The Great O Antiphons
The history of the Great O Antiphons dates back to as early as the third century (1) as an ancient part of our liturgy. Boethius, who was around in the late 5th to early 6th century, makes reference to them (2). The actual existence of the O Antiphons may go back to the earliest days of the Church. They are part of the Vespers Liturgy of Hours during the octave before the Christ Mass (Christmas) which begins on December 17 and goes through the 23rd. One December 24th the vespers are for Christmas Eve.
From Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s (“Fr. Z”) page on the subject:
Here are two more interesting notes about these O Antiphons.
The first is not apparent in English, but it can be seen clearly in the official language of the Roman Catholic Church: Latin. The Latin versions of each of the titles of the Messiah are: Sapientia (Wisdom), Adonai (Lord), Radix (Root), Clavis (Key), Oriens (Dawn), Rex (King), and Emmanuel (Emmanuel). Take the first letters of each of the titles, starting with the last and working back to the first. You spell: EROCRAS or “ero cras… I will be (there) tomorrow”.
The song “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is simply a reworking of the seven O Antiphons. When you sing it, you are joining yourself to a vast throng of Christians stretching back across centuries and spanning the whole of the earth who prayed as all Christians do, “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev 22:20) (3)
Perhaps the “backwards” acrostic can be related to the earlier language of Hebrew, as it is read from right to left?
According to hymology, the English form of the hymn, which most of us know and sing during Advent, comes to us from an Anglican priest who discovered the medieval antiphons, which were chanted in Latin, and he translated them into English in the mid 19th century. The melody is actually taken from a funeral rite and the words “Bone iesu, dulcis cunctis” were used. That funeral rite dates back to the 15th century. It is also possible that the funeral rite borrowed from the Advent rite which had not been recorded/written or perhaps just not discovered yet – which is quite possible since some of what we know of this hymn has come to light as recent as the 1960’s. (4) and (5).
Questions For Catholics Series:
Prompted by his priest, Scott Windsor responds to James Jacob Prasch (Jacob Prasch) who asks “Five Questions For Catholics” or is it “Thirty-Three Questions For Catholics?” Prasch, the chief behind Moriel Ministries, is lashing out against Catholicism and is answered in this seven part series:
Part 1 – Should I Believe Mary or the Vatican?
Part 2 – Questions of “Co-“
Part 3 – Purgatory
Part 4 – The Rock
Part 5 – The Eucharist and John 6
Part 6 – Doctrines of Demons?
Part 7 – Call No Man Father and the Mass
What Catholics Believe Series:
Part 2 – Why Was Luther Wrong? (Continuing on the Sacrament of Penance)
Part 3 – Why Was Luther Wrong? (Eucharist and Indulgences)
Part 4 – Why Was Luther Wrong? (Excommunication)
Part 5 – Why Was Luther Wrong? (The Papacy)
Part 6 – Why Was Luther Wrong? (Church Councils)
Part 7 – Why Was Luther Wrong? (Sin)
Part 8 – Why Was Luther Wrong? (Purgatory)
Part 9 – Why Was Luther Wrong? (Answering Critics)
James Swan, while not really offering any comment of his own in direct response to this series (thus far) has offered links to previously written materials which I will list here too:
Martin Luther and the Bull, Exurge Domini (Hans J. Hillerbrand of Duke University).
How Accurate Was Exurge Domini in Refuting Martin Luther? (A commentary by James Swan on Hillerbrand’s article)
Exurge Domini: An Exercise in Ambiguity From Jimmy Akin (James Swan responds to Jimmy Akin’s article allegedly on the subject).
Identifying Infallible Statements (Jimmy Akin’s article – the link in Swans page is no longer valid, but this one is. A quick read of Akin’s article shows that it is NOT on the subject we’re discussing here. Akin’s article only states that Exurge Domini does not infallibly decide the issue Akin is discussing with a Jehovah’s Witness).
Miracle at Herentals, Belgium (1412ad)
Miracle at Lanciano, Italy (750ad)
- (I am not finding the original post where James challenges the page on my site yet).
- Reformers on Mary (repost of ACTS page for the purpose of discussing/correcting citations. (Swan adds comments to this entry – and I respond in the comments section).
- Scott Windsor Weighs in on Luther and the Immaculate Conception (Swan takes issue with my comments on the Immaculate Conception).
- Luther and the Immaculate Conception (1) (from Scott – responses getting too large and complex for combox replies).
- Luther and the Immaculate Conception: A Response to Scott Windsor (Swan responds).
- Luther and the Immaculate Conception (2) (Second reply to Swan).
- Dave Armstrong Comments on “John Q. Doe’s” Tactics.
- Windsor: My Reflections on Dave’s article.
- TurretinFan: Quick Response to Windsor on Luther and Mary.
- Windsor Responds to TurretinFan
- Swan: Luther and the Immaculate Conception A Response to Scott Windsor (Part 2) (Largely a repeat from earlier, I have responded in the combox there).
- TurretinFan: Follow-up to Windsor
- Windsor: Part Two – Response to TurretinFan
- Swan: Adds a “Part 3” but hasn’t said much more (I have responded in the combox there).
- Swan: Adds “Part 4,” “Part 5,” and “Part 6 – A Conclusion” – but really hasn’t added much to the mix.
- Windsor: “A Quick Response from Scott” (some combox remarks here too)
- Windsor: “Reformers on Mary – Updated” is posted to this blog.
- Steve Hays starts the satire.
- Hays continues his satire here.
- Scott Windsor replies here.
- Hays mutates to “First Church of Rome.”
- Scott replies.
- Mr. Hays moves to attacking modern popes.
- Scott replies.
- Papacy Debate Catholic v. Orthodox (Opening Statement)
- St. Augustine on the Papacy
- Early Church Fathers on the Papacy
- More ECFs on the Papacy (written with Orthodoxy in mind)
- Part 1 – Was the Papacy Established by Christ?
- Part 2 – Was the Papacy Established by Christ?
- Part 3 – On Conciliarism (not really connected to parts 1 and 2)
- Engwer’s response to the above
- Part 4 – ECFs on the Papacy
- Part 5 – ECFs on the Papacy
Series Two Replies to Jason Engwer on St. Augustine and Roman Catholicism (somewhat related to the papacy discussion):
- Part 1 – Engwer on Augustine and Roman Catholicism
- Part 2 – Engwer on Augustine and Roman Catholicism
- Part 3 – Engwer on Augustine and Roman Catholicism
John Bugay and the Donation of Constantine
- Bugay writes the Donation of Constantine is “a complete lie.”
- Windsor responds with an earlier response once given to White and Webster.
- Bugay responds to Windsor’s DoC article.
- Windsor responds to Bugay.
- Bugay responds to Windsor.
- Bugay continues his response.
- Bugay, not finished yet, continues further.
- Responding to Bugay – “Built on Sinking Sand” (Part 1)
- Responding to Bugay – “Built on Sinking Sand” (Part 2)
- Responding to Bugay – Papacy and the Early Church (Part 3)
More to come!