Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Thursday, 4 February 2016

The Three Great New Testament Canticles: The Magnificat; The Benedictus; The Nunc Dimittis.

The Blessed Virgin Mary
is Crowned Queen of Heaven
by Her Beloved Son,

There are three great New Testament Canticles:

The Magnificat
(The Canticle of Mary).
Available on YouTube at

The Magnificat (Latin for: [My Soul] magnifies) — also known as The Song of Mary, The Canticle
of Mary and, in Byzantine Tradition, The Ode of The Theotokos; Greek: Ἡ ᾨδὴ τῆςΘεοτόκου —
is a Canticle frequently sung (or spoken) Liturgically in Christian Church Services. It is one
of the eight most ancient Christian Hymns and perhaps the earliest Marian Hymn. Its name
comes from the first word of the Latin version of The Canticle's Text.

The Text of The Canticle is taken directly from The Gospel of Luke (Luke 1:46-55), where it
is spoken by The Virgin Mary upon the occasion of her Visitation to her cousin Elizabeth.
In the narrative, after Mary greets Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist, the child
moves within Elizabeth's womb. When Elizabeth praises Mary for her Faith, Mary
sings what is now known as The Magnificat, in response.

The Benedictus
(Canticle of Zachary)
Available on YouTube at

The Benedictus (also known as The Song of Zechariah or The Canticle of Zachary), given in The Gospel of Luke 1:68-79, is one of the three Canticles in the opening Chapters of this Gospel, the other two being The "Magnificat" and The "Nunc Dimittis". The Benedictus was The Song of Thanksgiving uttered by Zechariah on the occasion of the Circumcision of his son, John the Baptist.

The Canticle received its name from its first words in Latin (Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel, “Blessed be The Lord God of Israel”).

Zacharias writes down the name of his son,
John the Baptist, before singing The Benedictus.
Artist: Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449–1494).
Date: 1486-1490.
Current location: Tornabuoni Chapel, Florence, Italy.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Nunc Dimittis
(Canticle of Simeon).
Available on YouTube at

The Nunc Dimittis, also known as The Song of Simeon, or The Canticle of Simeon, is a Canticle
from a New Testament Text in The Second Chapter of Luke's Gospel. It is so named after its
"Incipit" [Editor: First few words of the Text] in Latin, meaning '"Now you dismiss . . .
(Luke 2:29–32), often used as the final Hymn in The Religious Service of Compline.

According to the narrative in Luke's Gospel, Simeon was a devout Jew who had been
promised by The Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen The Messiah.
When Mary and Joseph brought The Baby Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem, for the
Ceremony of Consecration of The First-Born Son, Simeon was there, and he took Jesus
into his arms and uttered words rendered variously as follows.

Simeon's Song of Praise
(The Nunc Dimittis)
Artist; Aert de Gelder (1645–1727).
Date: 1700-1710.
The Hague, Netherlands.
Source/Photographer: Unknown.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Latin (Vulgate):
Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace:
Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum
Quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum:
Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.

Now Thou dost dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, according to Thy word in peace;
Because my eyes have seen Thy salvation,
Which Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples:
A light to the revelation of the Gentiles,
and the glory of Thy people Israel.

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