It is an ancient prayer, recited in the past, in difficult times for Christians, which is still used today by people of different languages and origins to invoke the powerful intercession of Mary.
This prayer, which we know in Italian and other languages, is actually a translation of an ancient Latin prayer that dates back to 800-900, therefore in the Middle Ages. But, it was discovered that this Latin version has behind it another Greek version which dates back to the 3rd century, around 250.
In Egypt, a fragment of papyrus dating back to the 3rd century was found, with this prayer recited in the past by Christians, objects of persecution.
In the middle of the third century, in 250-260, there was an act of terrible persecution against Christians due to the emperor Decius, and this persecution had affected a little the whole empire, but especially the northern part of the Africa, and in particular Egypt; Christians were subjected to systematic and studied persecution. In this social, political and ecclesial context, the conscience of the Christian people had thought that it was good to address Mary, to the mercy of Mary.
Prayer in itself recalls a Marian dogma; in fact, Mary is invoked by people with the title of Theotókos, which in Greek means «Mother of God».
«Holy Mother of God»: this expression, we meet it already in this ancient prayer of the third century, and what is very beautiful is that this prayer does not come from the liturgy, but from the conscience of the people, of use of the people. Then, later, she entered the liturgy, but she is the awareness, the sense of faith of the people who produced this prayer, using for Mary the expression «Mother of God». Not only did this prayer date, more or less, from the middle of the third century, but even before this prayer, the expression «Mother of God» is found in other Christian writings specific to Egypt.
It was on Calvary, at the top of the Cross, that Jesus gave Mary as mother to humanity. To do this, we use its powerful protection at all times, especially in situations of danger.
In these days, we knew about this Coronavirus, which affected more than a million people and left hundreds of thousands of people dead … Mary the mother of God can help us.
The old prayer recites: «We have recourse to your protection, Holy Mother of God. Do not ignore our supplications and our necessities, but always liberate us from all danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin».