The Great “O” Antiphons of Advent

In the Sarum [Anglican] use, all eight antiphons are used, beginning on December 16 and ending on the 23, leading up to the First Mass of Christmas, the Eve of December 24. In the Roman use, the observance begins on December 17, but only the first seven antiphons are used, and the observance ends, as with the Sarum use, on December 23.

Anglican use – December 16 – O Sapientia – 17 December – Roman use

O Wisdom, which camest out of the mouth of the Most High, and reachest from one end to another, mightily and sweetly ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence.

Anglican use – December 17 – O Adonai – 18 December – Roman use

O Adonai, Leader of the house of Israel, who appearedst in the bush to Moses in a flame of fire, and gavest him the law in Sinai: Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.

Anglican use – December 18 – O Radix Jesse – 19 December – Roman use

O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at whom kings shall stop their mouths, whom the Gentiles shall seek: Come and deliver us, and tarry not.

Anglican use – December 19 – O Clavis David – 20 December – Roman use

O Key of David, Sceptre and the house of Israel; that openest and no man shutteth, and shuttest and no man openeth: Come and bring forth the prisoners out of the prison house.

Anglican use – December 20 – O Oriens – 21 December – Roman use

O Day-spring, Brightness of the Light everlasting, and Sun of righteousness: Come and enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Anglican use – December 21 – O Rex gentium – 22 December – Roman use

O King of Nations and their Desire; the Cornerstone, who makest both one: Come and save mankind, whom thou formedst of clay.

Anglican use – December 22 – O Emmanuel – 23 December – Roman use

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, Desire of all nations and their Salvation: Come and save us, O Lord our God.

Anglican use – December 23 – O Virgo virginum

O Virgin of virgins, how shall this be? For neither before thee was any like thee, nor shall there be after. Daughters of Jerusalem, why marvel ye at me? That which ye behold is a divine mystery.

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