The O Antiphons: O Adonai

The O Antiphon for the Magnificat at Vespers on December 18:

O Adonai and ruler of the house of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the burning bush and gave him the Law on Sinai: come with an outstretched arm and redeem us.

Healey Willan (1880-1968), professor at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and organist at St. Mary Magdalene Church in the same city, composed a setting of The Great O Antiphons of Advent for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s Concordia Publishing House in 1957.  Here’s Willan’s setting of “O Adonai,” as sung by the choir of Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, British Columbia:

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times didst give the Law
In cloud and majesty and awe.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

-Rick Krueger

(Image: O Adonai by Linda Witte Henke, Te Deum Designs.)


Christopher Dawson Defines the West

I will happily admit, I never understand when folks try to define the West by skin color, skin tone, ethnicity, or some other random accident of life. It’s not about race, it’s about an idea. The West is, ultimately, about human dignity, liberty, and self-sacrifice.

Here’s Dawson on the issue.

“I still profoundly convinced of the importance of the need for the defence of the West, though it is important not to understand the expression in too narrow a political and geographical sense, as is often done.  In my view the West is a cultural tradition like that of Hellenism and one which has an even wider and more universal mission.  Now if in the time of the Persian War not only Ionia and Thebes had ‘medized’ but Athens also, and Sparta had been left to stand alone, as were after Dunkirk, the Spartans would have been justified in saying that they stood for the defense of Hellenism, even though Hellenism was a far wider thing than Sparta and Spartan culture by itself was not to be identified with Hellenic culture.  And if the Scythians or the Acedonians had risen against Xerxes and attacked his rear, and the Lacedemonians could have accepted their alliance with gratitude without feeling that they had ceased to stand for the cause of Hellenism.  One can extend the parallel by recalling that just as the defence of the West is being carried on today by the Americans and the Australians in the Pacific so in the days of the Persian War, Hiero was defending Hellenism against the Etruscans and the Carthaginians in the Western Mediterranean.  These are the Wars of the Gentiles.  But we must surely admit that there were spiritual issues in the struggle between the Persians and the Greeks, and so it is today though the issues for us are not so simple as for the men who fought at Thermopylae and Plataeae.”

Christopher Dawson to Walter Zander, Gerrards Cross, Bucks, 12 May 1942

The O Antiphons: O Wisdom

From Kevin Hildebrand, kantor at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana:

An antiphon is a term we see in worship regularly. An antiphon is a refrain that is sung before (and sometimes after and during) a Psalm or other song, and it’s typically is a Bible verse or a historic liturgical text.

The origin of the O Antiphons is around the eighth century. In larger cities and monasteries, it was customary to have services daily (or several times a day), and in the seven days before Christmas Eve, it became a regular practice to sing the assigned O Antiphon before and after the Magnificat ( “My soul magnifies the Lord.”) at the evening Vespers service.

In the twelfth or thirteenth century, these antiphons were paraphrased into metrical, poetic verses which became the hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”

The initial O Antiphon, for Vespers on December 17:

O Wisdom, proceeding from the mouth of the Most High, pervading and permeating all creation, mightily ordering all things: come and teach us the way of prudence.

For their 2016 debut recording Drop Down, Ye Heavens, the London-based student-formed choir Siglo de Oro commissioned a new set of O Antiphons from various British composers, sung in English and set for choir and saxophone.  Here is Will Todd’s thrilling setting of “O Wisdom”:

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who ord’rest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

— Rick Krueger

(Image: O Sapentia by Linda Witte Henke, Te Deum Designs)





The Fellowship of the Thing is raising funds for SECRETS of BLACKMOOR: The True History of Dungeons & Dragons on Kickstarter!

Volume 1 -The Evolution of Fantasy Role Playing Games (RPG’s)
— Read on

–for the truly nerdy among us (including yours truly), a history of DnD that is not Gygax-centered. I’m eager to see this.

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