Sunday, March 30, 2014

Seen and heard today at Divine Service, Lent 4 (3/30/14)

The choir sang this Bobby McFerrin composition - a piece he dedicated to his mother - at the Psalm today:

The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all I need,
She makes me lie down in green meadows,
Beside the still waters, She will lead.

She restores my soul, She rights my wrongs,
She leads me in a path of good things,
And fills my heart with songs.

Even though I walk through a dark and dreary land,
There is nothing that can shake me,
She has said She won't forsake me,
I'm in her hand.

She sets a table before me, in the presence of my foes,
She anoints my head with oil,
And my cup overflows.

Surely, surely goodness and kindness will follow me
All the days of my life,
And I will live in her house,
Forever, forever and ever.

Glory be to our Mother and Daughter,
And to the Holy of Holies,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
World, without end. Amen

After the service I asked the choirmaster if Bobby McFerrin had written the piece this way, or if she had messed around and Anglican Chantified it herself.   She said no, that McFerrin had written it this way, and that he had grown up Episcopalian - which pretty much explains everything.

And we had this great hymn, here sung at the Washington National Cathedral:

This hymn goes very well with the theme of "light" on the day; both the Gospel and Epistle readings are about light.

I especially like the refrain, and the line "The Lamb is the light of the city of God."   That's an interesting mix of metaphors, there!  And we almost never get to sing about "the city of God," do we?
I want to walk as a child of the light;
I want to follow Jesus.
God set the stars to give light to the world;
The star of my life is Jesus.

In him there is no darkness at all;
The night and the day are both alike.
The Lamb is the light of the city of God.
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.

I want to see the brightness of God;
I want to look at Jesus.
Clear Sun of Righteousness, shine on my path
And show me the way to the Father. [Refrain]

I’m looking for the coming of Christ;
I want to be with Jesus.
When we have run with patience the race,
We shall know the joy of Jesus. [Refrain]

Later I did listen to the webcast from St.Thomas - which means I can include some of their stuff in this post, too.    (Go listen, yourself, to New York Polyphony sing the mass, the anthem, and the motet.  Yes!)  They had the splendid hymn "O Love, how deep, how broad, how high" (this video, though, comes from St. Bart's on Park Avenue):

What a terrific text!

O love, how deep, how broad, how high,
how passing thought and fantasy,
that God, the Son of God, should take
our mortal form for mortals' sake!

For us baptized, for us he bore
his holy fast and hungered sore;
for us temptations sharp he knew;
for us the tempter overthrew.

For us he prayed; for us he taught;
for us his daily works he wrought:
by words and signs and actions, thus
still seeking not himself, but us.

For us to wicked hands betrayed,
scourged, mocked, in purple robe arrayed,
he bore the shameful cross and death;
for us gave up his dying breath.

For us he rose from death again;
for us he went on high to reign;
for us he sent his Spirit here
to guide, to strengthen, and to cheer.

All glory to our Lord and God
for love so deep, so high, so broad;
the Trinity whom we adore
forever and forevermore.

The hymn tune for "O Love, how deep, how broad, how high" is Deus Tuorum Militum; it's found in the 1753 Grenoble Antiphoner.   I can't seem to find a scan of this anywhere online, or in fact much of anything about it; I would love to know more.   Here's a score of the melody from The Harvard University Hymn-Book.

The interesting thing, to me, is that Deus Tuorum Militum was originally a hymn sung on martyr's feasts; here's the Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood's version (mp3), which they call "O God, Thy Soldier's Crown and Guard."

According to The Hymnal 1982 Companion, there are "seventeen different Latin hymn melodies set to the present text."   Sometime I'll put together a post of all of these!

Getting back to "O love, how deep," though:  the Hymnal 1982 Companion does talk a bit about the possible provenance of the hymn tune, and about some of its characteristics:
The melody appears to date from the middle to the late eighteenth century and may be categorized as a French church melody.  The tune's opening outlines a major-key tonic chord, and the remainder of the melody establishes the tonal nature of its construction.  Its distinct triple-metre rhythmic setting also emphasizes the dating of the tune from the common practice era*.  The metre of the text reflects the standard practice of most eighteenth-century French church melodies, which are eithe rset in the Sapphic* design of or in Long Metre in triple time; DEUS TUORUM MILITUM is of the latter type.  The harmonization is after a setting by Basil Harwood as found in H40.

