Titles Of Mary Wiki

Titles of Mary

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mary is known by many titles (Blessed Mother, Virgin, Madonna, Our Lady), epithets (Star of the Sea, Queen of Heaven, Cause of Our Joy), invocations (Theotokos, Panagia, Mother of Mercy) and other names (Our Lady of Loreto, Our Lady of Guadalupe).

All of these titles refer to the same individual named Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ (in both the New Testament and Qur’an) and are used variably by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and some Anglicans. (Note: Mary Magdalene, Mary of Clopas, and Mary Salome are different individuals from Mary, mother of Jesus.)

A few of the titles given to Mary are dogmatic in nature. Many other titles are poetic or allegorical and have lesser or no canonical status, but which form part of popular piety, with varying degrees of acceptance by the clergy. Yet more titles refer to depictions of Mary in the history of art.

Historical and cultural context



Our Lady of Good Counsel by Pasquale Sarullo, 19th century.

There are several theories on the significance of the relatively large number of titles given to Mary.[1][2] Some titles grew due to geographic and cultural reasons, e.g. through the veneration of specific icons. Others were related to Marian apparitions.

Given the large spectrum of human needs in varied situations, Mary’s help was and is sought for all of them. This led to the formulation of many of her titles (good counsel, help of the sick, etc.). Moreover, meditations and devotions on the different aspects of the Virgin Mary’s role within the life of Jesus led to additional titles such as Our Lady of Sorrows.[3] Still further titles have been derived from dogmas and doctrines, e.g. Queen of Heaven or the Immaculate Conception.

Mary’s cultus or “devotional cult” consolidated in the year 431 when, at the Council of Ephesus, “Nestorianism“, which asserted Christ’s dual nature, was anathematized and the Theotokos, or Mary as bearer of God, was declared dogma. Henceforth Marian devotion—which centered on the subtle and complex relationship between Mary, Jesus, and the Church—would flourish, first in the East and later in the West.

The Reformation diminished Mary’s role in many parts of Northern Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Council of Trent and Counter Reformation would intensify Marian devotion in the West. Around the same period, Mary would become an instrument of evangelization in the Americas and parts of Asia and Africa, e.g. via the apparitions at Our Lady of Guadalupe which resulted in a large number of conversions to Christianity in Mexico.

Following the Reformation, as of the 17th century, the baroque literature on Mary experienced unforeseen growth with over 500 pages of Mariological writings during the 17th century alone.[4] During the Age of Enlightenment, the emphasis on scientific progress and rationalism put Catholic theology and Mariology often on the defensive in the later parts of the 18th century, to the extent that books such as The Glories of Mary (by Alphonsus Liguori) were written in defense of Mariology. The 20th century was dominated by a genuine Marian ethusiasm both at the papal and popular levels. The 20th century witnessed significant growth in Marian devotions and a dramatic rise in membership in Marian Movements and Societies.

In English

Frequently used titles for Mary in the English-speaking world include

Early titles of Mary







Mariam (Μαριάμ), Maria (Μαρία)

Arabic: Maryām (مريم), Chinese: (瑪利亞), Coptic: Mariam, French: Marie, German: Maria, Italian: Maria, Judeo-Aramaic: Maryām (מרים), Maltese: Marija, Portuguese: Maria, Russian: Marija (Мария), Spanish: María, Syriac: Mariam, Vietnamese: Maria; Marija

“Full of Grace”, “Blessed”, “Most Blessed”

Gratia plena, Beata, Beatissima

kecharitomene[5] (κεχαριτωμένη)

from the angel’s greeting to Mary in Luke 1:28;

“Virgin”, “the Virgin”


Parthenos[6][7] (Παρθένος)

Greek parthenos used in Matthew 1:23; Ignatius of Antioch refers to Mary’s virginity and motherhood (ca. 110);

“Cause of our Salvation”

causa salutis[8]

according to Irenaeus of Lyons (150–202);

“Advocate of Eve”

advocata Evæ[9]

” ” ;

“Mother of God”

Mater Dei

Meter Theou (Μήτηρ Θεοῦ)

often abbr. ΜΡ ΘΥ in Greek iconography;


Deipara, Dei genetrix

Theotokos (Θεοτόκος)

lit. “one who bears the One who is God”; a common title in Eastern Christianity with christological implications; adopted officially during Council of Ephesus (431) in response to Nestorianism, which questioned the Church’s teaching that Jesus Christ’s nature was unified;


semper virgo

aie-parthenos[6] (ἀειπάρθενος)

“Holy Mary”, “Saint Mary”

Sancta Maria

Hagia Maria[6] (Ἁγία Μαρία)

Greek invocation is infrequent in contemporary Eastern Christianity;[10]

“Most Holy”

Sanctissima, tota Sancta[11]

Panagia (Παναγία)

“Most Pure”




akeratos[6] (ἀκήρατος)

“Lady”, “Mistress”


Despoina[6] (Δέσποινα)

related, “Madonna” (Italian: Madonna, from ma “my” + donna “lady”; from Latin domina); also, “Notre Dame” (French: Notre Dame, lit. “our lady”);

Queen of Heaven

Regina Coeli, Regina Caeli

Mary is identified with the figure in Revelation 12:1;

Star of the Sea

stella maris

attributed to St. Jerome;

Seat of Wisdom

Sedes sapientiae

“Cause of Our Joy”

Causa nostrae laetitiae

“Help of Christians”

Auxilium christianorum

Descriptive titles of Mary related to visual arts

Image Type

Typical Art Style


Odigitriya Smolenskaya Dionisiy.jpg

“She Who Shows the Way”


Mary holds Christ in her left hand and with her right hand she “shows the way” by pointing to Him;

Presbyter Martinus Madonna als Sedes Sapientiae.jpg

Sedes Sapientiae
“Throne of Wisdom”


Christ is seated in His mother Mary’s lap, symbolically the “Throne of Wisdom”;

Toledo Virgen Coro.jpg

Gothic Madonna


Based loosely on Byzantine Hodegetria iconography; typically depicts a standing, smiling Mary and playful Christ Child; considered one of the earliest depictions of Mary that is strictly Western;[12]

Giovenone Madonna del latte Trino.jpg

Madonna Lactans
“Our Lady Nursing”

Renaissance, and others

The Virgin is depicted breastfeeding the Holy Infant. One of the earliest depictions (if not the earliest depiction) of Mary, is Our Lady nursing, as painted in the Priscilla Catacombs ca. A.D. 250;[13]

Lippo memmi, madonna della misericordia, Chapel of the Corporal, Duomo, Orvieto.jpg

Mater Misericordiae
“Mother of Mercy”

Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque

A regal, celestial Mary is depicted covering the faithful in her protective mantle; first arose in the late 13th century in Central Europe and Italy; depiction is commonly associated with plague monuments.[14]


of the Virgo Deipara
“Virgin God-bearer”


Mary is seated in majesty, holding the Christ Child; based on Byzantine Nikopoia iconography;

Michelangelo's Pieta 5450 cropncleaned.jpg

of the
Mater Dolorosa
“Mother of Sorrows”

Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque

Mary cradles the dead body of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion; this type emerged first in the 13th century in Germany as an Andachtsbild or devotional icon relating to grief; Italian Pietàs appeared in the 14th century;[15] Michelangelo’s Pietà (1498–1499) is considered a masterpiece;

Antonello da Messina 033.jpg

Mater Amabilis
“Loving Mother”
commonly, “
Madonna and Child

Renaissance, Baroque

Iconic Western depiction with many variations; based loosely on Byzantine Glykophilousa (“sweet kisses”) iconography; Mary turns her gaze away from the Christ Child as she contemplates His future Passion; Renaissance emphasis on classical ideal types, realistic human anatomy, and linear perspective are evident;

Dogmatic titles

Mother of God

Virgin Mary*

Immaculate Conception*


Names of Mary associated with devotions or apparitions


Devotional titles



Mother Thrice Admirable Madonna by, Luigi Crosio, 1898

Most of the devotional titles are contained in the Loreto Litanies:[16]

Other titles:

Names and titles of Mary in Islam

The Qur’an refers to Mary by the following titles:

  • Qānitah – the Arabic term implies the meaning, not only of constant submission to Allah, but also absorption in prayer and invocation.
  • Siddiqah – “She who accepts as true” or “She who has faith”. The term has also been translated “She who believes sincerely totally”.
  • Sājidah – “She who prostrates to Allah in worship”
  • Rāki’ah – “She who bows down to Allah in worship”
  • Tāhirah – “She who was purified”
  • Mustafia – “She who is chosen”
  • Nur – Mary has been called Nut (Light) and Umm Nut (the mother of one who was Light)
  • Sa’imah – “She who fasts”
  • Ma’suma – “She who never sinned”


  1. ^ Univ of Dayton
  2. ^ Orthodox titles
  3. ^ The thousand faces of the Virgin Mary by George Henry Tavard, 1996 ISBN 0814659144 page 95
  4. ^ A Roskovany, conceptu immacolata ex monumentis omnium seculrorum demonstrate III, Budapest 1873
  5. ^ “…Byzantine inscriptions from Palestine…in the sixth [century]….fourteen inscriptions invoke “Holy Mary” (Hagia Maria), eleven more hail her as Theotokos; others add the attribution of “Immaculate” (Akeratos), “Most Blessed” (Kecharitomene), “Mistress” (Despoina), “Virgin” or “Ever-Virgin” (Aei-Parthenos).” (Frend 1984, p. 836)
  6. ^ a b c d e Frend 1984, p. 836.
  7. ^ “Blue Letter Bible” lexicon results for parthenos Retrieved December 19, 2007.
  8. ^ Irenaeus of Lyons (Adversus Haereses 3.22.4).
  9. ^ Irenaeus of Lyons (Adversus Haereses 5.19.1]): “And if the former did disobey God, yet the latter was persuaded to be obedient to God, in order that the Virgin Mary might become the patroness (advocata) of the virgin Eve. And thus, as the human race fell into bondage to death by means of a virgin, so is it rescued by a virgin; virginal disobedience having been balanced in the opposite scale by virginal obedience.”
  10. ^ Orthodox Holiness :: The Titles Of The Saints
  11. ^ http://www.uni-mannheim.de/mateo/camenaref/hofmann/p/books/p_408.html
  12. ^ Madonna. (2008). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved February 17, 2008, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: [1]
  13. ^ http://www.catacombepriscilla.com/pagine-eng/regina.htm
  14. ^ Jeep 2001, p. 393.
  15. ^ Watts, Barbara. “Pietà”. Grove Art Online. Oxford University Press, Retrieved February 17, 2008, http://www.groveart.com/
  16. ^ “The Loreto Litanies”. The Holy See. http://www.vatican.va/special/rosary/documents/litanie-lauretane_en.html. Retrieved 2011-11-07.

Theotokos By Wiki


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/97/Bogorodichni_ikoni.jpg/300px-Bogorodichni_ikoni.jpgTheotokos (English pronunciation: /ˌθiəˈtɒkəs/; Greek: Θεοτόκος, transliterated Theotókos) 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. Roman Catholics and Anglicans use the title Mother of God more often than Theotokos. The Council of Ephesus decreed in 431 that Mary is Theotokos because her son Jesus is one person who is both God and man, divine and human.[1]

Etymology and translation

Theotokos is a compound of two Greek words, Θεός God and τόκος parturition, childbirth. Literally, this translates as God-bearer or the one who gives birth to God; historian Jaroslav Pelikan translated it more precisely as “the one who gives birth to the one who is God”.[2] However, since many English-speaking Orthodox find this literal translation awkward, in liturgical use, Theotokos is often left untranslated, or paraphrased as Mother of God. The latter title is the literal translation of a distinct title in Greek, Μήτηρ του Θεού (translit. Mētēr tou Theou). Mother of God also accurately translates the Greek words Θεομήτωρ (translit. Theomētor; also spelled Θεομήτηρ, translit. Theomētēr) and Μητρόθεος (translit. Mētrotheos), which are found in patristic and liturgical texts, e.g.

Λαβομένη η Θεοτόκος των εκ του αχράντου και παναμώμου αυτής θυσιαστηρίου σαρκωθέντα ζωοποιόν και ανέκφραστον άνθρακα ως λαβίδι … επί τούτοις παρουσιασάμενος ο δίκαιος και τη προτροπή είξας της διακονησαμένης Θεώ προς ανθρώπους Θεομήτορος … περιφανώς ιερά θεομήτωρ εξετέλει.[3]

In many traditions, Theotokos was translated from the Greek into the local liturgical language:





والدة الاله

Wālidat Alelah




Bulgarian, Church Slavonic, Macedonian, Russian










Dei genetrix
Mater Dei


Născătoare de Dumnezeu
Maica Domnului

Serbian / Croatian

Богородица / Bogorodica
Мајка Божја / Majka Božja

Mayka Bozhia


ܝܳܠܕܰܬ ܐܰܠܳܗܳܐ

Yoldath Aloho


Мати Божа

Maty Bozha


Matka Boska

Matka Boska


Matka Božia

Matka Bozhia


Маці Божая

Matsi Bozhaia

^* Translation of the phrase mother of God

Mother of God

The English term Mother of God is mostly used as an imprecise translation of Theotokos, and frequently requires explanation.[4] The other principal use of Mother of God has been as the precise and literal translation of Μήτηρ Θεού, a Greek term which has an established usage of its own in traditional Orthodox and Catholic theological writing, hymnography, and iconography. In an abbreviated form ΜΡ ΘΥ it often is found on Eastern icons (see illustration above), where it is used to identify Mary.

