Help needed from EASTERN Catholics, Byzantine, Slavic about a title of the Blessed Virgin

In another post here, concern was raised about a way that the Blessed Virgin is to be addressed in the upcoming (tomorrow) Consecration of “all humanity” and “especially” Russia and Ukraine.   Mary is referred in pretty much all language versions as “Land of Heaven” or else “Earth of Heaven”.  This seems very much like a term for the demon Pachamama.  It is at least very curious.

HOWEVER, a friend of mine thought that it might be in a Byzantine hymn and… kapow!… he was right.    I put that in a comment and someone found something.

Concerning the title, “Earth of Heaven” I found one reference to this as a Marian title which appears to predate the pachamama nonsense. It’s from Bose though…

What’s there?

It is from the Monastery of Bose, which is a weird place.  However, even if it is weird, if they got it right about a Slavic hymn to Mary, the plot has thickened.

At the Bose site for an 8 September entry:

The birth of the virgin Mary
This feast is a celebration of the birth of the woman who became “earth of heaven” – in other words, the fertile terrain offered by humanity so that the Word’s Incarnation might take place in human history

The birth of the virgin Mary

Today Eastern and Western churches celebrate the birth of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
As had happened with John the Baptist, whose nativity began to be commemorated in the West at the end of the fourth century, the early Church felt that a solemn celebration of Mary’s birth was called for.
September eighth was chosen because it was the date of the dedication of St. Anne’s basilica in Jerusalem. The church was built on the site where Mary’s parents Joachim and Anne had lived, according to an ancient tradition.
The feast of Mary’s nativity spread to Constantinople in the fifth century, and was introduced to the West in 701 by Pope Sergius I, who was of Syriac ancestry. Much loved by the Eastern and Orthodox churches, it is a celebration of the birth of the woman who became “earth of heaven” – in other words, the fertile terrain offered by humanity so that the Word’s Incarnation might take place in human history, fulfilling God’s plan of salvation.


Holy Mary,
mother of the Lord,
your faith guides us.

Turn your gaze
towards your children,
Earth of heaven.

The road is long and night descends upon us:
intercede with Christ for us,
Earth of heaven.

(Byzantine-Slavic hymn to the Mother of God)

I hope there are some Easterners out there who know this hymn.

Please steer us in the right direction.

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  1. Lurker 59 says:

    When things are put this way, I am reminded of

    in the KONTAKION for the 3rd Chant of the Akathist Hymn we have

    When the power of the Most High overshadowed the one who had never known the nuptial bed, her fruitful womb conceived, and she became for all a DELICIOUS FIELD: for those who wished to reap salvation by singing “Alleluia!”

    So that line of poetic thought what Bose is referencing. But I would say that is not congruent with “regina….. terra del cielo”

  2. Gerard Plourde says:

    It appears this language may reflect a time in human understanding when it was thought that a woman’s womb was merely the repository of seed implanted by man.

  3. MarianneF says:

    Father – for those of us who will be joining our bishops in the Mass and consecration…do we have to read this prayer exactly as written, even if some of the language rubs us the wrong way as having a social agenda, such as: “We stopped being our neighbor’s keepers and stewards of our common home…We have ravaged the garden of the earth with war.” I’m not saying we aren’t a guilty and sinful bunch – we are – but man…I am so cynical of the motives of everything at the top now. Forgive me if I am a bit of a Debbie Downer. I want this to be “the one” but just wonder why it couldn’t have been a few sentences long and to the point.

  4. crule says:

    I got nothing. The Akathist to the Theotokos has a number of titles for the Mother of God. In the translation of the Akathist that the Byzantine Catholic Church in the US uses, Ode 3 has a title that’s close: “O Earth who yielded abundant mercies” – and there’s similar agricultural metaphors in the same ode – but I don’t see “Earth of Heaven.” That’s not to say it doesn’t comes from a hymn somewhere else, though.

  5. Ages says:

    That particular text seems to be a folk hymn or perhaps a paralitugical hymn; it does not appear in the official Byzantine service rubrics that I can tell. But the Virgin as earth/soil/”land” does exist in Byzantine hymnody:

    “O pure one, thou unsown field, receive at the angel’s word the Word of heaven, Who springeth forth from thee like fruitful wheat, nourishing the ends of the earth with the grain of understanding, and worshiping Him, we glorify thee.” (March 24, Forefeast of the Annunciation, Matins)

    “Gabriel stood before thee, O Maiden, revealing the pre-eternal counsel, saluting thee and exclaiming: Rejoice, O earth unsown! Rejoice, O bush unburnt! Rejoice, O depth hard to fathom! Rejoice, O bridge leading to the heavens and lofty ladder, which Jacob beheld! Rejoice, O divine jar of Manna! Rejoice, annulment of the curse! Rejoice, restoration of Adam: the Lord is with thee!” (March 25, Annunciation, Vespers)

