Mariology is the theological study of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mariology methodically relates 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.In the context of social history, Mariology may be broadly defined as the study of devotion to and thinking about Mary throughout the history of Christianity.
There exist a variety of Christian views on Mary ranging from the focus on the veneration of Mary in Roman Catholic Mariology to claims by others of mariolatry (Reformed objections) (Mariolatry), with Lutheran Marian theology and 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 and veneration of Mary are particularly high (the theotokos)and have been mostly expressed in liturgy, yet 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. The Pontifical Academy of Mary and the Pontifical Theological Faculty Marianum are key Mariological centers.
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A 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 reflection by theologians and papal encyclicals.
Eastern Orthodox theology calls Mary the Theotokos , which means God-bearer. 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.
Eastern 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 Mother of God.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. More recently Eastern 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. However, unlike the Catholic approach, Eastern Orthodox Mariology does not support the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Prior to the 20th century, Eastern 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. Bulgakov's Mariological formulation emphasizes the close link between Mary and the Holy Spirit in the mystery of the Incarnation.
Protestant views on 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,most Protestants today do not share the veneration of Mary practiced by Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. 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. Anglican Marian theology varies greatly, from the Anglo-Catholic (very close to Roman Catholic views) to the more Reformed 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). Anglicans, along with other Protestants, teach the Marian dogmas of 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. Lutheran Mariology is informed by the Augsburg Confession and honours Mary as “the most blessed Mother of God, the most blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ,” and “the Queen of Heaven.” The Smalcald Articles, a confession of faith of the Lutheran Churches, affirm the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary.
The Oriental Orthodox Churches regard Mary as the highest of saints and the Theotokos.It celebrates various Marian feast days.
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".
The First Council of Ephesus in 431 formally approved devotion to Mary as Theotokos, which most accurately translated means God-bearer;its use implies that Jesus, to whom Mary gave birth, is God. Nestorians preferred Christotokos meaning "Christ-bearer" or "Mother of the Messiah" not because they denied Jesus' divinity, but because they believed that God the Son or Logos existed before time and before Mary, and that Jesus took divinity from God the Father and humanity from his mother, so calling her "Mother of God" was confusing and potentially heretical. Others at the council believed that denying the Theotokos title would carry with it the implication that Jesus was not divine.
The council of Ephesus also approved 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.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. [ failed verification ] 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", and the re-dedication of the early Christian titulus Julii et Calixtii, one of the oldest Roman churches, as Santa Maria in Trastevere. The earliest Marian feasts were introduced into the Roman liturgical calendar by Pope Sergius I (687-701).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. 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.
During Middle Ages, devotion to the Virgin Mary as the "new Eve" lent much to the status of women. 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.The medieval veneration of the Virgin Mary was contrasted by the fact that ordinary women, especially 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.
Since the Reformation, some Protestants accuse Roman Catholics of having developed an un-Christian adoration and worship of Mary, described as Marianism or Mariolatry, and of inventing non-scriptual doctrines which give Mary a semi-divine status. They also attack titles such as Queen of Heaven , Our Mother in Heaven, Queen of the World, or Mediatrix.
Since the writing of the apocryphal Protevangelium of James, various beliefs have circulated concerning Mary's own conception, which eventually led to the Roman Catholic Church dogma, formally established in the 19th century, of Mary's Immaculate Conception, which exempts her from original sin.
Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox teaching also extends to the end of Mary's life ending with the Assumption of Mary, formally established as dogma in 1950, and the Dormition of the Mother of God respectively.
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Virgo by Josef Moroder-Lusenberg
Within Lutheran Marian theology and 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 (in general, these movements succeeded in persuading Catholics to embrace Protestantism or to abandon religion once and for all, as in the case of Brazil)..
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.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.
There are two distinct approaches to how Mariology interacts with the conventional theological treatises: should Marian perspectives and aspects be inserted into the conventional treatises, or should they be an independent presentation?The first approach was followed by the Church Fathers and in the Middle Ages, although some issues were treated separately. This method has the advantage that it avoids isolating Mariology from the rest of theology. The disadvantage of this method is that it cannot see Mary in the fullness of her role and her person, and the inherent connections between various Mariological assertions can not be highlighted in it. The second method has the disadvantage that it can be the victim of isolation and at times overstep its theological boundaries. However, these problems can be avoided in the second approach if specific references are made in each case to connect it to the processes of salvation, redemption, etc.
