Giotto - Scrovegni - -07- - The Birth of the Virgin

Giotto's Birth of Mary in the Scrovegni Chapel, ca 1305

The Nativity of Mary, or Birth of the Virgin and various permutations, is celebrated as a liturgical feast in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints and in most Anglican liturgical calendars on 8 September, nine months after the solemnity of her Immaculate Conception, celebrated on 8 December. The Eastern Orthodox equivalent, the Nativity of the Theotokos has its own article.

This feast, like that of the Assumption of Mary, originated in Jerusalem. It began in the fifth century as the feast of the basilica Sanctae Mariae ubi nata est, now the Basilica of Saint Anne. In the seventh century, the feast was celebrated by the Byzantines and at Rome as the feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The feast is also celebrated by Syrian Christians on 8 September[1] and by Coptic Christians on 1 Bashans (i.e., 9 May).

The feast was included in the Tridentine Calendar for 8 September and has remained on that date.

The scene was frequently depicted in art, as part of cycles of the Life of the Virgin. Late medieval depictions are often valuable records of domestic interiors and their fittings - at this period the setting was often in a wealthy household.


  1. Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1969), p. 102

External links

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