(Biblical, Sacred Tradition, Church Fathers, teachings of the Catholic Church, Papal Encyclical)
August 22 memorial of the Queenship of Mary
Queen of Heaven is a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary by Christians mainly of the Roman Catholic Church, and also, to some extent, in Anglicanism[citation needed] and Eastern Orthodoxy, to whom the title is a consequence of the First Council of Ephesus in the fifth century, in which the Virgin Mary was proclaimed "theotokos", a title rendered in Latin as Mater Dei, in English "Mother of God".
The Catholic teaching on this subject is expressed in the papal encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam, issued by Pope Pius XII. It states that Mary is called Queen of Heaven because her son, Jesus Christ, is the king of Israel and heavenly king of the universe; indeed, the Davidic tradition of Israel recognized the mother of the king as the Queen Mother of Israel. The Eastern Orthodox Churches do not share the Catholic dogma, but themselves have a rich liturgical history in honor of Mary.
The title Queen of Heaven has long been a Catholic tradition, included in prayers and devotional literature, and seen in Western art in the subject of the Coronation of the Virgin, from the High Middle Ages, long before it was given a formal definition status by the Church.
She is invoked in the Litany of Loreto as:

Queen of the Angels,
Queen of Patriarchs,
Queen of Prophets,
Queen of Apostles,
Queen of Martyrs,
Queen of Confessors,
Queen of Virgins,
Queen of all Saints
Queen of Families.
Queen conceived without original sin
Queen assumed into Heaven
Queen of the Most Holy Rosary
Queen of Peace

"Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!"Luke 1:28
So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him about Adonijah; the king got up to meet her and bowed before her; he then sat down on his throne; a seat was brought for the king's mother, and she sat down on his right. 1 Kings 2:19

The title Gebirah (Gebira), meaning "Great Lady" or "Queen Mother" was a royal title and an office which was bestowed upon the mothers of the Kings of Israel, but limited to those Queens who were mothers of kings in the line of King David. When the monarchy divided into the two kingdoms of Judah in the south and Israel in the north, the institution of the Gebirah was not practiced in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The Northern Kingdom was ruled by 9 ruling houses (dynasties) but Judah continued to be ruled by the House of David.
The royal kings of Israel and the House of David had many wives and no single wife of the king had the influence that his mother enjoyed as the chief confidant of her son. It is not clear exactly what position of authority was accorded the mothers of the kings of Israel/ Judah, but scholars believe that Queen mothers of the ruling House of David were crowned, occupied a throne next to their sons, and that both state and religious functions required their presence and attention. There is evidence from other kingdoms in antiquity that the queen mother was the most highly placed person in the kingdom next to the king [i.e. in Egypt, in the Hittite Empire, etc.]. We do know from Scripture that these women exercised their influence from the time their sons ascended the throne and sometimes even into the reign of their grandsons as in the case of Maacah in 1 Kings 15 during the reign of her grandson Asa. It is significant that every mother of a Davidic king is listed along with her son in Sacred Scripture. The name of each Davidic Queen Mother is given in the introduction to each reign of the Davidic Kings of Judah [i.e. 1 Kings 14:21; 15:9-10; 22:42; 2 Kings 12:2; 14:2; 15:2; 15:33; 18:2; 21:2; 21:19; 22:1; 23:31; 23:36; 24:8; 24:18; also see the Chart of the Kings and Queen Mothers of Judah].
The Gebirah, the Queen Mother of the Kingdom of Judah, was the most important and influential woman in the royal court and the king's chief counselor. The Hebrew word, gebirah, is found fifteen times in the Old Testament [Genesis 16:4, 8, 9 (used for Sarah, wife of Abraham); 1 Kings 11:19 (used for the Egyptian Queen Mother); 15:13; 2 Kings 5:3; 10:13; 2 Chronicles 15:16; Psalm 123:2; Proverbs 30:23; Isaiah 24:2; 47:5, 7; Jeremiah 13:18; 29:2]. In Sacred Scripture the mother of the Davidic king is listed along with her son in the books of 1 &2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles when he assumes the throne. The only queen mothers not listed are those of King Jehoram, who married wicked Athaliah, daughter of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel of Israel [2 Kings 8:17-18], King Ahaz [2 Kings 16:2-3], and King Asa [1 Kings 15:10]. In the case of Jehoram and Ahaz, their mothers may have died prior to their sons assuming the throne of David, and in the case of Asa, his grandmother is named as the Gebirah, his mother having died or perhaps his grandmother, the former Gebirah, did not relinquish her power and authority upon the succession of her grandson
Some Biblical passages which refer to the office of the Gebirah [all passages are quoted from the New Jerusalem Bible translation]:
1 Kings 11:19: [In this passage the Hebrew title is used for an Egyptian queen mother: Hadad became a great favorite of Pharaoh who gave him his own wife's sister in marriage, the sister of the Great Lady (Gebirah) Taphenes. [Note: Taphenes is not a proper name but is an Egyptian title meaning "king's wife" which was used to designate the Queen mother. Since Israelites reading the text might not understand the meaning of the Egyptian title, the inspired writer used the title for the Davidic Queen mother, Gebirah.
1 Kings 15:13: He even deprived his grandmother Maacah of the dignity of Great Lady [Gebirah] for having made an obscenity for Asherah...
2 Kings 10:13: he met the brothers of Ahaziah king of Judah. 'Who are you?' he asked. 'We are Ahaziah's brothers,' they replied, 'and we are on our way to pay our respects to the king's sons and the queen mother's (Gebirah) sons.'

