Perpetual virginity of Mary  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The perpetual virginity of Mary, Mary's "real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made Man", is part of the teaching of Roman Catholicism, Eastern, and Oriental Orthodoxy, as expressed in their liturgies, in which they repeatedly refer to Mary as "ever virgin". In Lutheranism, the perpetual virginity of Mary is an open question, although some Lutherans would opine that it is true. Thus, according to this teaching, Mary was ever-virgin (Greek ἀειπάρθενος, aeiparthenos) for the whole of her life, making Jesus her only biological son, whose conception and birth are held to be miraculous.

The doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary, which is believed as de fide, i.e. as a doctrine that is an essential part of the faith and thus has the highest degree of certainty, states that Mary was a virgin before, during and after giving birth, and so covers much more than the doctrine of her virginal conception of Jesus, often referred to as the virgin birth of Jesus. It is also distinct from the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, which relates to the conception of the Virgin Mary herself without any stain ("macula" in Latin) of original sin.

This common tradition of the perpetual virginity of Mary is one element in the well-established theology regarding the Theotokos in both East and West, a field of study known as Mariology.

The virginity of Mary at the time of her conception of Jesus is a key topic in Roman Catholic Marian art, usually represented as the annunciation to Mary by the Archangel Gabriel that she would virginally conceive a child to be born the Son of God. Frescos depicting this scene have appeared in Roman Catholic Marian churches for centuries. Mary's virginity even after her conception of Jesus is regularly represented in the art of both the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox (as well as in early Western religious art) by including in Nativity scenes the figure of Salome, whom the Gospel of James presents as finding that Mary had preserved her virginity even in giving birth to her son.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Perpetual virginity of Mary" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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