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Ruben Belyaev
Ruben Belyaev

Learn Geez with Wudase Mariam: A PDF Guide with 34 Lessons[^2^]



Wudase Mariam: A Sacred Hymn of Praise for St. Mary in Geez, Amharic and English




Wudase Mariam (ውዳሴ ማርያም) is a collection of prayers and praises dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. It is one of the most popular and beloved devotional works in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, which has a long and rich tradition of honoring St. Mary as the Theotokos (God-bearer) and the Queen of Heaven.




wudase mariam geez pdf 34



Wudase Mariam is composed in Geez, the ancient liturgical language of Ethiopia, which is still used today in the church services and ceremonies. The hymn consists of 33 chapters, each corresponding to a year of the earthly life of St. Mary, according to the Ethiopian tradition. Each chapter contains verses that glorify St. Mary's virtues, miracles, intercessions, and role in the salvation history.


The hymn is usually recited or chanted daily by the faithful, especially during the fasting seasons and on the feast days of St. Mary. It is also sung by the clergy and the deacons during the liturgy and other sacraments. Wudase Mariam is a source of spiritual nourishment, inspiration, and joy for millions of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians around the world.


In this article, we will explore the origin, structure, content, and significance of Wudase Mariam, as well as provide a PDF version of the hymn in Geez, Amharic, and English languages for download.


The Origin of Wudase Mariam




The exact date and authorship of Wudase Mariam are not known with certainty, but there are some clues and traditions that can help us to trace its origin. According to one tradition, Wudase Mariam was composed by St. Yared, the 6th century Ethiopian saint who is credited with creating the Zema (ዘማ), or the chant system of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. St. Yared was a renowned poet, musician, and scholar who received a divine revelation of the heavenly music and translated it into earthly melodies and lyrics.


According to another tradition, Wudase Mariam was composed by Abba Gebre Menfes Kidus (አባ ገብረ መንፈስ ቅዱስ), or St. Gabriel of Ethiopia, a 14th century Ethiopian monk who lived in a cave near Jerusalem. He was a devoted follower of St. Mary and received many visions and messages from her. He wrote Wudase Mariam as a tribute to her grace and glory.


Some scholars suggest that Wudase Mariam may have been composed by different authors over time, as a result of the oral transmission and the influence of other Marian hymns from other Christian traditions. They point out that some chapters of Wudase Mariam show similarities with other ancient hymns such as Akathistos (a Greek hymn), Sub tuum praesidium (a Latin hymn), and Tewahedo Sibket (an Arabic hymn).


Regardless of its exact origin, Wudase Mariam reflects the deep love and reverence that the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has for St. Mary as the mother of God and the mother of all Christians.


The Structure of Wudase Mariam




Wudase Mariam is divided into 33 chapters, each containing a number of verses that vary from 4 to 24. The chapters are arranged according to the following pattern:


  • The first chapter is a general introduction that praises St. Mary as the mother of God, the second chamber, the Tabôt, the holiest of holies, and the beloved woman.



  • The next 21 chapters (from 2 to 22) are based on the 21 letters of the Geez alphabet, starting from Aläf (አ) and ending with Fä (ፋ). Each chapter begins with a verse that starts with the corresponding letter, and then continues with other verses that praise St. Mary's attributes, titles, symbols, and roles.



  • The next 9 chapters (from 23 to 31) are based on the nine canticles or songs that are found in the Old and New Testaments, such as the Song of Moses (Exodus 15), the Song of Hannah (1 Samuel 2), the Song of David (2 Samuel 22), the Song of Isaiah (Isaiah 12), the Song of Hezekiah (Isaiah 38), the Song of Habakkuk (Habakkuk 3), the Song of Zechariah (Luke 1), the Song of Mary (Luke 1), and the Song of Simeon (Luke 2). Each chapter begins with a verse that quotes or paraphrases the biblical song, and then continues with other verses that relate St. Mary to the theme or message of the song.



  • The next two chapters (32 and 33) are based on two prayers that are attributed to St. Cyril of Alexandria and St. Ephrem the Syrian, two of the most influential theologians and hymnographers of the early church. Each chapter begins with a verse that quotes or paraphrases the prayer, and then continues with other verses that elaborate on St. Mary's intercession and mediation.