2 Chronicles 15:16: King Asa even deprived his (grand) mother Maacah of the dignity of Great Lady (Gebirah) for having made an obscenity for Asherah..
Jeremiah 13:18: Tell the king and the Queen mother (Gebirah), 'Sit in a lower place, since your glorious crown has fallen from your head.
Jeremiah 29:2: This was after King Jechoniah had left Jerusalem with the Queen mother (Gebirah), the eunuchs, the chief men of Judah and Jerusalem, and the blacksmiths and metalworkers.

Jesus Christ is the heir of King David, He is the fulfillment of the covenant promises made to David in 2 Samuel 7:16; 23:5, and repeated to Mary in Luke 1:26-36 [see the chart comparing the promises to David and Mary in the Chart section on the New Testament/ Mary]. Mary's son rules from the Kingdom of the heavenly Jerusalem. It is fitting that His mother should enjoy the same role that other Davidic Queen mothers enjoyed, that is the royal office of the heavenly Gebirah. It is in this sense that Catholics call her "the Queen of Heaven" and not in the pagan sense of that title as it is translated in English and found in Jeremiah 7:18; 44:17, 18, 19, & 25; which is a designation for an Egyptian goddess. Since Jeremiah uses both terms, the Hebrew title Gebirah for the Queen mother of a Judahite king of the House of David, and the Hebrew word "queen" = meleketh for the Egyptian goddess, it is obvious there one does not equate to the other.
Sacred Scripture indicates that the Gebirah assumed a throne along side her son [see 1 Kings 2:19] and exercised her role as counselor [2 Chronicles 22:3] and intercessor to the king [1 Kings 2:13-21. In times of conquest both the king and his mother represented royal power and both were deposed [2 Kings 24:12]. The Gebirah was clearly the most important woman in the Kingdom of Judah; a king had many wives, but only one mother. The Gebirah of the eternal Davidic Kingdom of Jesus Christ is Mary of Nazareth. Upon her Assumption into heaven He Son placed her in her well deserved place beside His throne as mother of the King of kings. She appears in this role in Revelation 12:1 'clothed with the sun and standing on the moon. As Christ's mother she reflects His light just as the moon reflects the light of the sun and she calls all her children in the family of the Church to follow her Son and to do, as she advised the servants at the wedding at Cana, whatever He tells you [John 2:5].
"Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sins, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death." The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians: "In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death." Catechism of the Catholic Church # 966 [quoting Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus (1950); Revelation 19:16; and from the Byzantine Liturgy, Troparion, Feast of the Dormition.
Additional information on the institution of the Davidic Gebirah may be found in these resources:

Birth of the Messiah, Father Raymond Brown, New York: Doubleday, 1993.
Ancient Israel, Father R. De Vaux, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1961.