A hymn normally sung as part of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom includes both titles in close proximity, in both cases referring to Mary, showing that the titles are not synonymous: “It is truly fitting to call you blessed, the Theotokos, ever-blessed and wholly pure and the Mother of our God (Ἄξιόν ἐστιν ὡς ἀληθῶς μακαρίζειν σὲ τὴν Θεοτόκον, τὴν ἀειμακάριστον καὶ παναμώμητον καὶ μητέρα του Θεοῦ ἡμῶν…”, emphasis added.) The difference between the two terms is that the former, Theotokos explicitly refers to physical childbearing, while the latter, Mother of God, describes a family relationship but not necessarily physical childbearing.

Within the Orthodox and Catholic tradition, Mother of God has not been understood, nor been intended to be understood, as referring to Mary as Mother of God from eternity — that is, as Mother of God the Father — but only with reference to the birth of Jesus, that is, the Incarnation. This limitation in the meaning of Mother of God must be understood by the person employing the term. To make it explicit, it is sometimes translated Mother of God Incarnate.[5]

However, those reading or hearing the English phrase Mother of God as a translation of a Greek text cannot — unless they know the Greek text in question, or obtain additional information — know whether the phrase is a literal translation of Μήτηρ Θεού or an imprecise rendering of Θεοτόκος or one its Latin equivalents or equivalents in other languages.


Theotokos specifically excludes the understanding of Mary as Mother of God in the eternal sense. Christians believe that God is the cause of all, with neither origin nor source, and is therefore without a mother or father, or any relation except for what is homoousian to Him: only the persons of the Holy Trinity. He is ontologically separate from all other beings, as Creator to creation. This stands in contrast to classical Greco-Roman religion in particular, where a number of goddesses appear as the physical mothers of other divinities which were considered gods in their own right (cf. polytheism).

On the other hand, most Christians believe God the Son is begotten of God the Father “from all eternity” (see Trinity and Nicene Creed), but is born “in time” of Mary. Theotokos thus refers to the Incarnation, when the Second Person of the Holy Trinity took on human nature in addition to his pre-existing divine nature, this being made possible through the cooperation of Mary.

Though mainstream Christians understand Jesus Christ as both fully God and fully human, only Orthodox and Catholics (e.g. Anglicans, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Lutherans, Old Catholics, Roman Catholics) call Mary Theotokos. The Council of Ephesus decreed, in opposition to those who denied Mary the title Theotokos (“the one who gives birth to God”) but called her Christotokos (“the one who gives birth to Christ”), that Mary is Theotokos because her son Jesus is one person who is both God and man, divine and human. (Some Protestants still hold that Mary cannot be Theotokos, but only Christotokos.[6][7]) Cyril of Alexandria wrote, “I am amazed that there are some who are entirely in doubt as to whether the holy Virgin should be called Theotokos or not. For if our Lord Jesus Christ is God, how is the holy Virgin who gave [Him] birth, not [Theotokos]?” (Epistle 1, to the monks of Egypt; PG 77:13B). Thus the significance of Theotokos lies more in what it says about Jesus than any declaration about Mary, according to this Catholic doctrine.

Within the Orthodox doctrinal teaching on the economy of salvation, Mary’s identity, role, and status as Theotokos is acknowledged as indispensable, and is for this reason formally defined as official dogma. The only other Mariological teaching so defined is that of her virginity. Both of these teachings have a bearing on the identity of Jesus Christ. By contrast, certain other Marian beliefs which do not bear directly on the doctrine concerning the person of Jesus (for example, her sinlessness, the circumstances surrounding her conception and birth, her Presentation in the Temple, her continuing virginity following the birth of Jesus, and her death), which are taught and believed by the Orthodox Church (being expressed in the Church’s liturgy and patristic writings), are nonetheless not formally defined by the Church, and belief in them is not a precondition for baptism.

Use of Theotokos in the early Christian Church

Many Fathers of the early Christian Church used the title Theotokos for Mary since at least the third century AD.

Origen (d. 254) is often cited as the earliest author to use Theotokos for Mary (Socrates, Ecclesiastical History 7.32 citing Origen’s Commentary on Romans) but the text upon which this assertion is based may not be genuine.

Dionysius of Alexandria used Theotokos in about 250, in an epistle to Paul of Samosata.

Athanasius of Alexandria in 330, Gregory the Theologian in 370, John Chrysostom in 400, and Augustine all used Theotokos.

Theodoret wrote in 436 that calling the Virgin Mary Theotokos is an apostolic tradition.

Third Ecumenical Council

The use of Theotokos was formally affirmed at the Third Ecumenical Council held at Ephesus in 431. The competing view, advocated by Patriarch Nestorius of Constantinople, was that Mary should be called Christotokos, meaning “Birth-giver of Christ,” to restrict her role to the mother of Christ’s humanity only and not his divine nature.

Nestorius’ opponents, led by Cyril of Alexandria, viewed this as dividing Jesus into two distinct persons, the human who was Son of Mary, and the divine who was not. To them, this was unacceptable since by destroying the perfect union of the divine and human natures in Christ, it sabotaged the fullness of the Incarnation and, by extension, the salvation of humanity. The council accepted Cyril’s reasoning, affirmed the title Theotokos for Mary, and anathematised Nestorius’ view as heresy. (See Nestorianism)

In letters to Nestorius which were afterwards included among the council documents, Cyril explained his doctrine. He noted that “the holy fathers… have ventured to call the holy Virgin Theotokos, not as though the nature of the Word or his divinity received the beginning of their existence from the holy Virgin, but because from her was born his holy body, rationally endowed with a soul, with which [body] the Word was united according to the hypostasis, and is said to have been begotten according to the flesh” (Cyril’s second letter to Nestorius).

Explaining his rejection of Nestorius’ preferred title for Mary (Christotokos), Cyril wrote: “Confessing the Word to be united with the flesh according to the hypostasis, we worship one Son and Lord, Jesus Christ. We do not divide him into parts and separate man and God as though they were united with each other [only] through a unity of dignity and authority… nor do we name separately Christ the Word from God, and in similar fashion, separately, another Christ from the woman, but we know only one Christ, the Word from God the Father with his own flesh… But we do not say that the Word from God dwelt as in an ordinary human born of the holy virgin… we understand that, when he became flesh, not in the same way as he is said to dwell among the saints do we distinguish the manner of the indwelling; but he was united by nature and not turned into flesh… There is, then, one Christ and Son and Lord, not with the sort of conjunction that a human being might have with God as in a unity of dignity or authority; for equality of honor does not unite natures. For Peter and John were equal to each other in honor, both of them being apostles and holy disciples, but the two were not one. Nor do we understand the manner of conjunction to be one of juxtaposition, for this is insufficient in regard to natural union…. Rather we reject the term ‘conjunction’ as being inadequate to express the union… [T]he holy virgin gave birth in the flesh to God united with the flesh according to hypostasis, for that reason we call her Theotokos… If anyone does not confess that Emmanuel is, in truth, God, and therefore that the holy virgin is Theotokos (for she bore in a fleshly manner the Word from God become flesh), let him be anathema.” (Cyril’s third letter to Nestorius)


Theotokos is often used in hymns to Mary in the Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic and Oriental Orthodox churches. The most common is Axion Estin (It is truly meet), which is used in nearly every service.

Other examples include Beneath thy compassion dating from the third century, the Hail Mary in its Eastern form, and All creation rejoices, which replaces Axion Estin at the Divine Liturgy on the Sundays of Great Lent.


In the Roman Catholic Church, the solemnity of Mary as Mother of God (Theotokos) is celebrated on 1 January, on the same day as the Octave of Christmas. Her maternity was celebrated on 11 October in pre-1970 versions of the General Roman Calendar, which some traditional Catholics still observe.

This solemnity comes from around 500 AD and was originally celebrated in the Eastern Churches.


1.      ^ The Canons of the Two Hundred Holy and Blessed Fathers Who Met at Ephesus

2.      ^ Pelikan, Jaroslav (1998). Mary Through the Centuries. Yale University Press. pp. 55. ISBN 978-0300076615.

3.      ^ Methodius of Patra, Speech on Symeon and the Holy Theotokos

4.      ^ For example [1], [2] and [3]

5.      ^ “We recognize the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Theotókos, the mother of God incarnate, and so observe her festivals and accord her honour among the saints.” Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC II)

6.      ^ http://www.be-ready.org/cult.html

7.      ^ http://www.godondeathrow.com/subpage3.html


The Virgin Mary In The Qur’an


Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.

Contemporary interest in Islam and the n Islam and the Qur’an, its sacred book, runs high. Qur’an means literally a book, a reading, a recitation; and is sometimes less accurately transliterated from Arabic to English as Koran.

Among the queries raised concerning the Qur’an is the place Mary, the Mother of Jesus, occupies in Islam. For the past two millennia people have given many faces to Mary. Some of the most impressive images of her are found in the Qur’an. And ample evidence exists to indicate that the sources of the Marian references in the Qur’an are found in early Judaic and Christian traditions.

Muslims believe the Qur’an has a mysterious origin. It is the word of God that brings deliverance to those who believe in it. It enlightens the soul. It is the “guarded tablet” that no one can imitate. It is the new Revelation “in the Arabic language” that came to “confirm” previous revelations contained in the Torah and the Gospel. This is the reason Jews and Christians are called “People of the Book.”

In the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) the prophets are considered bearers and interpreters of God’s word, God’s instruments. They transmit the divine message by human means. Christians, in contrast, regard Jesus as the Eternal Word who did not come “with a book,” and remains a living and active Person.

The central idea of the Qur’an is that everything comes from God (Allah in Arabic), the universal Creator, and everything returns to God. God is the Creator of the universe, angels and demons, and of all persons. Through the prophets, God spoke to the people and taught them the laws of human conduct and of worship. For reward or for retribution in the life to come, he will raise them up for judgment. The Qur’an explains that God wishes to reveal himself to people.

The Qur’an mentions the Torah and the Psalms, recognized as books of early revelation, and the Gospels. In the Muslim view the Qur’an was given to complete and confirm the truths of these earlier books. It states that the prophets preached the One Only God, and that two of the prophets, Adam and Jesus, were born by direct intervention of the Creator. The Qur’an also records other humanly impossible conceptions that were announced by angels: those of Abraham and Sara, of Zachariah and Elizabeth, and Mary the Mother of Jesus.

Mary and her son Jesus, the prophet, hold a privileged place in the Qur’an. Mary is the only female whose name is cited. While other females are not named at all, Mary’s name is repeated frequently. The expression “Jesus son of Mary” appears thirteen times; and “Jesus, the Messiah, son of Mary” is found three times. About forty-five times we find Mary’s name or references to it.

According to the Qur’an, God made Mary and Jesus a sign, a witness to faith: “And We made the son of Mary and his mother a portent” (S. 23:50; S. 21:91).

Three suras (chapters) in the Qur’an bear titles recalling various aspects of Christian tradition: Sura 3, The Family of ‘Imran; Sura 5, The Holy Table, concerning imagery recalling Jesus’ miracles; and Sura 19, Mary, giving prominence to Mary and Zachariah.

In general the Qur’an focuses on two particular events in the life of Mary: her birth and her time in the Temple. “The angels said: O Mary! Allah has chosen thee and made thee pure and has preferred thee above all women of creation” (S. 3:42).

The same God who has chosen Adam, Noah, and the families of Abraham and ‘Imran also chose Mary. The texts indicate clearly three points: Mary is favored; she is pure; she is chosen over all women of the world. In comparing Marian texts of the Qur’an with Christian sources, we find some close similarities with the Protoevangelium of James and other apocryphal writings.

God chose Mary and prepared her for an important mission, “to adore and pay homage” (S. 3:43). Mary was chosen to be a messenger of God and to bear a child through the Word of God rather than normal intercourse.

As their Christian counterparts did with the Bible, Muslim commentators embellished the Qur’an. Muslim stories about Mary are based on the same apocryphal stories believed by Christians in countries where Islam replaced the Gospel.

The important point in Mary’s genealogy for Muslim exegetes is that her family is from David’s lineage, because Islam places great importance on lineal descent from the prophets.

Nothing is said about Joseph in the Qur’an, but he has a place in the Muslim tradition.

Mary’s Annunciation holds special significance in the Qur’an, especially in suras 3 and 19.

Sunni, Shi’ite, and Sufi commentators all express profound reverence and deep appreciation for Mary. Although the vocation and mission of Jesus, and Mary’s association with him, are not clearly stated in Islam as in the Gospels, particularly Luke’s, these beliefs are found in the Qur’an or indicated in commentaries.

Both the Qur’an and the entire Islamic tradition consider Mary the most blessed and prominent of women. This belief reaches back to Muhammad as noted in Musnad by Ibn Hanbal. The founder of Islam placed Mary above even his daughter Fatimah, and said Fatimah would have been highest among women were it not for Mary.

The Qur’an is clear that Mary was born without sin, and that Jesus son of Mary was born of a woman who had no relations with a man, since the common reference to a man in that culture is as son of his father, not of his mother.

