Magnificat

The Magnificat (Latin for "[My soul] magnifies [the Lord]") is a canticle, also known as the Song of Mary, the Canticle of Mary and, in the Byzantine tradition, the Ode of the Theotokos (Greek: Ἡ ᾨδὴ τῆς Θεοτόκου). It is traditionally incorporated into the liturgical services of the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox churches, and the Anglican Communion.[1] Its name comes from the incipit of the Latin version of the text.

Visitation, by Domenico Ghirlandaio (1491), depicts Mary visiting her elderly cousin Elizabeth.

The text of the canticle is taken from the Gospel of Luke (1:46–55) where it is spoken by Mary upon the occasion of her Visitation to her cousin Elizabeth.[2] In the narrative, after Mary greets Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist, the latter moves within Elizabeth's womb. Elizabeth praises Mary for her faith (using words partially reflected in the Hail Mary), and Mary responds with what is now known as the Magnificat.

The Magnificat is one of the eight most ancient Christian hymns and perhaps the earliest Marian hymn.[2][3] Within the whole of Christianity, the canticle is most frequently recited within the Liturgy of the Hours. In Western Christianity, the Magnificat is most often sung or recited during the main evening prayer service: Vespers[1] in the Catholic and Lutheran churches, and Evening Prayer (or Evensong) in Anglicanism. In Eastern Christianity, the Magnificat is always sung at Matins. The Magnificat may also be sung during worship services, especially in the Advent season during which these verses are traditionally read.