blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now
and at the hour of our death.
This prayer known as the Hail Mary or Ave Maria incorporates the greetings given Mary from the Angel Gabriel and Elizabeth.
- “And he [Gabriel] came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28).
- “And Elizabeth … exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb’” (Luke 1:42).
Since the Council of Ephesus in 431 Mary has been known as “Theotokos,” the Mother of God or God-bearer.
- “If anyone does not accept the holy Mary as Theotokos, he is without the Godhead.” St. Gregory the Theologian
- “I am amazed if some should question at all whether the holy Virgin should be called the Mother of God. For if our Lord Jesus is God, how is the holy Virgin who bore Him not the Mother of God?” St. Cyril of Alexandria
- “We hold that God was born of her, not implying that the divinity of the Logos received from the beginning of its being, but meaning that God the Logos Himself, Who was begotten of the Father timelessly before the ages, and was with the Father and the Spirit without beginning through eternity, took up His abode in these last days for the sake of salvation in the Virgin’s womb, and was without change made flesh and born of her. Hence it is with justice and truth that we call the holy Mary the ‘Mother of God.’ For this name, ‘Theotokos,’ embraces the whole mystery of the dispensation.” St. John of Damascus