May is the month of Mary in the Catholic tradition. I came across this tidbit about the earliest surviving prayer to Mary, from Hail Mary, A Marian Book of Hours:
"The oldest surviving prayer to the Virgin Mary was discovered in Egypt in 1917 and contains the second oldest reference to Mary as Theotokos (Greek: God-bearer, Latin: Deipara, Dei Genetrix; English: Mother of God). Here is a modern English version:"
We turn to you for protection,
Holy Mother of God (Theotokos).
Listen to our prayers
and help us in our needs.
Save us from every danger,
glorious and blessed Virgin.
"This remarkable prayer of the late second or early third century first appeared in Coptic and Greek, probably in the great Church of Alexandria. In one form or another, it soon entered the liturgies of East and West and has been enshrined there ever since."
There was a fervent devotion to Mary in the third, fourth and fifth centuries in the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Latin West Church was slower to develop Marian devotion and feasts. This Byzantine icon came from this website.