiscent of Catholic practices. On the other hand, Low-church
Low church
Low church is a term of distinction in the Church of England or other Anglican churches initially designed to be pejorative. During the series of doctrinal and ecclesiastic challenges to the established church in the 16th and 17th centuries, commentators and others began to refer to those groups...

 Anglicans rarely invoke the Blessed Virgin except in certain hymns, such as the second stanza of Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones
Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones
Ye watchers and ye holy ones is a popular Christian hymn written by Athelstan Riley . It is sung to the German tune Lasst Uns Erfreuen which also goes by the name Vigiles et Sancti. Its uplifting melody make this a favourite Anglo-Catholic hymn during times of great rejoicing...

.

The Anglican Society of Mary
Society of Mary (Anglican)
The Society of Mary is an Anglican devotional society dedicated to and under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As its website states, it is a group of Anglican Christians "dedicated to the Glory of God and the Holy Incarnation of Christ under the invocation of Our Lady, Help of...

 was formed in 1931 and maintains chapters in many countries. The purpose of the society is to foster devotion to Mary among Anglicans. The high-church
High church
The term "High Church" refers to beliefs and practices of ecclesiology, liturgy and theology, generally with an emphasis on formality, and resistance to "modernization." Although used in connection with various Christian traditions, the term has traditionally been principally associated with the...

 Anglicans espouse doctrines that are closer to Roman Catholics, and retain veneration for Mary, e.g. official Anglican pilgrimages to Our Lady of Lourdes
Our Lady of Lourdes
Our Lady of Lourdes is the name used to refer to the Marian apparition said to have appeared before various individuals on separate occasions around Lourdes, France...

 have taken place since 1963, and pilgrimages to Our Lady of Walsingham
Our Lady of Walsingham
Our Lady of Walsingham is a title used for Mary, the mother of Jesus. The title derives from the belief that Mary appeared in a vision to Richeldis de Faverches, a devout Saxon noblewoman, in 1061 in the village of Walsingham in Norfolk, England...

 have gone on for hundreds of years.

Historically, there has been enough common ground between Roman Catholics and Anglicans on Marian issues that in 2005 a joint statement called Mary: grace and hope in Christ was produced through ecumenical meetings of Anglicans and Roman Catholic theologians. This document, informally known as the "Seattle Statement", is not formally endorsed by either the Catholic Church or the Anglican Communion, but is viewed by its authors as the beginning of a joint understanding of Mary.

Catholic view

In the Catholic Church, Mary is accorded the title "Blessed," (from Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 beatus, blessed, via Greek μακάριος, makarios and Latin facere, make) in recognition of her ascension
Assumption of Mary
According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life...

 to Heaven and her capacity to intercede on behalf of those who pray to her. Catholic teachings make clear that Mary is not considered divine and prayers to her are not answered by her, they are answered by God. The five Catholic dogmas regarding Mary are: Mother of God, Virgin birth of Jesus, Perpetual virginity of Mary
Perpetual virginity of Mary
The doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary, expresses the Virgin Mary's "real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to Jesus the Son of God made Man"...

, Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Conception
The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin. It is one of the four dogmata in Roman Catholic Mariology...

 (of Mary) and Assumption of Mary
Assumption of Mary
According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life...

.

The Blessed Virgin Mary
Blessed Virgin Mary (Roman Catholic)
Roman Catholic veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary is based on Holy Scripture: In the fullness of time, God sent his son, born of a virgin. The mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God through Mary thus signifies her honour as Mother of God...

, the mother of Jesus has a more central role in Roman Catholic teachings and beliefs than in any other major Christian group. Not only do Roman Catholics have more theological doctrines and teachings that relate to Mary, but they have more festivals, prayers, devotional, and venerative practices than any other group. The Catholic Catechism
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the official text of the teachings of the Catholic Church. A provisional, "reference text" was issued by Pope John Paul II on October 11, 1992 — "the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council" — with his apostolic...

 states: "The Church's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship."

For centuries, Roman Catholics have performed acts of consecration and entrustment to Mary
Consecration and entrustment to Mary
For centuries, Marian devotions among Roman Catholics have included many examples of personal or collective acts of consecration and entrustment to the Virgin Mary, with the Latin terms oblatio, servitus, commendatio and dedicatio having been used in this context.Consecration is an act by which a...

 at personal, societal and regional levels. These acts may be directed to the Virgin herself, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Immaculate Heart of Mary
The Immaculate Heart of Mary originally The Sacred Heart of Mary is a devotional name used to refer to the interior life of Mary, her joys and sorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections, and, above all, her virginal love for God, her maternal love for her Son, Jesus, and her compassionate love for...

 and to the Immaculata. In Catholic teachings, consecration to Mary does not diminish or substitute the love of God, but enhances it, for all consecration is ultimately made to God.

Following the growth of Marian devotions in the 16th century, Catholic saints wrote books such as Glories of Mary
The Glories of Mary
The Glories of Mary is a classic book in the field of Roman Catholic Mariology, written during the 18th century by Saint Alphonsus Liguori, a Doctor of the Church....

 and True Devotion to Mary
True Devotion to Mary
True Devotion to Mary is a book by Saint Louis de Montfort on the Roman Catholic theme of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.The book is published by Montfort Publications , Baronius Press, TAN Publishing and Aventine Press but is also available online...

 that emphasized Marian veneration and taught that "the path to Jesus is through Mary". Marian devotions are at times linked to Christocentric
Christology
Christology is the field of study within Christian theology which is primarily concerned with the nature and person of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament. Primary considerations include the relationship of Jesus' nature and person with the nature...

 devotions, e.g. the Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary
Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary
The Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary refers to the historical, theological and spiritual links in Catholic devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary...

.

