Thursday, February 28, 2008

Omnes sancti Patriárchæ et Prophétæ.... (The Litany of the Saints)

Here's The Litany of the Saints, the version sung at John Paul II's funeral:

Follow along here, at It's a beautiful chant, isn't it? It's 10 full minutes - the YouTube limit, I believe - and you don't get a bit tired of it. The cantor has a beautiful voice; I remember thinking so as I watched it live. (Even though I have no particular fondness for John Paul II - he said and did some very harmful things while he was Pope, when it comes to the lives of gay people - I do like the still image on the YouTube video link. Very dramatic and quite beautiful; in fact, I suspect I would have liked him a lot - except for the virulent homophobia he seemed always compelled to express.)

Note, too: the Litany from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer looks to be very similar to the later sections of the Litany of the Saints. The English Reformers dropped the prayers to the saints, but retained the Supplications. I'm actually not sure how far back this chant goes, or how long it's been in its present form; I'll do a little research on that and post again.

EDIT: Here's New Advent on the Litany of the Saints, which it says is "of great antiquity":
It was used in the "Litania Septiformis" of St. Gregory the Great, and in the procession of St. Mamertus. In the Eastern Church, litanies with the invocation of saints were employed in the days of St. Basil (d. 379) and of St. Gregory Thaumaturgus (d. about 270) (Basil, Ep. lxiii; Socrates, VI, viii, Sozomen, VIII, vii). It is not known when or by whom the litany was composed, but the order in which the Apostles are given, corresponding with that of the Canon of the Mass, proves its antiquity (Walafr. Strabo, "De Reb. Eccl.", xxiii).

Much more at the link.


RFSJ said...

Thanks for all you're doing in compiling this. I think this is partly for a Ph.D thesis, right? even if so, it's wonderful to have it all in one place.

Lenten blessings,


bls said...

Nope - strictly amateur. ;-)

Glad you like it, though, and thanks for commenting.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the church, and therefore the Pope, is compelled to express "virulent homophobia" as it is in accordance with church doctrine. The Church is there to speak the truth whether or not that truth is popular in society.

I dont see how what Pope John-Paul had to say had a real impact on the lives of gay people. Those that I know at least were not "damaged" by any of the opinions expressed.

This does not mean that there is no compassion for gay idividuals

bls said...

The Church has spoken many "truths" over the centuries that turned out later to be false. I'm sure you can think of some, but if you can't, just ask.

And I don't think you can possibly know who has been damaged by homophobia or not; thousands and thousands of gay people have committed suicide because of the hatred directed at them. And you obviously don't have any idea how difficult life still is for literally millions of gay people in the world; just because the West has ceased its persecution doesn't mean everybody has. I'd suggest reading up on this topic a bit, if you want to be taken at all seriously.


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