I was just thinking, that's a strange greeting. Didn't people back then usually say "hail" in the context of "Hail Caesar"? And apparently Mary thought that was a strange greeting too, even stranger than the fact that it was an Angel who greeted her thus.

So, according to the Catholic Church, does Hail (or Ave) in the sense that Gabriel uses it in Luke, actually have anything to do with addressing royalty? Has it ever been posited that the Archangel Gabriel would use that terminology only in reference to the Holy Mother of God?

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    The Greek is "Χαῖρε" (Khaire), which a standard Greek dictionary defines as "a common form of greeting". Lewis & Short describes the Latin "Ave!" as "a form of salutation". In other words, these words basically mean "Hi, how's it going?" Commented May 4, 2015 at 19:16

3 Answers 3


The "Hail" would be a normal greeting. I've encountered some people who believe that when Catholics say "Hail Mary.." they're worshiping her. To my understanding the original meaning doesn't necessarily connote addressing royalty, and especially not worship. Those contexts to the word might be a much more modern development.

Even in today's English we see Hail used with regular contexts instance; if someone "Hails a cab", are they worshipping the car or the driver? No; they're flagging it down.

In movies, especially in naval ( or space sci-fi contexts), characters sometimes say "We're being hailed by the USS Magellan" or some such. Again, obviously nobody is honoring or worhsipping the crew or the ship- they're greeting it.

  • But in the context of the Gospels, or even just Luke, is anyone else hailed?
    – Peter Turner
    Commented May 4, 2015 at 20:01
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    @PeterTurner As Matt Gutting pointed out, the original Greek is Χαῖρε (Chaîre). Although the term can be a greeting, it can also be the imperative “rejoice.” It goes with the name that the angel gives Mary: κεχαριτωμένη (she who has been given grace). The term is also used in Matthew 26:49 (when Judas greets Jesus with a kiss); as well as Matthew 27:29, Mark 15:18, and John 19:3 (when the soldiers mock Jesus). (Evidently, in these last few examples, unlike the first, the greeting is used with cynical or ironic intent.) Commented May 5, 2015 at 6:58
  • @AthanasiusofAlex Indeed I've seen some translations of the passage beginning "Rejoice, O highly favored daughter!" Commented May 11, 2015 at 10:45

What's the context in the "Hail" part of Hail Mary?

According to the Catholic Church, does Hail (or Ave) in the sense that Gabriel uses it in Luke, actually have anything to do with addressing royalty?

The short answer is no. The Koine Greek means rejoice or be glad and not hail as in an official salutation to royalty or authority.

The Latin word Ave is often translated to mean ”hail, be well”.

Latin greeting, meaning ‘hail, be well’. According to Suetonius' Lives of the Caesars, gladiators in the arena saluted the Roman emperor with the words, ‘Ave Caesar, morituri te salutant [Hail Caesar, those who are about to die salute you].’

Ave atque vale Latin for ‘hail and farewell!’

When the Archangel Gabriel addressed Mary for the first time, he probably spoke these words in Aramaic. St. Luke wrote the Marian Salutation in Koine Greek. Gabriel’s first words were to reassure the Virgin Mary that he was genuinely sent by God.

The first of the two passages from the Gospel of Luke is the greeting of the Angel Gabriel to Mary, originally written in Koine Greek. The opening word of greeting, χαῖρε (chaíre), here translated "hail", literally has the meaning "rejoice" or "be glad". This was the normal greeting in the language in which the Gospel of Luke is written and continues to be used in the same sense in Modern Greek. Accordingly, both "hail" and "rejoice" are valid English translations of the word ("hail" reflecting the Latin translation, and "rejoice" reflecting the original Greek).

The word κεχαριτωμένη (kecharitōménē), here translated as "graceful ", admits of various translations. Grammatically, the word is the feminine perfect passive participle of the verb χαριτόω (charitóō), which means "to show, or bestow with, grace" and here, in the passive voice, "to have grace shown, or bestowed upon, one".

The text also appears in the account of the annunciation contained in chapter 9 of the apocryphal Infancy Gospel of Matthew.

The second part of the prayer is taken from Elizabeth's greeting to Mary as recorded in Luke 1:42: "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb." Taken together, these two passages are the two times Mary is greeted in chapter 1 of the Gospel of Luke. - Hail Mary

The Greek kecharitomene for full of grace means favored by grace or graced.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.