This hymn text is, amazingly to me, "attributed  to Thomas à Kempis"; the translation is definitely by Benjamin Webb.  Some of the images are certainly great:
How passing thought and fantasy,
that God, the Son of God, should take
our mortal form for mortals' sake!
And especially:
For us baptized, for us he bore
his holy fast and hungered sore;
for us temptations sharp he knew;
for us the tempter overthrew.
I'd like to see the original of this; it's great in translation. has this about Thomas à Kempis:
Thomas of Kempen, commonly known as Thomas à Kempis, was born at Kempen, about fifteen miles northwest of Düsseldorf, in 1379 or 1380. His family name was Hammerken. His father was a peasant, whilst his mother kept a dame's school for the younger children of Kempen. When about twelve years old he became an inmate of the poor-scholars' house which was connected with a "Brother-House" of the Brethren of the Common Life at Deventer, where he was known as Thomas from Kempen, and hence his well-known name. There he remained for six years, and then, in 1398, he was received into the Brotherhood. A year later he entered the new religious house at Mount St. Agnes, near Zwolle. After due preparation he took the vows in 1407, was priested in 1413, became Subprior in 1425, and died according to some authorities on July 26. and others on Aug. 8, 1471.
Much of his time was occupied in copying Missals, Breviaries, and other devotional and religious works. His original writings included a chronicle of the monastery of St. Agnes, several biographies, tracts and hymns, and, but not without some doubt as to his authorship the immortalImitatio Christi, which has been translated into more languages than any other book, the Bible alone excepted. His collected works have been repeatedly published, the best editions being Nürnberg, 1494, Antwerp in 1607 (Thomae Malleoli à Kempis . . . Opera omnia), and Paris in 1649. An exhaustive work on St. Thomas is Thomas à Kempis and the Brothers of the Common Life, by S. W. Kettlewell, in 2 vols., Lond., 1882. In this work the following of his hymns are translated by the Rev. S. J. Stone:—

i. From his Vita Boni Monachi, ii.:—
1. Vitam Jesu ChristiImitation of Christ. Be the life of Christ thy Saviour.
2. Apprehende annaChristian Armour. Take thy weapons, take thy shield.
3. Sustine doloresResignation. Bear thy sorrows with Laurentius.

ii. From his Cantica Spiritualia:—
4. 0 dulcissime JesuJesus the most Dear. 0 [Child] Christ Jesu, closest, dearest.
5. 0 Vera summa TrinitasHoly Trinity. Most true, most High, 0 Trinity.
6. Ad versa mundi toleraResignation. Bear the troubles of thy life.
7. 0 qualis quantaque laetitiaEternal Life. 0 joy the purest, noblest.

Of these translations Mr. Stone has repeated Nos. 5, 6, and 7 in his Hymns, 1886, and No. 4 in a rewritten form as "Jesus, to my heart most precious," in the same. Pastor O. A. Spitzen has recently published from a manuscript circa 1480, ten additional hymns by Thomas, in his “Nalezing op mijn Thomas à Kempis," Utrecht, 1881. Six of these had previously been printed anonymously by Mone. The best known are "Jerusalem gloriosa", and "Nec quisquam oculis vidit". We may add that Thomas's hymnwriting is not regarded as being of the highest standard, and that the modern use of his hymns in any form is very limited.