Key Marian devotions include: Seven Sorrows of Mary, Rosary and scapular
Rosary and scapular
"The Rosary and the Scapular are inseparable" was a sentiment expressed by Lucia Santos, one of the three children who reported the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Fátima in 1917, and later the Pontevedra apparitions in 1925...

, Miraculous Medal
Miraculous Medal
The Miraculous Medal, also known as the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, is a medal created by Saint Catherine Labouré following a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary...

 and Reparations to Mary
Acts of Reparation to the Virgin Mary
Roman Catholic tradition and Mariology include specific prayers and devotions as acts of reparation for insults and blasphemies against the Blessed Virgin Mary...

. The months of May and October are traditionally "Marian months" for Roman Catholics, e.g. the daily Rosary
Rosary
The rosary or "garland of roses" is a traditional Catholic devotion. The term denotes the prayer beads used to count the series of prayers that make up the rosary...

 is encouraged in October and in May Marian devotions
May devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary
May Devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary refers to special Marian devotions held in the Catholic Church during the month of May honoring the Virgin Mary as "the Queen of May". These services may take place inside or outside...

 take place in many regions. Popes have issued a number of Marian encyclicals and Apostolic Letters
Marian papal encyclicals and Apostolic Letters
Marian papal encyclicals and Apostolic Letters have been a major force that has shaped Roman Catholic Mariology over the centuries. Although Mariology has also grown from the bottom up via sensus fidelium, papal views have transformed Marian dogmas, doctrines and devotions within the Roman Catholic...

 to encourage devotions to and the veneration of the Virgin Mary.

Catholics place high emphasis on Mary's roles as protector and intercessor and the Catholic Catechism
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the official text of the teachings of the Catholic Church. A provisional, "reference text" was issued by Pope John Paul II on October 11, 1992 — "the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council" — with his apostolic...

 refers to Mary as the "Mother of God to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs". Key Marian prayers include: Hail Mary
Hail Mary
The Angelic Salutation, Hail Mary, or Ave Maria is a traditional biblical Catholic prayer asking for the intercession of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus. The Hail Mary is used within the Catholic Church, and it forms the basis of the Rosary...

, Alma Redemptoris Mater
Alma Redemptoris Mater
Alma Redemptoris Mater is a Marian hymn and one of four liturgical Marian antiphons , and sung at the end of the office of Compline. Hermannus Contractus is said to have authored the hymn based on the writings of Ss. Fulgentius, Epiphanius, and Irenaeus of Lyon...

, Sub Tuum Praesidum, Ave Maris Stella
Ave Maris Stella
Ave Maris Stella is a plainsong Vespers hymn to Mary. It is of uncertain origin and can be dated back at least as far as the eighth century. It was especially popular in the Middle Ages and has been used by many composers as the basis of other compositions...

, Regina Coeli
Regina Coeli
The Regina Caeli or Regina Coeli , an ancient Latin Marian Hymn of the Christian Church, is one of the four seasonal Marian antiphons of the Blessed Virgin Mary, prescribed to be sung or recited in the Liturgy of the Hours at the conclusion of the last of the hours to be prayed in common that day,...

, Ave Regina Coelorum
Ave Regina Coelorum
Ave Regina Caelorum is one of four Marian antiphons, with following versicles and prayers, traditionally said or sung after each of the canonical hours of the Liturgy of the Hours. The prayer is used especially after Compline, the final canonical hour of prayer before going to sleep. It is said...

 and the Magnificat
Magnificat
The Magnificat — also known as the Song of Mary or the Canticle of Mary — is a canticle frequently sung liturgically in Christian church services. It is one of the eight most ancient Christian hymns and perhaps the earliest Marian hymn...

.

Mary's participation in the processes of salvation and redemption has also been emphasized in the Catholic tradition, but they are not doctrines. Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

's 1987 encyclical Redemptoris Mater
Redemptoris Mater
Redemptoris Mater is the name for certain Roman Catholic seminaries which operate under the auspices of the Neocatechumenal Way and claim as their mission the formation of priests for the "New Evangelization". These seminaries are distributed worldwide, with nearly 1,500 seminarians currently in...

began with the sentence: "The Mother of the Redeemer has a precise place in the plan of salvation."

In the 20th century both popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have emphasized the Marian focus of the Church. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) wrote:


It is necessary to go back to Mary if we want to return to that "truth about Jesus Christ," "truth about the Church" and "truth about man".


when he suggested a redirection of the whole Church towards the program of Pope John Paul II in order to ensure an authentic approach to Christology
Christology
Christology is the field of study within Christian theology which is primarily concerned with the nature and person of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament. Primary considerations include the relationship of Jesus' nature and person with the nature...

 via a return to the "whole truth about Mary".

Orthodox view

Orthodox Christianity
Orthodox Christianity
The term Orthodox Christianity may refer to:* the Eastern Orthodox Church and its various geographical subdivisions...

 includes a large number of traditions regarding the Ever Virgin Mary, the Theotokos
Theotokos
Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...

. The Orthodox believe that she was and remained a virgin before and after Christ's birth. The Theotokia (i.e. hymns to the Theotokos
Hymns to Mary
Marian Hymns are Christian songs focused on the Virgin Mary. They are used in both devotional and liturgical services, particularly by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran churches. They are often used in the month of May devotions. Some have also been adopted as Christmas...

) are an essential part of the Divine Services in the Eastern Church and their positioning within the liturgical sequence effectively places the Theotokos in the most prominent place after Christ. Within the Orthodox tradition, the order of the saints begins with: The Theotokos, Angels, Prophets, Apostles, Fathers, Martyres, etc. giving the Virgin Mary precedence over the angels. She is also proclaimed as the "Lady of the Angels".

