Sub Tuum Praesidium
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Sub Tuum Praesidium (Dated to mid-3rd Century) is Latin for “Beneath Thy Protection” (Ancient Greek: Ὑπὸ τὴν σὴν εὐσπλαγχνίαν). It is the oldest known Marian prayer and the oldest preserved extant hymn to Mary as Theotokos (God-Bearer). It dates to the 3rd (or 4th) century AD and is well known among the Catholic church, the Eastern Orthodox church and the Oriental Orthodox church. The earliest text of this hymn was found in a Coptic Orthodox Christmas liturgy. The papyrus records the hymn in Greek, dated to the 3rd century by papyrologist E. Lobel. Besides the Greek text, ancient versions can also be found in Coptic, Syriac, Armenian and Latin, which has led scholars to believe that the practice of using the prayer was well established long before 250 A.D.
The Latin text reads:
Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, (We fly to thy protection)
Sancta Dei Genitrix. (O Holy Mother of God;)
Nostras deprecationes ne despiciasin necessitatibus nostris, (Do not despise our petitionsin our necessities)
sed a periculis cunctislibera nos semper, (but deliver us alwaysfrom all dangers)
Virgo gloriosa et benedicta (O Glorious and Blessed Virgin).
Later Latin versions incorporated the following verses often attributed to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux to the end of the Latin prayer:
Domina nostra, Mediatrix nostra, Advocata nostra (Our Lady, our Mediatrix, Our Advocate)
tuo Filio nos reconcilia (Reconcile us to your Son)
tuo Filio nos recommenda (Recommend us to your Son)
tuo Filio nos representa (Represent us to your Son)
Sub Tuum Praesidium:
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