Saturday 13 December 2008

Advent II

In his magistral work, L'Année liturgique, Dom Prosper Guéranger notes the commencement of the Great Antiphons of Advent on December 17 thus:

"The Church enters to-day on the seven days which precede the Vigil of Christmas, and which are known in the liturgy under the name of the Greater Ferias. The ordinary of the Advent Office becomes more solemn; the antiphons of the psalms, both for Lauds and the Hours of the day, are proper, and allude expressly to the great coming. Every day, at Vespers, is sung a solemn antiphon, consisting of a fervent prayer to the Messias, whom it addresses by one of the titles given Him in the sacred Scriptures.

In the Roman Church, there are seven of these antiphons, one for each of the greater ferias. They are commonly called the O's of Advent, because they all begin with that interjection."

In this video we hear the well-known metrical setting of the seven 'O Antiphons', known as 'Veni, Veni Emmanuel', although there are only five in this version. When we sing this well-known Advent hymn, we can help to recapture the true spirit of Advent by singing all seven verses and by relating each verse to the relevant 'O Antiphon'.

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