The views of the Church Fathers
Church Fathers
The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were early and influential theologians, eminent Christian teachers and great bishops. Their scholarly works were used as a precedent for centuries to come...

 still play an important role in the shaping of Orthodox Marian perspective. However, the Orthodox views on Mary are mostly doxological
Doxology
A doxology is a short hymn of praises to God in various Christian worship services, often added to the end of canticles, psalms, and hymns...

, rather than academic: they are expressed in hymns, praise, liturgical poetry and the veneration of icons. One of the most loved Orthodox Akathist
Akathist
The Akathist Hymn is a hymn of Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic tradition dedicated to a saint, holy event, or one of the persons of the Holy Trinity...

s (i.e. standing hymns) is devoted to Mary and it is often simply called the Akathist Hymn. Five of the twelve Great Feasts in Orthodoxy are dedicated to Mary. The Sunday of Orthodoxy directly links the Virgin Mary's identity as Mother of God with icon veneration.
A number of Orthodox feasts are connected with the miraculous icons of the Theotokos.

The Orthodox view Mary as "superior to all created beings", although not divine. The Orthodox venerate Mary as conceived immaculate and assumed into heaven, but they do not accept the Roman Catholic dogmas on these doctrines. The Orthodox celebrate the Dormition of the Theotokos
Dormition of the Theotokos
The Dormition of the Theotokos is a Great Feast of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches which commemorates the "falling asleep" or death of the Theotokos , and her bodily resurrection before being taken up into heaven. It is celebrated on August 15 The Dormition...

, rather than Assumption.

The Protoevangelium of James, an extra-canonical
Biblical canon
A biblical canon, or canon of scripture, is a list of books considered to be authoritative as scripture by a particular religious community. The term itself was first coined by Christians, but the idea is found in Jewish sources. The internal wording of the text can also be specified, for example...

 book, has been the source of many Orthodox beliefs on Mary. The account of Mary's life presented includes her consecration as a virgin at the temple at age three. The High Priest
Kohen
A Kohen is the Hebrew word for priest. Jewish Kohens are traditionally believed and halachically required to be of direct patrilineal descent from the Biblical Aaron....

 Zachariah blessed Mary and informed her that God had magnified her name among many generations. Zachariah placed Mary on the third step of the altar, whereby God gave her grace. While in the temple, Mary was miraculously fed by an angel, until she was twelve years old. At that point an angel told Zachariah to betroth Mary to a widower in Israel, who would be indicated. This story provides the theme of many hymns for the Feast of Presentation of Mary
Presentation of Mary
The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary , or The Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple , is a liturgical feast celebrated by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Catholic, and Orthodox Churches....

, and icons of the feast depict the story. The Orthodox believe that Mary was instrumental in the growth of Christianity during the life of Jesus, and after his Crucifixion, and Orthodox Theologian Sergei Bulgakov
Sergei Bulgakov
Fr. Sergei Nikolaevich Bulgakov was a Russian Orthodox Christian theologian, philosopher and economist. Until 1922 he worked in Russia; afterwards in Paris.-Early life:...

 wrote: "The Virgin Mary is the center, invisible, but real, of the Apostolic Church"

Theologians from the Orthodox tradition have made prominent contributions to the development of Marian thought and devotion.
John Damascene (c 650─c 750) was one of the greatest Orthodox theologians. Among other Marian writings, he proclaimed the essential nature of Mary's heavenly Assumption or Dormition and her mediative role.
More recently, Sergei Bulgakov
Sergei Bulgakov
Fr. Sergei Nikolaevich Bulgakov was a Russian Orthodox Christian theologian, philosopher and economist. Until 1922 he worked in Russia; afterwards in Paris.-Early life:...

 expressed the Orthodox sentiments towards Mary as follows:


Mary is not merely the instrument, but the direct positive condition of the Incarnation, its human aspect. Christ could not have been incarnate by some mechanical process, violating human nature. It was necessary for that nature itself to say for itself, by the mouth of the most pure human being: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to Thy word."

Protestant view

Protestants in general reject the veneration and invocation of the Saints. Protestants typically hold that Mary was the mother of Jesus, but was an ordinary woman devoted to God. Therefore, there is virtually no Marian veneration, Marian feasts, Marian pilgrimages, Marian art, Marian music or Marian spirituality in today's Protestant communities. Within these views, Roman Catholic beliefs and practices are at times rejected, e.g., theologian Karl Barth
Karl Barth
Karl Barth was a Swiss Reformed theologian whom critics hold to be among the most important Christian thinkers of the 20th century; Pope Pius XII described him as the most important theologian since Thomas Aquinas...

 wrote that "the heresy of the Catholic Church is its Mariology
Mariology
Roman Catholic Mariology is theology concerned with the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ as developed by the Catholic Church. Roman Catholic teachings on the subject have been based on the belief that "The Blessed Virgin, because she is the Mother of God, is believed to hold a certain...

".

Some early Protestants venerated and honored Mary. Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

 wrote that: "Mary is full of grace, proclaimed to be entirely without sin. God's grace fills her with everything good and makes her devoid of all evil". However, as of 1532 Luther stopped celebrating the feast of the Assumption of Mary
Assumption of Mary
According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life...

 and also discontinued his support of the Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Conception
The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin. It is one of the four dogmata in Roman Catholic Mariology...

.

In the text of the Magnificat
Magnificat
The Magnificat — also known as the Song of Mary or the Canticle of Mary — is a canticle frequently sung liturgically in Christian church services. It is one of the eight most ancient Christian hymns and perhaps the earliest Marian hymn...

 (recorded in ), Mary proclaims "My soul rejoices in God my Savior". The personal need of a savior is seen by Protestants as expressing that Mary never thought herself "sinnless".

