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7. Festivals in Honor of the Virgin Mary

Antiquities of the Christian Church
XXI. Sacred Seasons, Festivals and Fasts

7. Festivals in Honor of the Virgin Mary

No instance of divine honor paid to Mary is recorded of an earlier date than the fifth century. Cyril of Alexandria and Proklus of Constantinople were the first to pay these honors to her. Festivals to her memory began to be held about the year 431, but were not generally observed until the sixth century. From this time until the sixteenth century they were general in all the Western churches, though differing in number and in rank, in the several countries of Europe. The Greek church observe only three great festivals of this description.

The following is a brief enumeration of the principal festivals in question.

  1. The festival of the Purification. Candlemas, Feb. 2, instituted in the sixth century. 
  2. Of the Annunciation, popularly styled Lady Day, March 25, an early festival, styled by St. Bernhard, radix omnium fesiorum. 
  3. Of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, instituted by Urban VI, 1389. 
  4. Of the Assumption of Mary into heaven, Aug. 15, early instituted. 
    Mary was the tutelary divinity of France; and for this reason this day was observed with peculiar care. It was also the birth day of Napoleon, and accordingly was observed under his dynasty as the great festival of the nation.
  5. Of the Nativity of Mary, Sept. 8, instituted in the Eastern church in the seventh century; in the Western, in the eleventh or twelfth. 
  6. Of the naming of Mary. A. D. 1513.
  7. Of Conception. This feast, according to Bellarmin, was not necessarily dependent upon the question so fiercely discussed in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries respecting the immaculate conception. 

J. A. Schmid, Prolusiones Marianae, Prol. i–x.
(No tag #1 appears in Rev. Lyman Coleman's translation.)

Combefisii Nov. Auctar Bibl. Patr. torn. i. p. 301.

Garante Thesaur. tom. ii. p. 24–26.

Angel. Rouha, De Praesentationis: Nicephor. Hist. 17. c. 28.

Binterim, v. bd. i. Th. S. 354–356: Concil. Tolet. A. D. 659. c. 1: Trull. 692. c. 52.

Concil. Basil, A. D. 1441.

Nicephor. Hist. 17. c. 18: Concil. Mogunt. A. D. 813. c. 36.

Binterirn, a. a. O. S. 450, 455.

Controv. torn. ii. lib. c. 16: Binterim, S. 516.


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