Luke 1:28 "And coming to her, he said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you."

The Greek kecharitomene means favored by grace, graced. Its tense suggests a permanent state of being "highly favored," thus full of grace. Charity, the divine love within us, comes from the same root. God is infinite Goodness, infinite Love. Mary is perfect created goodness, filled to the limit of her finite being with grace or charity. - In Sacred Scripture

Here follows the Hail Mary in Aramaic along with a transliteration:

ܫܠܳܡ ܠܶܟ̣ܝ̱ ܒܬ̣ܽܘܠܬܳܐ ܡܰܪܝܰܡ ܡܰܠܝܰܬ̣ ܛܰܝܒܽܘܬ̣ܳܐ. ܡܳܪܰܢ ܥܰܡܶܟ̣ܝ̱. ܡܒܰܪܰܟ̣ܬܳܐ ܐܰܢ̱ܬܝ̱ ܒܢܶܫ̈ܶܐ. ܘܰܡܒܰܪܰܟ ܗ̱ܽܘ ܦܺܐܪܳܐ ܕܰܒܟܰܪܣܶܟ̣ܝ̱. ܡܳܪܰܢ ܝܶܫܽܘܥ.
ܐܳܘ ܩܰܕܺܝܫܬܳܐ ܡܰܪܝܰܡ ܝܳܠܕܰܬ̣ ܐܰܠܗܳܐ.
ܨܰܠܳܝ ܚܠܳܦܰܝܢ ܚܰܛܳܝ̈ܶܐ. ܗܳܫܳܐ ܘܰܒܫܳܥܰܬ ܘܡܰܘܬܰܢ

Shlom lekh bthulto Maryam malyath taybutho, moran 'amekh. Mbarakhto at bneshe. Wambarakhu firo dabkarsekh moran Yeshu'. O qadishto Maryam yoldath Aloho. Saloy hlofayn hatoye, hosho wabsho'at u mawtan. Amin.

For those who desire to listen to the Hail Mary sung in Aramaic the following YouTube video is amazing: Shlom Lech Maryam (Hail Mary) in Aramaic with Arabic,and English script ماجدة الرومي


So, according to the Catholic Church, does Hail (or Ave) in the sense that Gabriel uses it in Luke, actually have anything to do with addressing royalty?

The Dogmatic Constitution of the Catholic Church said YES, as it acknowledged that Mary is the chosen Woman and the Sovereign Queen of all things.

Christians look to Mary Queen

  1. Popular devotion invokes Mary as Queen. The Council, after recalling the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin in "‘body and soul into heavenly glory’", explains that she was "exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords (cf. Rv 19:16) and conqueror of sin and death" (Lumen gentium, n. 59).


Pope Pis XII also have encyclical on this...




The question is when did Mary became a Queen and how?

Mary was pleading to God to send the Messiah, and to choose Her to be the Mother of the Messiah, by Her willingness to offer Her vow of virginity as a pleasing sacrifice to God the Father. And Mary's pleading voice reach the Throne of God. And God saw Mary's heart already pregnant with the desire to become the Mother of the Messiah, Jesus the King of Kings.

Mary conceived the Logos first in Her heart before She bear him in her womb." -Augustine

Mary's heart getting pregnant is the "fullness of time". And so, God immediately send a high ranking angel nearest to His Throne. to greet Mary only? No!

God sent Archangel Gabriel to ordain Mary into a Virgin Priest for Her sacrifice or offering be pleasing to Him, and ofcourse, Archangel knew that Mary was the chosen Woman chosen to incarnate the Logos, Jesus Christ the King of Kings.

Can Jesus Christ the King of Kings be born to a "lowly handmaid" only? Nope! That's why archangel gabriel after ordaining Mary into a Virgin Priest, also clothed Her with a royal robe fit for a Queen, and hr confirmed it with not just saying the word "Hail" but he also "bowed down", to acknowledge the new status of the lowly handmaid, She is now a Queen, a worthy Mother to bear the King of Kings.

Who teaches that Mary's ordination as a Virgin Priest?

More explanation on this link. What is the basis of St. Pius X in 1906 that led to the approval of the prayer devotion: "Mary Virgin Priest, pray for us"?

"Mary Virgin Priest, pray for us." -St.Pius X, 1906


St.Pius X in 1906 along with other popes. saints, theologians, etc. affirmenter image description hereed it.

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