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Sunday 18 December - Benedictus (Philip Moore)

CD Cover

Sung by the choir of Guildford Cathedral, on the album "Now May We Mirthës Make".

The next few days' music will be loosely based on the other O Antiphons - emphasis on 'loosely.' Today's antiphon begins "O Adonai" - the Hebrew word is usually translated as "Lord." The antiphon in full is:

O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.
O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.

The Benedictus is a canticle originating in Luke 1:68-79 where it was proclaimed by Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, at John's birth. It gives thanks for the imminent appearance of a Messiah, to come and redeem God's people. The Roman Catholic Church uses this canticle as part of the service of Lauds, the Church of England in Morning Prayer, and the Lutheran service of Matins may use it.


Blessed be the Lord God of Israel : for he hath visited, and redeemed his people;
And hath raised up a mighty salvation for us : in the house of his servant David;
As he spoke by the mouth of his holy Prophets : which have been since the world began;
That we should be saved from our enemies : and from the hands of all that hate us;
To perform the mercy promised to our forefathers : and to remember his holy Covenant;
To perform the oath which he sware to our forefather Abraham : that he would give us;
That we being delivered out of the hands of our enemies : might serve him without fear;
In holiness and righteousness before him : all the days of our life.
And thou, Child, shalt be called the Prophet of the Highest : for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
To give knowledge of salvation unto his people : for the remission of their sins,
Through the tender mercy of our God : whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us;
To give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death : and to guide our feet into the way of peace.