Saturday, June 24, 2017

St. John the Baptist, June 24: De Ventre Matris Meae ("From my mother’s womb")

De Ventre Matris Meae is the Introit for the Feast of St. John Baptist, June 24. It's sung here by Schola Sanctae Sunnivae & Hartkeriana.

The text comes from Isaiah 49; here's the Latin, along with an English translation from Divinum Officium:
De ventre matris meæ vocávit me Dóminus in nómine meo: et pósuit os meum ut gládium acútum: sub teguménto manus suæ protéxit me, et pósuit me quasi sagíttam eléctam

From my mother’s womb the Lord called me by me name, and made of me a sharp-edged sword; He concealed me in the shadow of His arm, and made me a polished arrow.

Here's the chant score:

Here are the actual verses from Isaiah 49:
1 Give ear, ye islands, and hearken, ye people from afar. The Lord hath called me from the womb, from the bowels of my mother he hath been mindful of my name.

2 And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword: in the shadow of his hand he hath protected me, and hath made me as a chosen arrow: in his quiver he hath hidden me.

In the Cantus database this chant is only listed as a Matins Responsory; not sure why that would be.  Here's an image of that Responsory from the Antiphonarium Massiliense; the large red "D" is where the chant begins:

Interesting, though:  I don't find this listed as a Matins Responsory in Divinum Officium.   So, not quite sure what's going on there.

Here's the famous Deesis Mosaic from Hagia Sophia; that's John the Baptist on the right:

This is from Wikipedia's Deesis entry:

In Byzantine art, and later Eastern Orthodox art generally, the Deësis or Deisis (Greek: δέησις, "prayer" or "supplication"), is a traditional iconic representation of Christ in Majesty or Christ Pantocrator: enthroned, carrying a book, and flanked by the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist, and sometimes other saints and angels. Mary and John, and any other figures, are shown facing towards Christ with their hands raised in supplication on behalf of humanity.
In early examples, it was often placed on the templon beam in Orthodox churches or above doors, though it also appears on icons and devotional ivories.

1 comment:

Fiordelisa said...

Thank you for this utterly beautiful recording and for pulling together all of these references for us. I love the Nativity of St. John Baptist, the second and opposing high point of the year, and didn't get to participate in it as much as I wished this June. I should have come here! :-) Best blessings...


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