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

And this is from their entry on Webb:
Webb, Benjamin, M.A., was born in London in 1820, and was educated in St. Paul's School; whence he passed to Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1838, B.A. 1842, M.A. 1845. Ordained by the Bishop [Monk] of Gloucester and Bristol he was Assistant Curate of Kemeston in Gloucestershire, 1843-44; of Christ Church, St. Pancras, 1847-49; and of Brasted, Kent, 1849-51; at which date he was presented to the P. C. of Sheen in Staffordshire, which he held until 1862, when he became Vicar of St. Andrews, Wells Street, London. In 1881 the Bishop [Jackson] of London collated him to the Prebend of Portpool in St. Paul's Cathedral. Mr. Webb was one of the Founders of the Cambridge Camden, afterwards the Ecclesiological Society; and the Editor of the Ecclesiologist from 1842 to 1868, as well as the General Editor of the Society's publications. His first appearance in print was as joint editor of Bishop Montague's Articles of Inquiry in 184; in 1843 he was joined with Mr. J. M. Neale in An Essay on Symbolism, and A Translation of Durandus; in 1847 he put forth his valuable work on Continental Ecclesiology; in 1848 he was joint editor with Dr. Mill of Frank’s Sermons, for the Anglo-Catholic Library, and with the Rev. J. Fuller-Russell of Hierurgia Anglicana. After the decease of his father-in-law (Dr. Mill), he edited Dr. Mill's Catechetical Lectures, 1856; a second edition of Dr. Mill's Christian Advocates Publications on the Mythical Interpretation of the Gospels, 1861; and of Dr. Mill's Sermons on our Lord's Temptation, 1873. He was also one of the editors of the Burntisland reprint of the Sarum Missal. One of his most valuable works is Instructions and Prayers for Candidates for Confirmation, of which the third edition was published in 1882. Mr. Webb was one of the original editors of the Hymnal Noted, and of the sub-Committee of the Ecclesiological Society, appointed to arrange the words and the music of that book; and was also the translator of some of the hymns. In conjunction with the Rev. Canon W. Cooke he was editor of the Hymnary, 1872, for which office his habitual reconstruction and composition of the words of the anthems used at St. Andrew's, Wells Street, as well as his connection with theHymnal Noted, eminently qualified him. His original hymns contributed to the Hymnary, 1871 and 1872, were:--
1. Assessor to thy KingSt. Bartholomew. In the Hymnary, 1872.
2. Behold He comes, thy King most holyAdvent. Originally written to be sung in St. Andrew's Church, Wells Street, as an anthem to the music of Schumann'sAdvent-lied, and afterwards published in the Hymnary, 1872.
3. Praise God, the Holy TrinityHymn of Faith. Originally written for use in St. Andrew's, Wells Street, and subsequently in the Hymnary, 1872.
4. Praise the Rock of our salvationDedication of a Church. Published in the Hymnary, 1872. Mr. Webb's authorised text is in the Westminster Abbey Hymn Book, 1883.
5. Ye angel hosts aboveUniversal Praise to God. In the Hymnary, 1872.
He died in London, Nov. 27, 1885. [Rev. William Cooke, M.A.]

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Lent 4 Offertory: Laudate Dominum "Praise the Lord") and Illumina oculos meos ("Enlighten my eyes")

Laudate Dominum is the Offertory for the Fourth Sunday in Lent (except in Year C, and more on that below). 

Lent - Fourth Sunday: Offertory from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.

Here's CCWatershed's translation:
Praise the Lord, for he is loving; sing in honour of his name, for he is gracious.  He has accomplished whatever he resolved to do in heaven and on earth.

This text comes from Psalm (134/)135, verse 3 and verse 6:
3 Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good;
    sing to his name, for it is pleasant![a]

4 For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself,
    Israel as his own possession.

5 For I know that the Lord is great,
    and that our Lord is above all gods.
6 Whatever the Lord pleases, he does,
    in heaven and on earth,
in the seas and all deeps.

