Rabanus Maurus (c. 776-856) or Hrabanus Magnentius Maurus, was born of noble parents at Mainz, and educated at Fulda and Tours under Alcuin, who is reputed to have given him the surname, Maurus, after the saint of that name. In 803, he became director of the school at the Benedictine Abbey at Fulda. He was ordained priest in 814, spending the following years in a pilgrimage to Palestine. In 822, he became Abbott at Fulda, retiring in 842. In 847, he became archbishop of Mainz. He died at Winkel on the Rhine, February 4, 856. This distinguished Carolingian poet-theologian wrote extensive biblical commentaries, the Encyclopaedic De Universo, De Institutione Clericorum, and other works which circulated widely during the Middle Ages. Som… Go to person page >
Christe, sanctorum decus angelorum. St. Rabanus Maurus. [St. Michael.] This hymn is in four forms, not counting slight variations of text, as follows:—
i. Original Text.
Christe sanctorum decus angelorum, Auctor humani generisque rector. It is in three manuscripts of the 11th century, in the British Museum (Vesp. D. xii. f. 92; Jul. A. vi. f. 58; Harl. 2961, f. 243), and is also printed from an 11th century manuscript belonging to the Dean and Chapter of Durham in the Latin Hymns of the Anglo-Saxon Church, 1851, p. 110. Of this text there is no translation.
ii. Textus Receptus.
Christe sanctorum decus angelorum, Rector humani generis et auctor. This is given by Daniel, i., No. 188, with various readings, and by Mone, No. 311, also with notes. To these are added in Daniel, iv. p. 165, readings from a manuscript of the 11th century, belonging to the Abbey of Rheinau; and at p. 371 he says, that the hymn is also found in a manuscript of the 9th century in the Town Library of Bern. Translations of this text are:—
1. O Christ, the Glory of the holy angels. W. J. Blew. 1852.
2. Christ, the holy angels' Grace. J. W. Hewett. 1859.
3. Christ, who of holy angels, Honour art. J. D. Chambers, ii. 1866.
iii. Roman Breviary Text.
Christe sanctorum decus angelorum, Gentis humanae Sator et Redemptor, given in the Roman Breviary, 1632, for the Feast of St. Michael, at Lauds. The text is also in Daniel, i., No. 188; Card. Newman's Hymni Ecclesiae, 1838 and 1865; Königsfeld, ii., 134; Bässler, No. 71, &c. In this arrangement, stanza v.:—
"Hinc Dei nostri genitrix Maria
Totus et nobis chorus angelorum
Semper assistant, simul et beata
is changed to—
“Virgo dux pads genetrixquc lucis
Et sacer nobis chorus angelorum
Semper assistat, simul.et micantia
In the translations the full force of this change has been evaded by all with the exception of Caswall.
Translations in common use:—
1. Christ of Thy angel host the Grace, by Bishop Mant, in his Ancient Hymns, 1837, p. 68 (1871, p. 119). Bp. Mant surmounts the difficulty of stanza v. by omitting it altogether. In the Appendix to Hymnal Noted No. 184," stanza ii. of Bp. Mant's translation is omitted, and a modified rendering of stanza v. is added thereto.
2. Christ of the holy angels Light and Gladness, by W. J. Copeland, in his Hymns for the Week, 1848, p. 128. This is repeated in the People's Hymnal, 1867, and others.
Translations not in common use:--
1 . 0 Christ, the Beauty of the angel worlds E. Caswall. 1849.
2. Of holy angels, Christ, Thou art the Glory. F. G. Lee, 2nd ed. 1869.
3. 0 Christ, tbe angels' Joy and Crown. J. Wallace. 1874.
iv. Roman Breviary Appendix. This is given for the Feast of St. Raphael, Oct. 24. It is composed of stanzas i., iii.-v. of the Textus Receptus, with a very slight variation in stanza i. The hymn might be adapted to St. Gabriel with equal facility. It is translation by Caswall, 1849, as, "O Christ, the glory of the angel choirs," and by J. Wallace, 1874, as "O Christ, the angels' Joy and Crown."
[Rev. W. A. Shouts, B.D.]
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
Christe sanctorum decus, p. 229, ii. The ascription to Hrabanus is very doubtful, and it is not in E. L. Dummler's edition of his Carmina, 1884. (See p. 1313, ii.)
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II (1907)