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.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.
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.
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.He viewed Mary as the mother and model for the Church, a view later highlighted by Popes Paul VI through Benedict XVI.
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.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.
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.
Some scholars do not see a direct relation of Mariology to moral theology. Pius X, however, described Mary as the model of virtue, virginity, and a life free of sin, living a life that exemplifies many moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Mary is cited in that way in pastoral theology and 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.
Luther's focused position on Mary has more in common with the Orthodox Christian view of the Theotokos, Mary as the Mother of God, rather than with the Roman Catholic view of her as intercessor. ... As a result, the early Lutheran Reformation had both a "biblically based Theotokos-dogma using the Mariology of the ancient church, and it had a Marian piety and devotion based on this dogma, taking its bearings from the soteriologically interpreted notion of God's condescension." ... Lutherans thus confessed in the Formula of Concord in the Solid Declaration, Article VIII.24: On account of this person 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.
This view of the proper place of Mary and the saints in the lives of the faithful is codified for Lutherans in the BOOK OF CONCORD (1580); these confessions also include the reaffirmation of Mary's perpetual virginity (in Luther's SCHMALKALDIC ARTICLES of 1537) and her title of Theotokos, and praise her as "the most blessed virgin" (Formula of Concord, 1577).
Theotokos is a title of Mary, mother of Jesus, used especially in Eastern Christianity. The usual Latin translations, Dei Genitrix or Deipara, are "Mother of God" or "God-bearer".
Mary was a first-century Galilean Jewish woman of Nazareth, the wife of Joseph, and the mother of Jesus, according to the canonical gospels and the Qur'an.
Catholic Mariology refers to Mariology—the systematic study of the person of Mary, mother of Jesus, and of her place in the Economy of Salvation—within Catholic theology. Mary is seen as having a singular dignity above the saints. The Catholic Church teaches that she was conceived without original sin, therefore receiving a higher level of veneration than all other saints. Catholic Mariology thus studies not only her life but also the veneration of her in daily life, prayer, hymns, art, music, and architecture in modern and ancient Christianity throughout the ages.
Marian hymns are Christian songs focused on the Virgin Mary. They are used in both devotional and liturgical services, particularly by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran churches. They are often used in the month of May devotions. Some have also been adopted as Christmas hymns. Marian hymns are not popular among Protestants, as many Protestants see Marian veneration as idolatry. However, the practice is very common among Christians of Catholic traditions, and a key component of the Eastern Orthodox liturgy. There are many more hymns to Mary within the Eastern Orthodox yearly cycle of liturgy than in Roman Catholic liturgy.
Marian devotions are external pious practices directed to the person of Mary, mother of Jesus, by members of certain Christian traditions. They are performed in Catholicism, High Church Lutheranism, Anglo-Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy, but generally rejected in other Christian denominations.
Anglican Marian theology is the summation of the doctrines and beliefs of Anglicanism concerning Mary, mother of Jesus. As Anglicans believe that Jesus was both human and God the Son, the second Person of the Trinity, within the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglican movement, Mary is accorded honour as the theotokos, a Koiné Greek term that means "God-bearer" or "one who gives birth to God".
Mary is known by many different titles, epithets, invocations and other names.
Marian feast days are specific holy days of the liturgical year recognized by Christians as significant Marian days for the celebration of events in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her veneration. The number of Marian feasts celebrated, their names can vary among Christian denominations.
Marialis Cultus is the title of a Mariological apostolic exhortation by Pope Paul VI issued on February 2, 1974. It is subtitled: "For the Right Ordering and Development of Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary", and focuses Marian devotions, clarifying the way in which the Roman Catholic Church celebrates and commemorates Mary, the mother of Jesus. The exhortation sought to integrate devotion to Mary into the pastoral catechetical process, especially in liturgical catechesis, in a manner harmonious with the reforms of Vatican II. Mary must always be understood in relation to Jesus. The preparation of the document reportedly took 4 years.
