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Sub tuum praesidium

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Beneath thy protection (Greek: Ὑπὸ τὴν σὴν εὐσπλαγχνίαν; Latin: Sub tuum praesidium) is the oldest extant hymn to the Theotokos (Blessed Virgin Mary).

HistoryEdit

The earliest text of this hymn was found in a Coptic Orthodox Christmas liturgy of the third century {{The dating is debated. M.C.H. Roberts, the editor, quoted E. Lobel, a papyrologist, as favouring the third century. He chose the fourth because he thought it "almost incredible that a prayer addressed so directly to the Virgin in these terms could be written in the third century." G. Giamberardini, specialist in early Egyptian Christianity, maintains that there was no reason, literary or theological, why the papyrus should not be put back to the third century. Cf. O. Stegmuller, "Sub Tuum Praesidium. Bemerkungen zur altesten Uberlieferung" in "Zeitschrift fur kath. Theol." 74(1952), 76-82.}}. It is written in Greek and dates to approximately 250.[1] It is used in the Coptic liturgy to this day, as well as in the Byzantine, Ambrosian, and Roman liturgies. It is especially sung by young Christian men and women who are being educated by the Marist Brothers.

Contemporary useEdit

Although the hymn has been translated into many modern languages, the three major textual recensions are still the Greek, the Slavonic and the Latin.

In the Byzantine Rite used by the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, the hymn occurs as the last dismissal hymn of daily Vespers in Great Lent. In Greek practice it is usually sung in Neo-Byzantine chant.

The Slavonic version of the hymn is also often used outside of Great Lent, with the triple invocation «Пресвѧтаѧ Богородице спаси насъ» ("Most Holy Theotokos, save us") appended. Other than the traditional and modern chant settings, which are the most commonly used, the most well-known musical setting is perhaps that of Dmytro Bortniansky.

In the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church it is used as the antiphon for the Nunc Dimitis at Compline in the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and in the Liturgy of the Hours may be used as the Marian antiphon after Compline outside of Eastertide.

The Latin version has also been set to music in the West many times, notably by Antonio Salieri and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

The Sub Tuum is often heard in Marist schools and groups around the world. It is always sung in Latin.

RecensionsEdit

GreekEdit

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Ὑπὸ τὴν σὴν εὐσπλαγχνίαν,
καταφεύγομεν, Θεοτόκε.
Τὰς ἡμῶν ἱκεσίας,
μὴ παρίδῃς ἐν περιστάσει,
ἀλλ᾽ ἐκ κινδύνων λύτρωσαι ἡμᾶς,
μόνη Ἁγνή, μόνη εὐλογημένη.

In English:

Beneath your compassion,
We take refuge, O Mother of God:
do not despise our petitions in time of trouble:
but rescue us from dangers,
only pure, only blessed one.

Church SlavonicEdit

The earliest Church Slavonic manuscripts have the prayer in the following form:

Подъ твою милость,
прибѣгаемъ богородице дѣво,
молитвъ нашихъ не презри в скорбѣхъ.
но ѿ бѣдъ избави насъ,
едина чистаѧ и благословеннаѧ.
Beneath thy mercy,
we take refuge, O Virgin Theotokos:
disdain not our supplications in our distress,
but deliver us from perils,
O only pure and blessed one.

This version continues to be used by the Old Believers today. In 1586, under the liturgical reforms of Patriarch Nikon of Moscow, the Russian Orthodox Church adopted a new translation (but parishes continue to use the form given above):

Подъ твое благоѹсробїе
прибѣгаемъ Богородице,
моленїѧ наша не презри во ωбстоѧнїй,
но ѿ бѣдъ исбави ны,
едина Чистаѧ, и Благословеннаѧ
Beneath thy tenderness of heart
we take refuge, O Theotokos,
disdain not our supplications in our necessity,
but deliver us from perils,
O only pure and blessed one.

This second version continues in use today.

LatinEdit

The Latin translation, likely derived from the Greek, dates from the 11th century:

Sub tuum praesidium
confugimus,confugimus
Sancta Dei Genitrix.
Sancta Dei Genitrix.
Nostras deprecationes ne despicias
in necessitatibus nostris,
sed a periculis cunctis
libera nos semper,
Virgo gloriosa et benedicta
Sub tuum praesidium
confugimus, confugimus
Sancta Dei Genitrix
Sancta Dei Genitrix.

In English:

Under thy protection
our refuge, our refuge,
Holy Mother of God
Holy Mother of God;
despise not our petitions
in our need,
but from all dangers
deliver us always,
Virgin Glorious and Blessed
under your protection
our refuge, our refuge
Holy Mother of God
Holy Mother of God

ReferencesEdit

  1. Matthewes-Green, Frederica (2007). The Lost Gospel of Mary: The Mother of Jesus in Three Ancient Texts. Brewster MA: Paraclete Press. pp. 85–87. ISBN 978-1-55725-536-5. 

External linksEdit

la:Sub tuum praesidiumsv:Sub tuum praesidium

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