The Coronation of Our Lady

Church of the Dormition, Jerusalem
13 June 2008


This photo was taken in the crypt of the Church of the Dormition in Jerusalem. It is a quiet place where one commemorates the very end of the earthly existence of the Virgin Mary.

Here the mosaics are a reminder of the women of the Old Testament who have traditionally been considered as prefiguring Our Lady: Eve, Miriam, sister of Moses, Ruth, Judith, Queen Esther…

There is another mosaic, more discreet, which served as a model for this card, now out of stock: Mary is crowned by the angels. She reigns and presents to us Jesus, her son.

At first sight, Mary occupies the central position in this image. Indeed she seems to radiate and be the focus of attention.

She is queen. Her sceptre confirms this and she is seated on a throne in a representation reminiscent of the Byzantine emperors. And the angels are placing a crown on her head. This distinction does not remove the presence of more classical elements of the iconography: on her forehead is a star reminding us of her virginity.

Mary is queen of the universe both visible and invisible, of men and of angels. Indeed the respect shown by the latter as they place her crown says much about the dignity of this sovereign!

However, if Mary is queen, it is because she shares in the divinity of her son whom she holds on her lap.

We are presented with a son wide awake. In one hand he holds the world, with the other he blesses us. He it is, true man and true God, who reigns. Mary becomes the Throne of the Wisdom made flesh!

His halo, much fuller than his mother’s, shows us that his dignity is much superior to hers. In fact it is he who is the real centre of this card.

One could almost say that the son resembles his mother. In fact, the mosaicist has not made a mistake. If he has given them both the same eyes and similar hair, it is because the mother resembles the son!

It is this resemblance that must also be ours!

This representation shows us clearly how we should consider Mary in relationship to her Son: she in the background and he centre stage.

She is not a possessive mother. Quite the contrary, she gives him to us! The closer we approach her, the more we find and see him.

She is our queen, the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary!

May she intercede for us with her divine Son, now and at the hour of our death.

Fr. Louis-Marie ARIÑO-DURAND, o.p.
General Promoter of the Rosary