Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"Hail Mary" of Syriac Christians

Many Eastern Christians reject the "Hail Mary" as a Western prayer. By now I've come to realize that each Church has its own version of the "Hail Mary." The Byzantine version runs:

"Rejoice, Virgin Theotokos, Mary full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, for you have borne the Savior of our sous."

The version used while praying the mequtaria is quite long. I'm not so sure it could be called a "version" of the "Hail Mary," but it certainly bears some striking similarities to the other versions of the "Hail Mary" I've come across.

This morning, while I was searching to find out what "Sootoro" is in the Maronite/Syrian tradition, I came across the following version of the "Hail Mary" used among the Syriac Churches:

"Hail Mary, full of grace, Our Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, our Lord, Jesus Christ. O Virgin Saint Mary, O Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at all times, and at the hour of our death. Amen. 

I believe I'm going to use this as the foundation of a Maronite/Syrian rosary, time permitting. May heaven consume us.

(P.S. Incidentally "Sootoro" is Compline or "Night Prayer" in the Syrian/Syriac tradition and is prayed immediately before retiring to bed.)


  1. Phillip, while your intent is noble, the "Hail Mary" you found in Sootoro was a 1970s era Roman Catholic "update" of the prayer in contemporary language. Our bishop at the time (Zayek I believe) simply saw it, liked it, and stuck it in there. As for creating a "Syriac" rosary, Syriac Christians are just fine with the existing "western" rosary and are quite strongly devoted to it. Your rosary IS our rosary. Of all the Eastern Catholic/Christian traditions, Syriac Christianity has been most accommodating to western devotions and has become somewhat of a hybrid tradition, a bridge connecting the two sides of Christendom.

    1. I actually got this "Hail Mary" from a Syriac Orthodox website. That doesn't change the possibility that this might simply be a Syriac Orthodox adaptation of the Western "Hail Mary," but it has nothing to do with Bishop Zayek (who, although I don't know much about him, I am inclined to like) or "1970s era Roman Catholic updates into contemporary language.

      I'm curious if you can tell me, however, why it is that Syriac Christians have been so open to Western devotions and why it has become such a "hybrid tradition," as you say? I don't necessarily have anything against this development, as I find the idea of a "pure" Eastern or Oriental tradition to be rather an overly idealistic pipe-dream, but it certainly seems that Syriac Christianity has been much more open to Western influence than other Eastern and Oriental traditions.

      Peace and blessings,