A Mary Priesthood?
Did the early church have women priests and bishops?  Was Mary a Bishop herself?  (Picture at left shows her wearing a bishop’s pallium)

Check out the evidence at womenpriests.org and then come back to answer the following groups of questions.


1. Read the article, General Introduction, “The Devotion to Mary Priest is a ‘latent’ tradition that implies that women can be ordained  Write a sentence or two describing what you think the thesis and conclusion of this article is.

2.  Please read the page “The Priesthood of Mary” and Answer this group of Questions:

1. Fill in the blank: Mary’s Immaculate Conception was often justified on the grounds of her being a model _____________, pure and stainless before God.

2. Fill in the blanks: The _____________ prior Jacques Biroat wrote in 1666 that the Pauline scripture ____________ refers to Mary.

3. T or F: Mary is respected as Yeshua’s closest associate in redemption and as his first priest.

4. Who acted as Bishop in the prenatal baptism and confirmation of St. John the Baptist?

5. T or F: Mary acted as sacrificial priest in the eucharistic offering of Yeshua at the crucifixion on Calvary.

6. Did Mary ever offer Yeshua as a sacrifice at the Temple?

7. Fill in the blanks: Mary is _________ __________ which has “budded forth as a guarantee of the eternal priesthood.”

8. What are four titles indicating Mary’s priestly dignity?

9. Why were women denied the priesthood by the Roman church fathers?

10. What are three theological rationalizations for this policy?

11. Fill in the blanks: Mary has not received the _____________ character of Holy Orders, he tells us, but she possesses the ______________ of the sacrament in abundance.

12. T or F: Neither Jesus nor Mary were formally ordained to the priesthood.

13. Fill in the blanks: In the year ____________ the Catholic Church officially forbade the portrayal of Mary in priestly vestments, and in ______________ the Church forbade devotion to Mary Priest.

14. T or F: Mary is an Examplar for all priests, both male and female.

Be it Unto Me, by Liz Lemon Swindle


3.  Please read the page “Why must Mary be considered a Priest?” and Answer this group of Questions:

1. What are the four main reasons Mary should be considered a priest?

2. Where does legend state Mary lived from early childhood?

3. Who initially derived their priesthood from Mary?

4. What ancient Order of the priesthood was Mary a member of according to St. Andrew of Crete?

5. Fill in the blanks: Mary was descended from the royal tribe of ____________ and the priestly tribe of ____________.

6. On what two occasions did Mary offer Yeshua as a sacrifice?

7. In what two ways did Mary perform the sacrificial functions of a priestess?

8. What three roles did Mary fulfill at the crucifixion on Calvary?

9. What three qualities did Mary exhibit in the fulfillment of these roles?

10. What title did the early Church fathers give Mary to designate she was the person, with Yeshua, who gave us the eucharist?

11. T or F: Mary provides the “bread of life” for the eucharist as well as the sacrifice of the eucharist itself.

12. Fill in the blank: ____________ and procuring forgiveness of sins were seen to be specifically priestly functions.

A Light to the Gentiles, by Greg Olsen


4.  Please read the page “Mary as a Sacrificial Priest” and Answer this group of Questions:

In Remembrance of Me, by Greg Olsen

1. T or F: Since Yeshua had voluntarily placed himself in the role of sacrificial victim, he could not also fully act as sacrificial priest or Bishop. This role was delegated to Mary.

2. Fill in the blanks: Mary’s sacrifice of Yeshua at the Temple and on Calvary was more perfect than _____________ sacrifice of ______________ millenia before.

3. T or F: Mary joined with God the Father in offering up her Son Yeshua as the perfect sacrifice.

4. Fill in the blanks: At the crucifixion, the cross is the _____________, Yeshua is the _____________, and Mary is the _____________.

5. T or F: When Mary stands at the foot of the Cross, it is in the posture of a priest offering a sacrifice at the altar.

6. T or F: Jesus and Mary both participated in the roles of victim and priest at the crucifixion.


5.  Please read the page “Mary’s special relationship to priests” and Answer this group of Questions:

She Shall Bring Forth a Son
by Liz Lemon Swindle

1. In what two ways is Mary a support to priests?

2. T or F: As the eternal spouse of God the Father, Mary is the Queen of the Clergy.

3. T or F: The Annunciation signals the ordination of Mary to the priesthood.

4. T or F: Mary brought Christ down to earth by her word, as priests do at consecration.

5. T or F: The blessing of the eucharist is symbolic of the conception and birth of Yeshua by Mary.

6. T or F: Mary performed the first Mass.

7. What makes a priest of the New Covenant?

8. Fill in the blank: More than any other priest Mary can point at her cruficied Son and say ___________________________.


6.  Please read the page “Prayers to Mary Priest” and Answer this group of Questions:

1. Of the three prayers to Mary Priest listed in this article, choose your favorite and type it out in your answer.

2. Please explain why this prayer is your favorite.

3. Either write your own prayer to Mary Priest here, or choose another prayer not listed in this article and type it out in your answer.

4. (Extra Credit): Every day for seven days, pray your favorite prayer to Mary Priest each morning.

