Sub tuum praesidium

220px-Madonna_della_Misericordia.JPG

“Beneath Thy Protection” (Latin: Sub tuum praesidium) is the oldest preserved existing prayer/hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary outside of parts of the “Hail Mary” in the Gospel Luke, chapter 1 verses 28 and 42. It is used by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox , Armenian Orthodox and Coptic Orthodox. The earliest existing copy of the Sub  tuum praesidium was found in the Coptic Orthodox Christmas liturgy of the Third century, was written in Greek, and dates from approximately 250 A.D.

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