Mary (Gr. and ), the mother of Jesus. But little is recorded of her history in the Scriptures. Some authorities consider Luke's genealogy to be that of Mary, and Heli (Luke iii. 23) to have been her father. Epi-phanius says that her parents were Joachim and Anna. Joachim or Jehoiakim and Eliakim are interchangeable (2 Chron. xxxvi. 4), and Eli or Heli is the abbreviation of the latter. The Latin as well as the eastern churches hold her father to be St. Joachim, whose feast is celebrated on the Sunday next following Aug. 15. The next mention of her is as a young maiden at Nazareth, where she was betrothed to a carpenter named Joseph. A heavenly messenger announced to her that through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit she should conceive a son, who should be called the Son of God, and who would be the Messiah expected by the Jews. Almost immediately on receiving this announcement Mary hastened from Nazareth to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who was residing in the hilly district in "a city of Ju-dah." While there, she uttered the Magnificat, a hymn which the Christian church has delighted from the earliest times to use as an expression of thanksgiving.
After a sojourn of three months, she returned to Nazareth, when Joseph suspected her of infidelity, and resolved, in order to avoid a public exposure, to dismiss her privately. But an angel (Matt, i. 18-25) informed him in a dream of the true state of the case, and enjoined him to take Mary as his wife. He complied with this order, and was therefore regarded by the Jews as the father of Jesus. Soon after, when Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the empire, Mary went with Joseph to be enrolled at Bethlehem, the city of David, and there gave birth to Jesus. According to the law of Moses, she offered him in the temple (Luke ii. 22 et seq.), and returned with Joseph and the child to Nazareth, whence the whole family had to flee to Egypt. After the death of Herod they again took up their residence at Nazareth. When Jesus was 12 years old, Mary visited Jerusalem with him and Joseph at the time of the passover. On their return Jesus was missed from the company, and she discovered him sitting in the temple disputing with the doctors of the law. She was present at the marriage feast in Cana, where she drew her son's attention to the failure of the wine.
After this event she appears to have lived alternately with her kinsfolk at Nazareth and Capernaum. She is thought to have come to Jesus to remonstrate with him on his wasting labors (Matt, xii.), while he was surrounded by a great crowd. The Gospel is then silent about her till she appears standing beneath the cross, and is consigned by Jesus to the care of the beloved disciple John. Thenceforward John's house is her home. The last mention made of her in the New Testament is in Acts i. 14, where it is stated that after the ascension she remained in the upper chamber, persevering in prayer with the holy women and the disciples and apostles. Some ancient writers, like St. Epiphanius, have thought it probable that she passed the rest of her life with John at Jerusalem. Another tradition says that she lived and died in the upper chamber, the scene of the last supper, now supposed to be the site of the mosque of the tomb of David. According to others, she accompanied John to Ephesus, and died there in extreme old age. In the 5th century opinion in the East was divided respecting her burial place, Ephesus and Gethsemane both claiming to possess her tomb. - Some legendary particulars relating to her early life, derived from the apocryphal gospels, have come down from century to century.
Such is the story of her betrothal to Joseph, with all its miraculous circumstances, as painted by Perugino, and afterward by his pupil Raphael. A tradition relating to she place and manner of her death says that she was buried at the foot of the mount of Olives. Some of the apostles, it is said, having come to Jerusalem the third day after her death, found it empty and exhaling a sweet fragrance. This incident is also the subject of one of Raphael's pictures. - Mary is the object of a special veneration in the Roman Catholic church, which honors the saints with the worship known as dulia, a religious service rendered them on account of the supernatural gifts wherewith it holds that God has distinguished them, but decrees to the Virgin the ampler honors of hyperdulia, placing her high above all created objects of religious respect on account of her singular prerogative as mother of God, and of the virtues with which she adorned this dignity. The early fathers of the church, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Iremeus, and others, call her the second Eve. From the office thus assigned to her some Roman Catholic theologians deduce the immaculatenesa of her conception.
Pope Pius IX., on Dec. 8, 1854, declared it to be a revealed doctrine that Mary was preserved from the stain of original sin by the merits of her Son. Controversies in reference to the proper position of Mary arose early in the history of the church. Those of the innovators who denied the divinity of Christ, as the Arians, denied her of course the title of mother of God, and so did they who denied the humanity of the Word, as the Euty-chians; while the Nestorians, asserting a double personality in Christ, allowed her only the maternity of the human hypostasis. Further disputes occurred about the perpetual virginity of Mary. The church insisted upon the belief that Christ was born of a virgin mother, in accordance with the Apostles' Creed, reaffirmed by the Nicene and Athanasian symbols; and the council of Ephesus decreed eepressly that Mary was the mother of God ( . and condemned all who denied her that title. The Cerinthians taught first that Christ was born of Joseph and Mary, and their doctrines were repeated by Helvidins in Palestine and Bono-sus in Illyria, their later followers adding that several children were born to Joseph and Mary after the birth of Jesus. Questions existed, until silenced by authority, between Catholic schools of theology, as the Thomists and Sco-tists, and between certain religious orders, the Franciscans (who followed Duns Scotns) and the Dominicans (who upheld St. Thomas), in reference to Mary's conception, which the former held to have been utterly immaculai-all sin, and the latter maintained not to have been immaculate, or not at least from the earliest instant of her existence. (See Immaculate Conception.) - Many festivals are celebrated in the Roman Catholic church in honor of Mary. Her conception is commemorated by the feast of the Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8); her birth by the Nativity (Sept. 8); the message of the angel by the Annunciation (March 25); her visit to Elizabeth by the Visitation (July 2); her visit to the temple by the Purification (Feb. 2); and her ascent to heaven by the Assumption (Aug. 15). The Nativity and Assumption are celebrated by both Greek and Latin churches.
In the 11th century it became the custom in some places to honor her by special devotions on Saturdays, and later to devote the month of May to similar practices of piety. These devotions are nowhere a matter of obligation. An Officium Beatae Maria Virginis was added to the breviary, and declared by Pope Urban II. (1095) to be obligatory on the clergy of the whole church. Several religious orders called themselves after Mary. To her intercession so great importance is attributed that the Ave Maria (Hail Mary) is generally used in connection with the Lord's prayer. Many other devotional exercises in her honor, especially the beads or rosary (see Bead), are in common use; and the wearing of the scapular, which she is believed to have given to the general of a religious order, Simon Stock, with the promise of special favors to all who wear it in her honor, was encouraged by several popes, who attached to it many indulgences. The house in which Mary dwelt at Nazareth is believed in Italy to have been transported by angels to Loreto. The miraculous cures ascribed to the intercession of Mary are innumerable; a collection of some belonging to recent times may be found in the " Annals" of the "Archconfraternity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary." an association which was established in Paris in 1830. Many towns in every Catholic country possess celebrated images of Mary, which attract crowds of pilgrims during the year or on stated festivals. - See Canisius, De Maria Virgine (Ingolstadt, 1577); Home, "Mariolatry" (London, 1841); Tyler, "Worship of the Blessed Virgin Mary" (London, 1844); Mrs. Jameson, "Legends of the Madonna" (London, 1852); Genthe, Die Jung-fran Maria (Halle, 1852); T. S. Preston, Ark of the Covenant" (New York, 1860); Cardinal Wiseman, "Lectures on the Church " (Baltimore, 1862), and " Sermons" (New York, 1874); Pusey, "Eirenicon" (London, 1866); and Newman's reply to "Eirenicon" in "Difficulties felt by Anglicans" (London, 1874).