Christianity and Islam are both missionary faiths originating among Semitic peoples. They have this in common: belief in one God, who is just, merciful, omnipotent, omniscient, and who acts in history. Accepting Jesus as prophet and Messiah, Islam thus elevates his mother, Mary, to a special position and role. Since some Qur’anic statements about Mary do not exist in the New Testament, scholars look for other sources in existence at the birth of Islam. The influence of canonical Christian Scripture on the Qur’an and Islam is minimal, but the apocryphal texts seem to have been a considerable influence, especially the Protoevangelium.

Even though Christianity and Islam grew from the same Near Eastern monotheistic tradition, and even though from its inception Islam recognized the common heritage — acknowledging both the virgin birth and Jesus as prophet — Muslims reject the divinity of Jesus. The strong aversion of the Qur’an to Jesus being the Son of God might be attributed to the fact that its sources were removed from the truth of the Gospel. Islamic unfamiliarity with the divinity of Jesus might also be attributed to the fact that its sources were removed from the truth of the Gospel. That unfamiliarity with the divinity of Jesus and the Gospel might also contribute to its anti-Christian attitude.

While Islam seems unwilling to delve deeper into Qur’anic textual sources, the similarity between the Qur’an and Christian Scripture might serve as the springboard of a fruitful journey of dialogue. And mutual understanding of Mary might be a bridge.


This page, maintained by The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute, Dayton, Ohio 45469-1390, and created by Kris Sommers , was last modified Wednesday, 08/13/2008 13:40:21 EDT by Ajay. Please send any comments to jroten1@udayton.edu.



Saints In Methodism By Wiki

Saints in Methodism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Methodism has historically followed the Protestant tradition of referring to sanctified members of the universal church as saints.

John Wesley‘s belief was that Christianity should be Christ-centered. Article XIV of the Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church states that

The Romish doctrine concerning…worshiping, and adoration, as well of images as of relics, and also invocation of saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warrant of Scripture, but repugnant to the Word of God.[1]

Explicitly, Methodism denies Purgatory, veneration of saints, relics, and prayer to saints—considering them to be unfounded in Scripture.

While most Methodist churches have continued to place little emphasis on saints, they often admire, honor, and remember the saints of Christendom.[2] The Virgin Mary is honored as the Mother of Christ in the United Methodist Church, and by Methodists of the High Church tradition, she is also given the title Mother of God, as Christ is God according to the Trinity. Some Methodists, including John Wesley, believe that the Virgin Mary was a perpetual virgin.[3][4] The title ‘Saint’ in Methodist churches is normally bestowed only to those who had direct relations with Jesus Christ, or who are mentioned in the Bible. For example, some Methodist churches are named for historic heroes and heroines of the faith such as the Twelve Apostles (excluding Judas Iscariot), Timothy, Paul, John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene, Virgin Mary, and Joseph; such as the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew (New York City) or St. Mark’s United Methodist Church.


1.      ^ “The Twenty-Five Articles of Religion (Methodist)”. CRI / Voice, Institute. http://www.crivoice.org/creed25.html. Retrieved 2009-04-11.

2.      ^ “Do Methodists Believe in Saints As Catholics Do?” http://archives.umc.org/frames.asp?url=http%3A//www.upperroom.org/askjulian/default.asp%3Fact%3Danswer%26itemid=88993

3.      ^ http://wesley.nnu.edu/john-wesley/the-letters-of-john-wesley/wesleyrsquos-letters-1749

4.      ^ http://www.davidmacd.com/catholic/mary_perpetual_virgin.htm



Protestant Views On Mary By Wiki

Protestant views on Mary

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/5a/Childrens_Nativity_Play_2007.jpg/220px-Childrens_Nativity_Play_2007.jpgProtestant views on Mary includes the theological positions of major Protestant representatives such as Martin Luther and John Calvin as well as some modern representatives. While it is difficult to generalize about the place of Mary in Protestantism given the great diversity of Protestant beliefs, some summary statements are attempted.

While reformers such as Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli and John Calvin at different points in their writings had expressed what seem to be examples of a residual Marian piety,[1][2] the Protestant emphasis on sola scriptura, solus Christus, soli Deo gloria, among others kept the honoring of Mary to a minimum and Protestant teaching about Mary coterminous with her short part in scripture and creeds.

Nevertheless a uniquely “Protestant” view of Mary can be said to exist, inasmuch as details of the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus, are revealed in scripture and explored in exegesis; a typical Protestant view of Mary may be said to focus on her humility before God, her obedience and her openness to the Word. A newer, controversial, Protestant view of Mary emerging out of the Evangelical movement sees Mary as a feisty, assertive, and radically Christian woman.[3]

Protestant theologians

Some early Protestants venerated and honored Mary. Martin Luther said Mary is “the highest woman”, that “we can never honour her enough”, that “the veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart” and that Christians should “wish that everyone know and respect her”. John Calvin said, “It cannot be denied that God in choosing and destining Mary to be the Mother of his Son, granted her the highest honor.” Zwingli said, “I esteem immensely the Mother of God” and “The more the honor and love of Christ increases among men, so much the esteem and honor given to Mary should grow”. Thus the idea of respect and high honour was not rejected by the first Protestants; the practical implications for Mariology are still a matter of debate.

John Wycliffe

The pre-Lutheran reformer, John Wycliffe, who in many other areas rejected Catholic creedalism, reflected the Marian spirit of the later Middle Ages in one of his earlier sermons: “It seems to me impossible that we should obtain the reward of Heaven without the help of Mary. There is no sex or age, no rank or position, of anyone in the whole human race, which has no need to call for the help of the Holy Virgin.”[4]

Martin Luther

Despite Luther’s 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 councils and dogmas of the church. He held fast to the belief that Mary was a perpetual virgin and the Theotokos or Mother of God.[5] Special attention is given to the assertion, that Luther some three-hundred years before the dogmatization of the Immaculate Conception by Pope Pius IX 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.[6] Regarding the Assumption of Mary, he stated that the Bible did not say anything about it. Important to him was the belief that Mary and the saints do live on after death.[7] “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.”[8] 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 saints‘ days and making intercessory requests addressed especially to Mary and other departed saints to be idolatry.[9]

John Calvin

John Calvin accepted Mary’s perpetual virginity and the title “Mother of God”. He considered himself the real follower of Marybecause he freed her from misuses of these titles and undeserved “Papist” honour which is due only to Jesus Christ, and for returning this honour to him alone.[10] Calvin stated that Mary cannot be the advocate of the faithful, since she needs God’s grace as much as any other human being.[11] If the Catholic Church praises her as Queen of Heaven, it is blasphemous and contradicts her own intention, because she is praised and not God.[12]

Calvin expressed deep concern over its possible “superstitious” use of the title “Mother of God” from the teachings of the Council of Ephesus :[13]

I do not doubt that there has been some ignorance in their having reproved this mode of speech, — that the Virgin Mary is the Mother of God … I cannot dissemble that it is found to be a bad practice ordinarily to adopt this title in speaking of this Virgin: and, for my part, I cannot consider such language as good, proper, or suitable… for to say, the Mother of God for the Virgin Mary, can only serve to harden the ignorant in their superstitions.

Karl Barth

Karl Barth (1886–1968), a Reformed Protestant, was a leading 20th century theologian. Aware of the common dogmatic tradition of the early Church, Barth fully accepted the dogma of Mary as the Mother of God. In his view, through Mary, Jesus belongs to the human race; through Jesus, Mary is Mother of God. Barth also agreed with the Dogma of the Virgin Birth. It meant to him that Jesus as a human does not have a father and that as the Son of God he has no mother. The Holy Spirit, through whom Mary conceived, is not just any spirit, but it is God himself whose act must be understood spiritually and not physically.[14] Mary is “full of grace” according to Barth, but this grace is not earned but totally given to her. Regarding Mary’s virginity after birth, Barth argued that the Church adopted this position not because of Mary but in defence of its Christology. Barth considered the Roman Catholic veneration of Mary a terrible mistake and idolatrous heresy.[15]

Issues in Protestant theology

Mother of God

The designation Theotokos (in Greek, Θεοτόκος) or “Mother of God” for Mary emerged in the Church of Alexandria and was later adopted by the patristic-era universal Church at the Council of Ephesus in 431. It is a statement of Christological orthodoxy (See: hypostasis) in opposition to Nestorianism and also a devotional title of Mary used extensively in Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, and Anglican liturgy. The second verse of a well known Protestant hymn, Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones, is directly addressed to Mary and is based on an Orthodox prayer.

Presently the Lutheran World Federation[16] accepts the teachings of the Council of Ephesus and other ecumenical councils of the patristic-era Church, including the formulation “Mother of God” as a function of Christ’s hypostatic union. Luther says:[17]

We too know very well that God did not derive his divinity from Mary; but it does not follow that it is therefore wrong to say that God was born of Mary, that God is Mary’s Son, and that Mary is God’s mother.

The use of the term “Mother of God” among Protestants, however, has been controversial.


In the 18th and 19th centuries various groups of Protestants began to use the term Mariolatry to refer to the Roman Catholic, Anglo Catholic and Eastern Orthodox practices of Marian veneration and devotion. In their view the attention paid to Mary (mother of Jesus) may not only distract from the worship of God, but may breach on idolatry.[18][19]

This trend has taken various directions over time, in that while some Protestants have at times softened their attitude towards it, others have strengthened their opposition in the 21st century. For instance, during the May 2006 celebrations at Our Lady of Walsingham in England, as Anglicans and Roman Catholics held a Marian procession, Protestant hecklers held banners that condemned Masses, idolatry and “Mariolatry”.[20][21]


1.       ^ Walter Tappolet (1962). Das Marienlob der Reformatoren. Tübingen.

2.       ^ George Henry Tavard (1996). The Thousand Faces of the Virgin Mary. Liturgical Press. pp. 103. ISBN 0814659144.

3.       ^ Scot McKnight. “The Mary We Never Knew”. Christianity Today. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/december/8.26.html. Retrieved 2008-05-07.

4.       ^ http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg/12px-Wikisource-logo.svg.pngDevotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary“. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.

5.       ^ Remigius Bäumer, Marienlexikon Gesamtausgabe, Leo Scheffczyk, ed., (Regensburg: Institutum Marianum, 1994), 190.

6.       ^ Bäumer, 191

7.       ^ Bäumer, 190.

8.       ^ Eric W. Gritsch (1992). H. George Anderson, J. Francis Stafford, Joseph A. Burgess (eds.). ed. The One Mediator, The Saints, and Mary, Lutherans and Roman Catholic in Dialogue. VII. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress. pp. 235.

9.       ^ Luther’s Works, 47, pp. 45f; see also, Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue VIII, p. 29.

10.    ^ John Calvin. “On John 2:1-11”. Commentary on John. 1. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom34.viii.i.html. Retrieved 2008-05-19.

11.    ^ John Calvin, Works, Serm. de la proph. de Christ: op 35, 686.

12.    ^ John Calvin. “On Luke 1:46-50”. Harmony of the Evangelists. 1. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom31.ix.ix.html. Retrieved 2008-05-19.

13.    ^ Calvin to the Foreigners’ Church in London, 27 October 1552, in George Cornelius Gorham, Gleanings of a few scattered ears, during the period of Reformation in England and of the times immediately succeeding : A.D. 1533 to A.D. 1588 (London: Bell and Daldy, 1857), p. 285

14.    ^ Barth, Kirchliche Dogmatic I, 2, 219

15.    ^ “Where ever Mary is venerated, and devotion to her takes place, there the Church of Christ does not exist” (Church Dogmatics, I, 2, 154). “Catholic mariology is a cancer, a sick theological development, and cancers should be cut out” (Church Dogmatics, I, 2, 153). “The heresy of the Catholic Church is its mariology and Marian cult.” (Church Dogmatics, I, 2, 157).

16.    ^ 7th Plenary of the Lutheran-Orthodox Joint Commission. Retrieved 13 May 2008.

17.    ^ Martin Luther (2007). Theodore G. Tappert. ed. Selected Writings of Martin Luther. Fortress Press. pp. 291. ISBN 0800662261.

18.    ^ History of the Christian Church by Philip Schaff 1960 ISBN 0802880495 pages 411 and 422

19.    ^ Keegan, Matthew C. (2011, April 27). Book Review: The Virgin Mary in the Light of the Word of God. WordJourney Magazine, Retrieved from http://www.wordjourney.com

20.    ^ The Everything Jesus Book: His Life, His Teachings by Jon Kennedy 2006 ISBN 1593377126 page 7

21.    ^ Walsingham in Literature and Culture from the Middle Ages to Modernity by Dominic Janes, Gary Fredric Waller 2010 ISBN 0754669246 pages 12-13

Mariology By Wiki


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mariology is the
theological study of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mariology methodically presents teachings about her to other parts of the faith, such as teachings about Jesus, redemption and grace. Christian Mariology aims to connect scripture, tradition and the teachings of the Church on Mary.[1][2][3]

There exist a variety of Christian views on Mary ranging from the focus on Marian veneration in Roman Catholic Mariology to Protestant objections, with Anglican Marian theology in between. As a field of theology, in recent centuries the most substantial developments in Mariology (and the founding of specific centers devoted to its study) have taken place within Roman Catholic Mariology. Eastern Orthodox concepts of Mary have been mostly expressed in liturgy and are not subject to a central dogmatic teaching office.

