The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Christe Redemptor Omnium

Words from the Sarum Rite, circa 6th century, a traditional hymn for Vespers during the Christmas season,
from Liturgia Horarum.

Music: "Christe Redemptor Omnium," 6th Century.
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / XML
Meter: LM

1. Christe Redemptor omnium,
Ex Patre Patris Unice,
Solus ante principium
Natus ineffabiliter:

2. Tu lumen, Tu splendor Patris,
Tu spes perennis omnium;
Intende quas fundunt preces
Tui per orbem famuli.

3. Salutis auctor, recole1
Quod nostri quondam corporis,
Ex illibatâ Virgine
Nascendo, formam sumpseris.

4. Hoc præsens testatur dies,
Currens per anni circulum;
Quod solus a sede Patris,
Mundi salus adveneris;

5. Hunc cœlum, terra, Hunc mare,
Hunc omne quod in eis est,
Auctorem adventus Tui
Laudat, exultans cantico.

6. Nos quoque qui sancto Tuo
Redempti sumus sanguine;
Ob diem Natalis Tui
Hymnum novum concinimus.

7. Iesu, tibi sit gloria,2
Qui natus es de Virgine,
Cum Patre et Sancto Spiritu,
In sempiterna sæcula. Amen.


1. Or: Memento, salutis Auctor, Return

2. Or: Gloria Tibi, Domine, Return

Sheet Music from Rev. John Mason Neale and Rev. Thomas Helmore, eds., Hymnal Noted, Part I. (London: Novello & Co., 1852), Part II (London: Novello & Co., 1856), #13 (or #33 in the Combined Edition), pp. 37-38.

37.jpg (479206 bytes) 38.jpg (533356 bytes)

Sheet Music from Thomas Helmore, Accompanying Harmonies to the Hymnal Noted. Part I (London: Novello, Ewer and Co., and Masters and Son, 1852), Part II (London: Novello and Co., Joseph Masters and J. T. Hayes, 1858), #13, Christe Redemptor omnium-Neale.

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Sheet Music "Morning Hymn" from J. H. Hopkins, ed., Great Hymns of the Church Compiled by the Late Right Reverend John Freeman Young (New York: James Pott & Company, 1887), #61, p. 94.

"Proper Melody, from the Salisbury Hymnal
Harmonized by Hermann R. Schrœder"


Christe Redemptor is a medieval plainchant, mode 1, a Latin office hymn from the sixth century. The setting in the Lutheran Book of Worship, 1978, is one of the few examples were the tune is proper to the text. This Christmas Vespers hymn was found in the Sarum, York (Salisbury) and Aberdeen Breviaries and also in the Roman Breviary before 1525. Two p[rimary revisions of the text can be found in the Roman Breviary, 1632, Jesu, Redemptor Omnium-Roman, and the Paris Breviary, 1736, Jesu, redemptor omnium-Parisian.

There are many different forms of both text and tune. The translation in the Lutheran Book of Worship by Gilbert Doan is made from the original, and the tune is the one found in the Sarum Breviary.

Compare Jesu, Redemptor Omnium, quem lucis ante originem of the Tridentine Rite (Council of Trent), a modification of both the words and tune of the original by Urban VIII in the 1629. The Council of Trent, the nineteenth ecumenical council, opened at Trent on 13 December, 1545, and closed there on 4 December, 1563. Its main object was the definitive determination of the doctrines of the Church in answer to the heresies of the Protestants; a further object was the execution of a thorough reform of the inner life of the Church by removing the numerous abuses that had developed in it.

A second modification of this hymn is Jesu, redemptor omnium, Summi Parentis unice - from Chandler, 1837; this version is from the Paris Breviary.

On the Internet, there is an interesting discussion titled "URBAN VIII AND THE REVISION OF THE LATIN HYMNAL" by Vincent A. Lenti (copyright, 1994), which discusses the pontificate of Urban VIII, and in particular in his participation in the "revision" of many ancient hymns.

