Mary is known by many different titles (Blessed Mother, Madonna, Our Lady), epithets (Star of the Sea, Queen of Heaven, Cause of Our Joy), invocations ( Panagia , Mother of Mercy) and names associated with places (Our Lady of Loreto, Our Lady of Guadalupe).
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All of these descriptives refer to the same woman named Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ (in the New Testament), and are used differently by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and some Anglicans. (Note: Mary Magdalene, Mary of Clopas, and Mary Salome are different women.)
Some descriptives of Mary are properly titles, dogmatic in nature, while some of them are invocations. Other descriptives are poetic or allegorical or have lesser or no canonical status, but form part of popular piety, with varying degrees of acceptance by Church authorities. There is another class of titles which refer to depictions of Mary in Catholic Marian art and in art generally. A rich range of Marian titles also belong to musical settings.
The relatively large number of titles given to Mary may be explained in several ways.Some titles grew due to geographic and cultural reasons, e.g., through the veneration of specific icons. Others were related to Marian apparitions.
Mary's intercession is sought for a large spectrum of human needs in varied situations. This has 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 Mary's role in the life of Jesus have led to additional titles, such as Our Lady of Sorrows.Still further titles have been derived from dogmas and doctrines, such as, the Assumption of Mary, Dormition of the Mother of God and Immaculate Conception.
The veneration of Mary or "devotional cult" was consolidated in the year 431 when, at the Council of Ephesus, the descriptive, Theotokos , or Mary the bearer (or mother) of God, was declared a dogma. Thereafter Marian devotion, centred on the subtle and complex relationship between Mary, Jesus, and the Church, began to flourish, first in the East and later in the West.
The Reformation diminished Mary's role in many parts of Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Council of Trent and Counter Reformation intensified Marian devotion in the Western Europe. Around the same period, Mary became an instrument of evangelisation in the Americas and parts of Asia and Africa, e.g. gaining impetus from reported apparitions at Our Lady of Guadalupe, which resulted in a large number of conversions to Christianity in Mexico.
Following the Reformation, baroque literature on Mary experienced unprecedented growth, with over 500 instances of Mariological writings during the 17th century alone.During the Age of Enlightenment, the emphasis on scientific progress and rationalism put Catholic theology and Mariology often on the defensive later in the 18th century. Books, such as The Glories of Mary by Alphonsus Liguori, were written in defence of the cult of Mary.
In the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches the Assumption of Mary may be translated as the Dormition of the Mother of God ; it is an important feast day, not based on a scriptural canon but affirmed by tradition.
“Our Lady” is a common title to give to Mary as a sign of respect and honor. In French she is called "Notre Dame" and in Spanish she is "Nuestra Señora".
|Mary||Maria||Mariam (Μαριάμ), Maria (Μαρία)||Arabic: Maryām (مريم), Chinese: (瑪利亞), Coptic: Maria (Ⲙⲁⲣⲓⲁ), French: Marie, German: Maria, Italian: Maria, Judeo-Aramaic: Maryām (מרים), Maltese: Marija, Portuguese: Maria, Russian: Marija (Мария), Spanish: María, Syriac: Mariam, Vietnamese: Maria|
|"Full of Grace", "Blessed", "Most Blessed"||Gratia plena, Beata, Beatissima||kecharitomene (κεχαριτωμένη)||from the angel's greeting to Mary in Luke 1:28;|
|"Virgin", "the Virgin"||Virgo||Parthenos (Παρθένος)||Greek parthenos used in Matthew 1:22; Ignatius of Antioch refers to Mary's virginity and motherhood (ca. 110);|
|"Cause of our Salvation"||causa salutis||according to Irenaeus of Lyons (150–202);|
|"Mother of God"||Mater Dei||Meter Theou (Μήτηρ Θεοῦ)||often abbr. ΜΡ ΘΥ in Greek iconography;|
