The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

O Gloriosa Domina

Hymn for Christ's Presentation in the Temple

English Translations:
Eternal Glory of the Skies

O Heaven's Glorious Mistress (below)

Words: Attributed to Venantius Fortunatus (530-609), the Bishop of Poitiers

Source: the Liturgia Horarum, Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

O Gloriosa domina
excelsa super sidera,
qui te creavit provide,
lactas sacrato ubere.

Quod Eva tristis abstulit,
tu reddis almo germine;
intrent ut astra flebiles,
sternis benigna semitam.

Tu regis alti ianua
et porta lucis fulgida;
vitam datam per Virginem,
gentes redemptae, plaudite.

Patri sit Paraclito
tuoque Nato gloria,
qui veste te mirabili
circumdederunt gratiae. Amen.


O Gloriosa Domina is the second half of the hymn Quem terra, pontus, aethera which is attributed to Venantius Fortunatus (530-609), the Bishop of Poitiers. Both hymns are popular Marian hymns used in the Liturgy, Quem terra, pontus, aethera being used for the Office of the Readings and this hymn being used for Lauds in the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The hymn was a favorite of St. Anthony of Padua. Tradition has it that it was sung by St. Anthony's mother when he was an infant. It was such a favorite of St. Anthony, that it was constantly on his lips during his life and he sang it at his death.

Changes made by Pope Urban VIII in 1632 to the Roman Breviary:

1 O gloriosa virginum/ sublimis inter sidera;/ qui te creavit, parvulum/ lactente nutris ubere.

2 Quod Heva tristis abstulit,/ tu reddis almo germine;/ intrent ut astra flebiles,/ coeli recludis cardines.

3 Tu Regis alti ianua,/ et aula lucis fulgida:/ vitam datam per Virginem,/ gentes redemptae, plaudite.

4 Iesu, tibi sit gloria,/ qui natus es de Virgine,/ cum Patre, et almo Spiritu,/ in sempiterna saecula. Amen.

An additional translation is:

O Heaven's glorious mistress,
enthron'd above the starry sky!
thou feedest with thy sacred breast
thy own Creator, Lord most high.

What man had lost in hapless Eve,
thy sacred womb to man restores,
thou to the wretched here beneath
hast open'd Heaven's eternal doors.

Hail, O refulgent Hall of light!
Hail Gate august of Heaven's high King!
through thee redeem'd to endless life,
thy praise let all the nations sing.

To the Father and the Spirit
and to thy Son all glory be,
who with a wonderous garment
of graces encircled thee. Amen.

Editor's Note:

Dr. Julian, in his Dictionary of Hymnology, asserts that the attribution to Venantius Fortunatus is erroneous. See the notes following Quem terra, pontus, aethera.

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