Thursday, January 07, 2016

Tria sunt munera at Cologne Cathedral

The YouTube header says "Pontifical Mass for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time."  Scott brought this to my attention in a comment on my previous post, Epiphany Matins: Tria sunt munera ("Three are the gifts").   There's apparently a famous reliquary at Cologne said to contain the bones, along with other relics, of the three Magi, and Scott tells us that Tria sunt munera is chanted in procession by the girls' choir there on various important occasions (a Pontifical Mass would qualify) and whenever there's a procession.  (It may be done more frequently; will try to find out more about this.)

It's pretty wonderful, and a great example of how the Divine Office made its way into the life of the parish and cathedral churches.  The chant begins at about 2:00 on the video.

Here's a recording of the chant itself, in an audio-only recording labeled "Christmas at the Cologne Dom":

Follow along with the singers using the chant score, which comes from the wonderful McMaster University Sarum Chant site:

This again is the text in Latin, with an English translation, from Divinum Officium:
R. Tria sunt munera pretiosa, quae obtulerunt Magi Domino in die ista, et habent in se divina mysteria:
* In auro, ut ostendatur Regis potentia: in thure, Sacerdotem magnum considera: et in myrrha, Dominicam sepulturam.
V. Salutis nostrae auctorem Magi venerati sunt in cunjibulis, et de thesauris suis mysticas ei munerum species obtulerunt.
R. In auro, ut ostendatur Regis potentia: in thure, Sacerodtem magnum considera: et in myrrha, Dominicam sepulturam.

R. There are three precious gifts which the wise men offered unto the Lord on this day, and they speak a mystery of the things of God,
* Gold, to show His kingly power; frankincense, for our Great High Priest; and myrrh, against the Lord's burying.
V. The wise men worshipped the Captain of our Salvation, as He lay in the manger, and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him mystic gifts.
R. Gold, to show His kingly power; frankincense, for our Great High Priest; and myrrh, against the Lord's burying.

Read more about Cologne's "Shrine of the Three Kings" here.  Here's a short citation from that article, plus one of the images (credit: Welleschik) from that site:
The Shrine of the Three Kings (German Dreikönigsschrein) is a reliquary said to contain the bones of the Biblical Magi, also known as the Three Kings or the Three Wise Men. The shrine is a large gilded and decorated triple sarcophagus placed above and behind the high altar of Cologne Cathedral. It is considered the high point of Mosan art and the largest reliquary in the western world.
Legend recounts that the "relics of the Magi" were originally situated at Constantinople, but brought to Milan in an oxcart by Eustorgius I, the city's bishop, to whom they were entrusted by the Emperor Constantine in 314.[1] The relics of the Magi were taken from Milan by Holy Roman Emperor Fredrick Barbarossa and given to the Archbishop of Cologne, Rainald of Dassel, eight centuries later, in 1164. The Three Kings have since attracted a constant stream of pilgrims to Cologne.
"In the days of Philipp of Heinsberg the shrine of the three magi was built. This was told to me by some eyewitnesses who were present when the three magi were put into the shrine." — Vita Eustorgii[2]
Parts of the shrine were designed by the famous medieval goldsmith Nicholas of Verdun, who began work on it in 1180 or 1181. It has elaborate gold sculptures of the prophets and apostles, and scenes from the life of Christ. The shrine was completed circa 1225.


Scott said...

Here's a link to the Cologne Cathedral Mass that starts with an organ improvisation and then the girls' choir chanting Tria sunt munera.

bls said...

Thank you, Scott - much appreciated! I've edited the post accordingly.


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