08 January 2008

Squeezing it all in there!

Gotta love the antiphon for the Benedictus during the days of Epiphany:

On this day is the church espoused to her heavenly Bridegroom: forasmuch as in Jordan Christ hath cleansed her iniquities. Therefore do the Wise Men hasten with their offerings to the royal nuptials; where the guests are gladdened by water made wine, alleluia! (Brotherhood Prayer Book, Second Edition, page. 415)

And yes, that is exactly the same antiphon used by Lutherans in Magdeburg, among other places, for the Benedictus at Lauds during Epiphany and its octave. Only in Magdeburg they said it like this:

Hodie coelesti sponso juncta est Ecclesia quoniam in Jordane lavit Christus ejus crimina, currunt cum muneribus magi ad regales nuptias et ex aqua facta vino laetantur convivae. Alleluia. (Magdeburg Book, page 196)

I notice it's substantially the same in the Monastic Diurnal of the Anglicans and Western Rite Orthodox.

Here the wholeness of Epiphany still hangs together as a single shining light before it birthed the other festivals and Sundays around it. That shows up too in Epiphany's Office Hymn: "The Star Proclaims the King is Here" (Hostis Herodes impie).


Sean said...

You're big into the 1613, aren't you? :) James Lee and I (probably just me in reality) are interested in going through it quite thoroughly. I'm interested largely in the chants as well as just the texts, since gregorian chant is a special interest of mine. I'm hoping to purchase a Lucas Lossius facsimile also, but it's presently out of print. I just find it amazing that this large body of the Church's music- that has served the Church for centuries, and even continued for over a century into "lutheran times" has now been utterly lost! The last real significant connection to gregorian chant is the french parisian organists in the late 19th/early 20th century. They would frequently improvise on the chants (Tournemire, Messiaen, Dupre, Langlais etc) during the mass. They were utterly crushed when the ramifications of vatican II brought an end to chant, and their beloved books were discarded.

sean at daenzer dot org

Sean said...

PS: Maybe we can compile our work? I see you've been posting all the lections for various days, which is great. just think, they had mass 3x a week! :)

William Weedon said...


It would be a massive undertaking. The whole thing has been digitized, thanks to Pr. Ben Mayes, but the copy at points is very hard to read. It would be delightful to see the whole thing offered in ENGLISH for folks to get a "feel" from whence we've fallen. :)

Sean said...

My father was gracious enough to print it out for me (on his bill even), so I have it in hard copy.... 4 volumes, 2" thick (single sided)!!!!! :D I hate reading on the computer, so this is so much nicer. Yea, very difficult to read on those smudged pages.... but much of it is similar (or identical) to other sources, and I think they could be deciphered... one would hope. :)

Joshua said...

Just checked in my 1962 Breviary to find that the antiphon is the same (but it's only used on the Epiphany itself, there are proper antiphons for each day following).

Is the antiphon for the Magnificat the "Tribus miraculis"?

Tribus miraculis ornatum diem sanctum colimus; hodie stella Magos duxit ad præsepium; hodie vinum ex aqua factum est ad nuptias; hodie in Jordane a Joanne Christo baptizari voluit, ut salvaret nos, alleluia.

William Weedon said...

Actually, no. The Antiphon in both the Brotherhood Prayer Book and in the 1613 Magdeburg Book is

Magi videntes stella dixetrunt ad invicem: Hoc signum magni regis est, eamus, et inquiramus cum et offeramus ei munera, aurum, thus et mirrham.

The wise men beholding the star, said one to another: This is the sign of a mighty King; forth fare we to seek Him: and let us offer Him gift: gold and incense and myrrh.

Joshua said...

Oh, that's a pity - not that it isn't a great antiphon in and of itself (it appears as the Magn. Ant. at First Vespers, BTW) - but the "Tribus Miraculis" (from Second Vespers) has in common with the day's Benedictus Antiphon the happy concatenation of the three themes of the Epiphany: the Manifestation of Christ to the Magi, as Firstfruits of the Gentiles - "They found the Child with Mary His Mother, and falling down they adored Him" - who gave him the mystic gifts signifying his Royalty, Divinity and all-atoning Victimhood as our Priest; His Baptism by the Forerunner, "to fulfil all righteousness"; and the beginning of miracles, whenas at Cana of Galilee Our Lord transformed water into wine, foreshadowing alike the Eucharist and the nuptial banquet of the Lamb in the Kingdom to come.

