Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Beyond Salve Regina: The Four Great Seasonal Marian Antiphons

Most traditional Catholics know how to sing Salve Regina. But did you know Salve Regina is only one of a total of four great seasonal Marian antiphons? Alma Redemptoris Mater, Ave Regina Caelorum, and Regina Caeli are the other three.

Each of the four Marian antiphons has a season assigned to it during the liturgical year. Traditional Latin Masses usually end with the appropriate Marian antiphon for the season. In the Divine Office, the Marian antiphon of the season is sung after Vespers and Compline.

Roughly stated, the dates of each Marian antiphon are:
  • Alma Redemptoris Mater (Advent through February 2)
  • Ave Regina Caelorum (February 3 until the Easter Vigil)
  • Regina Coeli (Easter until the Saturday after Pentecost Sunday) 
        Note: Between Easter and Pentecost, the Regina Caeli replaces the Angelus.
  • Salve Regina (Trinity Sunday --which is the Sunday after Pentecost Sunday) until the Saturday before Advent)
Each antiphon has two versions: a simple tone and a solemn (or monastic) tone. In my experience, at the end of a Mass the Marian antiphon is sung in the simple tone. In the Divine Office, the Marian antiphon may be sung in either the simple or the solemn tone.

You can find the chant for the Marian antiphons in the Liber Usualis. Buying a copy of the Liber can be expensive, around $200. But the good news is that you can download a PDF for free from The Church Music Association of America website.

This post has the the music and links to music videos for each of the antiphons.

Latin and English Words to the Antiphons

Alma Redemptoris Mater, quae pervia caeli porta manes et stella maris, succurre cadenti, surgere qui curat, populo: tu quae genuisti, natura mirante, tuum sanctum genitorem, Virgo prius, ac posterius, Gabrielis ab ore sumens illud ave, peccatorum miserere.

Holy mother of our Redeemer, thou gate leading to heaven and star of the sea; help the falling people who seek to rise, thou who, all nature wondering, didst give birth to thy holy Creator. Virgin always, hearing the greeting from Gabriel’s lips, take pity on sinners.

Ave Regina Caelorum, ave domina angelorum: salve radix, salve porta, ex qua mundo lux est orta: Gaude Virgo, gloriosa, super omnes speciosa, vale o valde decora, et pro nobis Christum exora.

Hail, queen of heaven, hail lady of the angels. Hail, root, hail the door through which the Light of the world is risen. Rejoice, glorious Virgin, beautiful above all. Hail, O very fair one, and plead for us to Christ.

Regina Caeli, laetare, alleluia; quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia; resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia; ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia; for He whom thou was chosen to bear, alleluia; has risen as He said, alleluia; pray for us to God, alleluia.

Salve Regina, mater misericordiae, vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra salve. Ad te clamamus, exules filii Evae. Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes, in hac lacrimarum valle. Eia ergo, advocate nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos, ad nos converte. Et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui, nobis post hoc exsilium ostende. O Clemens, o pia, o dulcis virgo Maria.

Hail holy queen, mother of mercy, hail our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn then most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us. And after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, o loving, o sweet Virgin Mary.


Some interesting additional details are in this post.

And this.

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