The Tridentine Mass was the Mass used in the Catholic Church for almost 1500 years, until the introduction of the Mass of Pope Paul VI following the Second Vatican Council. It was codified by the Council of Trent in the 16th century. But the Mass itself is far older than that. The Canon, or central part, of the Mass dates back to the time of St Gregory in the sixth century. In 1570, Pope St Pius V — in his Papal Bull Quo Primum — said that priests could use the Tridentine rite forever, "without scruple of conscience or fear of penalty".

John Julian, in his Dictionary of Hymnology (1892, p. 228) observed that there were two adaptations of the hymn Christe, Redemptor Omnium, both with the same first three words: “Jesu, Redemptor Omnium.”

Christe Redemptor omnium [gentium] Ex [De] Patre. [Christmas.] This Ambrosian hymn is sometimes ascribed to St. Ambrose, but is rejected as such by the Benedictine editors of his works. (Paris Ed. 1686-90, tom, iii; Migne, tom. 17.) It is known in three forms. These are, 1. The Original; ii. The Roman Breviary text; iii. and the Paris Breviary text.

i. Original Text.

Christe Redemptor omnium Ex Patre Patris unice. This is found in three mss. of the 11th cent, in the Brit. Mus. (Jul. A. vi f. 32 b; Vesp. D. xii. f. 31; Harl. 2961, f. 227 b), and in the Latin Hys. of the Anglo-Saxon Church, 1851, p. 119, printed from an 11th cent. ms. at Durham. The text in Daniel, i., No. 75, "Christe redemptor gentium, De Patre," is from later authorities. In his vol. iv. p. 145, Daniel gives the earlier renderings from a Rheinau ms. of the 11th cent. The Hymn. Sarisb. 1851, p. 12, gives the text, with readings from various English Uses. [W. A. S.]

Translations in Common Usage :—

1. Jesu, The Father's Only Son, John Mason Neale (Alternate Title: Christ, Redeemer Of All), given in the Hymnal Noted, 1st ed., 1852, No. 13, and continued in later editions. In 1884 it was transferred to the Hymner.

2. O Christ, Redeemer Of Our Race, by Sir H. W. Baker, appeared in the trial copy of the H. A. & M., 1859 ; 1st ed., 1861, and the revised ed., 1875.

3. O Christ, Redeemer of Mankind, by R. F. Littledale, made for and 1st appeared in the People's H, 1867, and signed " F. R."

Translations not in Common Usage :—

1. O Christ, Redeemer Of Us All. Primer. 1604.

2. Christ, Whose Redemption All Doth Free. Primer. 1619.

3. Redeemer of the race of man. W. J. Blew. 1852.

4. O Christ, Redeemer of the World. J. D. Chambers. 1857. [J. J.]

Other Translations:

1. Christ, The Father's Only Son (Adaptation of Neale by Keyte and Parrott, The New Oxford Book of Carols, copyright 1992)

2. O Saviour Of Our Fallen Race, Gilbert E. Doan, Jr., Lutheran Book of Worship, copyright

3. Christe, Redemptor Omnium (Carols for Choirs 3, #12, copyright 1978)

ii. Roman Breviary Text.

Jesu Redemptor Onmium Quem lucis ante originem. This form of the hymn was given in the revised Roman Breviary, 1632, for Vespers and Matins on Christmas Day. The text is in Daniel, i., No. 75: and in Card. Newman's Hymni Ecclesiae, 1838 and 1865. [W. A. S.]

Translations in Common Usage :—

1. Jesu, Redeemer Of The World!, by E. Caswall, 1st pub. in his Lyra Catholica, 1849, p. 48, and again in his Hymns, &c, 1873, p. 26. From this text, with alterations, No. 21 in Chope's Hymnal, 1864; and No. 127 in the Hymnary, are taken. It is also the translation used in several Roman Catholic Hymn Books for schools and missions.

2. Jesu, Redeemer From On High, by W. J. Copeland, in his Hymns for the Week, 1848, p. 58, and as "Jesu, whom nations all adore," in Rorison's Hymns & Anthems, 1851.

