Lady Chapels or Mary in the Anglican Church

In the Anglican Church the Lady chapel is a chapel which is to the east of the main altar in Cathedrals or the side altar in smaller church which is dedicated to Mary. Mary plays a unique role in the Anglican Church.  Since England was a stronghold of Marian devotion before the reformation. It is here where the feast of the Assumption was first celebrated in 1060. The Carmelite Simon Stock is said to have received the brown scapular from Mary at Cambridge, England also is home to Richard of Chichester, Edmund of Canterbury, Thomas Becket as well as the great Anselm of Canterbury who all were devotees of Mary. Anselm wrote books and prayers about “the spotless Ever-Virgin Mother of Christ.” England itself since the middle ages, roughly 1350 or so, has been called Mary’s Dowry and even Pope Leo XIII noted this while he was addressing a group of pilgrims in 1893.

At the time of the English Reformation, devotion to Mary was still big although Mary was no longer a mediatrix with Jesus and overt devotion to Mary ended. However there were still five Marian feast (Conception of Mary, Nativity of Mary, Annunciation, Visitation, Purification/Presentation) on the calendar of the Church of England. In the 16th century the Magnificat was apart of Evening Prayer and lady chapels started appearing. As the 17th century came the writers took a look at the Catholic and Orthodox devotion of Mary and this sort of inspired the Oxford Movement, which saw the Anglican Church as a branch of the Catholic church with the other branches being the Roman Church and the Greek. One of the leaders of this movement was John Henry Newman.  This movement lead to the revival of interest into pre-Reformation ideas like that of Our Lady of Walsingham, which has become quite the pilgrimage site for Anglicans, Catholics and Orthodox faithful. Currently, Mary holds a new prominent place as she is now name in the liturgy and even August 15 has become a feast day for Mary herself. Even some Marian devotions have crept back like the Rosary, Angelus and Regina Coeli.

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