Protestant views on Mary include 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, mother of Jesus in Protestantism given the great diversity of Protestant beliefs, some summary statements are attempted.
Karl Barth's views on Mary agreed with much Roman Catholic dogma but disagreed with the Catholic veneration of Mary. Barth, a leading 20th-century theologian, was a Reformed Protestant. Aware of the common dogmatic tradition of the early Church, Barth fully accepted the dogma of Mary as the Mother of God. Through Mary, Jesus belongs to the human race. Through Jesus, Mary is Mother of God.
The history of Catholic Mariology traces theological developments and views regarding Mary from the early Church to the 21st century. Mariology is a mainly Catholic ecclesiological study within theology, which centers on the relation of Mary and the Church. Catholic Mariology is the encyclopedic area of theology concerned with Mary, the Mother of God. Theologically, it not only deals with her life, but her veneration in daily life, prayer, art, music, architecture, in modern and ancient Christianity throughout the ages.
Throughout history Roman Catholic Mariology has been influenced by a number of saints who have attested to the central role of Mary in God's plan of salvation. The analysis of Early Church Fathers continues to be reflected in modern encyclicals. Irenaeus vigorously defended the title of "Theotokos" or Mother of God. The views of Anthony of Padua, Robert Bellarmine and others supported the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, which was declared a dogma in 1850.
The Mariology of the popes is the theological study of the influence that the popes have had on the development, formulation and transformation of the Roman Catholic Church’s doctrines and devotions relating to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Lutheran Mariology or Lutheran Marian theology is derived from Martin Luther's views of Mary, the mother of Jesus and these positions have influenced those taught by the Lutheran Churches. Lutheran Mariology developed out of the deep Christian Marian devotion on which Luther was reared, and it was subsequently clarified as part of his mature Christocentric theology and piety. Lutherans hold Mary in high esteem, universally teaching the dogmas of the Theotokos and the Virgin Birth. Luther dogmatically asserted what he considered firmly established biblical doctrines such as the divine motherhood of Mary while adhering to pious opinions of the Immaculate Conception and the perpetual virginity of Mary, along with the caveat that all doctrine and piety should exalt and not diminish the person and work of Jesus Christ. By the end of Luther's theological development, his emphasis was always placed on Mary as merely a receiver of God's love and favour. 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. Lutheran denominations may differ in their teaching with respect to various Marian doctrines and have contributed to producing ecumenical meetings and documents on Mary.
In the Catholic Church, the veneration of Mary, mother of Jesus, encompasses various Marian devotions which include prayer, pious acts, visual arts, poetry, and music devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Popes have encouraged it, while also taking steps to reform some manifestations of it. The Holy See has insisted on the importance of distinguishing "true from false devotion, and authentic doctrine from its deformations by excess or defect". There are significantly more titles, feasts, and venerative Marian practices among Roman Catholics than in other Western Christian traditions. The term hyperdulia indicates the special veneration due to Mary, greater than the ordinary dulia for other saints, but utterly unlike the latria due only to God.
Ecumenical meetings and documents on Mary, involving ecumenical commissions and working groups, have reviewed the status of Mariology in the Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican, and Roman Catholic Churches.
Mark Miravalle is a professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, specializing in Mariology. He is president of Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici, a Catholic movement promoting the concepts of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix.
The Blessed Virgin Mary has been one of the major subjects of Western Art for centuries. Numerous pieces of Marian art in the Catholic Church covering a range of topics have been produced, from masters such as Michelangelo and Botticelli to works made by unknown peasant artisans.
Mariological papal documents have been a major force that has shaped Roman Catholic Mariology over the centuries. Mariology is developed by theologians on the basis not only of Scripture and Tradition but also of the sensus fidei of the faithful as a whole, "from the bishops to the last of the faithful", and papal documents have recorded those developments, defining Marian dogmas, spreading doctrines and encouraging devotions within the Catholic Church.