According to the gospels of Matthew and Luke in the New Testament, Mary was a first-century Jewish woman of Nazareth, the wife of Joseph, and the mother of Jesus. Both the New Testament and the Quran describe Mary as a virgin. According to Christian theology, Mary conceived Jesus through the Holy Spirit while still a virgin, and accompanied Joseph to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born.
Mary has been venerated since early Christianity, and is considered by millions to be the holiest and greatest saint because of her extraordinary virtues as seen at the Annunciation by the archangel Gabriel. She is said to have miraculously appeared to believers many times over the centuries. The Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran churches believe that Mary, as mother of Jesus, is the Theotokos (Mother of God; Θεοτόκος). There is significant diversity in the Marian beliefs and devotional practices of major Christian traditions. The Catholic Church holds distinctive Marian dogmas, namely her status as the Mother of God, her Immaculate Conception, her perpetual virginity, and her Assumption into heaven. Many Protestants minimize Mary's role within Christianity, basing their argument on the alleged lack of biblical support for any beliefs other than the virgin birth.