Monday, December 16, 2013

the O Antiphons

Dec. 17th- the 24th

The "Late Advent Weekdays" or December 17-24, mark the singing of the Great Advent O Antiphons. These are the antiphons for the Magnificat at Vespers, or Evening Prayer (in the Roman Catholic Church) and Evensong (in the Anglican Church) each day, and mark coming birth of the Messiah. They cover the Advent period known as Octave.

No one is absolutley sure of the exact orgin of the "O Antiphons". There is a reference to them in the early 500's by Boethius a Christian Philosopher, suggesting there presence at that time. However, by the 8th and 9th centuries, the church in Rome and monastic communities throughout western Europe were using them at evening worship services during the season of Advent.

The O Antiphons were originally chanted. They form the basis for the verses of the popular Advent hymn, "O come, O come, Emmanuel" which was translated into English in 1851 by John Mason Neale. It is believed that the present melody is of French origin and was added to the text somewhere in the 12th century. The precise origin of these texts is unknown.

  THE seven "O Antiphons" (also called the "Greater Antiphons" or "Major Antiphons") are prayers that come from the Breviary's Vespers during the Octave before Christmas Eve, a time which is called the "Golden Nights." The week leading up to Christmas EVE.

Each Antiphon begins with "O" and addresses Jesus with a unique title which comes from the prophecies of Isaias and Micheas (Micah), and whose initials, when read backwards, form an acrostic for the Latin "Ero Cras" which means "Tomorrow I come." 

 I have added a scripture from Isiaiah as was the original tradition and a small prayer to each day, followed by the O Antiphon and the refrain. Enjoy... Living Water links to the O Antiphons

for a very cool and in-depth explanation of the Atiphons please check out

Antiphons chanted in latin

for more information on Anicius Boethius go to

a remix of classic living water from an ancient well posts.. enjoy!!!!


Dave Jacobs said...

Nice, nice, nice. What a great reminder of the ancient practices that many today have forgotten, or never knew about in the first place. Well done and Merry, Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Brad Culver said...

Bless ya Dave. We are heirs of a very very rich tradition, much beauty and awe. Thanx Dave. Always enjoy and appreciate your comments, a very blessed Christ-Mass to you and yours as well. Deep peace.