Friday, December 17, 2010


The antiphon for the Magnifict on 17th day of December in the Sarum rite was O Adonai. It is with a bit of embarrassment that I have to post the Latin version of this antiphon as sung by Roman Dominican students. I would much have preferred to be post the English equivalent as sung perhaps by the sisters of the Community of St Mary the Virgin at Wantage. After all it was from a book obtained from St Mary's Press that I first learned of the Great O's. That book contained the antiphons for the Magnificat and the Nunc dimittis throughout the Christian year according to the Anglican calendar. It was intended for use with The Sarum Psalter which was also published by St. Mary's Press. Later when Briggs and Frere published their plainchant psalter one of their announced aims was to make sure that it conformed to Palmer's work. Briggs and Frere is still available and every quire in the Continuum should have copies. They might also want to have copies of the Lancelot Andrewes Press' plainchant psalter. it has additional and very helpful material.

But the point here must remain on text of the antiphons themselves and their scriptural references which clarify and expand the the theme of the season of Advent. In O Adonai the most obvious are the events from Exodus 3:2 and 24:12. The title to the antiphon makes reference to Isaiah 33:22 which says :"For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our ruler, the Lord is our king; he will save us." And its point is taken from Isaiah 11:4-5 "[...] but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins."

O Adonay,* and Leader of the house of Israel, who appearest in the Bush to Moses in a flame of fire, and gavest him in the law in Sinai : Come and deliver us with an outstretched arm.

O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.


Death Bredon said...

Briggs and Frere was still in use at St. Joseph of Arimathea when I was last there and I suspect that it still is. So, that is some good news for the Continuum.

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