Crowning and Image of Mary?

The practice of crowning an image of Mary began early in the life of the Church. Not as a given festival, but as an act of personal devotion. Ikons would be painted, and in some places, where the sense of her presence was strong, crowns and decorations were made to be attached to the ikon as an expression of thanks for prayers answered. We can see an image of this in our Lady Chapel of the ikon above the Altar Cross. In the Eastern Church, this was known as the ikon of our Lady of the Passion – it had no crown – but someone added a crown and thereafter, the ikon was painted with one. In England, the month of May is the last month of Spring, with an amazing bursting of flowers of the field and trees. That month also had several festivals to Our Lady and hence May became Mary’s Month and images of Mary were crowned during Mass, with flowers and also real crowns. Mid-August was also a favourite month, as it was the beginning of the harvest. ‘Harvest’ is also an image that our Lord uses in his parables of the ingathering of the faithful into eternal life. So, 15 August, the principal festival of Mary that celebrates her death and resurrection, and she is the first and beginning of that in-gathering into eternal life. Both in Russia and England this feast, which we celebrate this Sunday was called ‘Our Lady of the Harvest’. ‘Crowning’ is also a Biblical image of the gift of eternal life; ‘Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him’ (James 1:12). Then there is the well-known passage from the Book of Revelation, I John, saw 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 (Revelation 12:1). But it is not only Mary who is crowned with eternal life by her Son – but all the faithful, who join their eldest Sister in the Faith, our Mother and our Queen. Three cheers for Mary, promoted to Glory of her Son.