Here's the Simple English Propers version from CC Watershed; the text is slightly different - but again this is a very nice chant:

Psalm 135 is a song of highest praise; Wikipedia has a bit of information about how it's used in a couple of traditions:


Eastern Orthodox Church

  • Along with Psalm 136 (LXX numbers as 134 & 135 respectively) is called the Polyeleos or translated to "Many Mercies", named such after the refrain used "for His mercy endures forever". The Polyeleos is sung at Orthros (Matins) of a Feast Day and at Vigils. In some Slavic traditions and on Mt. Athos it is read every Sunday at Orthros.
  • On Mt. Athos it is considered one of the most joyful periods of Matins-Liturgy, and the highest point of Matins. In Athonite practice, all the candles are lit, and the chandeliers are made to swing as the Psalms are sung, it is also accompanied by a joyful peal of the bells and censing of the church, sometimes with a hand censer which has many bells on it.
  • At vigils, it accompanies the opening of the Royal Doors and a great censing of the nave by the Priest(s) or Deacon(s).

However, when the Gospel reading is the story of the Prodigal Son, in Year C, the Offertory is Illumina oculos meos.    (Oddly, the reading this year is  the story of the man born blind - which would be a perfect fit for this chant!)

Here's the mp3 from; I could find no other recording of this anywhere.  It's quite pretty, in fact.

This is the chant score:

This text comes from Psalm (12/)13, verses 3-4; because it's short and great I'll include the whole Psalm:
1 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I take counsel in my soul
    and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
    light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
4 lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
    lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
    my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
    because he has dealt bountifully with me.

I'm not sure who the composer is here, but this is a very nice setting of this part of the Psalm: offers a complete list of today's propers sung by the Sao Paolo Benedictines; note that the Offertory and Communio vary, depending on the Gospel for the day.
Hebdomada quarta quadragesimæ  Dominica
Introitus: Cf. Is. 66, 10.11; Ps. 121 Lætare Ierusalem (3m46.5s - 3540 kb) chant score
Graduale: Ps. 121, 1. V. 7 Lætatus sum (1m58.9s - 1858 kb) chant score
Tractus: Ps. 124, 1.2 Qui confidunt (3m13.4s - 3024 kb) chant score
Offertorium: Ps. 134, 3.6 Laudate Dominum (1m37.4s - 1524 kb) chant score
                 quando legitur Evangelium de filio prodigo:
                  Ps. 12, 4.5 Illumina oculos meos (1m33.8s - 1468 kb) chant score
Communio:  Ps. 121, 3.4 Ierusalem, quæ ædificatur chant score (1m09.7s - 1092 kb)

                 quando legitur Evangelium de cæco nato:
                  Io. 9, 6.11.38 Lutum fecit (39.3s - 616 kb)

                 quando legitur Evangelium de filio prodigo:
                  Lc. 15, 32 Oportet te (28.9s - 454 kb)

The old set of propers is, for the most part, just the same; the only changes are the additions for switching chants depending on the Gospel reading - which is in turn dependent upon the 3-year lectionary - a practice that wasn't adopted until the 1970s.

Other Chantblog articles about the propers for the day include:

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sequentia for Annunciation: Ave Maria (Virgo Serena)

The Sequence hymn for Annunciation is sung here by the Schola Cantorum de Regina Pacis (Klaipeda, Lithuania).

Here are the Latin and English words; the translation comes from this PDF file on the website of
Ave Maria, gratia plena,
Dominus tecum—virgo serena.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus—
que peperpisti pacem hominibus
et angelis gloriam.

Et benedictus fructus ventris tui -
qui coheredes ut essemus sui
nos, fecit per gratiam.

Per hoc autem Ave
Mundo tam suave,
Contra carnis iura

Genuisti prolem
Novum stella solem
Nova genitura.

Tu parvi et magni,
Leonis et agni,
Salvatoris Christi
Templum extitisti,
Sed virgo intacta.

Tu floris et roris,
Panis et pastoris,
Virginum regina
Rosa sine spina,
Genitrix es facta.

Tu civitas regis iusticie,
Tu mater es misericordie,
De lacu fæcis et miseriæ
Pænitentem reformans gratie.

Te collaudat celestis curia,
Tibi nostra favent obsequia,
Per te reis donatur venia.
Per te justis confertur gratia.

