In ancient Egypt Isis is the great Mother-goddess, giver of life who encompassed every living creature. "Isis is viewed as the protector and patron of women. Isis guided women in childbirth, marriage, and in the loss of loved ones. She has the qualities that endear her to women of all ages. Isis is full of compassion, tenderness, love and devotion. Isis is the Great Mother Goddess." She was called many names, Moon-goddess, The Great Lady, The Queen of Heaven, Mother of god, etc. In funerary prayers she was regarded as the giver of life and food to the dead.

Now Egyptian converts to Christianity must have noticed a relationship between the attributes given to Isis and the developing attributes given to Mary. We know that the Litany of Loretto was finalized in the Middle Ages but did Europe know about Isis? Even before the Christian Era, the cult of Isis was found in many places of the Roman Empire which persisted till 312 A.D. when Christianity was made the official religion of the Roman Empire. (Webpage: Isis "Regina Caeli") Further, Monasticism began in Egypt and spread to Europe. Coptic monks must surely have brought some Egyptian literature with them. So it seems evident that titles given to Isis were known in Europe.

Likewise, Egyptian Art must have influenced the iconography of Mary.

Isis in Egyptian art is many times portrayed nursing the child Horus. "It is widely recognized by scholars that Isis and Horus were the model for image of Mary and Jesus, and the 'Black Madonna' images probably derived from Black Isis (Isis was often depicted wearing black robes, symbolizing mourning and the quest for Osiris). Some of the black robes statues of Isis were even used by Christians as images of the Madonna."

The following reflects what the devotees of Isis hoped for.

"But she[Isis] was everlastingly, to her fervent devotees, the blessed goddess who was herself all things and who promised: 'You shall live in blessing, you shall live glorious in my protection; and when you have fulfilled your allotted span of life and descend to the underworld, there too you shall see me, as you see me now, shining ... And if you show yourself obedient to my divinity ... you will know that I alone have permitted you to extend your life beyond the time allocated you by your destiny.' Isis, who overcame death to bring her lover back to life, could as readily hold off death for her faithful followers, for the all-powerful Isis alone could boast, 'I will overcome Fate.'" (Webpage:Isis)

CONCLUSION

When all is said and done, Isis is a mythological figure belonging to the pagan world view of many gods and goddesses. She was the personification of the forces of nature, a vehicle of expression for Egyptian hopes and fears and nothing more.

Mary is the reality. Through her the Egyptian longings of the human heart are brought to realization. She is truly the Mother of Life in the supernatural sense because she brought into the world the Lord of Life. We turn to her with our petitions knowing that God hears her because she is His Beloved. She is not a goddess but a creature highly graced by God to whom belongs the dignity to be the Mother of God and the power associated with it.

Hail Holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope.

Christ in Greece