The structure of Wudase Mariam shows a remarkable combination of creativity and orderliness, as well as a profound knowledge and appreciation of the biblical and patristic sources. The hymn also demonstrates a rich use of poetic devices such as rhyme, rhythm, alliteration, assonance, parallelism, antithesis, metaphor, simile, personification, hyperbole, and symbolism.


The Content of Wudase Mariam




Wudase Mariam is a hymn of praise that celebrates the mystery and the beauty of St. Mary, the mother of God and the mother of all Christians. The hymn expresses the faith and the devotion of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which regards St. Mary as the highest model of holiness, humility, obedience, and intercession. The hymn also reflects the rich cultural and historical heritage of Ethiopia, which has been influenced by various civilizations and religions, such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and African traditional religions.


The content of Wudase Mariam can be summarized as follows:


  • The hymn praises St. Mary as the chosen vessel of God, who conceived and gave birth to the Word of God, Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. The hymn affirms the doctrine of the Incarnation, which teaches that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man, one person with two natures, divine and human.



  • The hymn praises St. Mary as the second Eve, who reversed the curse of sin and death that was brought by the first Eve. The hymn also praises St. Mary as the second chamber, the second Tabôt, and the second holiest of holies, who fulfilled and surpassed the symbols and types of the Old Testament.



  • The hymn praises St. Mary as the mother of God (Theotokos), who has a unique and special relationship with her Son and with the Holy Trinity. The hymn also praises St. Mary as the mother of all Christians, who shares her maternal care and protection with all her children in the church.



  • The hymn praises St. Mary as the queen of heaven and earth, who is exalted above all angels and saints. The hymn also praises St. Mary as the advocate and mediator for all humanity, who intercedes before God with her prayers and supplications.



  • The hymn praises St. Mary as the model of virtue and grace, who exemplifies the fruits of the Spirit, such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The hymn also praises St. Mary as the model of faith and obedience, who said "yes" to God's will and followed Him with trust and humility.



  • The hymn praises St. Mary as the source of blessing and joy, who brings light and life to those who honor her and seek her help. The hymn also praises St. Mary as the source of healing and miracles, who performs wonders and signs for those who call upon her name.



The content of Wudase Mariam shows a remarkable depth and breadth of theological insight and spiritual wisdom, as well as a profound love and reverence for St. Mary as the mother of God and the mother of all Christians.


The Significance of Wudase Mariam




Wudase Mariam is not only a hymn of praise, but also a hymn of prayer, meditation, and instruction. The hymn has a great significance for the spiritual life and the liturgical worship of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The hymn has the following significance:


  • The hymn is a source of doctrine and catechesis, as it teaches the fundamental truths of the Christian faith, such as the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Redemption, the Church, the Saints, and the Eschatology. The hymn also teaches the distinctive doctrines of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, such as the veneration of St. Mary, the Ark of the Covenant, and the Ethiopian calendar.



  • The hymn is a source of devotion and piety, as it inspires the love and reverence for St. Mary, who is regarded as the mother of God and the mother of all Christians. The hymn also inspires the love and reverence for Jesus Christ, who is regarded as the Word of God and the Savior of all humanity.



  • The hymn is a source of prayer and intercession, as it invokes the help and protection of St. Mary, who is regarded as the advocate and mediator for all humanity. The hymn also invokes the help and protection of Jesus Christ, who is regarded as the high priest and the king of all creation.



  • The hymn is a source of joy and hope, as it celebrates the mystery and the beauty of St. Mary, who is regarded as the queen of heaven and earth. The hymn also celebrates the mystery and the beauty of Jesus Christ, who is regarded as the light and life of all creation.



The significance of Wudase Mariam shows a remarkable harmony and balance between theology and spirituality, between praise and prayer, between doctrine and devotion.


The Structure of Wudase Mariam




Wudase Mariam is a hymn of praise that consists of 33 stanzas, each corresponding to one year of the earthly life of Jesus Christ. The hymn is divided into seven sections, each corresponding to one day of the week. The hymn follows a chiastic structure, which means that the first and the last sections are parallel, the second and the sixth sections are parallel, and so on. The hymn also follows a thematic structure, which means that each sectio


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