Ergo maris stella,
Verbi Dei cella
Et solis aurora,
Paradisi porta,
Per quam lux est orta,
Natum tuum ora,

Ut nos solvat a peccatis,
Et in regno claritatis
Quo lux lucet sedula,
Collocet per secula. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with you—O serene virgin.
Blessed are you among women,
you who bore peace for humankind
and glory for the angels.

And blessed is the fruit of your womb—
he who makes us his heirs through grace,
so that we might be his.

But though this “Ave” —
So pure and sweet,
Contrary to the law of the flesh—

You, O star, through a new birth
Brought forth your offspring,
The new sun.

You stand out as the temple
Of the humble and the great,
Of the lion and the lamb,
Of Christ the savior—
Yet you remain a virgin.

You have been made mother
Of the bud and the dew,
Of the bread and the shepherd
You are queen of virgins,
Rose without thorns.

You are the city of the king of justice,
You are mother of mercy,
From the pool of impurity and misery
You recast one who through grace
becomes a lover of God.

You the celestial curia together praises in song,
To You our services are devoted,
You who are mother and daughter of God,
Through You the pardon for guilt is offered.

Therefore star of the sea,
Sanctuary of the word of God
And dawn of the sun,
Door of paradise
Through which the Light is born:

Pray to Him your Son,
That He might free us from sins,
And place us in the kingdom of clarity,
Where the sedulous light shines
Through all ages.

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.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

St. Photine of Samaria

The story of "the woman at the well" was the Gospel reading for today.

While she remains nameless in the West, in the Orthodox world she's celebrated as a major saint, given the name "Photine" or "Photini" - i.e. "the enlightened one."  She's called in various traditions "Equal to the Apostles" and "the First Evangelist"; her name is "Svetlana" in some parts of the world, a name which I believe also means "the enlightened one."  She's celebrated on various dates - but especially on the Fifth Sunday of Pascha, the day on which her story is read.  She's had a whole midrash-like story built up around her, one that includes evangelical travels and eventual martyrdom.

I couldn't find a recording of the Orthodox chant for this event, but I did find a Byzantine Catholic version.  Here's that mp3; it's the Kontakion for that Sunday in Pascha, from the Metropolitan Cantor Institute.

Here's the chant score, with English words.  As you'll see below in one of the citations, the text is different in the Byzantine Catholic church (although what's cited below could be the Kontakion for her feast day proper, and that could easily explain the difference):

What's interesting, in fact, is that the Year A Lectionary in the West, which uses Matthew's Gospel, reads instead from John during the next few weeks of Lent; and they are the same passages read in the East for the Paschal Season.  This week, it's the woman the well; next week it's the man blind from birth who gained his sight.   (The West and East both have John's raising of Lazarus in Lent, though; in the West it's on the Sunday before Palm Sunday, in the East on Palm Sunday itself.)

Here's a bit about Photine at OrthoodoxWiki:
Photine of Samaria

The holy and glorious Great-martyr Photine of Samaria (also Photini or Svetlana), Equal-to-the-Apostles, encountered Christ at the well of Jacob. Tradition relates that the Apostles baptized her with the name "Photine" meaning "enlightened one." Her feast days are celebrated on February 26 with those who suffered with her (Greek tradition), March 20 (Slavic tradition), and the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman.

The Gospel of John (4:5-42) relates the encounter of Photine, the Samaritan woman, with Christ at Jacob's well. She repented after a very gentle and wise conversation with Christ and went and told her townspeople that she had met the Christ. For this, she is sometimes claimed as the first to proclaim the Gospel of Christ.

She converted her five sisters (Ss. Anatole, Photo, Photis, Paraskeve, and Kyriake) and her two sons (St. Photinos, formerly known as Victor, and St. Joses). They all became tireless evangelists for Christ.
After the Apostles Paul and Peter were martyred, St. Photine and her family left their homeland of Sychar, in Samaria, to travel to Carthage to proclaim the Gospel of Christ there.

In 66 AD, under the persecutions of Emperor Nero, they all achieved the crown of martyrdom, along with the Duke St. Sebastianos, the close friend of St. Photinos.


