The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Christmas Hymns of the Primitive Church


Rev. John Chandler, ed., The Hymns of the Primitive Church
(London: John W. Parker, 1837).

Sources: "The Parisian Breviary [i.e., Breviarium Parisiense, 1736], and one or two other old books of Latin Hymns, especially one compiled by Georgius Cassander [Hymni Ecclesiastici], printed at Cologne, in the year 1556 ..."

Note: Both of these volumes, and others containing Latin Hymns, are available from Google Books or the Internet Archive or both.


The Divisions of the Day

 Christmas-tide Hymns of the Office

Sunday, Compline, For the Season of Advent

While We Our Weary Eyelids Close

In Noctis Umbra Desides

Sunday, For Christmas

Oh Holy Babe, Our Prayer Receive

Mundi Salus Qui Nasceris

Sunday, For the Season of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple

And Now The Day Is Past And Gone

Grates peracto jam die


Seasons of the Church

Advent, Nocturn.

    The Advent Of Our God

    Instantis adventum Dei

Advent, Matins.

    On Jordan's Bank The Baptist's Cry

    Jordanis Oras Prasvia

Advent, Matins.

    Thy Father's Bosom Thou Didst Leave

    Verbum supernum prodiens

Advent, Evensong.

    The Rolling Years At Length Fulfil

    Statuta decreto Dei

Christmas Eve.

    The Prince of Peace, To Sinners Given

    Missum redemptorum polo

Christmas, Nocturn.

    Cease, Weary Mortals, Cease to Sigh

    Jam desinant suspiria

Christmas, Nocturn.

    While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night   

Christmas, Matins.

    Oh ! Come Ye Faithful, And Your Homage Bring

    Adeste Fideles

Christmas, Matins.

    High Let Us Swell Our Tuneful Notes 

Christmas, Evensong.

    Jesus, Thou Holy Son of God

    Jesu, redemptor omnium

Christmas, Evensong.

      Hark, the Herald Angels Sing

St. Stephen's Day

    Ah, Wherefore Do The Impious Jews

    Quid, obstinata pectora

St. John's Day

    Beloved Disciple of Thy Lord

    Jussu Tyranni pro fide

Innocent's Day, Matins

    Hail, Infant Martyrs, New-born Victims, Hail!

    Salvete, Flores Martyrum

Innocent's Day, Evensong

    As Wolves Attack Their Helpless Prey

    Molles In Agnos Ceu Lupus

Circumcision, Matin

    Oh, Happy Day, When First Was Poured

    Felix dies, quam proprio

Circumcision, Evensong

    'Tis For Conquering Kings To Gain

    Victis Sibi Cognomina

Sunday After Circumcision, Nocturn

    The Word, Who Dwelt Above The Skies

    Verbum Quod Ante Secula

Sunday After Circumcision, Matins

    In Stature Grows The Heavenly Child

    Divine Crescebas Puer

Sunday After Circumcision, Evensong

    Through Judah's Land The Saviour Walks

    Chrittus Tenebris Obsitam


    What Star Is This, With Beams So Bright

    Quĉ Stella Sole Pulchrior



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