John Calvin
John Calvin
John Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530...

 said, "It cannot be denied that God in choosing and destining Mary to be the Mother of his Son, granted her the highest honor. However, Calvin firmly rejected the notion that anyone but Christ can intercede for man.

Although Calvin and Huldrych Zwingli
Huldrych Zwingli
Ulrich Zwingli was a leader of the Reformation in Switzerland. Born during a time of emerging Swiss patriotism and increasing criticism of the Swiss mercenary system, he attended the University of Vienna and the University of Basel, a scholarly centre of humanism...

 honored Mary as the Mother of God in the 16th century, they did so less than Martin Luther. Thus the idea of respect and high honor for Mary was not rejected by the first Protestants; but, they came to criticize the Roman Catholics for venerating Mary. Following the Council of Trent
Council of Trent
The Council of Trent was the 16th-century Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It is considered to be one of the Church's most important councils. It convened in Trent between December 13, 1545, and December 4, 1563 in twenty-five sessions for three periods...

 in the 16th century, as Marian veneration became associated with Catholics, Protestant interest in Mary decreased. During the Age of the Enlightenment and residual interest in Mary within Protestant churches almost disappeared, although Anglicans and Lutherans continued to honor her.

Protestants acknowledge that Mary is "blessed among women" but they do not agree that Mary is to be venerated. She is considered to be an outstanding example of a life dedicated to God.

In the 20th century, Protestants reacted in opposition to the Catholic dogma of the Assumption of Mary
Assumption of Mary
According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life...

. The conservative tone of the Second Vatican Council
Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. It was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church and the second to be held at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed...

 began to mend the ecumenical differences, and Protestants began to show interest in Marian themes. In 1997 and 1998 ecumenical dialogs between Catholics and Protestants took place, but to date the majority of Protestants pay scant attention to Marian issues and often view them as a challenge to the authority of Scripture
Sola scriptura
Sola scriptura is the doctrine that the Bible contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness. Consequently, sola scriptura demands that only those doctrines are to be admitted or confessed that are found directly within or indirectly by using valid logical deduction or valid...

.
Lutheran view

Despite Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

's harsh polemics against his Roman Catholic opponents over issues concerning Mary and the saints, theologians appear to agree that Luther adhered to the Marian decrees of the ecumenical council
Ecumenical council
An ecumenical council is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological experts convened to discuss and settle matters of Church doctrine and practice....

s and dogmas of the church. He held fast to the belief that Mary was a perpetual virgin and the Theotokos
Theotokos
Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...

 or Mother of God. Special attention is given to the assertion that Luther, some three-hundred years before the dogmatization of the Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Conception
The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin. It is one of the four dogmata in Roman Catholic Mariology...

 by Pope Pius IX
Pope Pius IX
Blessed Pope Pius IX , born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, was the longest-reigning elected Pope in the history of the Catholic Church, serving from 16 June 1846 until his death, a period of nearly 32 years. During his pontificate, he convened the First Vatican Council in 1869, which decreed papal...

 in 1854, was a firm adherent of that view. Others maintain that Luther in later years changed his position on the Immaculate Conception, which, at that time was undefined in the Church, maintaining however the sinlessness of Mary throughout her life. For Luther, early in his life, the Assumption of Mary
Assumption of Mary
According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life...

 was an understood fact, although he later stated that the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 did not say anything about it and stopped celebrating its feast. Important to him was the belief that Mary and the saints do live on after death. "Throughout his career as a priest-professor-reformer, Luther preached, taught, and argued about the veneration of Mary with a verbosity that ranged from childlike piety to sophisticated polemics. His views are intimately linked to his Christocentric theology and its consequences for liturgy and piety." Luther, while revering Mary, came to criticize the "Papists" for blurring the line, between high admiration of the grace of God wherever it is seen in a human being, and religious service given to another creature. He considered the Roman Catholic practice of celebrating saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

s' days and making intercessory requests addressed especially to Mary and other departed saints to be idolatry
Idolatry
Idolatry is a pejorative term for the worship of an idol, a physical object such as a cult image, as a god, or practices believed to verge on worship, such as giving undue honour and regard to created forms other than God. In all the Abrahamic religions idolatry is strongly forbidden, although...

. His final thoughts on Marian devotion and veneration are preserved in a sermon preached at Wittenberg only a month before his death:
Certain Lutheran churches such as the Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church
Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church
The Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church , formerly the Evangelical Community Church-Lutheran , is a church in the Lutheran Evangelical Catholic tradition. The ALCC claims to be unique among Lutheran churches in that it is of both Lutheran and Anglo-Catholic heritage and has also been significantly...

 however, continue to venerate Mary and the saints in the same manner that Roman Catholics do, and hold all Marian dogmas as part of their faith.
Methodist view

The United Methodist Church
United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church is a Methodist Christian denomination which is both mainline Protestant and evangelical. Founded in 1968 by the union of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church, the UMC traces its roots back to the revival movement of John and Charles Wesley...

, as well as other Methodist
Methodism
Methodism is a movement of Protestant Christianity represented by a number of denominations and organizations, claiming a total of approximately seventy million adherents worldwide. The movement traces its roots to John Wesley's evangelistic revival movement within Anglicanism. His younger brother...

 churches, have no official writings or teachings on the Virgin Mary except what is mentioned in Scripture and the ecumenical Creeds, mainly that Christ was conceived
Annunciation
The Annunciation, also referred to as the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary or Annunciation of the Lord, is the Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to Virgin Mary, that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus the Son of God. Gabriel told Mary to name her...

 in her womb through the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit (Christianity)
For the majority of Christians, the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and is Almighty God...

 and that she gave birth to Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 as a virgin. John Wesley
John Wesley
John Wesley was a Church of England cleric and Christian theologian. Wesley is largely credited, along with his brother Charles Wesley, as founding the Methodist movement which began when he took to open-air preaching in a similar manner to George Whitefield...