A significant number of Marian publications were written in the 20th century, with theologists Raimondo Spiazzi and Gabriel Roschini achieving 2500 and 900 publications respectively. In terms of popular following, membership in Roman Catholic Marian Movements and Societies has grown significantly. Ecumenical differences continue to exist in substance and style but are more easily understood because of the existence of Mariology.

Diversity of Marian views

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0a/Vladimirskaya.jpg/220px-Vladimirskaya.jpgA wide range of views on Mary exist at multiple levels of differentiation within distinct Christian belief systems. In many cases, the views held at any point in history have continued to be challenged and transformed. Over the centuries, Roman Catholic Mariology has been shaped by varying forces ranging from sensus fidelium to Marian apparitions to the writings of the saints to papal encyclicals.

Anglican Marian theology varies greatly, from the Anglo-Catholic (very close to Roman Catholic views) to the more typically Protestant Evangelical views. The Anglican Church formally celebrates six Marian feasts, Annunciation (March 25), Visitation (May 31), Day of Saint Mary (Assumption or dormition) (August 15), Nativity of Mary (September 8), Our Lady of Walsingham (October 15) and Mary’s Conception (December 8).[6][7] Anglicans generally share some of the fundamental Marian beliefs such as divine maternity and the virgin birth of Jesus, although there is no systematic agreed upon Mariology among the diverse parts of the Anglican Communion. However, the role of Mary as a mediator is accepted by some groups of modern Anglican theologians.[8]

Eastern Orthodox theology calls Mary the Theotokos, emphasizing her status as the mother of God incarnate in Jesus, but not the mother of God from eternity. The virginal motherhood of Mary stands at the center of Orthodox Mariology, in which the title Ever Virgin is often used. The Orthodox Mariological approach emphasizes the sublime holiness of Mary, her share in redemption and her role as a mediator of grace.[9][10]

Orthodox Marilogical thought dates as far back as Saint John Damascene who in the 8th century wrote on the mediative role of Mary and on the Dormition of the Theotokos.[11][12] In the 14th century, Orthodox Mariology began to flourish among Byzantine theologians who held a cosmic view of Mariology, placing Jesus and Mary together at the center of the cosmos and saw them as the goal of world history.[9] More recently Orthodox Mariology achieved a renewal among 20th century theologians in Russia, for whom Mary is the heart of the Church and the center of creation.[9] However, unlike the Catholic approach, Orthodox Mariology does not support the Immaculate Conception of Mary.[9] Prior to the 20th century, Orthodox Mariology was almost entirely liturgical, and had no systematic presentation similar to Roman Catholic Mariology. However, 20th century theologians such as Sergei Bulgakov began the development of a detailed systematic Orthodox Mariology.[13][14][15] Bulgakov’s Mariological formulation emphasizes the close link between Mary and the Holy Spirit in the mystery of the Incarnation.[10]

Protestant views of Mary vary from denomination to denomination. They focus generally on interpretations of Mary in the Bible, the “Apostles’ Creed“, (which professes the Virgin Birth), and the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus, in 431, which called Mary the Mother of God. While some early Protestants created Marian art and allowed limited forms of Marian veneration,[16] Protestants today do not share the veneration of Mary practiced by Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox.[3] Martin Luther’s views on Mary, John Calvin’s views on Mary, Karl Barth’s views on Mary and others have all contributed to modern Protestant views.

A better mutual understanding among different Christian groups regarding their Mariology has been sought in a number of ecumenical meetings which produced common documents.

Outside Christianity, the Islamic view of the Virgin Mary, known as Maryam in Arabic, is that she was an extremely pious and chaste woman who miraculously gave birth while still a virgin to the prophet Jesus, known in Arabic as Isa. Mary is the only woman specifically named in the Qur’an. The nineteenth chapter of the Qur’an, which is named after her, begins with two narrations of “miraculous birth”.

Development and impact of Mariology

Over considerable resistance, the First Council of Ephesus in 431 formally sanctioned devotion to the Virgin as Theotokos, Mother of God, (more accurately translated as God bearer), sanctioning the creation of icons bearing the images of the Virgin and Child. Devotion to Mary was, however, already widespread before this point, reflected in the fresco depictions of Mother and Child in the Roman catacombs. The early Church Fathers saw Mary as the “new Eve” who said “yes” to God as Eve had said no.[17] Mary, as the first Christian Saint and Mother of Jesus, was deemed to be a compassionate mediator between suffering mankind and her son, Jesus, who was seen as King and Judge.

In the East, devotion to Mary blossomed in the sixth century under official patronage and imperial promotion at the Court of Constantinople.[18] The popularity of Mary as an individual object of devotion, however, only began in the fifth century with the appearance of apocryphal versions of her life, interest in her relics, and the first churches dedicated to her name, for example, S. Maria Maggiore in Rome.[19] A sign that the process was slower in Rome is provided by the incident during the visit of Pope Agapetus to Constantinople in 536, when he was upbraided for opposing the veneration of the theotokos and refusing to allow her icons to be displayed in Roman churches.[20] Early seventh-century examples of new Marian dedications in Rome are the dedication in 609 of the pagan Pantheon as Santa Maria ad Martyres, “Holy Mary and the Martyrs”,[21] and the re-dedication of the early Christian titulus Julii et Calixtii, one of the oldest Roman churches, as Santa Maria in Trastevere.[22] The earliest Marian feasts were introduced into the Roman liturgical calendar by Pope Sergius I (687-701).[23]

Devotion to the Virgin Mary as the “new Eve” lent much to the status of women during the Middle Ages. Women who had been looked down upon as daughters of Eve, came to be looked upon as objects of veneration and inspiration. The medieval development of chivalry, with the concept of the honor of a lady and the ensuing knightly devotion to it, not only derived from the thinking about the Virgin Mary, but also contributed to it.[24] The medieval veneration of the Virgin Mary was contrasted by the fact that ordinary women, specially those outside aristocratic circles were looked down upon. Although women were at times viewed as the source of evil, it was Mary who as mediator to God was a source of refuge for man. The development of medieval Mariology and the changing attitudes towards women paralleled each other and can best be understood in a common context.[25]

Mariology as a theological discipline

Within Anglican Marian theology the Blessed Virgin Mary holds a place of honour. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, a number of traditions revolve around the Ever-Virgin Mary and the Theotokos, which are theologically paramount.

Yet, as an active theological discipline, Mariology has received the larger amount of formal attention in Roman Catholic Mariology based on four dogmas on Mary which are a part of Roman Catholic theology. The Second Vatican Council document Lumen Gentium summarized the views on Roman Catholic Mariology, the focus being on the veneration of the Mother of God. Over time, Roman Catholic Mariology also received some input from Liberation Theology, which emphasized popular Marian piety, and more recently from feminist theology, which stressed both the dignity of women and gender differences.

While systematic Marian theology is not new, Pope Pius XII is credited with promoting the independent theological study of Mary on a large scale with the creation or elevation of four papal Mariological research centres, e.g. the Marianum.[26] The papal institutes were created to foster Mariological research and to explain and support the Roman Catholic veneration of Mary. This new orientation was continued by Popes John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II with the additional creation of Pontifica Academia Mariana Internationale and Centro di Cultura Mariana, a pastoral center to promulgate Marian teachings of the Church, and, Societa Mariologica Italiana, an Italian mariological society with interdisciplinary orientation.

Maximalism versus minimalism

Mariology is a field of theology in which deeply felt pious beliefs of the faithful and hagiography may conflict with critical historical reviews of beliefs and practices, and scientific analysis. This conflict was recognized early on. Around the year 1300, William of Ware described the tendency of believers to attribute almost everything to Mary.[27] Bonaventura warned against Marian maximalism. “One has to be careful as to not to minimize the honour of our Lord, Jesus Christ.”[28] In the 20th century, Pope Pius XII, “the most Marian Pope in Church history”[29] warned nevertheless against both exuberant exaggerations and timid minimalism in the presentation of Mary.[30]

Mariological methodology

As a field of study, Mariology uses the sources, methods and criteria of theology, going back to official Marian pronouncements beginning with the Apostles’ Creed. In Mariology the question of scriptural basis is more accentuated.[31] In Roman Catholic Mariology, the overall context of Catholic doctrines and other Church teachings are also taken into account. The Marian Chapter of the document Lumen Gentium of Vatican II includes twenty-six biblical references. They refer to the conception, birth and childhood of Jesus, Mary’s role in several events and under the cross. Of importance to Mariological methodology is a specific Vatican II statement that these reports are not allegories with symbolic value but historical revelations, a point further emphasized by Pope Benedict XVI.[32]

Organization of Mariology

The presentation of Mariology differs among theologians. Some prefer to present its historical development, while others divide Mariology by its content (dogmas, grace, role in redemption, etc.). Some theologians prefer to present Mariology only in terms of Mary’s attributes (honour, titles, privileges), while others attempt to integrate Mary into their overall theology and into the salvation mystery of Jesus Christ.[33]

Some prominent theologians, such as Karl Barth and Karl Rahner in the 20th century, viewed Mariology only as a part of Christology. But differences exist even within families, e.g. Hugo Rahner, the brother of Karl Rahner, disagreed and developed a Mariology based on the writers of the early Church, such as Ambrose of Milan, Augustine of Hippo, and others.[34] He viewed Mary as the mother and model for the Church, a view later highlighted by Popes Paul VI through Benedict XVI.[35]

Relation to other theological disciplines

Mariology and Christology

While Christology has been the subject of detailed study, some Marian views, in particular in Roman Catholic Mariology, see it as an essential basis for the study of Mary. Generally, Protestant denominations do not agree with this approach.

The concept that by being the “Mother of God”, Mary has a unique role in salvation and redemption was contemplated and written about in the early Church.[36] In recent centuries, Roman Catholic Mariology has come to be viewed as a logical and necessary consequence of Christology: Mary contributes to a fuller understanding of who Christ is and what he did. In these views, Mariology can be derived from the Christocentric mysteries of Incarnation: Jesus and Mary are son and mother, redeemer and redeemed.[37][38][39]

Biblical research

Mariology participates in and benefits from biblical research, employing historical text-critical analysis and other methods employed by biblical scholarship. Like all scriptures, biblical statements on Mary were not only part of divine revelation, but were written in a historic and socio-cultural context, which require explanation. Of special importance in this context is the application of biblical hermeneutics (the analysis of synonym words for a better understanding of their meaning). Hermeneutics assists in the analysis of the relation between biblical statements on Mary, the faith of the early Christians and the Marian tradition of the Church. Because of the mother-son relation, the historical research into the life of Jesus is of obvious interest to Mariology.[40]

Church history

Within the field of Church history, Mariology is concerned with the development of Marian teachings and the various forms of Marian culture. An important part of Church history is patristics or patrology, the teaching of the early Fathers of the Church. They give indications of the faith of the early Church and are analyzed in terms of their statements on Mary.

In the Roman Catholic context, patrology and dogmatic history have at times provided a basis for popes to justify Marian belief, veneration, and dogmas such as the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption. Thus, in Fulgens Corona and Munificentissimus Deus, Pope Pius XII explained the two dogmas in terms of existing biblical references to Mary, the patristic tradition, and the strong historical faith of believers (sensus fidelium). He employed a deductive theological method.[41]

Moral theology

Some scholars do not see a direct relation of Mariology to Moral Theology. However, in the words of Pius X, as Mary is viewed as the model of virtue, virginity, and a life free of sin, her life exemplifies many moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. It is used in that way in pastoral theology and homiletics (sermons). Moral theology includes teachings on mysticism, to which Marian spirituality relates. Marian charisma, Marian apparitions and other private revelations are also subject to Catholic teachings on revelation, mysticism and canon law.


1.       ^ The encyclopedia of Christianity, Volume 3 by Erwin Fahlbusch, Geoffrey William Bromiley 2003 ISBN 9004126546 pages 403-404

2.       ^ Rahner, Karl 2004 Encyclopedia of theology: a concise Sacramentum mundi ISBN 0860120066 page 901

3.       ^ a b Hillerbrand, Hans Joachim. Encyclopedia of Protestantism, Volume 3 2003. ISBN 0415924723 page 1174

4.       ^ The icon handbook: a guide to understanding icons and the liturgy by David Coomler 1995 ISBN 0872432106 page 203

5.       ^ The era of Michelangelo: masterpieces from the Albertina by Achim Gnann 2004 ISBN 8837027559 page 54

6.       ^ Schroedel, Jenny The Everything Mary Book, 2006 ISBN 1593377134 page 84

7.       ^ Walsingham shrine

8.       ^ Burke, Raymond et al. Mariology: A Guide for Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, and Consecrated Persons 2008 ISBN 9781579183554 page 590

9.       ^ a b c d Rahner, Karl 2004 Encyclopedia of theology: a concise Sacramentum mundi ISBN 0860120066 pages 393-394

10.    ^ a b The encyclopedia of Christianity, Volume 3 by Erwin Fahlbusch, Geoffrey William Bromiley 2003 ISBN 9004126546 page 409

11.    ^ Damascene, John. Homily 2 on the Dormition 14; PG 96, 741 B

12.    ^ Damascene, John. Homily 2 on the Dormition 16; PG 96, 744 D

13.    ^ The Orthodox Church by Sergei Nikolaevich Bulgakov 1997 ISBN 0881410519 page 67

14.    ^ The Celebration of Faith: The Virgin Mary by Alexander Schmemann 2001 ISBN 0881411418 pages 60-61

15.    ^ Modern Russian Theology: Ortholdox Theology In A New Key by Paul Vallierey 2000 ISBN 0567087557 pages

16.    ^ “Protestantische Marien Kunst”, in Bäumer, Marienlexikon, V, pp 325-336, Marian veneration in Protestantismus, pp 336-342

17.    ^ “Mary, The New Eve”. http://campus.udayton.edu/mary//meditations/neweve.html. Retrieved October 8, 2008.

