The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

O Wisdom, That Proceedest from the Mouth of the Most High

For Advent

Words: Veni, Veni, Emanuel (the "O" Antiphons),
Authorship Unknown, 8th Century Latin;
Published As A Hymn in Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicarum, 7th Edition, Köln, 1710.

Translator: Dom Prosper Gueranger, OSB, translated from the French by Dom Laurence Shepherd, O.S.B.

Music: "Veni Emmanuel," Based on a 15th Century French Processional,
Arranged by Rev. Thomas Helmore  and harmonized by Rev. S. S. Greatheed in
Hymnal Noted, Part II (London: 1856)

Accompanying Harmonies to the Hymnal Noted-Part II
(London: 1858)
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML
Melody Only: MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML

Meter: 88 88 88

See: Notes on Veni, Veni, Emmanuel

Source: Dom Prosper Gueranger, OSB, The Liturgical Year, Volume 1, Advent (ca. 1841), translated from the French by Dom Laurence Shepherd, O.S.B., ca. 1867.

December 17: O Wisdom, that proceedest from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end mightily, and disposing all things sweetly! come and teach us in the way of prudence.

December 18: O Adonai, and leader of the house of Israel, who appearedst to Moses in the fire of the flaming bush, and gavest him the law on Sinai; come and redeem us by thy outstretched arm.

    Also on December 18, The Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary: O Virgin of Virgins! how shall this be? for never was there one like thee, nor will there ever be. Ye daughters of Jerusalem, why look ye wondering at me? What ye behold, is a divine mystery.

December 19: O Root of Jesse, who standest as the ensign of the people; before whom kings shall not open their lips; to whom the nations shall pray: come and deliver us; tarry now no more.

December 20: O Key of David, and sceptre of the house of Israel! who openest, and no man shutteth: who shuttest, and no man openeth; come, and lead the captive from prison, sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death.

    Also on December 20, The Angel Gabriel: O Gabriel! the messenger of heaven, who camest unto me through the closed doors, and didst announce the Word unto me: Thou shalt conceive and bear a Son, and he shall be called Emmanuel.

December 21: O Orient! splendour of eternal light, and Sun of justice! come and enlighten them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

    Also on December 21, St. Thomas, Apostle: O Thomas Didymus! who didst merit to see Christ; we beseech thee, by most earnest supplication, help us miserable sinners, lest we be condemned with the ungodly, at the coming of the Judge.

December 22: O King of nations, and their desired One, and the corner-stone that makest both one; come and save man whom thou formedst out of slime.

    Also on December 22, The Great Antiphon In Honour Of Christ: O King of peace! that wast born before all ages, come by the golden gate; visit them whom thou hast redeemed, and lead them back to the place whence they fell by sin.

December 23: O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the Expectation and Saviour of the nations! come and save us, O Lord our God!

    Also on December 23, The Great Antiphon To Jerusalem: O Jerusalem! city of the great God: lift up thine eyes round about, and see thy Lord, for he is coming to loose thee from thy chains.



Originally, there were seven “Great O” antiphons. The eighth antiphon, O Virgo virginum, an antiphon to Mary, the mother of Jesus, was added by the liturgiologist Amalarius in the Ninth Century, and is found in the Sarum, York, and Hereford Breviaries, as well as others. See: "Antiphons," John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, 1892, 1907 (Reprinted by Dover in 1957, in two volumes).

According to Professor Albert S. Cook, it is included for the feast of the Expectation of the Virgin, Dec. 18, although The English Hymnal and The Salisbury Antiphony designate it as the reading for Dec. 23. See Albert S. Cook, The Christ of Cynewulf. (Boston: Ginn & Co., 1900). ( ); accessed March 25, 2007.

In Advent, Abbott Prosper Louis Guéranger, O.S.B., explored numerous topics relative to that season, including the seven Great Antiphons (plus translation four "added" antiphons). Advent is volume 1 of the 15-volume The Liturgical Year, begun circa 1841. Translation by Dom Laurence Shepherd, O.S.B., circa 1867. Guéranger's Preface: The Commencement of the Great Antiphons. His commentaries on the individual Antiphons:

Print Page Return Home Page Close Window

If you would like to help support Hymns and Carols of Christmas, please click on the button below and make a donation.

Related Hymns and Carols