Afterbirth (Bel Dame Apocrypha)

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In , over half a million Muscovites stood in line in subzero temperatures for days to venerate and pray before a relic believed to be the belt of Mary, which had been brought to Russia from Mount Athos in Greece. The multifaceted phenomenon of Mary continues to thrive and evolve. Some sectors of Reform Christianity maintain a historic lack of interest in the mother of Jesus and a deep suspicion of directing prayers and praise to her: the eminent theologian Karl Barth d. Yet toward the end of the twentieth century, some Evangelical theologians and others from established Protestant churches developed a renewed interest in the historical figure of the mother of Jesus, even coming to understand that Mary can be approached in prayer in the same way as one might ask other people for their prayers.

In contrast, those currents of Anglicanism deriving from the Oxford Movement, along with some parts of the Lutheran communion have maintained a historical focus in Mary, celebrating her feasts in the liturgical calendar and accepting at least some of the beliefs of the Catholic and Orthodox churches. An ecumenical Mariology, in which Mary is a bridge figure rather than a cause of intra-Christian division, is already a reality.

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A new Marian endeavor is also emerging in inter-religious relations. An inter-Abrahamic Mariology that can include Jewish, Christian, and Islamic differences and convergences promises to open up new horizons of practical dialogue as well as intellectual investigation.

Japan, seventeenth cent. Chennai, India, December Similar vistas may also open up in relations between Christianity and other Eastern religions. The Buddhist Guan-Yin , the Bodhisattva of compassion, has iconographical features and characteristics that Christianity associates with Mary: during the Edo period, Japanese Christians secretly venerated Mary under the guise of statues known as Maria Kannon Guan-Yin fig.

Over the last two thousand years, the development of Christian beliefs concerning Mary shows that the piety of ordinary believers may be in an ambivalent relationship with its officially espoused doctrines. The same may well be true in other religions, whose beliefs and practices represent a new frontier for Mariological thought. Orthodox theology has maintained a comparatively constant teaching and belief concerning the Mother of God, being largely untouched by either religious reformation or the processes of modernity, and devotion to Mary remains a central part of Orthodox identity in the homelands of Eastern Europe and in the diaspora.

Catholicism, on the other hand, is in a period of dramatic change as its demographic center though not its intellectual fulcrum has shifted to the countries of the global South.

Mary and Mariology

In many parts of Western Europe, institutional Christianity is in a period of steep decline, and the same underlying pattern characterizes North American Christianity. These are precisely the geo-cultural regions which were central in most of the developments in Marian thought and culture over the last millennium.


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Latin American devotion to Mary has, it is true, been affected by the spread of secularism and a significant growth in Evangelical and Pentecostal Christianity, yet Mary continues to be a central part of the Latin American imaginary. For the millions of Catholic immigrants to the United States, the figure of Mary is a reassuring, maternal presence, an anchor of faith and culture in a new and unfamiliar environment.

Catholics from the global South do not necessarily share many of the experiences of their co-religionists in North America and Western Europe and their religious practices were less affected by the immediate aftermath of the Second Vatican Council. The images of Mary that will emerge in the twenty-first century are therefore likely to draw on the rich and global heritage of faith and culture of European Catholicism. Yet the Mary of the twenty-first century and beyond will also reflect the concerns and realities of Christians from those areas, who already represent a numerical majority.

And at the same time, she will no doubt continue to attract, fascinate, and compel many others. Athans, Mary Christine. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, Find this resource:.

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Bastero, Juan Luis. Mary, Mother of the Redeemer. Dublin, Ireland: Four Courts Press, Beattie, Tina. London: Continuum, Boss, Sarah Jane, ed. Mary: The Complete Resource. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Brading, D. New York: Cambridge University Press, Brown, Raymond E. New York: Doubleday, Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, Brubaker, Leslie, and Mary B.

Cunningham, eds. Birmingham Byzantine and Ottoman Studies. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, Carroll, Michael P.


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Constas, Nicolas. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, Denaux, Adelbert, and Nicholas Sagovsky, eds. Ebertshauer, Caroline, et al. Mary: Art, Culture, and Religion through the Ages. New York: Crossroad Herder, Gambero, Luigi. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius, Gaventa, Beverly Roberts, and Cynthia L.

Rigby, eds. Blessed One: Protestant Perspectives on Mary. Graef, Hilda. Mary: A History of Doctrine and Devotion.


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Christian Classics. Haffner, Paul. The Mystery of Mary. Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, Hall, Linda. Austin: University of Texas Press, Hock, Ronald F. Santa Rosa, CA: Polebridge, Johnson, Elizabeth A.

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New York: Continuum, Katz, Melissa, ed. New York: Oxford University Press, Laurentin, Rene. Mary in Scripture, Liturgy, and the Catholic Tradition. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, A Feminist Companion to Mariology. Limberis, Vasilaki. New York: Routledge, Manelli, Stefano M. Maunder, Chris, ed. Origins of the Cult of the Virgin Mary. McHugh, John. The Mother of Jesus in the New Testament.

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McLoughlin, William and Jill Pinnock, eds. Leominster, UK: Gracewing, Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, Pelikan, Jaroslav.

click Peltomaa, Lena Mari. Pentcheva, Bissera. Under the Heel of Mary. London and New York: Routledge, Peterson, Jeanette Pavrot Peterson. Poole, Stafford. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, Remensnyder, A. Rubin, Miri. Shoemaker, Stephen J. Oxford Early Christian Studies.

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