Veni redemptor gentium

Representative Text

1 Veni redemtor Gentium
ostende partum virginis;
miretur omne seculum,
talis partus decet Deum.

2 Non ex virili semine,
sed mystico spiramine,
verbum Dei factum est caro,
fructusque ventris floruit.

2 Alvus tumescit virginis,
claustra pudoris permanent,
Vexilla virtutum micant,
versatur in templo Deus.

4 Procedens de thalamo suo,
pudoris aula regia,
geminae Gigas substantiae,
alacris ut currat viam.

5 Egressus ejus a patre,
regressus ejus ad patrem,
excursus usque ad inferos,
recusus ad sedem Dei.

6 Aequalis aeterno patri,
carnis trophaeo accingere,
infirmanostri corporis
virtute firmans perpetim.

7 Praesepe jam fulget tuum,
lumenque nox spirat novum,
quod nulla nox interpolet
fideque jugi luceat.

8 doe patri sit gloria,
ejusque soli filio,
com Spiritu prarcleto,
et nunc et in perpetuum.


Source: Evangelisch-Lutherisches Gesang-Buch: worin die gebräuchlichsten alten Kirchen-Lieder Dr. M. Lutheri und anderer reinen lehrer und zeugen Gottes, zur Befoerderung der wahren ... (2. verm. Aus.) #13

Author: St. Ambrose

Ambrose (b. Treves, Germany, 340; d. Milan, Italy, 397), one of the great Latin church fathers, is remembered best for his preaching, his struggle against the Arian heresy, and his introduction of metrical and antiphonal singing into the Western church. Ambrose was trained in legal studies and distinguished himself in a civic career, becoming a consul in Northern Italy. When the bishop of Milan, an Arian, died in 374, the people demanded that Ambrose, who was not ordained or even baptized, become the bishop. He was promptly baptized and ordained, and he remained bishop of Milan until his death. Ambrose successfully resisted the Arian heresy and the attempts of the Roman emperors to dominate the church. His most famous convert and disciple w… Go to person page >


Veni Redemptor gentium [omnium]. St. Ambrose. [Christmas.] This is one of the twelve hymns assigned to St. Ambrose by the Benedictine editors. It is plainly referred to as the work of St. Ambrose by St. Augustine (Sermo 372), and is definitely cited as his by Pope Celestine, at a Council held at Rome, 430; by Faustus, who in 455 became Bishop of Rhegium (Riez in France), in his Epistola ad Gratum diaconum; by M. A. Cassiodorus (d. 575), in his commentary on the Psalms; and by other early writers.
Celestine and Cassiodorus cite the hymn as beginning “Veni Redemptor gentium"; and this stanza does not appear to be found in any manuscript earlier than the 14th century, and has obtained no currency save in the Cistercian Breviaries. The hymn is found in the Sarum, York, Aberdeen, Mozarabic of 1502, and other Breviaries; generally assigned to Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. But it is not in the Roman Breviary, and can hardly be said to be in use at the present day, a somewhat unfortunate ecclesiastical prudery having set aside this noble composition. It must however be confessed that a strictly literal English version is hardly desirable for modern congregational use. The imagery is partly borrowed from Ps. xix. [Rev. W. A. Shoults, B.D.]

This hymn has been rendered through the German into English, as follows:—
1. Nun komm der Heidenheiland. A full and faithful translation by M. Luther, first published in Eyn Enchiridion, Erfurt, 1524. Translated as:—
Come, Thou Saviour of our race. Omitting st. iv., by W. M. Reynolds, as No. 776 in the American Lutheran General Synod's Collection, 1850.
Other translations are:—
(1) "Now the Saviour comes indeed," by J. C. Jacobi, 1722, p. 1. (2) "Saviour of the Nations, come," as No. 340 in pt. ii., 1743, of the Moravian Hymn Book. (3) “Rejoice, our nature Christ assumes," by J. Gambold (?), as No. 1001 in the Supplement of 1808 to the Moravian Hymn Book, 1801. (4) "Now the Saviour of the heathen," by Miss Fry, 1845, p. 1. (5) "Now comes the world's Redeemer," by J. Anderson, 1846, p. 1. (6) "The time draws nigh, swift fly the years," by Dr. J. Hunt, 1853, p. 25. (7) "Saviour of the heathen, known," by R. Massie, 1854, p. 1, repeated by Dr. Bacon, 1884, p. 16. (8) "Come, Saviour of nations wild," by Dr. G. Macdonald, in the Sunday Magazine, 1867, p. 153, and his Exotics, 1876, p. 39.
ii. Komm Heidenheiland, Lösegeld (sometimes altered to " Komm Himmelsfurst, komm Wunderheld"). [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]

The translations direct from the Latin into English are:—
1. Come, Thou Redeemer of the earth, Come tertify. By J. M. Neale. In the Office Hymn Book, 1889, it begins, "Come, blest Redeemer of the earth."
2. Redeemer of the nations, come, Pure offspring, &c. By Elizabeth Charles, in her Voice of Christian Life in Song, 1858, p. 97.
3. Redeemer of the nations come, Appear from out, &c. By R. F. Littledale, in the People's Hymnal, 1867, with the signature "A. L. P."
4. O come, Redeemer of mankind, appear. By D. T. Morgan.
Other translations are:—
1. Come, Redeemerof the nations. Bishop J. Williams. 1845.
2. Come, Saviour of the earth. I. Williams, in his Thoughts in Past Years. 2nd ed., 1848.
3. Come, blest Redeemer of the earth. W. J. Copeland. 1848.
4. Come, Thou Redeemer of the earth, The Virgin's, &c. W. J. Blew. 1852-55.
5. Redeemer of the nations, come, Appear, Thou Son, &c. J. D. Chambers. 1852 and 1857.
6. Come, high Redeemer, Spotless one. J. W. Hewett. 1859.
7. Come, Saviour, come, to all the earth. H. Kynaston. 1862.
8. 0 Thou Redeemer of our race. Ray Palmer, in Schaff’s Christ in Song. 1869.
9. Redeemer of the world, do Thou draw near. D. T. Morgan. 1871.
10. Redeemer of the nations, come, Display Thy, &c. H. M. Macgill. 1876.
11. Redeemer of the nations, come, Show them a Virgin, &c. R. Thornton in the S. P. C. K. Father's for English Readers. St. Ambrose. 1879.
The "Intende qui regis Israel" form of the text has also been translated by W. J. Blew, in his Church Hymn and Tune Book, 1852-55, as "Shepherd of Israel, Hear Thou our hymn."

--Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



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