Ave maris stella
Hymn to the Virgin Mary (8th cent., author anon.)
Liturgical use: Hymn at Vespers on feasts of the Virgin Mary.
Mary's title of stella maris was first proposed by St. Jerome, in his treatise Liber de nominibus hebraicis (probably around AD 390), in which he explains the etymology of Hebrew names. He quotes unidentified sources as explaining the name of Mary as smyrna maris, literally bitterness of the sea. The Hebrew word miriam indeed refers to bitterness - it is explained as such in the anonymous Jewish account The life of Moses. St. Jerome dismisses the 'bitter' etymology, however, and proposes to change her title to stella maris. In order to justify his proposal, he quotes Syrus, most likely his contemporary St. Ephraem Syrus, who had insisted on Mary's status as domina or mistress.
View the Wikipedia article on Ave maris stella.
Settings by composers
Other settings possibly not included in the manual list above
- Mark Chapman — Ave maris stella
- Jan Le Febure — Ave maris stella
- Charles Gounod — Virgo singularis, CG 130
Text and translations
Ave, maris stella,
Hail, star of the sea,
Sei gegrüßt, du Stern des Meeres,
Salut, étoile de la mer,
Wees gegroet, o Zeester,