, the founder of the Methodist Movement within the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

, which later led to the Methodist Church, believed that the Virgin Mary was a perpetual virgin, meaning she never had sex. Many Methodists reject this concept, but some Methodists believe it. The church does hold that Mary was a virgin before, during, and immediately after the birth of Christ.

John Wesley stated in a letter that:
Article II of the Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church states that:
From this, the Virgin Mary is believed to be the Theotokos
Theotokos
Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...

, or Mother of God, in the Methodist Church, although the term is usually only used by those of High Church
High church
The term "High Church" refers to beliefs and practices of ecclesiology, liturgy and theology, generally with an emphasis on formality, and resistance to "modernization." Although used in connection with various Christian traditions, the term has traditionally been principally associated with the...

 and Evangelical Catholic tradition.

Article II of The Confession of Faith from The Book of Discipline states:
From this statement, Methodists reject the Catholic ideas of Mary as a Co-Redemptrix
Co-Redemptrix
Co-Redemptrix, a title of Mary, mother of Jesus, refers to her role in the Redemption process.The concept of Co-redemptrix refers to an indirect or unequal but important participation by the Blessed Virgin Mary in redemption, notably: that she gave free consent to give life to the Redeemer, to...

 and Mediatrix
Mediatrix
Mediatrix in Roman Catholic Mariology refers to the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary as a mediator in the salvation process. It is a separate concept from Co-Redemptrix....

 of the Faith. The Methodist Churches disagree with veneration of saints, of Mary, and of relics; believing that reverence and praise are for God alone. However, studying the life of Mary and the biographies of saints is deemed appropriate, as they are seen as heroes and examples of good Christians. The Methodist churches reject the doctrines of the Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Conception
The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin. It is one of the four dogmata in Roman Catholic Mariology...

 and the Assumption of Mary
Assumption of Mary
According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life...

, stating that Christ was the only person to live a sinless life and to ascend body and soul into Heaven.

Latter Day Saints

In the first edition of the Book of Mormon (1830), Mary was referred to as "the mother of God, after the manner of the flesh," a reading that was changed to "the mother of the Son of God" in all subsequent editions (1837–).

Nontrinitarian view

Nontrinitarians, such as Unitarians
Unitarianism
Unitarianism is a Christian theological movement, named for its understanding of God as one person, in direct contrast to Trinitarianism which defines God as three persons coexisting consubstantially as one in being....

, Christadelphians
Christadelphians
Christadelphians is a Christian group that developed in the United Kingdom and North America in the 19th century...

 and Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

 consider Mary as the mother of Jesus Christ. Because they do not consider Jesus as God, they do not consider Mary as the Mother of God or the Theotokos. Since Nontrinitarian churches are typically also mortalist, the issue of praying to Mary, whom they would consider "asleep," awaiting resurrection, does not arise.

Islamic perspective

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is mentioned as Maryam, more in the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 than in the entire New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

. She enjoys a singularly distinguished and honored position among women in the Qur'an. A Sura
Sura
A sura is a division of the Qur'an, often referred to as a chapter. The term chapter is sometimes avoided, as the suras are of unequal length; the shortest sura has only three ayat while the longest contains 286 ayat...

 (chapter) in the Qur'an is titled "Maryam
Maryam (sura)
Sura Maryam is the 19th sura of the Qur'an and is a Makkan sura with 98 ayat . It is named after Maryām, the actual name for Mary, Mother of Jesus . The popular variant of the name Maryam, Mary, is a Westernized or Anglicized version...

" (Mary), which is the only Sura in the Qur'an named after a woman, in which the story of Mary (Maryam) and Jesus (Isa
ISA
Isa is the name by which Jesus is known in the Muslim world.Isa may also refer to:* Isha Upanishad, Hindu religious text* Isa , 2004 album by Enslaved* Isa , common Arabic and Turkish male name...

) is recounted according to the Islamic view of Jesus.

She is mentioned in the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 with the honorific title of "our lady" (syyidatuna) as the daughter of Imran and Hannah.

She is the only woman directly named in the Qur'an; declared (uniquely along with Jesus) to be a Sign of God to mankind; as one who "guarded her chastity"; an obedient one; chosen of her mother and dedicated to God whilst still in the womb; uniquely (amongst women) Accepted into service by God; cared for by (one of the prophets as per Islam) Zakariya (Zacharias); that in her childhood she resided in the Temple and uniquely had access to Al-Mihrab
Mihrab
A mihrab is semicircular niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the qibla; that is, the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca and hence the direction that Muslims should face when praying...

 (understood to be the Holy of Holies
Holy of Holies
The Holy of Holies is a term in the Hebrew Bible which refers to the inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle and later the Temple in Jerusalem where the Ark of the Covenant was kept during the First Temple, which could be entered only by the High Priest on Yom Kippur...

), and was provided with heavenly 'provisions' by God.

Mary is also called a Chosen One; a Purified One; a Truthful one; her child conceived through "a Word from God"; and "exalted above all women of The Worlds/Universes (the material and heavenly worlds)".

The Qur'an relates detailed narrative accounts of Maryam (Mary) in two places Sura
Sura
A sura is a division of the Qur'an, often referred to as a chapter. The term chapter is sometimes avoided, as the suras are of unequal length; the shortest sura has only three ayat while the longest contains 286 ayat...

 3 and Sura 19. These state beliefs in both the Immaculate Conception of Mary and the Virgin birth of Jesus.
The account given in Sura 19 of the Qur'an is nearly identical with that in the Gospel according to Luke
Luke the Evangelist
Luke the Evangelist was an Early Christian writer whom Church Fathers such as Jerome and Eusebius said was the author of the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles...

