According to Canonic law, the minimum age for marryage to be valid for girls is fourteen (it can be and usually is higher for the marriage not to be illicit):

Can. 1083 §1. A man before he has completed his sixteenth year of age and a woman before she has completed her fourteenth year of age cannot enter into a valid marriage.

Since Mary gave birth to Jesus at similar age and is important enough to make an example of sort, I guess that tradition of her age at Annunciation may have played a role in forming of this law.

My question: is this role marginal, non-existent, or important? Are there any sources for it?

  • We have no real idea how old Mary was when she gave birth - the Bible is silent on that matter
    – warren
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 15:38
  • Probably has more to do with the fact that girls reach puberty earlier and are more mature. Maturity is the reason the Eucharist is withheld from small children, maybe true of marriage as well.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 19:40

1 Answer 1


I do not think there is any connection in any Church document or scripture to the annunciation.

However, the sacraments have age requirements attached to them as a "rule of thumb." A certain level of maturity and knowledge is required to receive a sacrament. The Church could assign any age it deems necessary.

Even though the ages are 14 and 16 according to Canon Law, I think you would be hard pressed to find a Deacon or Priest in the developed world who would marry a couple this young.

  • And in fact in most cases it would be superseded by statute law. In the UK, both parties must be 16 and (if they have not previously been married) have parental consent. Parental consent is not required for those who have reached 18. Commented Jan 29, 2013 at 16:38

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