The first, foremost and certainly the most widespread of all Marian devotions is the prayer taken from the words of the Angel Gabriel, which he spoke to Mary at the time of the Annunciation. “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee”… (Lk 1: 28). This prayer consists of three parts: the angel’s greeting forms the beginning of the Ave Maria, which gradually grew into the words we recite in multiples of ten in the Rosary. The Rosary itself came into being between the 12th and the 15 centuries thanks to the Dominican Order. A complete Rosary is made up of four mysteries, so as to contemplate in a calm, loving and reflective manner the principle salvific events of Christ’s life, from His virginal conception to the crowning moments of His sufferings, death and resurrection. These four mysteries are called the Joyful, Luminous, Glorious and Sorrowful Mysteries. Along with the Angelus, which originated with St Francis of Assisi in the 13th century; the recitation of the Rosary is without a doubt very widespread.
Traced back to the 3rd century and considered to be one of the most ancient texts related to Marian devotion is the Sub Tuum Praesidium (Under Your Protection). Yet in actual, is not the oldest of all Marian prayers the Magnificat? This hymn of thanksgiving, sung by the Virgin Mary after the Annunciation, at the Visitation, became the song of thanksgiving of all Christians. “Yes, from now onwards, all generations will call me blessed”… (Lk 1: 46-55).
As for the content of the collection of Marian music, the “Akathist Hymn,” in praise of the Mother of God, probably dates back to the 6th century. It is especially popular in Orthodox Churches. Other well-known hymns and prayers used in the liturgy are: the Salve Regina, the Ave Maris Stella, the Alma Mater and finally the Stabat Mater.