Mary appears as the New Eve in the cosmic battle between God and the devil—a battle foretold at the very beginning of Scripture. In a passage known as the protoevangelium (“first Gospel”), God gave humanity the first foreshadowing of how the Messiah would conquer the devil and liberate the human family from sin. After the Fall of Adam and Eve, God addressed the serpent in Eden, saying, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15).
This prophecy involves three main characters: the woman, the woman’s son, and the serpent. It foretells how the woman, Eve, will have a descendant (“her seed”) who will bruise the head of the serpent. In the Bible, striking-the-head imagery denotes a king defeating his enemies (2 Sam. 22:37–43; Ps. 89:23; cf. Ps. 110:1). Therefore, the woman’s son bruising the head of the serpent tells us two important things about him: He will be a kingly son and he will defeat the serpent, the devil.
This ancient prophecy about the devil’s defeat is the key backdrop to Revelation 12, which introduces the same three characters of Genesis 3:15. The woman has a royal son who is attacked by the dragon—a figure that is explicitly identified as “that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan” (Rev. 12:9). In this battle, the child emerges victorious as he is taken up to heaven and seated at the right hand of God (Rev. 12:5), while the dragon is
conquered and cast down to earth (Rev. 12:7–12).
With the ancient serpent being defeated by the woman’s royal son, Revelation 12 is clearly presenting the ultimate fulfillment of Genesis 3:15’s prophecy about the devil’s defeat. Mary is the long-awaited woman of Genesis, and Jesus is her royal Son whose coming brings about the serpent’s defeat.