18.    ^ A. Cameron, “The Theotokos in sixth-century Constantinople”, Journal of Theological Studies, New Series 19 (1978:79-108).

19.    ^ John L. Osborne, “Early Medieval Painting in San Clemente, Rome: The Madonna and Child in the Niche” Gesta 20.2 (1981:299-310) and (note 9) referencing T. Klauser, “Rom under der Kult des Gottesmutter Maria”, Jahrbuch für der Antike und Christentum 15 (1972:120-135).

20.    ^ M. Mundell, “Monophysite church decoration” Iconoclasm (Birmingham) 1977:72.’

21.    ^ Liber Pontificalis, I, 317.

22.    ^ First mentioned under this new dedication in the Salzburg Itinerary, undated but first half of the seventh century (Maria Andalore, “La datazione della tavola di S. Maria in Trastevere”, Rivista dell’Istituto Nazionale d’Archeologia e Storia d’Arte, New Series 20 [1972-73:139-215], p. 167).

23.    ^ Liber Pontificalis, I, 376.

24.    ^ International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: K-P by Geoffrey W. Bromiley 1994 ISBN 0802837832 page 272

25.    ^ Daughters of the church 1987 by Ruth Tucker ISBN 0310457416 page 168

26.    ^ Academia Mariana Salesiana, 1950, Centro Mariano Monfortano to Rome, 1950, Pontifical University Marianum, 1950, and Collegiamento Mariano Nationale, 1958

27.    ^ C Balic, “The Marian rules of Dun Scotus”, Euntes Docete, 9, 1956, 110

28.    ^ Bonaventura, Opera VI, 497

29.    ^ Bäumer, Kirchenlexikon’, Pius XII

30.    ^ Encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam

31.    ^ Kihn, 63

32.    ^ Joseph Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity, 1968, in the original German version, p. 230

33.    ^ “Mariologie”, in Bäumer, Lexikon der Marienkunde

34.    ^ Maria und die Kirche, Tyrolia-Verlag, 1961 (English Translation: Our Lady and the Church, Zaccheus Press, 2004)

35.    ^ Hugo Rahner in Bäumer, Lexikon der Marienkunde

36.    ^ Lexikon der kath., “Dogmatik, Mariologie”, 1988

37.    ^ Saint Louis de Montfort,God Alone

38.    ^ Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater, 51

39.    ^ Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis Christi; John Henry Newman: Mariology is always christocentric, in Michael Testa, Mary: The Virgin Mary in the Life and Writings of John Henry Newman, 2001

40.    ^ H Kihn, Encyclopedie fer theologie, 1892, 102

41.    ^ Lexikon der kath. Dogmatik, Mariologie, 1988

Marian Devotions By Wiki

Marian Devotions

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/11/Madonna_FiveAngels.jpg/257px-Madonna_FiveAngels.jpgA Marian devotion is a gift (total or partial) 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. Such prayers or acts may be accompanied by specific requests for Mary’s intercession to God.[1][2][3][4]

A wide range of Marian devotions exist, ranging from multi-day prayers such as Novenas among Catholics, the veneration of icons in the Eastern Christianity or activities which do not involve any prayers, such as the wearing of scapulars or even maintaining a Mary garden.[5][6]

Devotion to the Virgin Mary does not, however, amount to worship – which is reserved for God; e.g. both Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox view Mary as subordinate to Christ, but uniquely so, in that she is seen as above all other creatures. In 787 the Second Council of Nicaea affirmed a three level hierarchy of latria, hyperdulia and dulia that applies to God, the Virgin Mary and then to the other saints.[7][8][9][10]

Marian devotions are important to the Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican traditions, but most Protestant views on Mary do not accept them and argue that they do not have a biblical basis and may distract attention from Christ.[11] There is significant diversity of form and structure in Marian devotions practiced by different groups of Christians. Orthodox Marian devotions are well defined and closely linked to liturgy, while Roman Catholic practices are wide ranging and may include non-dogmatic beliefs such as the association of Marian devotions with predestination.[12]


Given that there is no single church with universal authority within the Anglican Communion, different types of Marian devotions are practiced by various groups of Anglicans with varying degrees of emphasis.[13] Within the Anglican Communion and the Continuing Anglican movement, devotions to the Virgin Mary have more emphasis within High Church and Broad Church parishes than others.

The emphasis placed on Mary and Marian devotions has changed throughout the history of Anglicanism. In the 16th century, following differences with the Roman Catholics, a movement away from Marian themes took place and by 1552 mentions of Mary had been mostly removed from the Book of Common Prayer and all Marian feasts except the Annunciation and the Purification had disappeared. However, in the 17th century, there was a gradual return to Marianism and by 1662 there were 5 Marian feasts.[14]

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/df/StJohnsAshfield_StainedGlass_MaryJesus.png/180px-StJohnsAshfield_StainedGlass_MaryJesus.pngBritish devotion to the Virgin Mary has often found itself expressed in poetry, as well as Marian hymns and Carols, e.g. in the 17th century poems of John Donne and George Herbert, or in the 18th century works of Thomas Ken such as Saint Mary the Virgin.[15][16]

The Anglican devotion for the Virgin Mary was revived during the 19th century Oxford Movement of Anglo-Catholicism and the activities of prominent figures such as John Henry Newman who had strong Marian devotions.[17] British theologians such as Father Frederick Faber (who composed several Hymns to Mary) took an enthusiastic approach to the promotion of Marian devotions towards the end of the 19th century.[18]

In the liturgical renewal of the 20th century, Mary gained new prominence, and in most Anglican prayer books she is mentioned by name in the Eucharistic prayers.[19] The gradual increase in Marian devotions among Anglicans has also been manifested within the higher levels of the clergy in the Anglican Communion. For instance, Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury (who made a 2008 pilgrimage to Our Lady of Lourdes) wrote a book on how to pray with the icons of the Virgin Mary.[20][21][22]

Anglican devotions to Mary include the Anglican Rosary (a variation of the rosary), votive candles, and pilgrimages to Walsingham and Lourdes. Some Anglicans, and Anglo-Catholics also pray the rosary itself.[23][24][25] For centuries, Our Lady of Walsingham has been a centerpiece in the Anglican devotions to the Virgin Mary and its feast is celebrated on October 15, as well as a Catholic feast on September 24.[26][27][28] Also common in Anglican cathedrals, Anglo-Catholic parishes, and certain Anglican shrines are chapels or side altars dedicated to the Virgin Mary called Lady chapels.[29]

Discussions between Roman Catholics and Anglicans within frameworks such as the Anglican—Roman Catholic International Commission and with the 2005 publication of the (non-binding) joint statement: Mary: grace and hope in Christ have started a movement towards a closer understanding of Mary and Marian devotions between Catholics and Anglicans.[22][30]

Eastern Orthodoxy

Our Lady of Kazan has been the subject of devotions both in the Catholic Church and in Eastern Orthodoxy.[31][32]

A deep devotion to the “Aeipartenos” (i.e. Ever Virgin) Mary is one of the key themes of Orthodox liturgy and spirituality. Devotion to the Virgin Mary is “taken for granted” in Eastern Orthodoxy: it permeates the entire life of the Church and historically required no academic development as in the Western Church.[33]

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/04/Kazan_moscow.jpg/180px-Kazan_moscow.jpgIn the Orthodox view, devotion to Mary is considered an important element of Christian spirituality, and indifference to her by other Christian denominations is troubling to the Orthodox.[34] For instance, Orthodox theologian Sergei Bulgakov called denominations that do not venerate the Virgin Mary “another type of Christianity”.[9][35]

The Theotokos (i.e. God-bearer, or Mother of God) title for Mary is very important in Eastern Orthodoxy and is seen as an affirmation of the fullness of God’s incarnation.

The Orthodox approach to Marian devotions is characterized by three elements:

·         Orthodox understandings of Mary have for centuries been mostly doxological and devotional rather than academic: they have been expressed in Marian hymns, liturgical poetry and the veneration of icons, rather than formal treatises. Marian devotions thus form the nucleolus of Orthodox Mariology.[36]

·         Devotions to Mary are far more ingrained and integrated within Orthodox liturgy than any other Christian traditions, e.g. there are many more hymns to Mary within the Eastern Orthodox yearly cycle of liturgy than in Roman Catholic liturgy.[37] Feasts, icons and hymns are often combined, e.g. the Theotokos Iverskaya “wonder working” icon is used on its own feast day, and the Akathistos is sung.[38]

·         The Orthodox focus on Mary as the Theotokos gives more emphasis to devotions that praise Mary’s role in the mystery of Incarnation, rather than other devotions, e.g. those that consider her sorrows at Calvary.[33] Devotions to the Theotokos are often combined with the veneration of icons depicting her with the Child Jesus. For instance, in the Sunday of Orthodoxy the singing of Marian hymns and the veneration of icons reaffirm the identity of Mary as the Theotokos.[39]

The Eastern Orthodox Church considers Mary to have been elevated by God to the highest status, above all other creatures, though still only a human being. The Orthodox hymn Axion Estin speaks of Mary as being “More honorable than the cherubim and more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim.” Although the Orthodox consider Mary sinless, they do not accept the Roman Catholic definition of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.[35]

Mary is mentioned numerous times in all of the Divine Services and the Divine Liturgy. The final petition of each ektenia (litany) ends with an invocation of the Virgin Mary. When a series of troparia are chanted, the final one is often a Theotokion (hymn to the Virgin Mary). There are numerous Marian litanies in the Eastern church and may cover a multitude of themes, some dogmatic, others of moral and patriotic character.

Devotions to icons of the Theotokos (often considered miraculous) are common in Eastern Orthodoxy. Many such icons are considered the protector of a region, e.g. Our Lady of Kazan for Kazan, Theotokos Fyodorovskaya as the protector of the Upper Volga region and Theotokos of Tolga as the patroness of Yaroslavl. A number of local (and often ancient) Orthodox Marian devotions also exist around the world, e.g. to the icon of the Theotokos of the Life-giving Spring in present day Istanbul.

One of the most important Marian devotions is the Akathist to the Theotokos, which is chanted every year during Great Lent, and is frequently chanted throughout the year as a private devotion. Some people chant the Akathist as part of their preparation for Holy Communion. A metrical translation of an ancient Orthodox prayer is found in the second verse of the Anglican hymn, Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones.

Roman Catholicism

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/84/Ostrabrama-prayer.jpg/240px-Ostrabrama-prayer.jpgMarian devotions are highly prominent within the Roman Catholic tradition, both at papal and popular levels. Pope Paul VI began his Apostolic Exhortation Marialis Cultus with this sentence:

From the moment when we were called to the See of Peter, we have constantly striven to enhance devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.[40]

In Rosarium Virginis Mariae, Pope John Paul II emphasized the importance of Marian devotions as follows:

Since Mary is of all creatures the one most conformed to Jesus Christ, it follows that among all devotions that which most consecrates and conforms a soul to our Lord is devotion to Mary.[41]

At the popular level, for centuries books such as True Devotion to Mary (which influenced Pope John Paul II as a young seminarian) have built a ground swell of Marian devotions among Catholics, to the point that tens of millions of pilgrims visit Marian shrines every year.[42] For instance, the statue of our Our Lady of Zapopan attracts over one million pilgrims on October 12th each year as the statue travels through the streets moving from one Cathedral to another.[43][44]

Marian devotions can take a unifying national dimension, e.g. devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe is a national symbol in Mexico and in 1979 Pope John Paul II placed Mexico under her protection.[45] Similarly, national devotions to Our Lady of Šiluva resulted in Lithuania being formally consecrated to Mary by Cardinal Sladkevicius and the Chairman of the Lithuanian Parliament, in September 1991.[46]

Marian devotions are also associated with a number of pious beliefs among Catholics which have not been dogmatically approved by the Church, but have been asserted by the saints and theologians. An example is the belief that Marian devotions are a sign of predestination, namely that those who have strong Marian devotions are more likely to go to Heaven.[12] Saint Bernard of Clairvaux in the 12th century, Saint Bonaventure in the 13th century, and Saint Alphonsus Ligouri in the 19th century affirmed this belief, and 20th century theologian R. Garrigou-Lagrange (who taught Pope John Paul II) supported it with modern theological arguments regarding the “signs of predestination”.[12][47][48][49]

Diversity of devotions

Marian devotions among Roman Catholics are numerous and have diverse cultural dimensions. While there are many well known devotions, a very large number of small, local and regional devotions also exist. At the top level Catholic Marian devotions may be categorized into the following non-exclusive groups, based on the characteristics of the devotion:

·         Apparition-based: These include well known and formally approved Marian apparitions such as Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Fatima or Our Lady of Akita as well as a multitude of regional devotions across the continents from Our Lady of Good Health in India to Our Lady of Licheń in Poland.[50][51] Such devotions have usually resulted in the construction of major Marian churches.[52]

·         Doctrine-based: Specific popular teachings and pious beliefs among Catholics have resulted in Marian devotions, and generated sensus fidelium even before their approval by the Church. For instance, devotions related to the Immaculata and the Immaculate Heart of Mary were widespread among Catholics by late 17th century before Immaculate Conception was declared a dogma in 1854.[53][54][55] Such devotions can evolve over time, e.g. to the joint devotion to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary.[56][57]

·         Life of Mary: Specific episodes in the Life of the Virgin Mary have resulted in devotions that focus on that aspect of her life. Examples include the Seven Sorrows of Mary that recalls her sufferings from the Prophecy of Simeon to the Crucifixion of Jesus. The Seven Joys of Mary on the other hand start with the Annunciation and end with her coronation in Heaven. Ongoing devotions such as Acts of Reparation to the Virgin Mary focus on her continued suffering at the present time as a result of insults and blasphemies.[58][59][60]

·         Sacramentals: The Rosary and Rosary meditations continues to be key Marian devotions. Over the centuries, among other sacramentals various devotional scapulars, specially the Brown scapular became very popular among Catholics, to the point that Catholic Encyclopedia stated: “Like the Rosary, the Brown Scapular has become the badge of the devout Catholic.” [61][62][63] Joint devotions such as Rosary and scapular and associated devotions such as First Saturday Devotions have followed that trend.

