Notation of melody and chords for the hymn.[1]

Agni Parthene (Greek: Ἁγνὴ Παρθένε), rendered "O Virgin Pure" or "O Pure Virgin", is a Greek Marian hymn composed by St. Nectarios of Aegina in the late 19th century, first published in print in his Theotokarion (Θεοτοκάριον, ἤτοι προσευχητάριον μικρόν) in 1905[2].

In Orthodox churches, it is considered paraliturgical, and therefore only to be used outside of liturgical services. Though it is often performed by some choirs as a recessional after the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy during the veneration of the cross and receiving of antidoron.


St. Nectarios' PoemEdit

St. Nectarios was a Bishop of the Greek Orthodox Church throughout the late 1800s, and early 1900s. Throughout the period of his episcopacy, he spent much time in prayer and contemplation, and dedicated himself to the monastic life. His spiritual lifestyle, and his particular dedication to the Virgin Mary inspired him to write a wide variety of religious poetry, much of which was published during his life, and after his repose in 1920.

One of the many poems he wrote is "Agni Parthene" or "O Virgin Pure". According to a tradition passed down on the island of Aegina, St. Nectarios reportedly composed the text for this poem after having seen a vision of the Theotokos in a dream where she asked him to record this poem. The original script can still be viewed on his prayer table in his bedroom at this monastery.

It was later published as a poetic hymn for non-liturgical use and private edification in his publication called "Theotokarion of Odes & Hymns for the Most-Holy Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary" of 1905, which included many other similar poems.

Contemporary PracticeEdit

The hymn, although not used very often in Simonopetra Monastery, nevertheless spread quickly throughout the Eastern Orthodox world and has been translated into many languages. It is most commonly performed as a concert piece in Greece, and as a recessional hymn after liturgical services in parishes throughout the United States.

The explosion in popularity has been attributed to the St. Nectarios, who has become a popular modern-day Saint.

A controversial practice has been the use of the hymn as a communion hymn and as a hymn to begin Vespers services. However, Fr. Gregory and his brethren of Simonopetra Monastery have clarified that although it has become popular, it was never meant to be used liturgically, but rather to be sung only as a non-liturgical religious song for the edification of individuals[citation needed].

A Church Slavonic translation is known to be due to monks of Valaam Monastery[citation needed].

The text is in 24 stanzas or invocations, each followed by the refrain Χαῖρε νύμφη ἀνύμφευτε "Hail, unwedded bride". The 24 stanzas are arranged into four strophes, each strophe consisting of three tunes iterated twice over. The first three strophes describe attributes of the Theotokos, while the fourth consists of a prayer for intercession.


The 24 invocations are labelled by strophe (1, 2, 3, 4), tune (A, B, Γ) and iteration (α, β).

Greek text (1905) Transliteration English translation (metrical) [3]

1.Aα.  Ἁγνὴ Παρθένε Δέσποινα, ἄχραντε Θεοτόκε,
R: Χαῖρε νύμφη ἀνύμφευτε.
1.Aβ.  Παρθὲνε μὴτηρ ἄνασσα, πανένδροσέ τε πόκε.  R  
1.Bα.  Ὑψηλοτέρα οὐρανῶν ἀκτίνων λαμπροτέρα,  R  
1.Bβ.  Χαρὰ παρθενικῶν χορῶν ἀγγέλων ὑπερτέρα.  R  
1.Γα.  Ἐκλαμπροτέρα οὐρανῶν, φωτὸς καθαρωτέρα,  R  
1.Γβ.  Τῶν οὐρανίων στρατιῶν, πασῶν ἁγιωτέρα.  R  

Agní Parthéne Déspina, Áhrante Theotóke,
R: Hére Nímfi Anímfefte.
Parthéne Mítir Ánassa, Panéndrose te póke.  R
Ipsilotéra Uranón, aktínon lamprotéra,  R
Hará parthenikón horón, angélon ipertéra,  R
Eklamprotéra uranón fotós katharotéra,  R
Ton Uraníon stratión pasón agiotéra.  R

O pure and virgin Lady,/ O spotless Theotokos
R: Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!
O Virgin Queen and Mother/ O dewy fleece most sacred
O height transcending heaven above/ O beam of light most radiant
O joy of chaste and virgin maids/ surpassing all the angels
O brilliant light of heaven above/ most clear and most radiant
Commanding chief of heavenly hosts/ O holiest of holies

2.Aα.  Μαρία ἀειπάρθενε κόσμου παντὸς Κυρία,  R  
2.Aβ.  Ἄχραντε νύμφη πάναγνε, Δέσποινα Παναγία.  R  
2.Bα.  Μαρία νύμφη ἄνασσα, χαρᾶς ἡμῶν αἰτία,  R  
2.Bβ.  Κόρη σεμνή, Βασίλισσα, Μήτηρ ὑπεραγία.  R  
2.Γα.  Τιμιωτέρα Χερουβείμ, ὑπερενδοξοτέρα,  R  
2.Γβ.  Τῶν ἀσωμάτων Σεραφείμ, τῶν θρόνων ὑπερτέρα.  R  

