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Ave Maria Virgo Serena

Gregorian Hymn to Our Lady

Ave Maria Virgo Serena (Hail Mary Serene Virgin) is a Gregorian chant sequence for the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25). It can be found in the 1957 Cantus Selecti on p. 173 (159*) here.

Pairing the clarity of sound Catholic doctrine with a luminous melody, the chant is a meditation on the Annunciation of St. Gabriel to Our Lady and the Nativity of Our Lord, teaching that Our Lady is the Mediatrix of all grace. It remarks that through Gabriel's sweet "Ave," the Savior became incarnate in the womb of a Virgin, "contrary to the law of the flesh." It is this Virgin, this "Rose without Thorns," who has now become the Mother of the Lion and the Lamb, of the Bread of Life and the Shepherd of Souls.

The chant admits that Our Lady, being so merciful, reforms the penitent with grace, drawing him from "the lake of scum and misery." It is through her that "forgiveness is granted to the guilty," that "grace is bestowed to the righteous." The hymn ends with a tender prayer, asking Our Lady to pray for us to her Son, "that He might free us from sins" and keep us "in the kingdom of glorious light throughout all the ages."

Ave Maria Virgo Serena is here interpreted by the Benedictine Monks of Norcia.

Listen to Ave Maria Virgo Serena


Latin text:

Ave Maria, gratia plena,
Dominus tecum, Virgo serena.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
Quae peperisti pacem hominibus
Et Angelis gloriam
Et benedictus fructus ventris tui,
Qui coheredes ut essemus Sui
Nos, fecit per gratiam.

Per hoc autem Ave,
Mundo tam suave,
Contra carnis iura
Genuisti prolem
Novum stella solem
Nova genitura.

Tu parvi et magni,
Leonis et agni,
Salvatoris Christi
Templum extitisti,
Sed virgo intacta.
Tu floris et roris,
Panis et pastoris,
Virginum regina
Rosa sine spina,
Genitrix es facta.

Tu civitas regis justitiae,
Tu mater es misericordie,
De lacu faecis et miseriae
Paenitentem reformans gratiae.
Te collaudat caelestis curia,
Tibi nostra favent obsequia,
Per te reis donatur venia.
Per te justis confertur gratia.

Ergo maris stella,
Verbi Dei cella
Et solis aurora,
Paradisi porta,
Per quam lux est orta,
Natum tuum ora,

Ut nos solvat a peccatis,
Et in regno claritatis
Quo lux lucet sedula,
Collocet per secula. Amen.

English translation (1):

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee, O serene Virgin.
Blessed art thou among women,
Thou who bore Him Who is the peace for mankind
And glory for the Angels.
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
So that for us to belong to Him,
Thou made us co-heirs through grace.

Through that “Ave”,
Thou made sweeter the world,
To conquer the laws of the flesh,
Thou conceived a Son,
The new star of the Sun
Was born.

Of the One Who is great and made Himself small,
The Lion and the Lamb,
Christ the Savior
Thou art the living temple,
Yet being an intact Virgin.
Thou, of the One Who is Bud and Dew,
The Bread and the Shepherd,
Queen of Virgins,
Rose without thorns,
Hast become a Mother.

Thou art the city of the King of justice,
Thou art Mother of mercy,
From the lake of scum and misery
Thou reformest the penitent by grace.
Thou who the Celestial Court praises,
We offer our homages to thee,
Through thee the guilty receives forgiveness,
Through thee grace is bestowed to the righteous.

Therefore, O star of the sea,
Sanctuary of the Word of God
And dawn of the Sun,
Door of paradise,
Through which the Light arose,
Pray to thy Son,

That He might free us from sins,
And in the kingdom of clarity [glorious light],
Where the light shines forever,
May He keep us through all ages. Amen.

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Ave Maria Virgo Serena


For a high-resolution JPG version, click here.

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Cologne Cathedral

Statue of Our Lady, in the exterior of the Cologne Cathedral.

Taken from here.

  1. English translation adapted from that provided by ChantBlog, taken from here.
  2. Sheet music courtesy of Gregobase, taken from here.


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