The Hail Mary, also known as Hail Mother of God, The Angelic Salutation, or Ave Maria (Latin title used by Roman Catholics) is a traditional Christian prayer asking for the intercession of the Holy Virgin Mary known in the Orthodox Church as Theotokos (in Greek, Θεοτόκος, meaning "God-bearer" or "Birth-giver to God"), the mother of Jesus Christ. The Hail Mary is used by Orthodox Christians (Eastern Orthodox) and Oriental Orthodox. A variation of the Hail Mary, slightly different from that used by the Orthodox, is used by Roman Catholics as well as by many other groups within the Catholic tradition of Christianity including Anglicans, Independent Catholics, and Old Catholics. Some Protestant denominations, such as Lutherans, also make use of the prayer.
It is typically sung thrice at the end of Great Vespers during an All-Night Vigil, as well as occurring many times in the course of daily prayer.
The Hail Mary prayer of the Orthodox Christian Church and Eastern Catholic Churches is in the following form: Θεοτόκε Παρθένε, χαῖρε, κεχαριτωμένη Μαρία, ὁ Κύριος μετὰ σοῦ. εὐλογημένη σὺ ἐν γυναιξί, καὶ εὐλογημένος ὁ καρπὸς τῆς κοιλίας σου, ὅτι Σωτήρα ἔτεκες τῶν ψυχῶν ἡμῶν.
- Theotokos Virgin, rejoice, 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 souls.
Another English translation of the same text reads:
- Mother of God and Virgin, rejoice, Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast given birth to the Saviour of our souls.
Most of the text of the Hail Mary can be found within the Gospel According to Saint Luke. The first part of the prayer is taken directly from the greeting of the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Theotokos found in Luke 1:28: "And having come in, the angel said to her, 'Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!'" The second part is taken from Luke 1:42, where the Righteous Elizabeth, while being filled with the Holy Spirit, greets the Theotokos: "Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!"
From the Biblical texts the Hail Mary adds the opening invocation "Theotokos Virgin" (or "Mother of God and Virgin"), "Mary full of grace" and the concluding "for you have borne the Saviour of our souls." These parts were added for the prayer to acknowledge the Theotokos as the mother of God (thereby also acknowledging the divine nature of Jesus Christ as one person of the Holy Trinity), her state of holiness, and that salvation comes through Jesus Christ. of which we all hope and prayer for.
She is blessed and holy because she accepted God's word and gave birth to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and because she kept herself in a state of sinless love for God throughout her whole life.
- Holy Bible - NKJV