- Anglican Marian theology
Anglican Marian theology is the summation of the doctrines and beliefs of
Anglicanismconcerning the Blessed Virgin Mary. Within the Church of Englandand the Anglican Communionthe Virgin Mary has always held a place of honour, but many of the doctrines surrounding her have been called into question over the centuries.
Protestantismis based upon the teachings of the 16th century reformers, and therefore rejects the practice of speaking directly to Mary and other saints, (except in certain hymns, e.g. " Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones", canticles, e.g. the Benedicite, and psalms, e.g. Psalm 148) Anglicanism has allowed for Mary and the saintsto be addressed.Anglicans of evangelical or "low church" tradition tend to avoid honouring or discussing Mary. Other Anglicans respect and honour Mary because of the special religious significance that she has within Christianityas the mother of Jesus Christ. This honour and respect is termed "veneration". Since Anglicans believe that Jesus was both human and God the Son, the second Person of the Trinity, Mary is accorded honour as the Mother of God.
According to legend,
Joseph of Arimatheafirst brought Christianity to England and established the first Celtic Christianchurch at Glastonbury, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, in AD 65. By the time of the Anglo-Saxons, in the 6th century, Marian piety was so widespread throughout the country that England had become known as "Mary's Dowry". England was the firstFact|date=October 2008 country to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption, in 1060.
Many of the great English saints were devoted to Mary and wrote prayers about her. St Edmund of Canterbury wrote many prayers addressed to her.
Saint Richard of Chichesterand Saint Thomas Becket were also especially devoted to Mary, but the English saint best known for his devotion was Saint Anselm of Canterbury, who wrote many prayers and books about and dedicated to "the spotless Ever-Virgin Mother of Christ".
One aspect of the
English Reformationwas a widespread reaction against Mary as a mediatrixalongside Christ, or sometimes even in his place. Such exaggerated devotions, in part inspired by presentations of Christ as an inaccessible Judge as well as Redeemer, were criticized by Erasmusand Thomas Moreand rejected by the Church of England. Together with a new emphasis on Scripture as the fundamental standard of faith, there was a renewed devotion by the Reformers to the belief that Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God the Father and humanity. This rejected any overt devotion to Mary and diminished her place in the life of the Church.
The English Reformers' positive teaching about Mary concentrated on her role in the
Incarnation. It is summed up in their acceptance of her as the Mother of God, because this was seen to be both scriptural and traditional. Following the traditions of the Early Churchand other Reformers like Martin Luther, the English Reformers such as Hugh Latimer, Thomas Cranmerand John Jewelaccepted the perpetual virginity of Mary. They neither affirmed nor denied the possibility of Mary having been preserved by grace from participation in original sin. The Book of Common Prayerin the Christmas collectand preface refers to Mary as ‘a pure Virgin'.
From 1561, the calendar of the Church of England contained five feasts associated with Mary: The Conception of Mary, Nativity of Mary, Annunciation, Visitation, and Purification. There was, however, no longer a feast of the Assumption (August 15): not only was it not found in the
Bible, but was also seen as exalting Mary to a level above Christ. Scottish and Canadian revisions of the Prayer Book restored August 15 as the Falling Asleep of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Despite the novel lack of devotion to Mary, starting in the 16th century, reverence for her continued in the use of the
Magnificatin Evening Prayer, and the naming and dedication of ancient churches and Lady Chapels. In the 17th century writers such as Lancelot Andrewes, Jeremy Taylor, and Thomas Kentook from catholic tradition a fuller appreciation of the place of Mary in the prayers of the Church. Andrewes in his "Preces Privatae" borrowed from Eastern liturgies to deepen his Marian devotion. This re-appropriation can be traced into the next century, and into the Oxford Movementof the 19th century.
Mary has a new prominence in Anglican worship through the liturgical renewals of the 20th century. In most Anglican prayer books, Mary is again mentioned by name in the liturgical prayers. Further, August 15th has come to be widely celebrated as a principal feast in honour of "Saint Mary the Virgin" with Scripture readings, collect, and proper preface. Other ancient feasts associated with Mary have also been renewed, and liturgical resources offered for use on these festivals. Marian devotions such as the
Rosary, Angelus, and Regina Coeliare most commonly associated with the Anglo-Catholic movement within Anglicanism.
English Lady Chapels
Some of the most famous chapels dedicated to Mary have been
Lady chapels. Since the end of the 6th century Lady Chapels have existed in most English cathedrals, where they often form part of the apse. Traditionally, a Lady chapel is the largest chapel of a cathedral. Generally, the chapel was built east of the high altarand formed a projection from the main building.
