Gregorian Chant: The Eternal Song

by Sr Fidelis

The Great “O”‘s.

Advent builds in a crescendo towards Christmas, like a Great FugueThe themes enter like the stretto of a fugue, piling one on top of the other!  Dr. Mary Berry, 2004

Today marks the beginning of Great Advent — the week before the celebration of the birth of Christ!  With great sense of anticipation, the Divine Office manifests these changes in various ways; there are new antiphons for each psalm at Lauds, reflecting different aspects of his coming. At Vespers, the Great “O” Antiphons are sung before the Magnificat each night. These seven antiphons (all with a similar melody using Mode 2) share the same structure. They are fervent prayers of supplication; each beginning with the interjection “O”, followed by various names for the One who is to come, taken from the Old Testament.  The final phrase of each antiphon begins with the word Veni — come — and a specific heartfelt request.

The first O antiphon, sung on December 17th, is O Sapientia — O Wisdom!  Below is the music and text, along with an audio version.  

O Wisdom,
who came forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from the beginning to the end,
and arranging all things firmly and sweetly:
Come to teach us the way of wisdom

O Sapientia-1

This entry was posted in Advent, Christmas, Gregorian Chant, Liturgy of the Hours, Prayer, Seasons by Sr. Fidelis. Bookmark the permalink.

About Sr. Fidelis

I am 46 years old, and have been a Sister at the Community of Jesus for 26 years. Having grown up here, I have been singing Gregorian chant since I was 10! I was very blessed to study Gregorian chant with Dr. Mary Berry in Cambridge, England and here at home. Recently, I have been able to do some radio and tv interviews, sharing about the blessings of Gregorian chant. I love leading chant workshops, and have been able to do that in the US and abroad.

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