|"God-bearer"||Deipara, Dei genitrix||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;|
|"Ever-virgin"||semper virgo||aei-parthenos (ἀειπάρθενος)|
|"Holy Mary", "Saint Mary"||Sancta Maria||Hagia Maria (Ἁγία Μαρία)||Greek invocation is infrequent in contemporary Eastern Christianity;|
|"Most Holy"||Sanctissima, tota Sancta||Panagia (Παναγία)|
|"Lady", "Mistress"||Domina||Despoina (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;|
|Image Type||Typical Art Style||Description|
|Byzantine||In this 12th c. depiction by an unknown artist, Mary holds her baby's face to her cheek as an expression of maternal tenderness. The evocative pose was copied two centuries later by the great Russian painter Andrei Rublev. The original was saved from destruction several times in its history. After the Russian Revolution it was housed in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, but representations from the Russian Orthodox Church ensured it is once again in a nearby church, where services are held;|
|Byzantine||Mary holds Christ in her left hand and with her right hand she "shows the way" by pointing to Him;|
|Romanesque||Christ is seated in His mother Mary's lap, symbolically the "Throne of Wisdom";|
|Gothic||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;|
|Gothic and Renaissance||The Virgin is depicted breastfeeding the Holy Infant. Our Lady Nursing, as painted in the Catacomb of Priscilla in Rome, c. A.D. 250, is one of the earliest depictions (if not the earliest depiction) of Mary; Discouraged by the Council of Trent and rare subsequently.|
|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.|
|Gothic||Mary is seated in majesty, holding the Christ Child; based on Byzantine Nikopoia iconography;|
|Renaissance||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; Michelangelo's Pietà (1498–1499) is considered a masterpiece;|
|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;|
Madonna della seggiola
|Renaissance round painting||Mary with toddlers Jesus and his cousin, John the Baptist, looking on, painted 1513-1514 during Raphael's Roman period. The unusual non-linear style and colouring is more reminiscent of Titian and Sebastiano del Piombo and bears out their influence. This painting has been greatly admired by many people, including Nathaniel Hawthorne, and by subsequent painters of the stature of Ingres.|
In the Loreto Litanies Mary's prayers are invoked under more than fifty separate titles, such as "Mother Most Pure", "Virgin Most Prudent", and "Cause of Our Joy".
Other devotional titles include:
With the exception of the Jesus Christ, who is believed to have a twofold nature, both human and divine, (dyophysitism), the Blessed Virgin Mary is considered among many Christians to be the unique human being about whom there is a dogma. She is connected to four different dogmas and numerous Marian titles. Christian invocations, titles, and art bear witness to the prominent role she has been accorded in the history and programme of salvation in parts of Christendom, although this is not shared by many (mainly reformed) Christian churches.
In the Hail Mary prayer, she is addressed as "full of grace" by Archangel Gabriel of the Annunciation speaking in the Name of God. The Nicene Creed, declares that Jesus was "incarnate by the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary, and was made man,". This has given rise to the descriptive, "spouse of the Holy Spirit".
Tradition has it that the Virgin Mother of God was anointed by the Holy Spirit, hence putting her on a par with the anointing of the Kings, Prophets, Judges, and High Priests of Israel, as Jesus Christ is said to have been. This in turn opens the way to titles such as:
In the Roman Catholic and in the Orthodox Churches, the Virgin Mother of God is venerated in a special form expressed in Greek as hyperdulia, that is, secondary only to the adoration reserved for the Triune God. She is venerated and honoured in this way since no other being--whether angelic or human--has greater power than Mary to intercede with God in the distribution of Grace to His children.
