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Immaculate Conception

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Grail Lord
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« on: December 05, 2007, 10:41:46 pm »

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates the Roman Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

A feast called the Conception of Mary arose in the Eastern Church in the seventh century (prior to the Great Schism of 1054). It spread to the West in the eighth century. In the eleventh century it received its present name, the Immaculate Conception, in the West. In the eighteenth century it became a feast of the Roman Catholic Church. It is the only one of Mary's feasts that came to the Western Church not by way of Rome, but instead spread from the Byzantine area to Naples, and thence to Normandy during their period of dominance over southern Italy. From there it spread into England, France, Germany, and eventually Rome.[1]

Prior to Pope Pius IX's definition of the Immaculate Conception as Church dogma, most missals referred to it as the Feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The festal texts of this period focused more upon the action of her conception rather than the theological question of her preservation from original sin. A missal published in England in 1806 indicates the same collect for the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was used for this feast as well.[2]

The propers for the feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Medieval Sarum Missal, perhaps the most famous in England, merely address the action of her conception.

The collect for the feast reads:

O God, mercifully hear the supplication of thy servants who are assembled together on the Conception of the Virgin Mother of God, may at her intercession be delivered by Thee from dangers which beset us.

In 1854, Pius IX gave the infallible statement Ineffabilis Deus: "The most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin."
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