The Song of Mary

How fitting it is to begin our new weekly series with a look into the Annunciation. The Annunciation to St. Mary is among the most important events in the Orthodox tradition, for it is the beginning of all feasts. As the late Patriarch Mor Ignatius Zakka of thrice blessed memory writes, “the event of Annunciation of Divine Conception marks the beginning of the two mysteries of Incarnation & Redemption.”

These verses from the Gospel according to St. Luke 1:46-55 forms part of the “Song of Mary”, or sometimes referred to as the “Magnificat” in western traditions. This is recited as part of the midnight prayers of the Syriac Orthodox Sh’himo and other liturgical services. For those outside the Orthodox faith, the words “all generations will call me blessed” can be difficult to comprehend. How did the early Church understand these words? Did St. Mary really have such an important place in the history of salvation?

St. Athanasius the Great of Alexandria says, “For if as the Prophet says, Blessed are they who have seed in Zion, and kinsfolk in Jerusalem, how great should be the celebration of the divine and ever holy Virgin Mary, who was made according to the flesh, the Mother of the Word?”

May the intercession of St. Mary the Theotokos be our refuge.

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