18th August : Our Lady’s Coronation

Our Lady’s Coronation

Country : Italy (Rome)

Year : 1140

The idea of a coronation of Mary in Heaven after her Assumption took its rise in an accommodation of the words in the Song of Songs (4:8), “Come, my bride, from Lebanon…thou shalt be crowned…,” and was chiefly developed and popularized by iconography.

The earliest existing example is probably the mosaic in Santa Maria in Trastevere at Rome, where Our Lady is depicted already crowned, sitting at the right hand of her Son; this dates from about 1140.  A century later there appeared what became the usual design, Christ putting a crown upon His Mother’s head.

The theme was popular in English medieval carving, and it was everywhere highly embroidered and developed at the Renaissance.  Among more recent artists the subject has aroused little interest, and Catholics today are familiar with it chiefly from the last glorious mystery of the rosary.

Its meaning suggests the final “moment” of the Assumption and the reference in the Apocalypse to “a crown of twelve stars.”  It seems to be a second feast of the Assumption, emphasizing the bodily aspect of the mystery.

St. Mary the Crowned is recalled in the verse of a medieval carol:

“After to Heaven He took His flight,

And there He sits with His Father of might

With Him is crowned that Lady of Light

Redemptoris Mater

Filia Sion, thou art the Flower Full sweetly shalt thou sit by Me

And bear a crown with Me in towers:

And all mine Saints to thine honor

Shall honor thee, Mother, in my bliss,

That blessed body that bear me in bower –

Veni, coronaberis”.

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