An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, The

The Gospel of Luke, Chapter 1, records that at the time of the Annunciation, Mary learned her relative Elizabeth was miraculously pregnant. Mary went to visit Elizabeth and greeted her. At this greeting the child leaped in Elizabeth’s womb. Her child was John the Baptist. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She greeted Mary as the mother of the Lord and exclaimed that Mary and the child in her womb were blessed. Mary responded with the song of praise known as the Magnificat, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

Liturgical celebration of the Visitation dates from the fourteenth century. This feast was included on July 2 as a black-letter day in the 1662 BCP. The Visitation is now celebrated as a Feast of our Lord on May 31.

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.