Mother of All the Living
Second, Revelation 12 presents Mary as the Mother of All Christians, a title that fits well with the New Eve theme. According to Genesis 3:20, Eve’s name means “mother of all living.” Therefore, if Mary is the New Eve, it would be fitting to see her as the new mother of all the living—the spiritual mother of all those who are alive in Christ.
This maternal role over all Christians becomes even more explicit in Revelation 12:17. Here, the woman appears not only as the mother of the Messiah, but also the mother of other offspring, who are described as “those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus” (Rev. 12:17). Revelation 12, therefore, clearly reveals Mary as the mother of all who follow Christ.
Similar to the beloved disciple in the Gospel of John, these children of the woman are depicted as loyal followers of Jesus who have a special mother-son relationship with Mary. As such, Revelation 12:17 stands out in the Bible as the Scripture verse that most clearly demonstrates Mary’s maternal relationship with all Christians. She is the mother of “those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus.” In other words, she is the Mother of All Christians.
Treat Her Like a Queen?
Finally, the Book of Revelation sheds much light on the doctrine of Mary’s queenship. At first glance, the very notion of Mary being a queen in Christ’s kingdom may seem odd. After all, the queen is typically the king’s wife, and Mary is not the wife of the king Jesus, but His mother.
However, from a Biblical perspective, Mary’s queenship makes perfect sense. In ancient Near Eastern kingdoms, it was the mother who reigned as queen, not the king’s wife. The kings typically had large harems; thus, it was not feasible to bestow the queenship on hundreds of women. But each king had only one mother, and the queenship was given to her.
This was the case in ancient Israel as well. The mother of the king reigned as the queen mother. Practically every time the narrative of 1 and 2 Kings introduces a new king in Judah, the king’s mother is mentioned. The queen mother was a member of the royal court, wore a crown, sat on a throne, and shared in the king’s reign (2 Kings 24:12, 15; Jer. 13:18–20). She served as a counselor to her son (Prov. 31) and as an advocate for the people, acting as an intercessor who brought petitions from the citizens of the kingdom to her royal son (1 Kings 2:17–20).
This background provides important biblical foundations for understanding Mary’s queenship. From a scriptural perspective, Mary’s queenship is very clear. As the mother of the King (Jesus), she would be the Queen Mother in her Son’s kingdom. That’s why Revelation 12 presents Mary as the Queen Mother. In fact, the passage describes Mary in ways that recall the queen mother tradition of the Old Testament.
A Royal Woman
On one hand, Revelation 12 presents the woman’s child as a royal son. The child is brought up to heaven to a throne, where he is seated at the right hand of God, the position of authority. Moreover, he is described as the fulfillment of the messianic Psalm 2—the one who “is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron” (Rev. 12:5; Ps. 2:9).
These small details about the child’s royalty tell us a lot about his mother. If Mary is the mother of the royal, messianic King, then in light of the biblical queen mother traditions of the Old Testament, she would be the Queen Mother here in Revelation 12.
On the other hand, Revelation 12 introduces Mary as a majestic royal figure in her own right, reflecting her status as Queen Mother: “And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rev. 12:1).
This verse reveals Mary’s royal splendor in three ways. First, she wears a crown, symbolizing her own royal status. Second, the woman having “the moon under her feet” also points to her royalty, for in the Bible, “under-the-foot” imagery describes royal dominion and victory over one’s enemies (e.g., Ps. 110:1). Third, the triple celestial image of the woman being clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and crowned with 12 stars, also demonstrates her royal authority.
Similar imagery is found in the patriarch Joseph’s dream in which the sun, moon, and 11 stars bowed down before him, symbolizing the royal authority that Joseph would have over his father and mother (symbolized by the sun and moon) and over his brothers (represented by 11 stars). Revelation 12 depicts Mary with these same three celestial images, thus presenting her with a royal authority reminiscent of Joseph’s.
In conclusion, as the mother of the Messiah-King, Mary would be understood as the Queen Mother in Christ’s kingdom. Therefore, the Catholic understanding of Mary as queen makes perfect biblical sense. No wonder she appears decked out in royal splendor, clothed with the sun, crowned with 12 stars, with the moon under her feet!
And the Bible’s revelation of Mary as Queen Mother also sheds light on her powerful intercessory role. If the queen mother served as an advocate for the people bringing their petitions to the king, then we have strong biblical foundations for Mary’s role as our advocate. As our Queen Mother, she too brings our petitions before the throne of our divine King. -(Catholics United for the Faith)From the May/Jun 2008 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine/E.P Sri
The Fathers of the Church unanimously called the Blessed Virgin Mary their Queen. Here is a sample of a few of the Fathers in their own words:
St.Jerome tells us "We should realize that Mary means Lady in the Syrian language."

St. Peter Chrysologus says "The Hebrew name ‘Mary’ means ‘Domina’ [Lady] in Latin. The Angel therefore calls her Lady so that the Mother of the Lord, whom the authority of her Son made and caused to be born and to be called the Lady, might be without servile fear."
St. Ephrem has Mary say:
"Let Heaven sustain me in its embrace, because I am honored above it. For heaven was not Thy mother, but Thou hast made it Thy throne. How much more honorable and venerable than the throne of a king is his mother."
He also says of her:
"...girl, empress and ruler, queen, lady, protect and keep me in your arms lest Satan who causes evil exult against me, lest my wicked foe be glorified against me."
St. Gregory Nazianzen calls her "the Mother of the King of the entire universe" as well as "Virgin Mother who brought forth the King of the entire world."
Epiphanius of Constantinople said that the unity of the Church would be preserved "by the grace of the Holy and the con-substantial trinity and by the prayers of Mary, Our Lady, the holy and glorious Virgin and Mother of God."
St Andrew of Crete tells us "His ever-virgin Mother, from whose womb He, being God, took on human form, He today transports from earthly dwellings as Queen of the human race."
also : "the Queen of the entire human race faithful in reality to the meaning of her name, who is exalted above all things save only God himself."
St. Germanus says to her : "Be seated, Lady, for it is fitting that you should sit in a high place since you are a Queen and glorious above all kings."
St. John Damascene calls her : "Queen, ruler, and lady"
An Anonymous Eastern Father calls her "the perpetual Queen beside the King, her Son...whose glorious head is crowned with a golden diadem."
St. Ildephonsus of Toledo proclaims "O my Lady, my Ruler, Thou who governs me, Mother of my Lord...Lady among the handmaidens, Queen among sisters."