    “Behold, our restoration hath now been revealed to us! God uniteth Himself to me, in a manner past all telling! Delusion is dispelled by the voice of the archangel! For the Virgin receiveth joy, an earthly woman hath become heaven! The world is released from the primal curse! Let creation rejoice and chant aloud: O Lord, our Creator and Redeemer, glory be to Thee!” (March 25, Annunciation, Compline)

    “From thee, the untilled field, hath grown the divine Ear of grain. Rejoice, living table that hath held the Bread of Life. Rejoice, O Lady, never-failing spring of the Living Water.” (5th Saturday of Lent, Matins)

    “He Who poured forth water from the dry stone, granteth fruit to thy womb, O Anna: the Ever-virgin Theotokos, from whom the water of salvation will issue forth. No longer shalt thou remain on earth like barren ground; thou hast put away thy disgrace. For, thou givest rise to the fertile ground which will bear the Grain of life Who taketh away the disgrace of all men, for He hath been well pleased in the loving-kindness of His mercy to form Himself in what is alien to Him. ” (December 9, Conception of the Virgin, Vespers)

    “The land in which the Creator of earth made His abode, the holy scepter, the new ark, the jar of Manna who gave birth to Him, beginneth to bud forth in her mother’s womb. ” (December 9, Conception of the Virgin, Matins)

    “Dance ye all and leap up! Now hath the earth been prepared which, without being ploughed, will produce the life-bearing Grain, eating of which those who magnify His goodness will hunger no more.” (December 9, Conception of the Virgin, Matins)

  6. B says:

    Oh my goodness… people are seeing conspiracies everywhere…

    1. Be glad the consecration is being done. It may not be perfect. But it is better than nothing.

    2. Pray for the Ukranian people. Sadly even some Catholic sites have been mostly silent in support for them.

    3. Putin is not a religious savior. We have a real Savior and his Mother than can help and heal the world.

  7. SeelDad says:

    I really think this whole “Tierra del cielo” thing is an attempt by Pope Francis at inculturation with the Latin Americans. Although it has Pachamama connotations, I don’t think that’s the intent. It’s just a lame attempt to make the prayer “more meaningful” to the Latins.
    I definitely don’t think PF pored through ancient Byzantine texts and thought “Oh I like that one. Let me put it in the litany”.

  8. restoration says:

    This “wink” to Rome’s favorite demon is not the only grave problem with this prayer. There is also this line…

    “Queen of the Human Family, show people the path of fraternity.”

    This is NOT a title of Our Lady. This is, however, a statement dripping with Freemasonry. No one should be praying these parts of this “prayer”. If anything, just pray for Russia to be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and hope for the best.

    A mockery of the consecration could well bring down the Wrath of God in some form – nuclear war, 3 Days of Darkness or another calamity.

    Stay confessed.

  9. mparks says:

    She may be “earth of heaven”, but it is nonsense, then, to say she is Queen of the earth of heaven.

  10. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Very interesting details so far! It struck me to wonder if there might not be Patristic (and later) exegesis in the background of, for example, Isaias 45:8 – “aperiatur terra, et germinet Salvatorem, et justitia oriatur simul”. (It still seems weird, at the least, to spring versions of the (putative) title on the faithful in 32 of the 35 languages (so far), without discussion, annotation, etc.)

  11. Herman Joseph says:

    Just a thought, and I hope it’s not true, but given that Pope Francis allowed demon worship of pachamamma in the Vatican Gardens, then–during Mass at St. Peter’s, on a Sunday–personally directed that an offering to that demon god be placed on the altar (directly followed by coronavirus), and given further that he leaves massive destruction in his wake, could it be–again, speculation, but I think we have serious cause for concern give all this–that this inclusion is both a Catholic title, little used, and also intended to be an invocation of pachamamma, again? That is, a little used Catholic title for Mary as a smokescreen for pachamamma invocation. And why, well, on earth, is that title put in quotation marks, as if to set it apart? Given the recent actions, and actions since 2013, of Pope Francis, I think there is legitimate cause for concern here. The demon offering in October 2019 was followed by covid; if this is another, similar action, what on earth might follow in its wake? I mean, God is over all this, nothing is outside His Providence, but these would seem legit questions given everything.

  12. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Re: “Terra del Cielo” title and lyrics — it seems to come from some Cardinal Ravasi book called the Breviario Laico, and it was in an article in Avvenire from back in 2005, before that — also by Ravasi.

