Monday, March 24, 2014

On the Feast of the Annunciation of the B. V. Mary (Mar. 25)

From Hymn melodies for the whole year, from the Sarum service-books:
On the Feast of the Annunciation of the B. V. Mary (Mar. 25): as on the Feast of the Conception.

And the hymns at that listing in Hymn melodies are these:
Evensong: Ave! maris Stella ... ... ... 64
Mattins:  Quem terra, pontus, ethera  ... ... ... 63
Lauds: O gloriosa femina  ... ... ... 63

So I'm just grabbing content from that listing for this one.  The Mattins and Lauds hymns are the same, and sung to the same melody, at  The Conception of the B.V.M. (Dec. 8), at Purification (Candlemas, February 2), at Assumption (August 15), and at The Nativity of the B.V.M. (Sept. 8); the  Evensong hymn is the same one, again sung to the same melody, as at the Conception and the Nativity of the B.V.M. (Sept. 8).  So these hymns and melodies are most definitely associated with Mary throughout the year.

Follow along with the Offices for this feast at Breviary Offices, from Lauds to Compline Inclusive (Society of St. Margaret, Boston) (published in 1885). You can get all the Psalms, the collect, Chapter, antiphons, etc., for each of the offices of the day at that link, although no music is provided; also check the iFrame look-in at the bottom of this post.

Here is the score for the beautiful melody #64, used for the splendid hymn Ave! Maris Stella on this day (as, again, at the Conception and the Nativity of the B.V.M.); below that is a video of the hymn sung by the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey at Ganagobie.:

CPDL has the Latin and English words; non-metrical English translation is by Allen H Simon:
Ave, maris stella,
Dei Mater alma,
Atque semper Virgo,
Felix caeli porta.

Sumens illud Ave
Gabrielis ore,
Funda nos in pace,
Mutans Evae nomen.

Solve vincla reis,
Profer lumen caecis,
Mala nostra pelle,
Bona cuncta posce

Monstra te esse matrem,
Sumat per te preces,
Qui pro nobis natus
Tulit esse tuus.

Virgo singularis,
Inter omnes mitis,
Nos culpis solutos,
Mites fac et castos.

Vitam praesta puram,
Iter para tutum,
Ut videntes Jesum,
Semper collaetemur.

Sit laus Deo Patri,
Summo Christo decus
Spiritui Sancto,
Tribus honor unus. Amen.


Hail, star of the sea,
loving Mother of God,
and also always a virgin,
Happy gate of heaven.

Receiving that Ave
from Gabriel's mouth
confirm us in peace,
Reversing Eva's name.

Break the chains of sinners,
Bring light to the blind,
Drive away our evils,
Ask for all good.

Show yourself to be a mother,
May he accept prayers through you,
he who, born for us,
Chose to be yours.

O unique virgin,
Meek above all,
Make us, absolved from sin,
Gentle and chaste.

Keep life pure,
Make the journey safe,
So that, seeing Jesus,
We may always rejoice together.

Let there be praise to God the Father,
Glory to Christ in the highest,
To the Holy Spirit,
One honor to all three. Amen.

CPDL also offers a brief write-up about the hymn:
Hymn to the Virgin Mary (8th cent., author anon.)
Liturgical use: Hymn at Vespers on feasts of the Virgin Mary.

Mary's title of stella maris was first proposed by St. Jerome, in his treatise Liber de nominibus hebraicis (probably around AD 390), in which he explains the etymology of Hebrew names. He quotes unidentified sources as explaining the name of Mary as smyrna maris, literally bitterness of the sea. The Hebrew word miriam indeed refers to bitterness - it is explained as such in the anonymous Jewish account The life of Moses. St. Jerome dismisses the 'bitter' etymology, however, and proposes to change her title to stella maris. In order to justify his proposal, he quotes Syrus, most likely his contemporary St. Ephraem Syrus, who had insisted on Mary's status as domina or mistress.

View Wikipedia article for Ave maris stella.

This is from that Wikipedia link:
Ave Maris Stella (Latin, "Hail Star of the Sea") is a plainsong Vespers hymn to Mary. It was especially popular in the Middle Ages and has been used by many composers as the basis of other compositions. The creation of the original hymn has been attributed to several people, including Bernard of Clairvaux (12th century), Saint Venantius Fortunatus (6th century)[1] and Hermannus Contractus (11th century).[2] The text is found in 9th-century manuscripts, kept in Vienna[3] and in the Abbey of Saint Gall.[1]

The melody is found in the Irish plainsong "Gabhaim Molta Bríde", a piece in praise of St. Bridget. The popular modern hymn Hail Queen of Heaven, the Ocean Star, is loosely based on this plainsong original.