7.  Please read the page
Mary and Holy Orders” and Answer the Questions on
the right:

See the Keys at the bottom right of this
painting of Mary during the Descent of
the Holy Spirit, or Pneuma, at
Pentecost.  She is quite obviously
portrayed as a Bishop here


1. Epiphanius of Salamis justified the doctrine of Mary not having the priesthood or participating as priest in the ecclesiastical hierarchy by pointing out that she did not even practice the sacrament of Baptism, since St. John the Baptist — and not Mary — baptised Yeshua. Who, according to a previous lesson, baptised and confirmed St. John the Baptist?

2. How did the medieval Church fathers address Mary’s priestly role yet deny that as a woman she received ordination?

3. T or F: According to St. Albert the Great, although Mary did not receive the sacrament of Holy Orders, she possessed all the graces and powers of the highest order of the priesthood.

4. T or F: Mary was anointed to the priesthood internally by the oil of the Holy Spirit, as opposed to the outward anointing of most priests.

5. What are the seven actions of a High Priest(ess)?

6. Did Mary fulfill these actions?

7. T or F: Mary fulfilled the functions of every priesthood both ancient and new.

8. T or F: Yeshua inherited his roles of King and Priest from Mary’s royal and priestly heritage.

9. Fill in the blanks: Priests possess two powers, one over Jesus’ ___________ body when they render it present on the altar through the sacred words, the other over his _________ body.  The first power is a shadow of Mary’s ____________, the other of her _____________ power.”

10. Name at least one instance when Mary officiated publicly as a priest.

11. Fill in the blank: Mary is priestess by ____________, whereas in other priests it must be added on.

12. In what three ways was Mary shown to be a Bishop?

13. Fill in the blank: Mary possessed the priesthood by virtue of her _______________ instead of an ordination.


8.  Please read the page “Mary and the priesthood of all believers” and Answer this group of Questions:

1. Fill in the blanks: The __________, by regeneration and the anointing of the ____________, are ____________ into a spiritual house and a holy ___________.

2. Fill in the blanks: The fact that all the faithful share in this ____________ priesthood of Christ carries, as a necessary implication, that they can, through the sacrament of Holy Orders, also share in Christ’s ___________ priesthood.

3. T or F: Capability to receive the ministerial priesthood lies implicit in the general priesthood of the faithful.

4. Which Gospel writer shows women as active participants in the priesthood of the early Church?

5. T or F: Mary possessed the full ministerial priesthood “equivalently and eminently.”

6. Essay: How are the traditional images of Mary damaging to her claim to the priesthood? How might new images of Mary change this?


Priestly King of Kings, by Greg Olsen

9.  Please read the page “Jerusalem Temple Sanctuary” and Answer this group of Questions:

A. Describe the floor plan of the Temple.

1. Who was allowed to enter the Holy Place? When and how often?

2. What were the three main religious objects found in the Holy Place?

3. What did the twelve loaves of shewbread in the Holy Place represent?

4. Who was allowed to eat the shewbread?

5. Name an historical exception to this rule.

6. How many priestly orders served in the Temple?

7. For how long did each order serve in the Temple?

8. What order was Zechariah, father of Mary, a member of?

9. Where was Zechariah and what was he doing when he received the vision annuciating the conception of Mary?

10. The lamp stand in the Holy Place had seven branches. What does the number seven signify?

11. What did these burning lamps signify?

12. What did the Holy of Holies originally contain?

13. What was the Ark of the Covenant’s lid referred to as?

14. When was the Ark of the Covenant hidden by the Temple priests?

15. Was it present in the Temple at the time of Yeshua?

16. Who was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies? When and how often?

17. Where was the veil of the Temple located?

18. When the veil was torn at the time of Yeshua, what did it mean?

19. Essay: How are the various sacred objects of the Temple symbols and images of Mary’s priestly dignity?

10.  Art Lab.  Please view both Galleries and then answer the following questions.

Gallery 1:

1. T or F: The pallium was originally a Greek dress, also introduced in Rome, and was probably worn to denote status.

2. What is the original Greek word for the pallium?

3. T or F: The pallium became the distinctive sign of papal and episcopal priestly power.

4. Please describe the pallium.

5. What is the pallium a symbol of?

6. Who was authorized to wear the pallium?

7. When was it worn?

8. What High Priestly function is Mary typically performing in her portrayals?

9. In the Croatian Basilica both Mary and Elizabeth are portrayed wearing the pallium. What priestly rite is Mary performing here?

10. In the 12th century mosaic at Torcello, there are crosses on Mary’s black chasuble and on her veil. What symbol is found on Mary’s maphorion in the Greek equivalent?

11. What other priesthood office might Mary have held besides Bishop?

Gallery 2:

12. What Old Testament scripture traditionally refers to Mary wearing priestly vestmests?

13. T or F: Mary’s words during the Annunciation: “Let it be done to me according to your word” caused the Incarnation to take place, just as the priest’s words of consecration make Christ present in the eucharist.

14. Who is referred to as Aaron’s staff by the early Church fathers? Who is seen holding this staff in the Frowinus Bible?

15. What are two other visual indicators that Mary is a Bishop, other than her wearing the pallium?

16. Who is Mary distributing communion to in the Amiens painting? What is the frowning angel next to them holding?

Top | Shemsu Study Hall