Author Topic: Earliest Primary Sources Containing Prayers to the Virgin Mary?  (Read 5777 times)

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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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As far as actual primary documents that are possessed, what is the earliest dated one which contains prayers to the Mother of God, or references to the practice?

I am aware of early signs of her veneration such as the Protoevangelium of James which is generally dated to the 2nd century, but even that writing of high honor is a narrative and wouldn't contain anything like that as it does not chronicle the life of the Church after her death.

Offline augustin717

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Re: Earliest Primary Sources Containing Prayers to the Virgin Mary?
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2011, 02:23:11 AM »
The prayer "Sub tuum praesidium' is sometimes dated to the very early 4th century or even late third century.
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Offline Salpy

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Re: Earliest Primary Sources Containing Prayers to the Virgin Mary?
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2011, 02:50:17 AM »
The prayer "Sub tuum praesidium' is sometimes dated to the very early 4th century or even late third century.

It's from the third century:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CeltList/message/31896

Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Earliest Primary Sources Containing Prayers to the Virgin Mary?
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2011, 02:56:47 AM »
The prayer "Sub tuum praesidium' is sometimes dated to the very early 4th century or even late third century.

This is the earliest hymn we have to the Mother of God and it comes to us from the Church of Alexandria, Egypt, from about the year 250.

It intrigues me that it is still one of the commonest hymns loved by the Orthodox and the choir will often start to sing it spontaneously if they need to "fill in" some gap in the Service.  And when you suggest to people at home "Let's say some prayers" this is often what they start to sing - "Pod tvoyu milost."

Here is a small Wikipedia article on this ancient prayer to Mary the Mother of God.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sub_tuum_praesidium

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at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,21890.msg332829.html#msg332829

Offline Salpy

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Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Earliest Primary Sources Containing Prayers to the Virgin Mary?
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2011, 03:01:27 AM »
The prayer "Sub tuum praesidium' is sometimes dated to the very early 4th century or even late third century.

It's from the third century:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CeltList/message/31896

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« Last Edit: April 25, 2011, 03:02:32 AM by Irish Hermit »

Offline pensateomnia

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Re: Earliest Primary Sources Containing Prayers to the Virgin Mary?
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2011, 01:30:52 PM »
Just as some context for "Sub tuum praesidium" (since it has been dated by some to third century Alexandria), Origen says Christians offered "supplication, intercession, and thanksgiving" to saints (De Oratione 15.6).

If you want examples of even earlier Christian "documents" with prayer to saints in general, just check out a good book on early Christian epigraphy. As a number of first and second century burial inscriptions show, Christians would pray for and to the dead (and not just martyrs, as previously thought).
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Earliest Primary Sources Containing Prayers to the Virgin Mary?
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2011, 01:14:12 AM »
If you want examples of even earlier Christian "documents" with prayer to saints in general, just check out a good book on early Christian epigraphy. As a number of first and second century burial inscriptions show, Christians would pray for and to the dead (and not just martyrs, as previously thought).

Do you have any books in mind to recommend?

Offline Cognomen

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Re: Earliest Primary Sources Containing Prayers to the Virgin Mary?
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2011, 04:28:05 PM »
If you want examples of even earlier Christian "documents" with prayer to saints in general, just check out a good book on early Christian epigraphy. As a number of first and second century burial inscriptions show, Christians would pray for and to the dead (and not just martyrs, as previously thought).

Do you have any books in mind to recommend?

Recommendation of books pertaining to Orthodox development of Marian devotion would also be most appreciated.
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Earliest Primary Sources Containing Prayers to the Virgin Mary?
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2011, 04:36:30 PM »
^I recall enjoying The Life of the Virgin Mary, the Theotokos by Holy Apostles Convent, though it obviously takes a more traditional view of things.
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Earliest Primary Sources Containing Prayers to the Virgin Mary?
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2011, 04:43:06 PM »
^I recall enjoying The Life of the Virgin Mary, the Theotokos by Holy Apostles Convent, though it obviously takes a more traditional view of things.

I enjoy that book as a devotional book, but it offers little in the way of reliable historical documentation. It just asserts everything as fact without any real sense of substantiation, which is great for one half of my brain, but not so great for the other.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2011, 04:43:17 PM by Alveus Lacuna »

Offline Cognomen

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Re: Earliest Primary Sources Containing Prayers to the Virgin Mary?
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2011, 04:47:02 PM »
Asteriktos, I've had that in my reading queue for some time now, but until seeing the description in the link, I didn't know it dealt with that many aspects of development. Thanks for the recommendation.

I enjoy that book as a devotional book, but it offers little in the way of reliable historical documentation. It just asserts everything as fact without any real sense of substantiation, which is great for one half of my brain, but not so great for the other.

That blimey one half of our brains!  >:(

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