·         Miraculous images: Various icons, images and statues of the Virgin have been associated with reports of miraculous events such as healings and have resulted in local, and national devotions and the construction of Marian shrines. Examples include Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil, the Black Madonna of Częstochowa in Poland, Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn in Lithuania, and Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos in Mexico among many others.

There is also interplay between these types of devotion, e.g. the apparitions of Lourdes emphasized the Rosary and those of Fatima reported the Virgin Mary with the rosary and scapular. And regional devotions that may have hardly been heard of on other continents, continue to generate local support such as festivals and celebrations. E.g. the festival of Our Lady of Solitude of Porta Vaga in the Philippines has been celebrated for centuries, and its icon continues to be venerated.[64] Local devotions can generate significant interest, e.g. each year around Pentecost, as part of a local Marian devotion, about a million people attend the Romería de El Rocío in Spain.[65]

Many other forms of devotional expression take place, e.g. there has also been the long established practice of dedicating side altars in Catholic churches to Mary, often called Lady Chapels.[66] The tradition of May devotions to the Virgin Mary involves various ceremonies such as the singing of Marian hymns, readings from scriptures, a sermon, and or presentation by local choirs.[67][68]

Major Roman Catholic devotions to Mary



Life and doctrines:





1.      ^ Christ, the Ideal of the Priest by Abbot Columba Marmion 2006 ISBN 0852446578 page 332

2.      ^ Ann Ball, 2003 Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices ISBN 087973910X page 168

3.      ^ Miravalle, Mark Introduction to Mary 1993, ISBN 9781882972067, pages 13-23

4.      ^ Burke, Raymond L.; et al. (2008). Mariology: A Guide for Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, and Consecrated Persons ISBN 9781579183554 pages 667-679

5.      ^ Ann Ball, 2003 Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices ISBN 087973910X page 341

6.      ^ Catholic encyclopedia on Popular Devotions

7.      ^ The History of the Christian Church by Philip Smith 2009 ISBN 1150722452 page 288

8.      ^ Miravalle, Mark. Introduction to Mary’’. 1993 ISBN 9781882972067 pages 92–93

9.      ^ a b The Orthodox Church by Serge? Nikolaevich Bulgakov 1997 ISBN 0881410519 page 116

10.  ^ Trigilio, John and Brighenti, Kenneth The Catholicism Answer Book 2007 ISBN 1402208065 page 58

11.  ^ Hillerbrand, Hans Joachim, 2003. Encyclopedia of Protestantism, Volume 3 ISBN 0415924723 page 1174

12.  ^ a b c McNally, Terrence, What Every Catholic Should Know about Mary ISBN 1441510516 pages 144-147

13.  ^ Milton, Anthony Catholic and Reformed 2002 ISBN 0521893291 page 5

14.  ^ Mary for Time and Eternity by William McLoughlin, Jill Pinnock 2007 ISBN 0852446519 pages 4-7

15.  ^ The thousand faces of the Virgin Mary by George Henry Tavard 1996 ISBN 0814659144 pages 153-161

16.  ^ Christian year: or, Hymns and poems for the holy days by Thomas Ken 1868, Basil Montag Pickering Press, London, pages 334-335 [1]

17.  ^ Mary: the Virgin Mary in the life and writings of John Henry Newman by John Henry Newman 2001 ISBN 0852445296 pages 15-18

18.  ^ The Blessed Virgin Mary in England by Brother Anthony Josemaria 2008 ISBN 0595500749 pages 173-175

19.  ^ Mary: grace and hope in Christ: the Seattle statement of the Anglican-Roman Catholics” by the Anglican/Roman Catholic International Group 2006 ISBN 0826481558 page52

20.  ^ McNally, Terrence, What Every Catholic Should Know about Mary ISBN 1441510516 page 169

21.  ^ Williams, Rowan, 2002 Ponder these things: praying with icons of the Virgin ISBN 185311362X page 7

22.  ^ a b Schroedel, Jenny The Everything Mary Book, 2006 ISBN 1593377134 pages 81–85

23.  ^ The Rosary for Episcopalians/Anglicans by Thomas Schultz 2003 ISBN 1587900556

24.  ^ Mary: The Imagination of Her Heart by Penelope Duckworth 2004 ISBN 1561012602 page 118

25.  ^ Cathedrals by Robin S. Oggins 2000 ISBN 0281053499 page 43

26.  ^ Every Pilgrim’s Guide to Walsingham by Elizabeth Obbard 2007 ISBN 1853118087 pages 17 and 22

27.  ^ Anglican Walsingham shrine

28.  ^ Catholic Walsingham shrine

29.  ^ Mary: The Imagination of Her Heart by Penelope Duckworth 2004 ISBN 1561012602 pages 125-126

30.  ^ Mary: grace and hope in Christ: the Seattle statement of the Anglican-Roman Catholics” by the Anglican/Roman Catholic International Group 2006 ISBN 0826481558 pages 7–10

31.  ^ Pope John Paul II on Our Lady of Kazan

32.  ^ Lauds at the Vatican for the Lady of Kazan

33.  ^ a b The Celebration of Faith: The Virgin Mary by Alexander Schmemann 2001 ISBN 0881411418 pages 59-62

34.  ^ The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to its History, Doctrine, and Spiritual Culture by John Anthony McGuckin 2010 ISBN 1444337319 pages 210-215

35.  ^ a b McNally, Terrence, What Every Catholic Should Know about Mary ISBN 1441510516 pages 168-169

36.  ^ The Everything Mary Book by Jenny Schroedel 2006 ISBN 1593377134 page 90

37.  ^ Mary Is for Everyone by William McLoughlin, Jill Pinnock 1998 ISBN 085244429X page 183

38.  ^ Icon and devotion by Oleg Tarasov, R. R. Milner-Gulland 2004 ISBN 1861891180 page 86

39.  ^ Images of the Mother of God: perceptions of the Theotokos in Byzantium by Maria Vasilake 2005 ISBN 0754636038 pages 95-98

40.  ^ Vatican web site: Apostolic Letter Marialis Cultus

41.  ^ Vatican web site: Rosarium Virginis Mariae

42.  ^ “Shrine of Gualdalupe Most Popular in World”. ZENIT International News Agency. http://www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/ZSHRINE.HTM. Retrieved 01 Oct 2010.

43.  ^ Images of power: iconography, culture and state in Latin America by William Rowe ISBN 1571815333 page 271

44.  ^ Fodor’s Mexico 1996 ISBN 0679032495 page 242

45.  ^ The Roman Catholic Church: an illustrated history by Edward R. Norman ISBN page 127

46.  ^ University of Dayton

47.  ^ The Blessed Virgin Mary in England by Brother Anthony Josemaria 2008 ISBN 0595500749 pages pages 401-403

48.  ^ Life of Blessed John Gabriel Perboyre, Priest of the Congregation of the Mission by M. Antoine Fiat ISBN 1115293338page 56

49.  ^ Saint Alphonsus Liguori, The Glories of Mary, 1868, ISBN 0764806645 page 139

50.  ^ The Hindu Newspaper

51.  ^ Vatican website: John Paul II at Lichen

52.  ^ Moved by Mary: The Power of Pilgrimage in the Modern World by Anna-Karina Hermkens, Willy Jansen 2009 ISBN 0754667898 page 217

53.  ^ Mary’s Immaculate Heart by John F. Murphy 2007 ISBN 1406734098 pages 59-60

54.  ^ Roman Catholic worship: Trent to today by James F. White 2003 ISBN 0814661947 page 34

55.  ^ “Agenzia Fides – Congregazione per l’Evangelizzazione dei Popoli”. Fides.org. http://www.fides.org/eng/approfondire/totustuus/immacolata02.html. Retrieved 2009-05-05.

56.  ^ Arthur Calkins, The Theology of the Alliance of the Two Hearts, Missio Immaculatae (English Edition) Year III, N° 4 (May to December 2007). [2]

57.  ^ Pope John Paul II 1986 Speech at the Vatican Website

58.  ^ Ann Ball, 2003 Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices ISBN 087973910X

59.  ^ Catholic Encyclopedia

60.  ^ Joseph P. Christopher et al., 2003 The Raccolta St Athanasius Press ISBN 978-0970652669

61.  ^ Catholic Encyclopedia

62.  ^ EWTN on the History of the Brown Scapular [3]

63.  ^ Henry Charles Lea, 2002, A History of Auricular Confession and Indulgences in the Latin Church, Adamant Media Corp. ISBN 1402161085 page 498

64.  ^ The Galleon guide to Philippine festivals by Alphonso J. Aluit 1969 ASIN B004CWODBO page 97

65.  ^ El Rocío, Rough Guide to Spain. Retrieved 2010-04-14.

66.  ^ http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg/12px-Wikisource-logo.svg.pngDevotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary“. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.

67.  ^ Handbook of Prayers by James Socías 2006 ISBN 0879735791 page 483

68.  ^ Truly Our Sister: A Theology of Mary in the Communion of Saints by Elizabeth A. Johnson 2006 ISBN 0826418279 page 97

Lutheran Marian Theology By Wiki

Lutheran Marian Theology

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Lutheran Marian theology is derived from Martin Luther‘s views of Jesus‘ mother Mary. It was developed out of the deep and pervasive medieval Christian Marian devotion on which he was reared, and it was subsequently clarified as part of his mature Christocentric theology and piety.[1] Lutherans hold Mary in high esteem. Luther dogmatically asserted what he considered firmly established biblical doctrines like the divine motherhood of Mary while adhering to pious opinions of her perpetual virginity and immaculate conception along with the caveat that all doctrine and piety should exalt and not diminish the person and work of Jesus Christ. The emphasis was always placed on Mary as merely a receive r of God’s love and favor.[2] His opposition to regarding Mary as a mediatrix of intercession or redemption was part of his greater and more extensive opposition to the belief that the merits of the saints could be added to those of Jesus Christ to save humanity.[3]



http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/61/Luther46c.jpg/180px-Luther46c.jpgDespite Luther’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 councils and dogmas of the church. He held fast to the belief that Mary was a perpetual virgin and the Theotokos or Mother of God.[4] Special attention is given to the assertion that Luther, some three-hundred years before the dogmatization of the Immaculate Conception by Pope Pius IX 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; however, he maintained belief in Mary’s lifelong sinlessness.[5] Regarding the Assumption of Mary, he stated, that the Bible did not say anything about it. Important to him was the belief that Mary and the saints do live on after death.[6]

The centerpiece of Luther’s Marian views was his 1521 Commentary on the Magnificat in which he extolled the magnitude of God’s grace toward Mary and her own legacy of Christian instruction and example demonstrated in her canticle of praise.[7] Through 490 years this canticle has had an important place in Lutheran liturgy.[8]

Mother of God

Lutherans believe that the person Jesus is God the Son, the second Person of the Trinity, who was incarnated in the womb of his mother Mary as a human being, and since, as a person, he was “born of the Virgin Mary”.[9] Lutherans have always believed that Mary is the Theotokos, the God-bearer. Martin Luther said:

[S]he became the Mother of God, in which work so many and such great good things are bestowed on her as pass man’s understanding. For on this there follows all honor, all blessedness, and her unique place in the whole of mankind, among which she has no equal, namely, that she had a child by the Father in heaven, and such a Child…. Hence men have crowded all her glory into a single word, calling her the Mother of God…. None can say of her nor announce to her greater things, even though he had as many tongues as the earth possesses flowers and blades of grass: the sky, stars; and the sea, grains of sand. It needs to be pondered in the heart what it means to be the Mother of God.”[10]

This belief was officially confessed by Lutherans in their Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, article VIII.24:

On account of this personal union and communion of the natures, Mary, the most blessed virgin, did not conceive a mere, ordinary human being, but a human being who is truly the Son of the most high God, as the angel testifies. He demonstrated his divine majesty even in his mother’s womb in that he was born of a virgin without violating her virginity. Therefore she is truly the mother of God and yet remained a virgin.[11]

Perpetual virginity



Franz Pieper, June 27, 1852 – June 3, 1931

Some Lutherans believe that Mary did not have other children, and did not have any marital relations with Joseph,[12] maintaining that the brothers mentioned in the Gospels were cousins.[13] This is consistent with Luther’s lifelong acceptance of the idea of the perpetual virginity of Mary. Jaroslav Pelikan noted that the perpetual virginity of Mary was Luther’s lifelong belief,[14] and Hartmann Grisar, a Roman Catholic biographer of Luther, concurs that “Luther always believed in the virginity of Mary, even post partum, as affirmed in the Apostles’ Creed, though afterwards he denied her power of intercession, as well as that of the saints in general, resorting to many misinterpretations and combated, as extreme and pagan, the extraordinary veneration which the Catholic Church showed towards Mary.”[15] For this reason even a rigorously conservative Lutheran scholar like Franz Pieper (1852–1931) refuses to follow the tendency among Protestants to insist that Mary and Joseph had marital relations and children after the birth of Jesus. It is implicit in his Christian Dogmatics that belief in Mary’s perpetual virginity is the older and traditional view among Lutherans.[16]

Some American Lutheran groups such as the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod later “found no difficulty with the view that Mary and Joseph themselves together had other children”.[17] The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America holds the same belief.[18]

Immaculate conception

In the course of his life, Martin Luther made contradictory statements about Mary’s immaculate conception. For example, in 1532 Luther says that Mary was conceived in sin, in 1544 he says: ‘God has formed the soul and body of the Virgin Mary full of the Holy Spirit, so that she is without all sins, for she has conceived and borne the Lord Jesus.’[19] Elsewhere, “All seed except Mary was vitiated [by original sin].”[20] When concentrating specifically on Mary herself as the Mother of God, Luther acknowledges God’s singular action in bringing her into the world, but in making general comments about the universality of human sinfulness, he includes her among all the rest of humanity.