    (I tried some search terms in Russian and didn’t get any joy, so it must be Croatian or something.)

    Re: repository of seed — Actually, Aristotelian thought had women and men both providing seed to create human beings. Which is very confusing to run across in a medieval book, without prior warning.

    Re: the soil imagery, Mary and Eve were both compared to “virgin earth” or “virgin ground” in a lot of the Fathers, because Eden supposedly meant “virgin soil.” There’s Psalm 84:12/85:11 — “Truth is sprung out of the earth,” where Jesus is Truth, obviously. St. Augustine has tons of quotes like this, and so does St. Ephrem and a bunch of others. The old compilation by Fr. Livius, The Blessed Virgin in the Fathers of the First Sixth Centuries, lists lots of stuff.

    There’s a homily attributed to St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, maybe not by him, that has lines like this: “Go then to the Virgin Mary. Pass on to the animate City, about which the prophet spoke these words: ‘Glorious things of thee are spoken.’ Go, then, to the rational Paradise, to the Eastern Gate, to the place of sojourn worthy of My Word, that has appeared as a heaven upon earth.”

    There’s an Ethiopian hymn listed that calls Mary “thou second Heaven, who didst bear in the flesh Him who rideth upon the Cherubim and Seraphim….”

  13. mparks says:

    So by this interpretation she is Queen of herself!

  14. rhurd says:

    Fr. Z.
    For my diaconate year, I served at Our Lady of Fatima Russian Catholic Church in San Francisco. The founders of the church were refugees from Russia who escaped through Shanghai after several wars. One of our favorite icons was “Our Lady of the Sign.” The back of my ordination card quotes from the Matins of the Feast of the Annunciation:

    “Hail! Thou shalt conceive in the womb Him Whom the world cannot contain, Who yet can be contained in thee: and thou shalt be the bearer of Him Who shone forth from the Father before the morning star.”
    The front of the ordination card shows Mary with her hands extended in prayer and within her body is a picture of Jesus as an infant blessing us while still in utero.

    Here are some other praises f the Mother of God from the Kontakion for today’s preparation for the Feast (from “Byzantine Daily Worship”):
    We are your own, O Mother of God!
    To You, protectress and leader, our songs of victory!
    To you who saved us from danger, our hymn of thanksgiving!
    In your invincible might, deliver us from all danger that we may sing to you:
    “Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!”

    I also found a prayer related to the earth and the heaven in the “Theotokion of the Third Hour” for the Feast of the Annunciation (from Eastern Christian Publications e-mailings):

    O Mother of God, you are the True Vine who gave birth to the Fruit of Life: wherefore, we implore you, O Lady, to intercede together with the apostles and all the saints that we may obtain mercy for our souls.”

  15. supercooper says:

    It doesn’t seem unlikely to me that Pope Francis would follow (in an informal sense) the ecumenical martyrology of the Bose community. Seems right up his alley.

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  18. ludovicusrex says:

    In some places the Bose site vaguely refers to their Terra del cielo/Earth of Heaven prayer as originally a Byzantine-Slavic hymn, in others they specifically say Serbian Orthodox.

    Interesting that the melody ( they appear to sing their text to, however, is actually Dmitri Bortniansky’s (not Serbian) Sub Tuum Praesidium “??? ???? ???????” (

  19. bwfackler says:

    in a few akathists I found the opposite “?a?????, ?e?? ??????”, or “Rejoice O Earthly Heaven”

    [Try unicode for these characters. I know… I know…]

  20. bwfackler says:

    try again in latin characters. Raduysya, nebo zemnoe

  21. Fr. Kelly says:

    Not especially Eastern, but …

    In the Total Consecration to Mary according to St. Louis de Montfort, we find this sentence:

    “Hail, O Queen of Heaven and earth, to whose empire everything is subject which is under God.”

    It is a good reminder tho those who would deify the earth, whatever earth and heaven are under God, Mary is their Queen.

  22. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Quotes De Montfort calling Mary the “vast and divine world of God” and similar titles.

    Also quotes Latin hymn for the old feast of “Divisio apostolorum” that twice refers to Mary as “terra caeli” and “terra caelum” (in reference to Jesus’ birth from her).

  23. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    So, just what is Gianfranco (later Cardinal) Rivasi’s “Byzantine-Slavic Marian hymn”? And just what has an Italian hymn entitled “Maria Terra del Cielo” with “melodia serba”recorded by the Coro di Montecastello with (at the time of writing) 1805 views on their YouTube channel have to do with it?

  24. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    And, what happened to the “Divisio Apostolorum”, which Frederick Holweck described in his 1909 Catholic Encyclopedia article as “a feast in commemoration of the missionary work of the Twelve Apostles […] celebrated as a double major on 15 July”? Is the “Caeli enarrant gloriam Dei Filii” sequence edited by Andrea Kovács peculiarly Hungarian? (I have not yet read much in that interesting critical edition.)