3. Lamb, Whose Blood For All Men Streamed, by R. Campbell, in his Hymns & Anthems, 1850; and in Annus Sanctus, 1884.

Translations not in Common Usage :—

1. Jesu, The Ransomer of Man. Primer, 1685.

2. O Christ, The World's Redemption. Primer. 1706.

3. Jesu, the Ransomer of Man. Evening Office, 1710. A cento from Nos. 1 and 2, but partly original, reprinted in 0. Shipley's Annus Sanctus, 1884.

4. Redeemer, Jesus, Life of Man. Bishop Mant. 1837.

5. Jesus, Redeemer, Ere the Light. Very Rev. Provost F. C. Husenbeth. 1840.

6. Jesu, Redeemer of us all. J. R. Beste. 1849.

7. Jesu, Our Soul's Redeeming Lord. Rev. Professor Thomas J. Potter, in the Catholic Psalmist, 1859; and Annus Sanctus, 1884.

8. Jesu, Redeemer of the earth. Bishop Williams. 1845. Also see: Jesu! Redeemer Of The Earth (Translation by "J. W." in Ancient Hymns of Holy Church, 1845)

9. O Jesu, ere all ages known. F. Trappes. 1865.

10. Jesus, Saviour of mankind. J. Wallace. 1874.

    From this text is also taken the hymn in the “Little Office of the Blessed V. Mary," in the Roman Breviary, Memento rerum Conditor. This has been translated by E. Caswall, in his Lyra Catholica, 1849, and Hymns, &c, 1873, as “Remember, O Creator, Lord."

Other Translations

Lamb, Whose Blood For All Men Streamed. Robert Campbell, of Sherrington.

O Thou Whose All Redeeming Might. Fr. Richard Meux Benson (1824-1915), SSJE,  1906

O Jesu, Saviour of Mankind. New English Hymnal, #223, adapted from Fr. Benson (above), copyright 1986

iii. Paris Breviary Text.

Jesu, redemptor omnium Summi Parentis unice. This recast is by Charles Coffin. It was given in his Hymni Sacri, Paris, 1736, and again in the same year in the revised Paris Breviary. The text is in Chandler's Hymns of the P. Church, 1837, No. 43, and in Cardinal Newman's Hymni Ecclesiae, 1838 and 1865.

Translations in Common Usage  :-

1. Christ! Redeemer Of Our Race, by W. Mercer, in his Church Psalter, &c, 1864.

2. O Jesus, Life of ruined man, by R. C. Singleton. Written in 1867, and pub. in his Anglican H. Bk., 1868. In the 2nd ed., 1871, it was revised as O Jesu, Saviour Of Us All.

Translations not in Common Usage :—

1. Jesus, Thou Holy Son of God. J. Chandler. 1837.

2. Jesu, Born The World To Free. I. Williams. 1839.


Translations from Shipley, Annus Sanctus. Vol. 1, Part 1. (1884):

Jesu Redemptor Onmium Quem Lucis.

Revised from Christe redemptor gentium. Ambrosian Vespers Breviary Hymn.

23. Jesu, Our Soul's Redeeming Lord. From the Catholic Psalmist, 1859. Rev. Professor Thomas J. Potter, All Hallows College, Dublin, 1857-1858. 24 - Part One.

29. Lamb, Whose Blood For All Men Streamed. Robert Campbell of Sherrington. 29 - Part Two.

34. Jesus, Redeemer, Ere the Light. From the Vespers Book. Very Rev. Provost F. C. Husenbeth, 1840-1841. 33 - Part Three.

39. Jesu, the Ransomer of Man. Evening Office, 1710. Author unknown. Partly a cento from the Primers of 1685 and 1706, revised and altered, and partly original. 37 - Part Four.

Translations from Shipley, Annus Sanctus. Vol. 1. Appendix (Earlier Versions). (1884):

Christe, Redemptor Omnium.

Ambrosian Vespers Breviary Hymn for Christmas.

Jesu Redemptor Onmium Quem Lucis.

Ambrosian Vespers Breviary Hymn for Christmas. Revised from Christe redemptor gentium.


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