Mother Mary, like us, was born in sin of sinful parents, but the Holy Spirit covered her, sanctified and purified her so that this child was born of flesh and blood, but not with sinful flesh and blood. The Holy Spirit permitted the Virgin Mary to remain a true, natural human being of flesh and blood, just as we. However, he warded off sin from her flesh and blood so that she became the mother of a pure child, not poisoned by sin as we are. For in that moment when she conceived, she was a holy mother filled with the Holy Spirit and her fruit is a holy pure fruit, at once God and truly man, in one person.”[21]

Queen of Heaven

Throughout his lifetime, Luther believed that Mary was and referred to her as the “Queen of Heaven“, but he warned against people using the term too much.[22]


Before 1516, Luther’s belief that Mary is a mediatrix between God and humanity was driven by his fear of Jesus being the implacable judge of all people.[23] “The Virgin Mary remains in the middle between Christ and humankind. For in the very moment he was conceived and lived, he was full of grace. All other human beings are without grace, both in the first and second conception. But the Virgin Mary, though without grace in the first conception, was full of grace in the second … whereas other human beings are conceived in sin, in soul as well as in body, and Christ was conceived without sin in soul as well as in body, the Virgin Mary was conceived in body without grace but in soul full of grace.”[24]


Luther composed a number of venerational poems, which focus on Mary’s virginity. He also translated old devotional Latin hymns on Mary into German. They express in various ways the incarnation of God through a virgin:

The virgin body was pregnant, but she remained pure

Here comes the saviour of the gentiles

Divine grace from heaven came over the virgin and others.[12]

The Lutheran views on the veneration of Mary were interpreted differently by different theologians over time. Key is his interpretation of the Magnificat of Mary, which to some is a relic of the Catholic past, but to others a clear indication, that he maintained a Marian piety.[5] Luther states in his Magnificat, that one should pray to Mary, so God would give and do, through her will, what we ask. But, he adds, it is God’s work alone.[5] Some interpret his Magnificat as a personal supplication to Mary, but not as a prayerful request for mediation. An important indicator of Luther’s views on the veneration of Mary are not only his writings but also approved practices of Lutherans during his life-time. The singing of the Magnificat in Latin was maintained in many German Lutheran communities. The Church Order (Kirchenordnung) of Brandenburg, Bugenhagen Braunschweig and other cities and districts decreed by the royal heads of the Lutheran Church, maintained three Marian feast days, to be observed as public holidays.[5] It is known that Martin Luther approved of this. He also approved of keeping Marian paintings and statues in the Churches.[12] Luther did, however, say that “Mary prays for the church”.[25] He also advocated the use of the first half of the Hail Mary (that is, “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.”) as a sign of reverence for and devotion to the Virgin.[26]

Comparison to Roman Catholic views

Luther came to criticize Roman Catholics for blurring the distinction between high admiration of the grace of God wherever it is manifested in human beings and religious service offered to them and other mere creatures. In some instances he considered the Roman Catholic practice of making intercessory requests addressed especially to Mary and other departed saints to be idolatry.[27]

“Furthermore, how will you endure [the Romanists’] terrible idolatries? It was not enough that they venerated the saints and praised God in them, but they actually made them into gods. They put that noble child, the mother Mary, right into the place of Christ. They fashioned Christ into a judge and thus devised a tyrant for anguished consciences, so that all comfort and confidence was transferred from Christ to Mary, and then everyone turned from Christ to his particular saint. Can anyone deny this? Is it not true?”[28]

This distinction separates Lutheran views from Roman Catholic Mariology. It is also significant in the context of Roman Catholic claims, that modern Protestants deserted Luther’s Mariology. Roman Catholics and Protestants may have held some similar views on Mary in the 16th century, but for Luther it was a “passive” Mariology, while for Roman Catholics it was “active” in suggesting devout veneration (“hyperdulia“) and constant prayers for intercession. Questions have been raised, if the Marian views of Martin Luther could bring separated Christians closer together. These seems to be scepticism on both sides.[29] The eighth “Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue” addressed these issues.

Throughout Luther’s life, he called Mary by the title Theotokos, Mother of God,[30] but at the same time he rejected the active invocation of Mary as formulated in such prayers as the “Hail Mary.”[31] Protestantism usually follows the reformers in rejecting the practice of directly addressing Mary and other saints in prayers of admiration or petition, as part of their religious worship of God.[32]


1.       ^ Eric W. Gritsch, “The Views of Luther and Lutheranism on the Veneration of Mary” in H. George Anderson, J. Francis Stafford, Joseph A. Burgess, eds, The One Mediator, The Saints, and Mary, Lutherans and Roman Catholic in Dialogue VIII, (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1992), 235-248, 379-384; cf. 235f.

2.       ^ Ibid., 236-237.

3.       ^ Ibid., 238; Hartmann Grisar, Martin Luther, E.M. Lamond, trans., Luigi Cappadelta, ed., 6 vols., (St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1915), 4:502-503.

4.       ^ Remigius Bäumer, Marienlexikon, Gesamtausgabe, Leo Scheffczyk, ed., (Regensburg: Institutum Marianum, 1994), 190.

5.       ^ a b c d Bäumer, 191

6.       ^ Bäumer, 190.

7.       ^ Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, The American Edition, Jaroslav J. Pelikan & Helmut Lehmann, eds., 55 vols., (St. Louis & Philadelphia: CPH & Fortress Press, 1955-1986), 295-358; cf. Anderson, 236-237.

8.       ^ Anderson, 239, 381.

9.       ^ Cf. the Apostles’ Creed.

10.    ^ Luther’s Works, 21:326, cf. 21:346.

11.    ^ Theodore G. Tappert, The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1959), 595.

12.    ^ a b c Bäumer, 190

13.    ^ Luther’s Works, 22:23; Martin Luther on Mary’s Perpetual Virginity

14.    ^ Luther’s Works, 22:214-215

15.    ^ Grisar, 210.

16.    ^ Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 4 vols., (St. Louis: CPH, 1950-53), 2:308-09.

17.    ^ [1], LCMS FAQ – New Testament

18.    ^ [2], See footnote on that page.

19.    ^ Martin Luther, D. Martin Luthers Werke, Kritische Gesamtausgabe, 61 vols., (Weimar: Verlag Hermann Böhlaus Nochfolger, 1883-1983), 52:39 [hereinafter: WA]

20.    ^ WA, 39, II:107.

21.    ^ Sermons of Martin Luther, 291

22.    ^ Luther’s Works 7:573

23.    ^ Martin Brecht, Martin Luther, James Schaaf, trans., 3 vols., (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985-1993), 1:76-77.

24.    ^ H. George Anderson, 238.

25.    ^ Apology of the Augsburg Confession, XXI 27

26.    ^ Luther’s Works, 10 II, 407–409

27.    ^ Augsburg Confession XXI 2

28.    ^ Luther’s Works, 47:45; cf. also, H. George Anderson, 29

29.    ^ H Düfel, Luthers Stellung zur Marienverehrung, (1968)

30.    ^ Luther’s Works, 21:346

31.    ^ James White, Mary Another Redeemer, (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1998), 113

32.    ^ David Wright, ed., Chosen By God: Mary in Evangelical Perspective, (London: Marshall Pickering, 1989),


Latter Day Saint Views On Mary By Wiki

Latter Day Saint views on Mary

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Members of the Latter Day Saint movement declare themselves to be Christians, and they teach that Mary was the mother of Jesus, whose father was God the Father.

Latter Day Saints affirm the virgin birth of Jesus[1] but reject the traditions of the Immaculate Conception, Mary’s perpetual virginity, and her assumption.[2] Mary is not seen as an intercessor between humankind and Jesus, and Latter Day Saints do not pray to Mary.[2] The Book of Mormon, part of the Latter Day Saint canon of scripture, refers to Mary by name in prophecies of her mission,[3] and describes her as “most beautiful and fair above all other virgins,”[4] and as a “precious and chosen vessel.”[5]

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,”[6] a reading that was changed by Joseph Smith to “the mother of the Son of God” in all subsequent editions (1837–).[7][8]

Latter Day Saints also believe that God the Father, not the Holy Spirit, is the literal father of Jesus Christ,[9] although how Jesus’ conception was accomplished has not been authoritatively established.[10]


1.       ^ Colton, Eleanor (1992), Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4, New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing Co., p. 1510, http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/EoM/id/4311

2.       ^ a b Fronk, Camille (1992), “Mary, Mother of Jesus”, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 2, New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing Co., pp. 863–64, http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/EoM/id/3906

3.       ^ Mosiah 3:8

4.       ^ 1 Nephi 11:13-20

5.       ^ Alma 7:10

6.       ^ The Book of Mormon, Palmyra, NY: E.B. Grandin, 1830, p. 25 . Online reprint at inephi.com by John Hajicek.

7.       ^ 1 Nephi 11:18

8.       ^ Latter Day Saint author Hugh Nibley has argued that the change was made to “avoid confusion, since during the theological controversies of the early Middle Ages the expression ‘mother of God’ took on a special connotation which it still has for many Christians”. (“”There Can Be No More Bible””, Since Cumorah (2nd ed.), Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1988 [1967], p. 6, ISBN 0-87579-139-5, OCLC 17618853, http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/books/?bookid=74&chapid=909 )

9.       ^ “Chapter 11: The Life of Christ”, Gospel Principles, Salt Lake City, UT: LDS Church, 2009, p. 52–53, http://www.lds.org/manual/gospel-principles/chapter-11-the-life-of-christ?lang=eng

10.    ^ Millet, Robert L. (2005), A Different Jesus?: The Christ of the Latter-day Saints, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, p. 74, ISBN 978-0-8028-2876-7, OCLC 57211270


John Calvin’s Views On Mary By Wiki

John Calvin’s views on Mary

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia




Portrait of John Calvin, 1854.

John Calvin (1509–1564) was a French-born Protestant theologian during the Protestant Reformation, and, next to Martin Luther one of the most influential reformers. He was a central figure for the Reformed churches, whose theological system is sometimes called Calvinism. By background he was a gifted organizer, statesman, theologian and lawyer.

In Geneva, his ministry both attracted other Protestant refugees and over time made that city a major force in the spread of Reformed theology. He self-consciously tried to mold his thinking along biblical lines, and he labored to preach and teach what he believed the Bible taught, especially, in contrast to his view of current Roman Catholic doctrine, that salvation depends exclusively on Jesus Christ. This theological theme influences the mariological positions of Calvin.

Although Calvin shows considerable hostility to Roman Catholic mariology, he has a decidedly positive view of Mary herself, and he did not hold to a number of the Protestant views on her that became common after the Reformation.

Marian doctrines

Will Durant says that “[i]t is remarkable, how much of Roman Catholic tradition and theory survived in Calvin’s theology.” Calvin’s genius was not in creating new ideas but in developing existing thought to its logical conclusion.[1] He borrowed from Martin Luther, Zwingli, Bucer, “but most of these Protestant doctrines had come down, in milder form, in Catholic tradition.”[1] Calvin gave them stronger interpretation and rejected the Catholic humanism.[1]

The criticism of Calvin on the Catholic Church in general and in regard to Mary in particular, is severe. As in the conflicts with Luther and Zwingli, equally severe Catholic counter-attacks led later theologians to the observation, that Mary was used by both sides to define theological positions and identity.