Kontakion [1]
O Almighty Saviour, Who did pour forth water for the Hebrews from a solid rock:
You did come to the Land of Samaria, and addressed a woman,
whom You did attract to faith in You,
and she has now attained life in the heavens everlastingly.

This icon comes from the 12th-century Jruchi Gospels II MSS, Georgia:

I don't have any information on this one:

This is Paolo Veronese's "Jesus and the Samaritan Woman," from around 1585:

Here's a nice piece of contemporary work  posted at Wikipedia by the artist, Schuppi.

Another one by Schuppi:

And another really nice contemporary piece, an " Iconostasis from the village Skvariava Nova, Lviv Oblast. Originally painted for the Church of Christ's Nativity in Zhovkva" - by Mykola Swarnyk:

More about Photine, via the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese:
Commemorated on March 20 (also commemorated on February 26 & the “Sunday of the Samaritan Woman”)

St. Photini lived in first century Palestine. She was the Samaritan woman who Christ visited at the well asking her for water. It was she who accepted the “living water” offered her by Christ Himself after repenting from her many sins (John. 4:5-42). She went and told her townspeople that she had met the Christ. For this, she is sometimes recognized as the first to proclaim the Gospel of Christ. She converted her five sisters (Sts. Anatole, Photo, Photis, Paraskeve, and Kyriake) and her two sons (Victor and Joses). They all became tireless evangelists for Christ.

The apostles of Christ baptized her and gave her the name of Photini which means “the enlightened one.” She is remembered by the Church as a Holy Martyr and Equal to the Apostles. After Sts. Peter and Paul were martyred, St. Photini and her family left their homeland of Sychar, in Samaria, to travel to Carthage to proclaim the Gospel of Christ there.

During the reign of Emperor Nero in the first century, excessive cruelty was displayed against the Christians, St. Photini lived in Carthage with her younger son, Joses. Her eldest son, Victor, fought bravely in the Roman army against the barbarians, and was appointed military commander in the city of Attalia (Asia Minor). Later, Nero called him to Italy to arrest and punish Christians.

Sebastian, an official in Italy, said to Victor, “I know that you, your mother and your brother, are followers of Christ. As a friend I advise you to submit to the will of the emperor. If you inform on any Christians, you will receive their wealth. I shall write to your mother and brother, asking them not to preach Christ in public. Let them practice their faith in secret.”

Victor replied, “I want to be a preacher of Christianity like my mother and brother.” Sebastian said, “O Victor, we all know what woes await you, your mother and brother.” Then Sebastian suddenly felt a sharp pain in his eyes. He was dumbfounded, and his face was somber.

For three days Sebastian lay there blind, without uttering a word. On the fourth day he declared, “The God of the Christians is the only true God.” St. Victor asked why Sebastian had suddenly changed his mind. Sebastian replied, “Because Christ is calling me.” Soon he was baptized, and immediately regained his sight. St. Sebastian’s servants, after witnessing the miracle, were also baptized.

Reports of this reached Nero, and he commanded that the Christians be brought to him at Rome. The Lord Himself appeared to the confessors and said, “Fear not, for I am with you. Nero, and all who serve him, will be vanquished.” The Lord said to Victor, “From this day forward, your name will be Photinus, because through you, many will be enlightened and will believe in Me.” The Lord then told the Christians to strengthen and encourage Sebastian to persevere until the end.

All these things, and even future events, were revealed to St. Photini. She left Carthage in the company of several Christians and joined the confessors in Rome.

At Rome, Emperor Nero ordered the saints to be brought before him, and he asked them whether they truly believed in Christ. All the confessors refused to renounce the Savior. The emperor then gave orders to smash the martyrs’ finger joints. During the torture, the confessors felt no pain, and their hands remained unharmed.

Nero ordered that Sts. Sebastian, Photinus and Joses be blinded and locked up in prison, and St. Photini and her five sisters, Anatola, Phota, Photis, Paraskeva and Kyriake, were sent to the imperial court under the supervision of Nero’s daughter, Domnina. St. Photini converted both Domnina and her servants to Christ. She also converted a sorcerer, who had brought her poisoned food that was meant to kill her.