Palestrina set the "Tribus miraculis"; this is the URL of a recording:


Here's my quick translation of the "Tribus miraculis" BTW:

We honour this holy day ornamented by three miracles: today a star led the Magi to the manger; today wine was made from water at the nuptials; today in the Jordan Christ willed to be baptized by John, that He might save us, alleluia.

William Weedon said...

Oh, that is a beautiful; a pity it wasn't included in our stuff. But I can't find it in Lossius or Magdeburg, and not in the Brotherhood Prayer Book. That Palestrina setting is heavenly (but what of Palestrina isn't?).

Joshua said...

I did some searching online, and found - surprise, surprise - that the two antiphons "Hodie cælesti sponso" and "Tribus miraculis" are almost certainly either translations from the Greek, or composed in Byzantine style: the way they repeat "hodie" is the giveaway.

"While the Magnificat antiphon enumerates the three mysteries commemorated on this day in the form of a three-tiered illumination, the Benedictus antiphon unites the three motifs in a new "typological" interpretation. Through its magnificent rhythms, this antiphon also produced a new linguistic harmony..."


Does the 1613 Magdeburg book also include such gems as the Antiphons for the Circumcision (also certainly from the Greek)?

Antiphons at Lauds and Vespers:

"O admirabile commercium: Creator generis humani, animatum corpus sumens, de Virgine nasci dignatus est; et procedens homo sine semine, largitus est nobis suam Deitatem."

O wondrous exchange: the Creator of the human race, taking unto Himself a body ensouled, deigns to be born of the Virgin: and coming forth a man from no human seed, hath bestowed upon us His Divinity.

"Quando natus es ineffabiliter ex Virgine, tunc impletæ sunt Scripturæ: sicut pluvia in vellus descendisti, ut salvum faceres genus humanum: te laudamus, Deus noster."

When Thou wast born ineffably of the Virgin, then were the Scriptures fulfilled: Thou camest down like rain upon the fleece to save the human race: we praise Thee, our God.

"Rubum quem viderat Moyses incombustum, conservatam agnovimus tuam laudabilem virginitatem: Dei Genetrix..." [ad Mariam, so doubtlessly omitted]

In the bush which Moses saw unconsumed, we acknowledge the figure of thy glorous inviolate virginity: Mother of God...

"Germinavit radix Jesse, orta est stella ex Jacob: Virgo peperit Salvatorem: te laudamus, Deus noster."

The root of Jesse hath budded forth: the Star is risen out of Jacob: the Virgin hath brought forth the Saviour: we praise Thee, our God.

"Ecce Maria genuit nobis Salvatorem, quem Joannes videns exclamavit, dicens: Ecce Agnus Dei, ecce qui tollit peccata mundi, alleluia."

Behold, Mary hath brought forth unto us a Saviour, Whom John, beholding, cried out: Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who taketh away the sins of the world, alleluia.

"Propter nimiam caritatem suam, qua dilexit nos Deus, Filium suum misit in similitudinem carnis peccati, alleluia." (Magn. Ant. 1st Vepers - Eph. ii, 4; Rom. viii, 3)

For His exceeding charity wherewith God loved us He sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, alleluia.

"Mirabile mysterium declaratur hodie: innovantur naturæ, Deus homo factus est: id quod fuit permansit, et quod non erat assumpsit; non commixtionem passus, neque divisionem." (Bened. Ant.)

A marvellous mystery is declared today: natures are renewed, God is made man: what He was He remains, and what He was not He assumes: not suffering commixture, nor division.

"Magnum hereditatis mysterium: templum Dei factus est uterus nescientis virum: non est pollutus ex ea carnem assumens; omnes gentes venient, dicentes: Gloria tibi, Domine." (Magn. Ant. 2nd Vespers)

O mighty mystery of generation: the womb of her who knew not man is become the temple of God: He Who takes flesh from her is not defiled: all nations shall come, saying: Glory to Thee, Lord.

There's enough in here for not just sermons but a whole lecture series on the Incarnation.

William Weedon said...

At Lauds:
O Admirabile, yes.
Quando natus est, yes.
Ecce Maria, yes.
Mirabile mysterium, yes.

At Vespers:
Magnum est pietatis mysterium templum Dei factus est, yes (slightly altered, but clearly the same antiphon)

The others are not included.

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