Marian devotions

Marian devotions are external pious practices directed to the person of Mary, mother of God, by members of certain Christian traditions.[1] They are performed in Catholicism, High Church Lutheranism, Anglo-Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy, but generally rejected in other Christian denominations.

Madonna and five angels, Botticelli, c. 1485

Such devotional prayers or acts may be accompanied by specific requests for Mary's intercession with God.[2][3] There is significant diversity of form and structure in Marian devotions practiced by different groups of Christians. Orthodox Marian devotions are well-defined and closely linked to liturgy, while Roman Catholic practices are wide-ranging – they include multi-day prayers such as novenas, the celebration of canonical coronations granted by the Pope, the veneration of icons in Eastern Christianity, and pious acts which do not involve prayers, such as the wearing of scapulars or maintaining a Mary garden.[4]

Marian devotions are important to the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, Oriental Orthodox, and Anglican traditions, but most Reformed Christians do not accept them, because such devotions are not recorded or promoted in the Bible. They believe this devotion may distract attention from Christ.[5] According to practitioners, devotion to the Virgin Mary does not amount to worship, which is reserved for God. Both the Catholic and Orthodox traditions view Mary as subordinate to Christ, but uniquely so, in that she is seen as above all other creatures. In 787 the Second Council of Nicaea affirmed a three-level hierarchy of latria, hyperdulia and dulia that applies to God, the Virgin Mary and then to the other saints.[6][7]