, and both of these (Luke, Sura 19) begin with an account of the visitation of an angel upon Zakariya (Zecharias) and Good News of the birth of Yahya (John), followed by the account of the annunciation. It mentions how Mary was informed by an angel that she would become the mother of Jesus through the actions of God alone.

In the Islamic tradition, Mary and Jesus were the only children who could not be touched by Satan at the moment of their birth, for God imposed a veil between them and Satan. According to author Shabbir Akhtar, the Islamic perspective on Mary's Immaculate Conception is compatible with the Catholic doctrine of the same topic.

The Qur'an says that Jesus was the result of a virgin birth. The most detailed account of the annunciation and birth of Jesus is provided in Sura 3 and 19 of The Qur'an wherein it is written that God sent an angel to announce that she could shortly expect to bear a son, despite being a virgin.

Pagan Rome

From the early stages of Christianity, belief in the virginity of Mary and the virgin conception of Jesus, as stated in the gospels, holy and supernatural, was used by detractors, both political and religious, as a topic for discussions, debates and writings, specifically aimed to challenge the divinity of Jesus and thus Christians and Christianity alike. In the 2nd century, as part of the earliest anti-Christian polemics, Celsus
Celsus
Celsus was a 2nd century Greek philosopher and opponent of Early Christianity. He is known for his literary work, The True Word , written about by Origen. This work, c. 177 is the earliest known comprehensive attack on Christianity.According to Origen, Celsus was the author of an...

 suggested that Jesus was the illegitimate son of a Roman soldier named Panthera. The views of Celsus drew responses from Origen
Origen
Origen , or Origen Adamantius, 184/5–253/4, was an early Christian Alexandrian scholar and theologian, and one of the most distinguished writers of the early Church. As early as the fourth century, his orthodoxy was suspect, in part because he believed in the pre-existence of souls...

, the Church Father in Alexandria, Egypt who considered it a fabricated story. How far Celsus sourced his view from Jewish sources remains the subject of discussion.

In Judaism

The issue of the parentage of Jesus in the Talmud
Jesus in the Talmud
The Talmud contains passages that some scholars have concluded are references to Christian traditions about Jesus.The history of textual transmission of these passages is complex and scholars are not agreed concerning which passages are original, and which were added later or removed later in...

 affects also the view of his mother. However the Talmud does not mention Mary by name and is considerate rather than only polemic. The story about Panthera is also found the Toledot Yeshu
Toledot Yeshu
Sefer Toledot Yeshu is a medieval version of the story of Jesus from a Jewish perspective. The book concerns Yeshu, son of Joseph and Mary, born in Bethlehem, but also makes this Yeshu a contemporary of Queen Salome Alexandra...

, the literary origins of which can not be traced with any certainty and given that it is unlikely to go before the 4th century, it is far too late to include authentic remembrances of Jesus. The Blackwell Companion to Jesus states that the Toledot Yeshu has no historical facts as such, and was perhaps created as a tool for warding off conversions to Christianity. The name Panthera may be a distortion of the term parthenos (virgin) and Raymond E. Brown
Raymond E. Brown
The Reverend Raymond Edward Brown, S.S. , was an American Roman Catholic priest, a member of the Sulpician Fathers and a major Biblical scholar of his era...

 considers the story of Panthera a fanciful explanation of the birth of Jesus which includes very little historical evidence.

4th Century Arabia

According to the 4th century heresiologist Epiphanius of Salamis
Epiphanius of Salamis
Epiphanius of Salamis was bishop of Salamis at the end of the 4th century. He is considered a saint and a Church Father by both the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches. He gained a reputation as a strong defender of orthodoxy...

 the Virgin Mary was worshipped as a Mother goddess
Mother goddess
Mother goddess is a term used to refer to a goddess who represents motherhood, fertility, creation or embodies the bounty of the Earth. When equated with the Earth or the natural world such goddesses are sometimes referred to as Mother Earth or as the Earth Mother.Many different goddesses have...

 in the heretical Christian sect Collyridianism, which was found throughout Arabia sometime during the 300s AD. Collyrdianism was made up mostly of women and even had women priests. They were known to make bread offerings to the Virgin Mary, along with other practices. The group was condemned as heretical by the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 and was preached against by Epiphanius of Salamis
Epiphanius of Salamis
Epiphanius of Salamis was bishop of Salamis at the end of the 4th century. He is considered a saint and a Church Father by both the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches. He gained a reputation as a strong defender of orthodoxy...

, who wrote about the group in his writings titled Panarion
Panarion
In early Christian heresiology, the Panarion , to which 16th-century Latin translations gave the name Adversus Haereses , is the most important of the works of Epiphanius of Salamis...

.

Study of the Historical Jesus

To date, scholars continue to debate the accounts of the birth of Jesus from several perspectives, including textual analysis, historical records and post-apostolic witnesses. Bart D. Ehrman
Bart D. Ehrman
Bart D. Ehrman is an American New Testament scholar, currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill....

 has suggested that the historical method
Historical method
Historical method comprises the techniques and guidelines by which historians use primary sources and other evidence to research and then to write histories in the form of accounts of the past. The question of the nature, and even the possibility, of a sound historical method is raised in the...

 can never comment on the likelihood of supernatural occurrences.

The statement in Matthew 1:25 that "Joseph did not know Mary until she has given birth to a son" has been debated among scholars, some suggesting that she did not remain perpetually virgin
Perpetual virginity of Mary
The doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary, expresses the Virgin Mary's "real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to Jesus the Son of God made Man"...

.
Other scholars contend that the Greek word hoes (i.e. until) denotes a state up to a point, but does not mean that the state ended after that point, and that Matthew 1:25 does not confirm or deny the virginity of Mary after the birth of Jesus.

