The full title of today's feast is the Solemnity of The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
--Ineffabilis Deus, Apostolic Constitution issued by Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1854
From an article on "Maximus's Mary: A Minister, Not Just an Icon", by the late Sally Cunneen, in the current issue of Commonweal:
"Could the Mother of Jesus have had a greater role in the mission, Passion, and Resurrection of her son than the evangelists tell us? Could women have been important church leaders in early Christianity? The earliest complete biography of the Virgin, by the Byzantine theologian St. Maximus the Confessor (c. 580-662), takes such things for granted. After centuries of neglect, his seventh-century Life of the Virgin became available in a 1986 French translation by Michel van Esbroeck. Its effect is to radically change our understanding of Mary’s earthly role."