Encyclical of Pope Pius XII on proclaiming the Queenship Of Mary, 11 October 1954.
Excerpts from sections 1-40.
From the earliest ages of the Catholic Church a Christian people, whether in time of triumph or more especially in time of crisis, has addressed prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven. And never has that hope wavered which they placed in the Mother of the Divine King, Jesus Christ; nor has that faith ever failed by which we are taught that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, reigns with a mother's solicitude over the entire world, just as she is crowned in heavenly blessedness with the glory of a Queen.
From early times Christians have believed, and not without reason, that she of whom was born the Son of the Most High received privileges of grace above all other beings created by God. He "will reign in the house of Jacob forever,"[5] "the Prince of Peace,"[6] the "King of Kings and Lord of Lords."[7] And when Christians reflected upon the intimate connection that obtains between a mother and a son, they readily acknowledged the supreme royal dignity of the Mother of God.
Hence it is not surprising that the early writers of the Church called Mary "the Mother of the King" and "the Mother of the Lord," basing their stand on the words of St. Gabriel the archangel, who foretold that the Son of Mary would reign forever,[8] and on the words of Elizabeth who greeted her with reverence and called her "the Mother of my Lord."[9] Thereby they clearly signified that she derived a certain eminence and exalted station from the royal dignity of her Son.
So it is that St. Ephrem, burning with poetic inspiration, represents her as speaking in this way: "Let Heaven sustain me in its embrace, because I am honored above it. For heaven was not Thy mother, but Thou hast made it Thy throne. How much more honorable and venerable than the throne of a king is his mother."[10] And in another place he thus prays to her: ". . . Majestic and Heavenly Maid, Lady, Queen, protect and keep me under your wing lest Satan the sower of destruction glory over me, lest my wicked foe be victorious against me."[11]

She is called by St. John Damascene: "Queen, ruler, and lady,"[23] and also "the Queen of every creature."[24] Another ancient writer of the Eastern Church calls her "favored Queen," "the perpetual Queen beside the King, her son," whose "snow-white brow is crowned with a golden diadem."[25]
As We have already mentioned, Venerable Brothers, according to ancient tradition and the sacred liturgy the main principle on which the royal dignity of Mary rests is without doubt her Divine Motherhood.

But the Blessed Virgin Mary should be called Queen, not only because of her Divine Motherhood, but also because God has willed her to have an exceptional role in the work of our eternal salvation. "What more joyful, what sweeter thought can we have"--as Our Predecessor of happy memory, Pius XI wrote --"than that Christ is our King not only by natural right, but also by an acquired right: that which He won by the redemption? Would that all men, now forgetful of how much we cost Our Savior, might recall to mind the words, 'You were redeemed, not with gold or silver which perishes, . . . but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb spotless and undefiled.[43] We belong not to ourselves now, since Christ has bought us 'at a great price'."[44]/[45]
Now, in the accomplishing of this work of redemption, the Blessed Virgin Mary was most closely associated with Christ; and so it is fitting to sing in the sacred liturgy: "Near the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ there stood, sorrowful, the Blessed Mary, Queen of Heaven and Queen of the World."[46] Hence, as the devout disciple of St. Anselm (Eadmer, ed.) wrote in the Middle Ages: "just as . . . God, by making all through His power, is Father and Lord of all, so the blessed Mary, by repairing all through her merits, is Mother and Queen of all; for God is the Lord of all things, because by His command He establishes each of them in its own nature, and Mary is the Queen of all things, because she restores each to its original dignity through the grace which she merited.[47]

