An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Mary the Virgin, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Saint

( Mary the mother of Jesus has been an object of veneration in the church since the apostolic age. She has been a favorite subject in art, music, and literature. Her humility and obedience to the message of God at the time of the Incarnation have made her an example for all ages of Christians. The following events of her life are in the NT: her betrothal to Joseph; the annunciation by the angel that she would be the mother of the Messiah; her visit to Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist; the birth of Jesus; the visits of the shepherds and the wise men; the presentation of Jesus in the temple; the flight into Egypt; the visit to Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve years old; the wedding at Cana; an occasion when Mary and Jesus' brothers asked to speak to him while he was speaking to the people; the crucifixion when Jesus commended her to John; and the meeting with the apostles in the upper room after the Ascension. Early in church history she was honored and esteemed. Irenaeus called her the New Eve, Athanasius taught her perpetual virginity, and the Council of Ephesus in 431 declared her Theotokos, Mother of God, because of the hypostatic union of divinity and humanity in the one person Jesus Christ. Anglicanism has not generally accepted beliefs concerning Mary's perpetual virginity or bodily assumption to heaven after her death, but some hold these views as pious opinions. In addition to Christmas, feasts associated with Mary include the Presentation, the Annunciation, and the Visitation. Mary the Virgin is commemorated in the Episcopal calendar of the church year on Aug. 15. See Hail Mary.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.