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The Song of the Theotokos
The Song of the Theotokos : The ‘Magnificat’, the Virgin Mary’s own psalm of praise.


The Song of the Blessed Virgin Mary*

MY soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

For he hath regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden.

For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

For he that is mighty hath magnified me, and holy is his Name.

And his mercy is on them that fear him, through out all generations.

He hath shewed strength with his arm, he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble and meek.

He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he hath sent empty away.

He remembring his mercy, hath holpen his servant Israel, as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham, and his seed for ever.

* ‘Magnificat’ comes from the Latin, meaning ‘It magnifies’, that is, it proclaims and highly praises. See Luke Luke 1:39-56. This is the form of the prayer used in successive English Prayer Books from 1549 to 1662. It is older than the translation in the Authorised Version. Note that past tenses in -ed should be read as full syllables, e.g. scatt-er-ed, not scatt-erd, fill-ed not filld.

Picture: © José Luiz, Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 3.0. View original
An icon of the Virgin Mary ‘Hodegitria’ (‘she who shows the Way’) in the Chora Church, Constantinople. Mary’s Song is a quite brilliant patchwork of Old Testament passages sewn together in imitation of the Song of Hannah in 1 Samuel 2, which was also a song of thanksgiving for a miraculous child.

Featured Music

Selected Stories
Based on a sermon by
Elfric of Eynsham
Roman Emperor Julian was ready to destroy an entire Christian community over his wounded pride.
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow
A shy and unmusical stable-hand suddenly began to sing wise and moving hymns.
St Dwynwen was a 5th century princess regarded by some as Wales’s answer to St Valentine.
Pope Agatho reached out to the English church to help him make his case at an important Council in the Imperial capital.