AIA Lecture: “Unearthing the Virgin Mary: The Physical Evidence of Cult”

Tuesday, April 4, 7:30 PM, Buchanan A202

Prof. Sabrina Higgins (Hellenic Studies, Simon Fraser University) 

“Unearthing the Virgin Mary: The Physical Evidence of Cult”

The Virgin Mary is an enigmatic Biblical figure, who rises from relative unimportance in the canonical gospels to become one of the most prominent figures in Christianity. Although we see a gradual theological discourse that culminates with the declaration of Mary as Theotokos (‘God Bearer’) at the Council of Ephesus in 431, the physical manifestation of her cult takes significantly longer to coalesce. This talk, therefore, traces the development of a physical cult of Mary in Egypt from the fifth to ninth centuries, the time at which Mary begins to figure more prominently into the religious fabric of late antique Egypt via the construction of Marian churches and the creation of a distinct iconography for Mary.