It finds particular prominence in the "Way of Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary" by Saint Louis de Montfort.

Here's a (very faint) recording of the same hymn, sung by the Benedictines of Brazil.

This is Guillame Dufay's beautiful chant/polyphony alternatim arrangement of the hymn, using the same melody in the chant portions.

Or, you can listen to 32 different versions of the hymn (!) in the below playlist:

Here is the chant score for melody #63 from Hymn Melodies; this tune is used for both the Mattins and Lauds hymns on this feast day, and, again, at the Conception of the B.V.M. (Dec. 8), on Purification (AKA Candlemas, February 2), at Assumption (August 15), and at the Nativity of the B.V.M. (Sept. 8).

Here's an mp3 the cantor from LLPB singing melody #63; it's the Mattins hymn Quem terra, pontus, ethera, called "The God Whom Earth and Sea and Sky" in English.

Here are the words from Oremus; the note says "Words: attributed to Fortunatus, sixth century; trans. John Mason Neale, 1854."
The God whom earth and sea and sky
adore and laud and magnify,
whose might they own, whose praise they swell,
in Mary's womb vouchsafed to dwell.

The Lord whom sun and moon obey,
whom all things serve from day to day,
was by the Holy Ghost conceived
of her who through his grace believed.

How blessed that Mother, in whose shrine
the world's Creator, Lord divine,
whose hand contains the earth and sky,
once deigned, as in his ark, to lie.

Blessed in the message Gabriel brought,
blessed by the work the Spirit wrought;
from whom the great Desire of earth
took human flesh and human birth.

O Lord, the Virgin-born, to thee
eternal praise and glory be,
whom with the Father we adore
and Holy Ghost for evermore.

The Lauds hymn, O gloriosa femina (sometimes "O gloriosa domina"), is sung to the same melody today;  O gloriosa domina is also sung at Lauds on Purification (Candlemas)

This set of words comes from the SSM Breviary mentioned above (p.291);  it uses the same meter as Quem terra, pontus, ethera, so just sing it to the same tune, as prescribed.
O GLORIOUS Virgin, throned in rest
Amidst the starry host above,
Who gavest nurture from thy breast
To God with pure maternal love:

What we had lost through sinful Eve
The Blossom sprung from thee restores.
And granting bliss to souls that grieve.
Unbars the everlasting doors.

O gate, through which hath passed the King:
O hall, whence light shone through the gloom;
The ransomed nations praise and sing,
Life given from the virgin womb.

All honour, laud, and glory be,
O Jesu, Virgin-born, to Thee;
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete. Amen.

CPDL has the words to O gloriosa Domina, in Latin and English; the words above are clearly taken from the same original Latin text, so it's definitely the same song:
O gloriosa Domina
excelsa super sidera,
qui te creavit provide,
lactasti sacro ubere.

Quod Eva tristis abstulit,
tu reddis almo germine;
intrent ut astra flebiles,
Caeli fenestra facta es.

Tu regis alti janua
et porta lucis fulgida;
vitam datam per Virginem,
gentes redemptae, plaudite.

Gloria tibi, Domine,
qui natus es de Virgine,
cum Patre et Sancto Spiritu
in sempiterna secula. Amen.

O Heaven's glorious mistress,
elevated above the stars,
thou feedest with thy sacred breast
him who created thee.

What miserable Eve lost
thy dear offspring to man restors,
the way to glory is open to the wretched
for thou has become the Gate of Heaven.

Thou art the door of the High King,
the gate of shining light.
Life is given through a Virgin:
Rejoice, ye redeemed nations.

Glory be to Thee, O Lord,
Born of a Virgin,
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
world without end. Amen.

Here's a page from the Poissy Antiphonal that includes both of these hymns - but the melodies seem quite different:

Here's that peek-through to the SSM Breviary for today:

Here's a bit from Wikipedia about the history of this feast:

Annunciation by Paolo de Matteis, 1712.
The white lily in the angel's hand is
symbolic of Mary's purity [1] in Marian art.[2]
The Annunciation (anglicised from the Latin Vulgate Luke 1:26-39 Annuntiatio nativitatis Christi), also referred to as the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary or Annunciation of the Lord, is the Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus, the Son of God, marking his Incarnation. Gabriel told Mary to name her son Jesus, meaning "Saviour". Many Christians observe this event with the Feast of the Annunciation on 25 March, nine full months before Christmas, the ceremonial birthday of Jesus. According to Luke 1:26, the Annunciation occurred "in the sixth month" of Elizabeth's pregnancy with John the Baptist.[3] Irenaeus (c.130-202) of Lyon regarded the conception of Jesus as 25 March coinciding with the Passion.[4] Approximating the northern vernal equinox, the date of the Annunciation also marked the New Year in many places, including England, where it is called Lady Day. Both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches hold that the Annunciation took place at Nazareth, but differ as to the precise location. The Basilica of the Annunciation marks the site preferred by the former, while the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation marks that preferred by the latter. The Annunciation has been a key topic in Christian art in general, as well as in Marian art in the Catholic Church, particularly during the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
In the Bible, the Annunciation is narrated in the book of Luke, Luke 1:26-38:
26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing shall be impossible. 38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
A separate annunciation, which is more brief but in the same vein as the one in Luke, is given to Joseph in Matthew 1:18-21:
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Eastern traditions
In Eastern Christianity Mary is referred to as Theotokos (Θεοτόκος="God-bearer"). The traditional Troparion (hymn for the day) of the Annunciation which goes back to Saint Athanasius of Alexandria is:[5]
Today is the beginning of our salvation,
And the revelation of the eternal mystery!
The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin
As Gabriel announces the coming of Grace.
Together with him let us cry to the Theotokos:
"Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you!"
The Feast of the Annunciation, celebrated March 25, is one of the twelve Great Feasts of the church year, and is among the eight of them that are counted as feasts of the Lord. As the action initiating the Incarnation of Christ, Annunciation has such an important place in Orthodox Christian theology that the festal Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is always celebrated on the feast, even if it falls on Great and Holy Friday, the day when Christ's Crucifixion is remembered. Indeed, the Divine Liturgy is celebrated on Great and Holy Friday only when the latter coincides with the feast of the Annunciation. If the Annunciation falls on Pascha (Easter Sunday) itself, a coincidence which is called Kyriopascha, then it is celebrated jointly with the Resurrection, which is the focus of Easter. Due to these and similar rules, the rubrics surrounding the celebration of the feast are the most complex of all in Orthodox Christian liturgics. The Annunciation is called Euangelismos (Evangelism) in Greek, literally meaning "spreading the Good News".

St. Ephraim the Syrian taught that the date of the conception of Jesus Christ fell on 10 Nisan on the Hebrew Calendar, the day in which the passover lamb was selected according to Exodus 12. Some years 10 Nisan falls on March 25, which is the traditional date for the Feast of the Annunciation and is an official holiday in Lebanon.

The feast of the Annunciation is usually held on March 25; it is moved in the Catholic Church, Anglican and Lutheran liturgical calendars when that date falls during Holy Week or Easter Week or on a Sunday.[6] The Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy and Eastern Catholic Churches do not move the feast, having special combined liturgies for those years when the Annunciation coincides with another feast; in fact in these churches a Divine Liturgy is celebrated on Good Friday when it coincides with the Annunciation.

When the calendar system of Anno Domini was first introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in AD 525, he assigned the beginning of the new year to March 25 since, according to Catholic theology, the era of grace began with the Incarnation of Christ. The first certain mentions of the feast are in a canon, of the Council of Toledo (656), where it is described as celebrated throughout the church., and another of the Council of Constantinople "in Trullo" (692), forbidding the celebration of any festivals during Lent, excepting the Lord's Day (Sunday) and the Feast of the Annunciation. An earlier origin has been claimed for it on the ground that it is mentioned in various works of which the earliest surviving manuscripts are later and may have been added to.[6]

The Annunciation in the Qur'an
The Annuciation in Qur'an explains that the angel Gabriel (two angels in another part of Qur'an) announced to Mary that She will have Jesus. The Annunciation is also described in the Qur'an, in Sura 003:045 (Al-i-Imran – The Family of Imran) verses 45-51 (Yusuf Ali translation):
45Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah;"
And Sura 019:016 (Maryam – Mary) verses 16-26 also refers to it. Muslim tradition holds that the Annunciation took place during the month of Ramadan.[7]

Here are some Annuncation images I haven't used before.  (There is a great plethora of Annunciation art in the world, so we'll never run out of imagesto post and view!)
This is the  "Annunciation Ustyuzhskoe (from Ustyuzh)."  It's a Novgorod icon. and c. 1130, now at the Tretyakov Gallery (Russia):

This one is "The Annunciation" by Jan van Eyck, from 1434; love those rainbow wings!

 Finally, this one is "The Virgin Annunciate," by Italian painter Carlo Crivelli, created sometime in the 1400s.  It's now at the Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie in Frankfurt am Main.

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