The earliest Lady Chapel built was that in the Anglo-Saxon cathedral at Canterbury. Other English cathedrals with Lady Chapels include: Winchester, Salisbury, Exeter, Wells, St Albans, Chichester, Rochester, and Ely. Unusually, at Ely the Lady Chapel is an almost separate building to the north of the Choir. The Lady Chapels at Norwich and Peterborough (in a similar position to Ely's) cathedrals were destroyed during the English Reformation.
Probably the most famous Lady-chapel was the
Chapel of Our Lady of the Pew, built by Henry III in 1220 at Westminster Abbey. The Abbey also contains Henry VII's Lady Chapel.
Joint Anglican-Roman Catholic document
To encourage ecumenical cooperation despite differences over other matters, the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches issued a joint statement, "Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ" (also known as the Seattle Statement) on the role of the Virgin Mary in Christianity. The document was released May 16, 2005 in
Seattle, Washington, by Alexander Brunett, the local Catholic Archbishop, and Peter Carnley, Anglican Archbishop of Perth, Western Australia, co-chairmen of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission ( ARCIC). [ [http://www.anglicancommunion.org/ministry/ecumenical/dialogues/catholic/arcic/docs/mary_grace%20_and_hope.cfm Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ] ]
Anglican vs. Roman Catholic Mariology
Much has been made of the difference between the
Mariologyof Anglicans and that of Roman Catholics. Because Anglicanism does not have an official view about these doctrines, it can be difficult to say with precision what Anglicans believe. The description here attempts to sketch out the areas where Anglicans are in agreement that there is no official binding doctrine.
In addition to the worship ("
latria") properly given only to God, Roman Catholic Mariology contends that a greater veneration (" hyperdulia") is given to Mary than the " dulia" given to the other saints. While Anglicans can agree that God alone is to be worshipped, many do not agree that Mary should receive a degree of veneration above the other saints. Many Anglicans agree with the Eastern Orthodox, that Mary is simply the greatest of all the Saints, and that she should be venerated as such.
Anglicanism also does not accept the doctrines of the
Assumptionor the Immaculate Conceptionas binding, though some Anglicans do accept these doctrines, particularly the former. Even then, they are not held to the particular forms used by the Roman Catholic Church to define them. Many agree with the Eastern Orthodoxrejection of the Immaculate Conception, while agreeing that Mary was without actual sin during her life. Many also are more in agreement with the Dormition of Mary as understood by the Orthodox.
*Saint Mary the Virgin, or the "Falling Asleep of the Blessed Virgin Mary" - (August 15)
The Annunciation- (March 25)
Presentation of Jesus at the Templealso "the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary" or " Candlemas" - (February 2)
Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary- (May 31 or July 2)
Lesser Festivals and Commemorations
Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary- (September 8)
*Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary - (December 8)
*Anglicans recognize only one
dogmaabout Mary: that she is the Theotokos, the Mother of Godincarnate. All other doctrines, beliefs, or legends about Mary are secondary to her role as Mother of God.
*Most Anglicans agree that the doctrine of the
Perpetual Virginityof Mary is sound and logical, but without more scriptural proof it cannot be considered dogmatic.
*Most Anglicans reject the dogma
Co-Redemptrix, and all reject any interpretation of the role of Mary that obscures the unique mediation of Christ.
*Anglicans typically believe that all doctrines concerning Mary must be linked with the doctrines of Christ and the Church.
*Most Anglicans believe that the
Roman Catholicdogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption are merely pious beliefs or legends, since there is no clear reference in Scripture to support them. But the recent ARCIC-II statement on the Virgin Mary assigns a place for both the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption as Anglican devotions.
*Anglicans recognize Mary as an example of holiness, faith and obedience for all Christians; and that Mary can be seen as a prophetic figure of the Church. As such, she is often considered to be the most important person within the
Communion of Saints, and many Anglicans "call her blessed" (Lk. 1.48) and ask for her intercessions.
*The Anglican Communion observes all the traditional Marian festivals of the ancient Catholic Church.
Protestant views of Mary
Blessed Virgin Mary
Society of Mary (Anglican)
Our Lady of Walsingham
Our Lady of Ipswich
Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission
History of Roman Catholic Mariology
Marian doctrines of the Catholic Church
Blessed Virgin Mary (Roman Catholic)
Mary (mother of Jesus)
Islamic view of Virgin Mary
* [http://www.prounione.urbe.it/dia-int/arcic/doc/e_arcic_mary.html "Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ"] - Final document from ARCIC II on Mary.
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