- Visitation (Christian)
The Visitation is the visit of the
Blessed Virgin Marywith Saint Elizabeth as recorded in the Gospel of Luke. It is also the term for a Christian feast daycommemorating this visit, celebrated on 31 Mayin the West ( 2 Julyin calendars of the 1263-1969 period) and 30 Marchin the East.
Mary, having heard at the
Annunciationthat Elizabeth was six months pregnant, left her home to visit her. Elizabeth and John the Baptistwere inspired by the Holy Spiritat her arrival, and Elizabeth prophesied. Mary pronounced the " Magnificat" and remained with Elizabeth for about three months. [Lk 1:56]
In art it is a regular component of cycles of scenes from the
Life of the Virgin. It is the second Joyful Mystery of the Rosary, with the theme of "Spiritual Fruit and Love of Neighbor".
This feast is of medieval origin. It was kept by the
FranciscanOrder before 1263 when Saint Bonaventure recommended it and the Franciscan chapter adopted it. The Franciscan Breviary spread it to many churches. In 1389 Pope Urban VI, hoping thereby to obtain an end to the Great Western Schism, inserted it in the Roman Calendar, for celebration on 2 July. [Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 19690, p. 93] In the Tridentine Calendarit was a Double. When that Missal of Pope Pius Vwas replaced by that of Pope Clement VIIIin 1604, the Visitation became a Double of the Second Class, and remained so until Pope John XXIIIreclassified it as a Second-Class Feast in 1962. [2nd Class] It continued to be assigned to 2 July, just over a week after the celebration of the birth of John the Baptist, who was still in his mother's womb at the time of the Visitation, until in 1969 Pope Paul VImoved it to 31 May, "between the Solemnityof the Annunciationof the Lord ( 25 March) and that of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist( 24 June), so that it would harmonize better with the Gospel story." ["Calendarium Romanum" (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1969), p. 128]
Roman Catholics who use a pre-1969 calendar and Anglicans who use the 1662 "
Book of Common Prayer" celebrate the feast on 2 July.
The celebration of a
feast daycommemorating this event in the Eastern Orthodox Churchis of relatively recent origin, dating only to the 19th century. The impetus to estabish a feast day in the Liturgical calendar of the Orthodox Church, and the composition of a service to be included in the Menaionwere the work of Archimandrite Antonin Kapustin(†1894), head of the Russian OrthodoxEcclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem. The Gorneye Conventin Jerusalem, which was built on the traditional site of the Meeting of the Theotokos(Virgin Mary) and St. Elizabeth, celebrates this Feast on 30 March. ( Julian Calendar 30 Marchcorresponds, until 2099, to Gregorian Calendar 12 April.) If 30 Marchfalls between Lazarus Saturdayand Pascha (Easter), the Visitation Feast is transferred to Bright Friday. Celebration of the Feast of the Visitation has not yet been accepted by all Orthodox jurisdictions.
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15480a.htm Catholic Encyclopedia: "Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary"]
* [http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?SID=4&ID=1&FSID=109950 The Meeting of the Mother of God and Saint Elizabeth] Orthodox
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