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Mary (mother of Jesus)

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The Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, by Taddeo Gaddi in the 14th century

In Abrahamic religions, Mary (Judeo-Aramaic מרים Maryām "Bitter"; Arabic: مريم (Maryam); Septuagint Greek Μαριαμ, Mariam, Μαρια, Maria; Syriac: Mart Maryam) was the mother of Jesus. Her story is told in the New Testament of the Bible.

Mary in the Bible

Christian beliefs about Mary are based on the Bible. The Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke say that Mary was a young woman who was engaged to be married to a man called Joseph. The Gospel of Luke says that the angel Gabriel came to Mary to tell her that she would give birth to a son. The angel told Mary that she should call her son Jesus. The angel also said that Jesus would save people from their sins.

Mary asked the angel how she could be pregnant, since she was a virgin. The angel told her that God had made her pregnant through a miracle.

When Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant, he thought about what he should do. If he married her, he would be unclean. He decided to break the engagement in private. But then he had a dream. An angel told him that the baby was "the Son of God."

At this time, the Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus, made a law that everyone in the Roman Empire had to pay a tax. Everyone had to go back to the town that their family came from, to have their name put on the tax lists. Joseph came from Bethlehem, which was called The City of David. So Joseph took Mary to Bethlehem. There, she gave birth to the baby, Jesus. She gave birth in an animal shed, because Mary and Joseph could not find a room to stay in.

Thirty-three years later, Jesus was killed by crucifixion. Many of Jesus' friends were scared of the Roman soldiers and ran away. However, Mary stood by the cross and was with Jesus when he died. As he was dying, he told the young disciple John to care for Mary las if she was his own mother. On the third day after Jesus' death, Mary went to Jesus' tomb with other women. They saw that the stone was rolled away from the tomb, and his body was gone. An angel told the women that Jesus had risen and is alive.

Mary continued to meet with the early church after the Ascension. (Acts 1:14)

Mary in Islam

Giving honor to Mary

Mary is given honor in the Christian faith. She is especially honored as "the Mother of God" in the Roman Catholic Church She is also honored as "Theotokos" (roughly translated as "the one who gave birth to God") in the Eastern Orthodox Church. In Christianity, Jesus is thought to be both fully God and fully man.

Christians do not worship Mary, because they believe that only God should be worshipped. However, some Christians - mainly Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians- venerate her. This means that they respect her a lot for being chosen by God to give birth to Jesus. Some Christians pray to Mary. Some Christians believe that anybody in heaven can see what is happening on earth, and that Mary is in heaven. They therefore ask Mary to pray to God on their behalf, but do not worship Mary herself.

Mary is also given honor by Muslim(s) because the Qur'an says that she was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus. Muslims honor Jesus as a great prophet.

Mary is often called "the Blessed Virgin Mary" by Roman Catholics. There are many feast days which honor the Virgin Mary. For example, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin on 8 September remembers her birth. Catholics also celebrate the Immaculate conception, and Mary as Queen of Heaven on August 22.

Christian art often shows the Virgin Mary. Many paintings show Mary with the baby Jesus. These paintings are known as Madonna and Child pictures.

Many people who pray to Mary use a prayer called the Hail Mary. The first part of the prayer honors Mary: "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus." The second part of the prayer asks for Mary's help: "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and in the hour of our deaths. Amen."

Protestants believe Roman Catholics give Mary too much honor. Orthodoxy takes a middle view.[1]

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