Three years passed, and Nero sent to the prison for one of his servants, who had been locked up. The messengers reported to him that Sts. Sebastian, Photinus and Joses, who had been blinded, had completely recovered, and that people were visiting them to hear their preaching. Indeed, the whole prison had been transformed into a bright and fragrant place where God was glorified.

Nero then gave orders to crucify the saints, and to beat their naked bodies with straps. On the fourth day, the emperor sent servants to see whether the martyrs were still alive. Approaching the place of the tortures, the servants fell blind. An angel of the Lord freed the martyrs from their crosses and healed them. The saints took pity on the blinded servants, and restored their sight by their prayers to the Lord. Those who were healed came to believe in Christ and were soon baptized.

In a rage, Nero gave orders to flay the skin from St. Photini and to throw her down a well. Sebastian, Photinus and Joses had their legs cut off, and they were thrown to dogs, and then had their skin flayed off. The sisters of St. Photini also suffered terrible torments. Nero gave orders to cut off their breasts and to flay their skin. An expert in cruelty, the emperor readied the fiercest execution for St. Photis: they tied her by the feet to the tops of two bent-over trees. When the ropes were cut, the trees sprang upright and tore the martyr apart. The emperor ordered the others beheaded. St. Photini was removed from the well and locked up in prison for twenty days.

After this, Nero had St. Photini brought to him and asked if she would now relent and offer sacrifice to the idols. St. Photini spat in his face, and laughing at him, said, “O most impious of the blind, you profligate and stupid man! Do you think me so deluded that I would consent to renounce my Lord Christ and instead offer sacrifice to idols as blind as you?”

Hearing such words, Nero gave orders to throw St. Photini down a well, where she surrendered her soul to God in the year 66.

Kontakion (Tone 1) –
O Almighty Saviour, Who did pour forth water for the Hebrews from a solid rock:
You did come to the Land of Samaria, and addressed a woman,
whom You did attract to faith in You,
and she has now attained life in the heavens everlastingly.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (

And I just can't leave out Mahalia Jackson's "Jesus Met the Woman at the Well"!

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Lent 3 Offertory: Iustitiae Domini ("The judgements of the Lord")

Iustitiae Domini is the beautiful Offertory for the 3rd Sunday in Lent, sung here by the Nova Schola Gregoriana:

This is the English translation of this chant, from Prosper Gueringer 's book on the Liturgical Year:
The justices of the Lord are right, rejoicing hearts; his ordinances are sweeter than honey and the honey-comb: therefore thy servant observeth them.
(Another, better translation of "justices" there might be "judgements," or "just decrees."  I do believe Iustitiae is plural.) 

The text comes from Psalm (18/)19: vv. 9 - 11:
9 the fear of the Lord is clean,
    enduring forever;
the rules[d] of the Lord are true,
    and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
    even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
    and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward.
Here's the chant score:

There is more in the video than just what's included on this score; I'm still trying to work out what it is, and where it came from.  [EDIT:  it seems to be a continuation of some of the verses of Psalm 19, although I don't know why it's here.   Here's the Latin text sung after the end of what's on the score above (and thus officially part of the Offertory itself), as far as I can make it out.  The numbering between the Latin Vulgate and English Book of Common Prayer 1662 is different, though:
9  Justitiae Domini rectae, laetificantes corda; praeceptum Domini lucidum, illuminans oculos.
10  Timor Domini sanctus, permanens in saeculum saeculi; judicia Domini vera
, justificata in semetipsa,
8  The statutes of the Lord are right, and rejoice the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, and giveth light unto the eyes.
9  The fear of the Lord is clean, and endureth for ever: the judgements of the Lord are true
, and righteous altogether.
But again, I'm not sure at the moment why this added text is there.  Perhaps it's an alternate version of the Offertory; will try to find out.]