Other biblical verses have also been debated, e.g. that the reference in Romans 1:3 of Jesus coming "of the seed of David according to the flesh" may be hypothesized as St. Joseph being the father of Jesus. However, most scholars reject this interpretation in the context of virgin birth given that Paul used the Greek word genomenos (i.e. becoming) rather than the word gennetos and the reference to "seed of David" is likely to Mary's lineage.

Cinematic portrayals

Mary has been portrayed in various films, including:
  • Das Mirakel (as a statue which comes to life)
  • Saint Mary (Iranian film)
    Saint Mary (Iranian film)
    Saint Mary is a film from Islamic Republic of Iran by Iranian director Shahriar Bahrani released in 2007, depicting the life of Mary mother of Jesus from classical Islamic readings....

  • Mary Mother of Christ
  • Mary, Mother of Jesus
    Mary, Mother of Jesus (film)
    Mary, Mother of Jesus is a made-for-television Biblical film that retells the story of Jesus through the eyes of Mary, his mother. It stars Swedish Pernilla August and Melinda Kinnaman as Mary, David Threlfall as Joseph and Christian Bale as Jesus. The film was produced by Eunice Kennedy Shriver...

  • Jesus of Nazareth
  • Color of the Cross
    Color of the Cross
    Color of the Cross is a 2006 religious film written by, directed by, and starring Jean-Claude La Marre.The film is one of the few depictions of Christ as a black man, and portrays Jesus' persecution as the result of racism.-Plot:...

  • Ben-Hur (1959 film)
    Ben-Hur (1959 film)
    Ben-Hur is a 1959 American epic film directed by William Wyler and starring Charlton Heston in the title role, the third film adaptation of Lew Wallace's 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. The screenplay was written by Karl Tunberg, Gore Vidal, and Christopher Fry. The score was composed by...

  • The Last Temptation of Christ (film)
    The Last Temptation of Christ (film)
    The Last Temptation of Christ is a 1988 drama film directed by Martin Scorsese. It is a film adaptation of the controversial 1953 novel of the same name by Nikos Kazantzakis. It stars Willem Dafoe as Jesus Christ, Harvey Keitel as Judas Iscariot, Barbara Hershey as Mary Magdalene, David Bowie as...

  • The Greatest Story Ever Told
    The Greatest Story Ever Told
    The Greatest Story Ever Told is a 1965 American epic film produced and directed by George Stevens and distributed by United Artists. It is a retelling of the story of Jesus Christ, from the Nativity through the Resurrection. This film is notable for its large ensemble cast and for being the last...

  • The Living Christ Series
    The Living Christ Series
    The Living Christ Series is a 12-part drama series about the life of Jesus Christ. In some ways, it was a version of the typical Hollywood serial film. Each episode was thirty minutes long, bringing the total running time of the series to what might have been considered an epic six hours long if...

  • The Nativity Story
    The Nativity Story
    The Nativity Story is a 2006 drama film based on the nativity of Jesus starring Keisha Castle-Hughes and Shohreh Aghdashloo. Filming began on May 1, 2006 in Matera, Italy and in Morocco. New Line Cinema released it on December 1, 2006 in the United States and one week later on December 8 in the...

  • The Miracle
    The Miracle (1959 film)
    The Miracle is a 1959 remake of a 1912 German film Das Mirakel directed by Cherry Kearton and Max Reinhardt which in turn was based on a 1911 pantomime play of the same name by Karl Vollmöller.-Production history and reception:...

     (a remake of Das Mirakel, as a statue which comes to life)
  • The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima
    The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima
    The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima is a feature film made in 1952. It was promoted as a fact-based treatment of the events surrounding the apparitions of Our Lady of Fátima in 1917....

  • The Song of Bernadette
    The Song of Bernadette (film)
    The Song of Bernadette is a 1943 drama film which tells the story of Saint Bernadette Soubirous, who, from February to July 1858 in Lourdes, France, reported 18 visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was directed by Henry King....

  • The Passion of the Christ
    The Passion of the Christ
    The Passion of the Christ is a 2004 American drama film directed by Mel Gibson and starring Jim Caviezel as Jesus. It depicts the Passion of Jesus largely according to the New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John...

  • The Passion (TV serial)
    The Passion (TV serial)
    The Passion is a television drama serial produced by the BBC and HBO Films in association with Deep Indigo Productions. It tells the story of the last week in the life of Jesus. The serial was first proposed by Peter Fincham in 2006, on the success of the contemporary-set Manchester Passion...

  • King of Kings (1961 film)

Image gallery

See also: Life of the Virgin
Life of the Virgin
The Life of the Virgin, showing narrative scenes from the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a common subject for pictorial cycles in Christian art, often complementing, or forming part of, a cycle on the Life of Christ. In both cases the number of scenes shown varies greatly with the space...

For a larger gallery, please see: Marian image gallery


Music

  • J.S.Bach
    Magnificat (Bach)
    The Magnificat in D major, BWV 243, is a major vocal work of Johann Sebastian Bach. It was composed for orchestra, a five-part choir and four or five soloists. The text is the canticle of Mary, mother of Jesus, as told by Luke the Evangelist .Bach composed an initial version in E flat major in 1723...

    : Ave Maria Prelude (1722)
  • Franz Schubert
    Franz Schubert
    Franz Peter Schubert was an Austrian composer.Although he died at an early age, Schubert was tremendously prolific. He wrote some 600 Lieder, nine symphonies , liturgical music, operas, some incidental music, and a large body of chamber and solo piano music...

    : Ave Maria (1835)
  • Charles Gounod
    Charles Gounod
    Charles-François Gounod was a French composer, known for his Ave Maria as well as his operas Faust and Roméo et Juliette.-Biography:...