  25. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    I now see there is a comment by Ben Whitworth in response to Father John Hunwicke’s 24 March post, “Pope Naaman and Fatima?” – his comment includes, “The text of the consecration addresses our Lady as ‘terra del cielo’ (the inverted commas are in the original). Where does this phrase come from? In Italian, at least, it is almost exclusively found in the writings of Enzo Bianchi, the founder of an ecumenical *mixed sex* monastery, who was feted by Pope Francis as recently as 2018; and in 2020 was kicked out of his own priory for what they call ‘abuses of power and authority’.

    “Bianchi himself always places the phrase in inverted commas or italics, and attributes it to ‘a Serbian Orthodox hymn’. There are recordings purporting to be of said hymn on Youtube, but they are all in Italian, and are recorded in Bianchi’s monastery, or by other Italian choirs. Is the phrase really from the Serbian Orthodox tradition?”

    This invites looking into further.

  26. The Cobbler says:

    It’s right next to “Star of the Sea”. Sea, earth, are we sure His Holiness wasn’t simply trying too hard to be poetic?

    (Or perhaps it’s an excellent idea, given that contrasting the sea with the earth calls to mind how “the waters” represent chaos in some thinking: nothing escapes Our Lady’s dominion, not the dry land brought forth by God nor the deluge and the monsters that dwell in its deeps.)

    But it very well could be the Serbian hymn. That prayer is swimming in Marian references from all over. Undoer of knots, the tears of Our Lady of Sorrows, aforementioned Star of the Sea, and quoting Our Lady of Guadalupe’s “Am I not here, who am your mother?” (Our Lady of Guadalupe is both Spanish and Mexican, due to some interesting history.) And of course the consecration itself is explicitly to Mary’s Immaculate Heart.

    Doesn’t seem like we need to worry he wasn’t trying to consecrate humanity to Mary, the Mother of God.

    As for Freemasonry, the damned thing harps on universal brotherhood because that’s something the Universal (“Catholic”) Church offers in Christ and Freemasonry aims to ape the Church and offer what she offers but without Christ. That the Church desires universal brotherhood for real doesn’t make her Masonic, it makes her the thing Masonry pretends to.

    Frankly, I think a lot of nitpicking comes out of the anti-Catholic, self-aggrandizing, individualist, “democratic” spirit of the age. This sense that it’s all of our jobs to correct authority, not merely in extremes or in the small sphere of doing what’s moral in the regrettable exception (at least it ought to be the exception) that law conflicts, but our responsibility to find some error every time whereby those with more power can always be condemned, is just Liberalism. Just as the absolute kings of the Protestant Revolt failed to recognize moral limits on their responsibilities, the same unawareness of scope is apparent in the desire for absolute judgement in all things by some bunch of induhviduals. I’m sure there are many sincere criticisms of Pope Francis, I have a few of my own, but we mustn’t let this spirit overtake us.

    The prayer certainly prioritizes the faults His Holiness is concerned by (ravaging the earth) rather than the ones Our Lady called out at Fatima, and perhaps even then it misattributes them (international/global capital has done more to ravage the earth than nations or concern therefor; but he’d really be in political hot water if he called out profit motive or something, and he’s not savvy enough to call out, say, antitrust issues to be more specific); but that seems minor when the prayer is at least turning to Mary in reparation for what’s on his conscience. Reparation was one of the conditions called for at Fatima, contrition and penitence are not a distraction from Our Lady’s request after all. (Relatedly, given His Holiness does touch on it, Catholics aren’t strictly nationalists any more than we are globalists in the socialistic revolutionary sense promoted by the economic bigwigs of liberal capital. For the Catholic empires of old neither dissolved nations, as the corporate bureaucrats would, nor isolated them as chauvinism might.) And the pacifistic passages make sense in the context of the obvious immediate fears of nuclear war, which itself needs no explanation under present circumstances. My read is that Francis cited as our sins many of the consequences of the sins Our Lady focused on: so, maybe imperfect contrition rather than perfect, but contrition nonetheless.

    Keep praying. Always keep praying. But also, even relatedly, trust in the Lord.

  27. TWF says:

    I see that the Communications Dicastery has stated that the line was indeed taken from a Slavic-Byzantine hymn.
    I thought the consecration was very beautiful. We had a full house at our cathedral, and His Grace did the consecration before a statue of Our Lady of Fatima.
    I also note that the Holy Father venerated a statue of OLF after his consecration. The Fatima connection was not in any way ignored.

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