From these considerations, the proof develops on these lines: if Mary, in taking an active part in the work of salvation, was, by God's design, associated with Jesus Christ, the source of salvation itself, in a manner comparable to that in which Eve was associated with Adam, the source of death, so that it may be stated that the work of our salvation was accomplished by a kind of "recapitulation,"[49] in which a virgin was instrumental in the salvation of the human race, just as a virgin had been closely associated with its death; if, moreover, it can likewise be stated that this glorious Lady had been chosen Mother of Christ "in order that she might become a partner in the redemption of the human race";[50] and if, in truth, "it was she who, free of the stain of actual and original sin, and ever most closely bound to her Son, on Golgotha offered that Son to the Eternal Father together with the complete sacrifice of her maternal rights and maternal love, like a new Eve, for all the sons of Adam, stained as they were by his lamentable fall,"[51] then it may be legitimately concluded that as Christ, the new Adam, must be called a King not merely because He is Son of God, but also because He is our Redeemer, so, analogously, the Most Blessed Virgin is queen not only because she is Mother of God, but also because, as the new Eve, she was associated with the new Adam.
Certainly, in the full and strict meaning of the term, only Jesus Christ, the God-Man, is King; but Mary, too, as Mother of the divine Christ, as His associate in the redemption, in his struggle with His enemies and His final victory over them, has a share, though in a limited and analogous way, in His royal dignity. For from her union with Christ she attains a radiant eminence transcending that of any other creature; from her union with Christ she receives the royal right to dispose of the treasures of the Divine Redeemer's Kingdom; from her union with Christ finally is derived the inexhaustible efficacy of her maternal intercession before the Son and His Father.
Hence it cannot be doubted that Mary most Holy is far above all other creatures in dignity, and after her Son possesses primacy over all. "You have surpassed every creature," sings St. Sophronius. "What can be more sublime than your joy, O Virgin Mother? What more noble than this grace, which you alone have received from God"?[52] To this St. Germanus adds: "Your honor and dignity surpass the whole of creation; your greatness places you above the angels."[53] And St. John Damascene goes so far as to say: "Limitless is the difference between God's servants and His Mother."[54]
5. Luc. 1, 32.
6. Isai. IX, 6.
7. Apoc. XIX, 16.
8. Cf. Luc. 1, 32, 33.
9. Luc. 1, 43.
10. S. Ephraem, Hymni de B Maria, ed. Th. J. Lamy, t. II, Mechliniae, 1886, hymn. XIX, p. 624.
11. Idem, Oratio ad Ssmam Dei Matrem; Opera omnia, Ed. Assemani, t. III (graece), Romae, 1747, pag. 546.
23. S. Ioannes Damascenus, Homilia I in Dormitionem B.M.V. : P.G. XCVI, 719 A.
24. Id., De fide orthodoxa, I, IV, c. 14: PG XLIV, 1158 B.
25. De laudibus Mariae (inter opera Venantii Fortunati): PL LXXXVIII, 282 B et 283 A.
43. I Petr. 1, 18, 19.
44. I Cor. Vl, 20.
45. Pius XI, litt. enc. Quas primas: AAS XVII, 1925, p. 599.
46. Festum septem dolorum B. Mariae Virg., Tractus.
47. Eadmerus, De excellentia Virginis Mariae, c. 11: PL CLIX, 508 A B.
49. S. Irenaeus, Adv. haer. , V, 19, 1: PG VII, 1175 B.
50. Pius XI, epist. Auspicatus profecto: AAS XXV, 1933, p. 80.
51. Pius XII, litt. enc. Mystici Corporis: AAS XXXV, 1943, p. 247.
52. S. Sophronius, In annuntianone Beatae Mariae Virginis: PG LXXXVII, 3238 D; 3242 A.
53. S. Germanus, Hom. II in dormitione Beatae Mariae Virginis: PG XCVIII, 354 B.
54. S. Ioannes Damascenus, Hom. I in Dormitionem Beatae Mariae Virginis: PG XCVI, 715 A.
Excerpted from Pope Pius XII's encyclical letter on proclaiming the Queenship of Mary, Ad caeli Reginam, 11 October 1954
MARY THE QUEEN MARY THE QUEEN Reviewed by Francisco Nascimento on 17:02 Rating: 5

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