To Calvin, Mary is an idol in the Roman Church, and she diminishes the centrality and importance of Jesus. Hence, his Genevan Catechism not only outlawed Marian veneration, it also punished related behavior, such as carrying a rosary, observing a saints day, or possessing holy relics.[2] Regarding Marian relics, Calvin commented in an ironical way that since the Roman Catholics believed in the Assumption of Mary, at least nobody can claim to have Marian relics, otherwise there would be so many Marian bones in circulation, that a huge new cemetery could be filled with them.[3]

Perpetual virginity

In the Genevan Catechism, Calvin writes of Mary that she gave birth to Jesus through the Holy Spirit without the participation of any man, following both the account in the Gospels and the words of Martin Bucer and Heinrich Bullinger, and hence he held her to be a virgin during her pregnancy. He rejects the idea that references to Jesus’ brothers and sisters in the New Testament prove that Mary was not a perpetual virgin, citing flexibility in the terms used.[4] Likewise, he argues that in Matthew 1:25 (“[Joseph] knew her [Mary] not till she had brought forth her firstborn son”) neither the term “firstborn” nor the conjunction “till” certainly contradict the doctrine of perpetual virginity.[5]

At the same time, Calvin argues that the claims that Mary took a vow of perpetual virginity in Luke 1:34 (“How shall this be, since I know not a man?”) is “unfounded and altogether absurd,” and moreover he says that, had she taken such a vow, “[s]he would, in that case, have committed treachery by allowing herself to be united to a husband, and would have poured contempt on the holy covenant of marriage….”[6] Although Algermissen suggests that Calvin believed that Mary in this verse looked into the future and recognized, that in light of this special grace, any contact with a man would be excluded for her,[7] this interpretation takes an objection Calvin is refuting in his commentary and makes it his own position.[8]

Mother of God

It has been argued that Mary was, in Calvin’s view, properly called the Mother of God. Proponents of this view of Calvin’s Mariology have cited Calvin’s commentary on Luke 1:43 for support. In this verse, in which Elizabeth greeted Mary as “mother of my Lord,” Calvin takes note of the divinity often associated with the title Lord, saying: “[Elizabeth] calls Mary the mother of her Lord. This denotes a unity of person in the two natures of Christ; as if she had said, that he who was begotten a mortal man in the womb of Mary is, at the same time, the eternal God…. This name Lord strictly belongs to the Son of God ‘manifested in the flesh,’ (1 Timothy 3:16,) who has received from the Father all power, and has been appointed the highest ruler of heaven and earth, that by his agency God may govern all things.”[9] Opponents of the aforementioned view of Calvin’s mariology point out that, in his writings, Calvin never explicitly refers to Mary as the ‘Mother of God’. Moreover, Calvin’s comments on Mary as the mother of Elizabeth’s Lord, may be understood to mean that, in Calvin’s view, Mary was mother of the Lord only while he was on earth. Proponents of this view have cited Calvin’s commentary on John 19:26, from which it has been argued that Calvin considered the mother-son relationship between Mary and Jesus to have ceased at Jesus’ death. In this scheme, Christ, as he was dying on the cross, appointed his disciple John to take his place as Mary’s son, so that he himself might henceforth take his rightful place at the Father’s right hand in heaven. Upon Christ’s words to his mother concerning John, “Woman, behold thy son!” Calvin comments, “Some think that He does not call her ‘mother’ but only ‘woman’ so as not to inflict a deeper wound of sorrow on her heart. I do not reject this; but another conjecture is no less probable, that Christ wanted to show that now that He has completed the course of human life, He puts off the condition in which He has lived and enters into the heavenly kingdom where He will rule over angels and men. For we know that Christ’s custom always was to recall believers from looking at the flesh. This was especially necessary at His death.”[10]

Immaculate conception

John Calvin believed in the doctrine of original sin as well as the doctrine of headship (federal head), found in Romans 5:12-21. Considering he believed in both of these doctrines most reformed theologians agree that John Calvin did not accept the doctrine of immaculate conception, considering it conflicted with the aforementioned doctrines and with Romans 3:23 that all have sinned.[11]

Taking into account Calvin’s belief in headship, this means that Mary could have original sin and not pass it on to Jesus, considering the male is the one who passes on original sin in the doctrine of headship. Since Jesus was conceived by God himself and not by a human man, original sin was not passed on.


Calvin was convinced of man’s smallness and God’s immensity. No amount of good works of the little creature could possibly ensure his salvation, which only God can will.[12] Calvin believed that all salvation is determined by him, who determined long before creation, who is to be saved and who is to be damned.[12] Because all salvation depends exclusively on the will of God and the salvation works of his son Jesus Christ, Calvin rejects any notion of Mary as a participant in the mystery of salvation.[13] He wonders why to some Jesus Christ alone is not sufficient, and calls this pure defiance.[14] Therefore Roman Catholic veneration is idolatry, because Mary is honoured with titles like « mediator » « our hope » « our life » and our light. Thus, Calvin rejects prayers and supplications to Mary. We should pray for each other in this world, but, according to Calvin, calling on the dead is not a biblical concept.[15] Once God damns a person, he is damned. Calvin’s theology has no room for purgatory, as there is no in between place for an eventual salvation. And therefore, Calvin does not permit prayer for the dead, as their fate is sealed.[16] To call on Mary for salvation is nothing but blasphemy “exsecrabilis blasphemia”, because God alone has predestinated the amount of grace to each individual in his absolute will.[15]

Fullness of grace

The fullness of grace is therefore rejected as well, since the plenitude de grace is Christ only. On this point he coincides with Roman Catholic teaching, which sees only in Christ absolute fullness of grace, while the graces of Mary are seen as a gift of God attributed to her.[17] On the other hand, Calvin called Mary a treasure of grace[18], because, Mary preserved in her heart not only for her own use but for the use of all things entrusted to her. She preserved things in her heart, not just for herself, but for all of us. “She has preserved in her heart the teachings which open the heavenly gates and lead to Christ”.[19] God wanted to determine the time in which they would be revealed.[20]


Calvin considered himself the real follower of Mary, because he freed her from what he saw as undeserved honour given to her by Roman Catholics which is due only to Jesus Christ, and for returning this honour to Him alone.[21] Calvin stated that Mary cannot be the advocate of the faithful since she needs God’s grace as much as any other human being[22] If the Catholic Church praises her as Queen of Heaven, it is blasphemous and contradicts her own intention, because she is praised and not God.[23]

Veneration of Mary

Calvin had genuine respect for Mary and saw her as a model for faith. “To this day we cannot enjoy the blessing brought to us in Christ without thinking at the same time of that which God gave as adornment and honour to Mary, in willing her to be the mother of his only-begotten Son”. The genuine respect for Mary in Calvin’s writing, and his attempt to express his Marian convictions to the faithful of his day in his explanations of the epistles is not fully known or shared by Reformed Protestants after John Calvin.[20]


Some of the Protestant reformers, Andreas Karlstadt, Huldrych Zwingli and John Calvin encouraged the removal of religious images by invoking the Decalogue’s prohibition of idolatry and the manufacture of graven images of God. As a result, statues and images were damaged in spontaneous individual attacks as well as unauthorised iconoclastic riots. Erasmus described such an incident in a letter:

  • The smiths and workmen removed the pictures from the churches and heaped such insults upon the images of the saints and the crucifix itself. … Not one statue was left either in the churches , or he vestibules or the porches or he monasteries. The frescoes were obliterated with lime. Whatever would burn was thrown in the fire, and the rest was pounded into fragments. Nothing was spared for the love of money.[24]

The destruction of Marian paintings and painting of the saints was not ordered by Calvin alone. But, virtually all Marian pictures and statues in Geneva were destroyed as a result of his 1535 order. John Calvin considered the veneration of religious pictures including Marian pictures as heresy. The Second Council of Nicaea, which in the year 787 had specifically encouraged the pictorial presentation, and which was a part of the ancient Christian patristic tradition, was renounced as an illegal by Calvin in 1550.[25]

Calvin’s influence

Second Helvetic Confession



John Calvin‘s view on Mary are reflected in the Second Helvetic Confession (Latin: Confessio Helvetica Posterior[26])

Calvin’s view on Mary are reflected in the Second Helvetic Confession Latin: Confessio Helvetica posterior, or CHP[26]. The Reformed document was mainly written by Heinrich Bullinger (1504–1575), pastor and the successor of Huldrych Zwingli in Zurich Switzerland. The Second Helvetic Confession was written in 1561 as a private exercise. It came to the notice of the elector palatine Frederick III, who had it translated into German and published in 1566. It gained a favourable hold on the Swiss churches in Berne, Zurich Schaffhausen St.Gallen, Chur, Geneva and other cities. The Second Helvetic Confession was adopted by the Reformed Church not only throughout Switzerland but in Scotland (1566), Hungary (1567), France (1571), Poland (1578), and next to the Heidelberg Catechism is the most generally recognized Confession of the Reformed Church. Slight variations of this confession existed in the French Confession de Foy (1559), the Scottish Confessio Fidei (1560), the Belgian Ecclasiarum Belgicarum Confessio (1561) and the Heidelberg Catechism (1563).

Marian views

Mary is mentioned several times in the Second Helvetic Confession. Chapter Three quotes the angel’s message to the Virgin Mary, “ – the Holy Spirit will come over you “ – as an indication of the existence of the Holy Spirit and the Trinity. The Latin text described Mary as diva, indicating her rank as a person, who dedicated herself to God. In Chapter Nine, the Virgin birth of Jesus is said to be conceived by the Holy Spirit and born without the participation of any man. The Second Helvetic Confession accepted the “Ever Virgin” notion from John Calvin, which spread throughout much of Europe with the approbation of this document in the above mentioned countries.[27]

The French Confession, the Scots Confession, the Belgic Confession, and the Heidelberg Catechism, all include references to the Virgin Birth, mentioning specifically, that Jesus was born without the participation of a man.[27] Invocations to Mary were not tolerated however, in light of Calvin’s position, that any prayer to saints in front of an altar is prohibited.


1.      ^ a b c Durant 465

2.      ^ Durant 469

3.      ^ Algermissen 1988, 641

4.      ^ Calvin. “Commentary on Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3”. Harmony of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. 2. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom32.ii.xxxix.html#ii.xxxix-p19.1. Retrieved 2009-01-07. “The word brothers, we have formerly mentioned, is employed, agreeably to the Hebrew idiom, to denote any relatives whatever; and, accordingly, Helvidius displayed excessive ignorance in concluding that Mary must have had many sons, because Christ’s brothers are sometimes mentioned.”

5.      ^ Calvin. “Commentary on Matthew 1:25”. Harmony of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. 1. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom31.ix.xv.html#ix.xv-p72.1. Retrieved 2009-01-07. “Let us rest satisfied with this, that no just and well-grounded inference can be drawn from these words of the Evangelist, as to what took place after the birth of Christ. He is called first-born; but it is for the sole purpose of informing us that he was born of a virgin. It is said that Joseph knew her not till she had brought forth her first-born son: but this is limited to that very time. What took place afterwards, the historian does not inform us. Such is well known to have been the practice of the inspired writers. Certainly, no man will ever raise a question on this subject, except from curiosity; and no man will obstinately keep up the argument, except from an extreme fondness for disputation.”

6.      ^ Calvin. “Commentary on Luke 1:34”. Harmony of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. 1. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom31.ix.vii.html#ix.vii-p6.1. Retrieved 2009-01-07. “The conjecture which some have drawn from these words [‘How shall this be, since I know not a man?’], that she had formed a vow of perpetual virginity, is unfounded and altogether absurd. She would, in that case, have committed treachery by allowing herself to be united to a husband, and would have poured contempt on the holy covenant of marriage; which could not have been done without mockery of God. Although the Papists have exercised barbarous tyranny on this subject, yet they have never proceeded so far as to allow the wife to form a vow of continence at her own pleasure. Besides, it is an idle and unfounded supposition that a monastic life existed among the Jews.”

7.      ^ Algermissen 641

8.      ^ Calvin. “Commentary on Luke 1:34”. Harmony of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. 1. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom31.ix.vii.html#ix.vii-p6.1. Retrieved 2009-01-07. “We must reply, however, to another objection, that the virgin refers to the future, and so declares that she will have no intercourse with a man.”

9.      ^ Calvin. “Commentary on Luke 1:43”. Harmony of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. 1. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom31.ix.viii.html#ix.viii-p22. Retrieved 2009-01-07.

10.  ^ Calvin. “John 19:26”. Commentary on John. 2. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom35.ix.vi.html#ix.viii-p22. Retrieved 2009-01-07.

11.  ^ John Calvin, Works, Serm. de la proph. de Christ: op 35, 686.

12.  ^ a b Durant 464

13.  ^ Quant a L’intercession de la vierge Marie et des Saincts trespasses, revenez tousiours a ce principe , que cw n’est pas point a nous faire des Advocats in Paradies, mais a dieu, lequel a ordinne Jesus Christ un seul piur tous , Ep 1438, Vol 14,21

14.  ^ Pure desfiance

15.  ^ a b Algermissen 1988 640

16.  ^ Durant 462

17.  ^ Algermissen 1988 641

18.  ^ thre sorie de grace

19.  ^ John Calvin, Calvini Opera Harmonie Evangelique, Ser IX, op 46 309

20.  ^ a b Algermissen 1988 642

21.  ^ John Calvin, Calvini Opera Ev Johann c II: op 47, 39

22.  ^ John Calvin, Calvini Opera Serm, de la proph, de Christ: op 35, 686

23.  ^ John Calvin, Calvini Opera Harm Ev ad Luc I, 34:op 45, 38

24.  ^ Will Durant, Reformation New York, 1957, 411

25.  ^ Bäumer, 481

26.  ^ a b Chavannes 425

27.  ^ a b Chavannes 426