María Aipárthene kósmu pantós Kiría,  R
Áhrante Nímfi Pánagne, Déspina Panagía,  R
María Nímfi Ánassa, harás imón etía,  R
Korí semní Vasílissa, Mítir iperagía,  R
Timiotéra Heruvím, iperendoxotéra  R
Ton asomáton Serafím, ton Thrónon ipertéra.  R

O ever-virgin Mary/ O Mistress of creation
O Bride all-pure and spotless/ O Lady all-holy
O holy Mary, Bride and Queen/ and cause of our rejoicing
O Maiden Queen most hon'rable/ O Mother most holy
More precious than the cherubim/ more glorious than the seraphim
Surpassing principalities/ dominions, thrones and powers

3.Aα.  Χαῖρε τὸ ᾆσμα Χερουβείμ, χαῖρε ὕμνος ἀγγέλων,  R  
3.Aβ.  Χαῖρε ᾠδὴ τῶν Σεραφείμ, χαρὰ τῶν ἀρχαγγέλων.  R  
3.Bα.  Χαῖρε εἰρήνη καὶ χαρά, λιμὴν τῆς σωτηρίας,  R  
3.Bβ.  Παστὰς τοῦ Λόγου ἱερά, ἄνθος τῆς ἀφθαρσίας.  R  
3.Γα.  Χαῖρε παράδεισε τρυφῆς, ζωῆς τε αἰωνίας.  R  
3.Γβ.  Χαῖρε τὸ ξύλον τῆς ζωῆς, πηγὴ ἀθανασίας.  R  

 Hére to ásma Heruvím, hére ímnos angélon,  R
Hére odí ton Serafím, hará tón Arhangélon,  R
Hére iríni ke hará, limín tis sotirías,  R
Pastás tu Lógu ierá, ánthos tis aftharsías,  R
Hére Parádise trifís, zoís te eonías,  R
Hére to xílon tis zoís, pigí athanasías.  R

Rejoice, song of the cherubim/ Rejoice, hymn of the angels
Rejoice, ode of the seraphim/ and joy of the archangels
Rejoice, O peace; Rejoice, O joy/ and haven of salvation
O bridal chamber of the Word/ unfading, fragrant blossom
Rejoice, delight of paradise/ Rejoice, life everlasting
Rejoice, O holy tree of life/ and fount of immortality

4.Aα.  Σὲ ἱκετεύω Δέσποινα, σὲ νῦν ἐπικαλοῦμαι.  R  
4.Aβ.  Σὲ δυσωπῶ Παντάνασσα, σὴν χάριν ἐξαιτοῦμαι.  R  
4.Bα.  Κόρη σεμνὴ καὶ ἄσπιλε, Δέσποινα Παναγία,  R  
4.Bβ.  Επάκουσόν μου, άχραντε, κόσμου παντός Κυρία,  R[4]
4.Γα.  Ἀντιλαβοῦ μου, ρῦσαί με ἀπὸ τοῦ πολεμίου  R  
4.Γβ.  Καὶ κληρονόμον δεῖξόν με ζωῆς τῆς αἰωνίου.  R  

Se iketévo Déspina, Se, nin, epikalúme,  R
Se disopó Pantánassa, Sin hárin exetúme.  R
Korí semní ke áspile, Déspina Panagía,  R
Epákusón mu, áhrante, Kósmu pantós kiría,  R[4]
Antilavú mu, ríse me apó tu polemíu,  R
Ke klironómon díxon me zoís tis eoníu.  R

I supplicate thee, Lady/ I humbly call upon thee
O Queen of all, I beg thee/ to grant me thy favor
O spotless and most honored maid/ O Lady all holy
[I call upon thee fervently/ thou temple most holy][5]
O thou my help, deliver me/ from harm and all adversity
And by thy prayers show me to be/ an heir of immortality

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Melody based on the notation due to Nancy Chalker Takis (2006)
  2. ^ "ΙΕΡΑ ΜΗΤΡΟΠΟΛΙΣ ΥΔΡΑΣ (Metropolis of Hydra, Spetses and Aegina)". Retrieved 2019-04-13.
  3. ^ Orthodox Spirituality Prayers written by St. Nektarios of Aegina (2008); translation by Bishop Basil of Wichita (William Essey, b. 1948). Alternative translation: Reverend Presbyter Demetrios Serfes, Holy Nativity Convent, Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)
  4. ^ a b This is the text of 4.Bβ. as published in 1905, exceptionally without rhyme (repeating the second half of 2.Aα).
    An alternative text is now often sung instead: 4.Bβ.  Θερμῶς ἐπικαλοῦμαί σε, ναὲ ἡγιασμένε Thermós epikalúme Se, Naé igiasméne,
  5. ^ translates 4.Bβ. Θερμῶς ἐπικαλοῦμαί σε, ναὲ ἡγιασμένε. The original text of 4.Bβ. translates to "Hear me, immaculate one, lady of the whole world."

External linksEdit