Here's something from Wikipedia about Psalm 19:
Psalm 19 is the 19th psalm in the Book of Psalms (the 18th in the Septuagint numbering). It is ascribed to David.

The psalm considers the glory of God in creation, and moves to reflect on the character and use of "the law of the LORD". A comparison is made between the law and the sun, which lends a degree of unity to the psalm. C. S. Lewis suggested that in verse 7, the Psalmist starts talking about something else, "which hardly seems to him like something else because it is so like the all-piercing, all-detecting sunshine."[1] Like the Sun, the law is able to uncover hidden faults, and nothing can hide from it. As the Psalmist meditates on the excellencies of the law, he feels that his sins have been laid open before God's word, and asks for forgiveness and help.


Verses 7–11: The law – sweeter than honey
Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
Psalm 19:7–11 King James Version
Psalm 19:7-11 Other versions
In verses 7–11 the law of the LORD, that is the Torah, is presented as another source of revelation about God's character and expectations. The instructions are referred to as "direct" from the Hebrew yesharim meaning to make straight, smooth, right or upright. One commentator's[7] interpretation indicates that since this law shows a person what to do and keep in mind, what to avoid, how to please God, and what help he can expect from God, they are highly desirable and valuable.

The description of the law as radiant and enlightening ties the earlier references to the lights of nature to the character of God and to his laws as revealing truths.[2] The Torah is associated with light in other passages as well, such as Proverbs 6:23 "For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:"

Here are all the chant propers for the day, sung by the Sao Paulo Benedictines:
Hebdomada tertia quadragesimæ
Introitus: Ps. 24, 15.16 et 1-2 Oculi mei (3m02.3s - 2852 kb) score
Graduale: Ps. 9, 20. V. 4 Exsurge... non prævaleat (3m46.7s - 3546 kb) score
Tractus: Ps. 122, 1-3 Ad te levavi (1m45.2s - 1646 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 18, 9.11.12 Iustitiæ Domini (1m21.7s - 1278 kb) score
                 Quando legitur Evangelium de Samaritana:
                 Io. 4, 13.14 Qui biberit aquam (3m02.3s - 2852 kb)
                 Quando legitur aliud Evangelium:
                 Ps. 83, 4.5 Passer invenit (3m30.3s - 3288 kb) score

Here are posts on Chantblog for other propers of this day:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Attende, Domine

This 10th-Century Mozarabic hymn, sung here by "Cantori Gregoriani, Stirps Jesse, Enrico de Capitani," is especially appropriate for Lent.

Here's the original Latin text:

Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.
Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

Ad te Rex summe,
omnium Redemptor,
oculos nostros
sublevamus flentes:
exaudi, Christe,
supplicantum preces.

Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

Dextera Patris,
lapis angularis,
via salutis,
ianua caelestis,
ablue nostri
maculas delicti.

Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

Rogamus, Deus,
tuam maiestatem:
auribus sacris
gemitus exaudi:
crimina nostra
placidus indulge.

Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

Tibi fatemur
crimina admissa:
contrito corde
pandimus occulta:
tua, Redemptor,
pietas ignoscat.

Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

Innocens captus,
nec repugnans ductus;
testibus falsis
pro impiis damnatus
quos redemisti,
tu conserva, Christe.

Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

The English language version of the hymn is called "The Lent Prose"; it's led here by George Curnow, Senior Cantor at the Church of St. Martin in Roath (Wales):

The words in English:
Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

To thee, Redeemer, on thy throne of glory:
lift we our weeping eyes in holy pleadings:
listen, O Jesu, to our supplications.

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

O thou chief cornerstone, right hand of the Father:
way of salvation, gate of life celestial:
cleanse thou our sinful souls from all defilement.

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

God, we implore thee, in thy glory seated:
bow down and hearken to thy weeping children:
pity and pardon all our grievous trespasses.

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

Sins oft committed, now we lay before thee:
with true contrition, now no more we veil them:
grant us, Redeemer, loving absolution.

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

Innocent captive, taken unresisting:
falsely accused, and for us sinners sentenced,
save us, we pray thee, Jesu, our Redeemer.

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.


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