The Hail Mary (Latin: Ave Maria) is a traditional Christian prayer addressing Mary, mother of Jesus. The prayer is based on two biblical episodes featured in the Gospel of Luke: the Angel Gabriel's visit to Mary (the Annunciation), and Mary's subsequent visit to Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist (the Visitation). The Hail Mary is a prayer of praise for and of petition to Mary, regarded as the Mother of God. Since the 16th century, the version of the prayer used in the Catholic Church closes with an appeal for her intercession. The prayer takes different forms in various traditions, and has often been set to music.
In the Latin Church, the prayer forms the basis of the Rosary and the Angelus. The liturgies of the Oriental Orthodox Churches use many prayers addressed to Mary, but only vaguely similar to the Hail Mary. On the other hand, the Eastern Orthodox Church has a quite similar prayer (without explicit request for her intercession), both in Greek and in translations, that it frequently uses outside of the formal liturgy, like the Jesus Prayer. The Eastern Catholic Churches follow their respective traditions or adopt the Latin Church version, which is also used by many other Western groups historically associated with the Catholic Church, such as Lutherans, Anglicans, Independent Catholics, and Old Catholics.