    : Ave Maria (1859)
  • Monteverdi 1610

See also

  • Acts of Reparation to the Virgin Mary
    Acts of Reparation to the Virgin Mary
    Roman Catholic tradition and Mariology include specific prayers and devotions as acts of reparation for insults and blasphemies against the Blessed Virgin Mary...

  • Anglican Marian theology
    Anglican Marian theology
    Anglican Marian theology is the summation of the doctrines and beliefs of Anglicanism concerning the Blessed Virgin Mary. As Anglicans believe that Jesus was both human and God the Son, the second Person of the Trinity, within the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglican churches, Mary is...

  • Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission
    Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission
    The Anglican—Roman Catholic International Commission is an organization which seeks to make ecumenical progress between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion...

  • Black Madonna
    Black Madonna
    A Black Madonna or Black Virgin is a statue or painting of the Virgin Mary in which the Virgin Mary is black. The term was especially applied to those created in Europe in the medieval period or earlier...

  • Blessed Virgin Mary (Roman Catholic)
    Blessed Virgin Mary (Roman Catholic)
    Roman Catholic veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary is based on Holy Scripture: In the fullness of time, God sent his son, born of a virgin. The mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God through Mary thus signifies her honour as Mother of God...

  • Dormition of the Theotokos
    Dormition of the Theotokos
    The Dormition of the Theotokos is a Great Feast of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches which commemorates the "falling asleep" or death of the Theotokos , and her bodily resurrection before being taken up into heaven. It is celebrated on August 15 The Dormition...

  • Panagia
    Panagia
    Panagia , also transliterated Panayia or Panaghia, is one of the titles of Mary, the mother of Jesus, used especially in Orthodox Christianity....

  • Christian mythology
    Christian mythology
    Christian mythology is the body of myths associated with Christianity. In the study of mythology, the term "myth" refers to a traditional story, often one which is regarded as sacred and which explains how the world and its inhabitants came to have their present form.Classicist G.S. Kirk defines a...

  • Fleur de lys
    Fleur de Lys
    Fleur de Lys is a superheroine from Quebec and an ally of Northguard, created in 1984 by Mark Shainblum and Gabriel Morrissette. The name of the character is inspired by the heraldic symbol of the fleur de lys. It is the official emblem of Quebec and a prominent part of the Flag of Quebec...

  • History of Roman Catholic Mariology
    History of Roman Catholic Mariology
    The history of Roman Catholic Mariology traces theological developments and views regarding Mary from the early Church to the 20th century. Mariology is a mainly Catholic ecclesiogical movement within theology, which centers on the relation of Mary and the Church. Roman Catholic Mariology is the...

  • Our Lady of Sorrows
    Our Lady of Sorrows
    Our Lady of Sorrows , the Sorrowful Mother or Mother of Sorrows , and Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows or Our Lady of the Seven Dolours are names by which the Blessed Virgin Mary is referred to in relation to sorrows in her life...

  • Hortus conclusus
    Hortus conclusus
    Hortus conclusus is a Latin term, meaning literally "enclosed garden". "The word 'garden' is at root the same as the word 'yard'. It means an enclosure", observed Derek Clifford, at the outset of a series of essays on garden design, in which he skirted the conventions of the hortus conclusus...

  • Immaculate Heart of Mary
    Immaculate Heart of Mary
    The Immaculate Heart of Mary originally The Sacred Heart of Mary is a devotional name used to refer to the interior life of Mary, her joys and sorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections, and, above all, her virginal love for God, her maternal love for her Son, Jesus, and her compassionate love for...

  • Islamic views on Mary
  • Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary
    Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary
    The Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary refers to the historical, theological and spiritual links in Catholic devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary...

  • Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary
    Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary
    The Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a Marian litany originally approved in 1587 by Pope Sixtus V. It is also known as the Litany of Loreto, for its first-known place of origin, the Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto , where its usage was recorded as early as 1558.The litany contains many of the...

  • Titles of Mary
    Titles of Mary
    Mary is known by many titles , epithets , invocations and other names ....

  • Marian apparition
  • Madonna (art)
    Madonna (art)
    Images of the Madonna and the Madonna and Child or Virgin and Child are pictorial or sculptured representations of Mary, Mother of Jesus, either alone, or more frequently, with the infant Jesus. These images are central icons of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox Christianity where Mary remains...

  • Marian columns
  • Marian devotions
    Marian devotions
    A Marian devotion is a gift of oneself, or one's activities to the Virgin Mary. It is a willingness and desire to dedicate oneself to, or venerate her; either in terms of prayers or in terms of a set of pious acts...

  • Mary, Protector of Faith (Russo)
    Mary, Protector of Faith (Russo)
    Mary, Protector of Faith is a public artwork by American artist Jon-Joseph Russo, located at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., United States. "Mary, Protector of Faith" stands in Mary's Garden at the Basilica....

  • May crowning
  • Protestant views on Mary
  • Shrines to the Virgin Mary
    Shrines to the Virgin Mary
    In the culture and practice of some Christian Churches - mainly, but not solely, the Roman Catholic Church - a Shrine to the Virgin Mary is a shrine marking an apparition or other miracle ascribed to the Blessed Virgin Mary, or a site on which is centered a historically strong Marian devotion...

  • Society of Mary (Marianists)
    Society of Mary (Marianists)
    The Society of Mary, a Roman Catholic Marian Society, is a congregation of brothers and priests called The Marianists or Marianist Brothers and Priests. The Society was founded by Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, a priest who survived the anti-clerical persecution during the French Revolution. ...

  • Virgin Birth of Jesus
  • Virgin Mary in Islam


Further reading

  • Gambero, Luigi (1999) Mary and the fathers of the church ISBN 0898706866
  • Josemaria Anthony (2008) The Blessed Virgin Mary in England ISBN 0595500749

External links




The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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