Titles of images related to epithets include:
Titles of images related to places of worship include:
A number of titles of Mary found in Latin America pertain to cultic images of her represented in iconography identified with a particular already existent title adapted to a particular place. Our Lady of Luján in Argentina refers to a small terracotta image made in Brazil and sent to Argentina in May, 1630. Its appearance seems to have been inspired by Murillo's Immaculates. Our Lady of Copacabana (Bolivia): is a figure related to devotion to Mary under the title "Most Blessed Virgin de la Candelaria, Our Lady of Copacabana". About four feet in height, the statue was made by Francisco Tito Yupanqui around 1583 and is garbed in the colors and dress of an Inca princess.
Theotokos means "God-bearer" and is translated as "Mother of God". This title was given to Mary at the Third Ecumenical Council in Ephesus in 431 AD.(cf. Luke 1:43).
The Qur'an refers to Mary (Arabic : مريم, romanized: Maryam) by the following titles:
Mary was a 1st century Galilean Jewish woman of Nazareth, the wife of Joseph and the mother of Jesus, according to the canonical gospels and the Quran.
Queen of Heaven is a title given to the Virgin Mary, by Christians mainly of the Catholic Church and, to a lesser extent, in Anglicanism, Lutheranism, and Eastern Orthodoxy. The title is a consequence of the First Council of Ephesus in the fifth century, in which Mary was proclaimed "Theotokos", a title rendered in Latin as Mater Dei, in English "Mother of God".
The Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a Marian litany originally approved in 1587 by Pope Sixtus V. It is also known as the Litany of Loreto, after its first-known place of origin, the Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto (Italy), where its usage was recorded as early as 1558.
Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of Dolours, the Sorrowful Mother or Mother of Sorrows, and Our Lady of Piety, Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows or Our Lady of the Seven Dolours are names by which the Virgin Mary is referred to in relation to sorrows in her life. As Mater Dolorosa, it is also a key subject for Marian art in the Catholic Church.
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.
The Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God is a feast day of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the aspect of her motherhood of Jesus Christ, whom she had circumcised on the 8th day, according to the biblical and Jewish Law. Christians see him as the Lord, the Son of God. It is celebrated by the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church on 1 January, the Octave (8th) day of Christmastide. The solemnity is a Holy Day of Obligation in areas that have not abrogated it.
Co-Redemptrix is a title used within the Catholic Church for the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as a Catholic theological concept referring to Mary's role in the redemption of all peoples. It is a reverent title for the Blessed Mother and held as a pious belief in the Catholic Church.
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".
In Catholic Mariology, the title Mediatrix refers to the intercessory role of the Blessed Virgin Mary as a mediator in the salvific redemption by her son Jesus Christ and that he bestows graces through her. Mediatrix is an ancient title that has been used by many saints since at least the 5th century. Its use grew during the Middle Ages and reached its height in the writings of saints Louis de Montfort and Alphonsus Liguori in the 18th century.
Mariology is the theological study of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mariology seeks to relate doctrine or dogma about Mary to other doctrines of the faith, such as those concerning Jesus and notions about redemption, intercession and grace. Christian Mariology aims to place the role of the historic Mary in the context of scripture, tradition and the teachings of the Church on Mary. In terms of social history, Mariology may be broadly defined as the study of devotion to and thinking about Mary throughout the history of Christianity.
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.
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, the Mother of God, and the Church. Theologically, it not only deals with her life but with her veneration in life and prayer, in art, music, and architecture, from ancient Christianity to modern times.
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.
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.
Mary Help of Christians ; Tagalog: Maria Mapag-ampon sa mga Kristiyano) is a Roman Catholic Marian devotion, with a feast day inscribed into the General Roman Calendar on May 24.
Mediatrix of all graces is a title that the Roman Catholic Church gives to the Blessed Virgin Mary; as the Mother of God, it includes the understanding that she mediates the Divine Grace. In addition to Mediatrix, other titles are given to her in the Church: Advocate, Helper, Benefactress. In a papal encyclical of 8 September 1894, Pope Leo XIII said: "The recourse we have to Mary in prayer follows upon the office she continuously fills by the side of the throne of God as Mediatrix of Divine grace."
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.