Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Sacris Solemniis And Panis Angelicus. Benediction Hymn Written By Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 1274).

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"Sacris Solemniis"
and "Panis Angelicus".
Available on YouTube 

Sacris Solemniis is a Hymn written by Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) for The Feast of Corpus Christi. The strophe of Sacris Solemniis, that begins with the words "Panis Angelicus" (Bread of Angels), has often been set to music separately from the rest of the Hymn.

Most famously, in 1872, César Franck set this strophe for voice (tenor), harp, cello, and organ, and incorporated it into his Messe à trois voix, Opus 12. The Hymn expresses The Doctrine of Transubstantiation, in which The Bread and Wine are changed into The Body and Blood of Christ.

The phenomenon, whereby the strophe of Sacris Solemniis that begins with the words "Panis Angelicus" is often treated as a separate Hymn, has occurred also with other Hymns that Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote for Corpus Christi: Verbum Supernum Prodiens (the last two strophes begin with "O Salutaris Hostia"), Adoro Te Devote (the strophe beginning with "Pie Pelicane, Jesu Domine"), and Pange Lingua Gloriosi (the last two strophes begin with "Tantum Ergo", in which case the word "Ergo" ["therefore"] makes evident that this part is the continuation of a longer Hymn).


Sacris solemniis
iuncta sint gaudia,
et ex praecordiis
sonent praeconia;
recedant vetera,
nova sint omnia,
corda, voces, et opera.

Noctis recolitur
cena novissima,
qua Christus creditur
agnum et azyma
dedisse fratribus,
iuxta legitima
priscis indulta patribus.

Post agnum typicum,
expletis epulis,
Corpus Dominicum
datum discipulis,
sic totum omnibus,
quod totum singulis,
eius fatemur manibus.

Dedit fragilibus
corporis ferculum,
dedit et tristibus
sanguinis poculum,
dicens: Accipite
quod trado vasculum;
omnes ex eo bibite.

Sic sacrificium
istud instituit,
cuius officium
committi voluit
solis presbyteris,
quibus sic congruit,
ut sumant, et dent ceteris.

Panis angelicus
fit panis hominum;
dat panis caelicus
figuris terminum;
O res mirabilis:
manducat Dominum
pauper, servus et humilis.

Te, trina Deitas
unaque, poscimus:
sic nos tu visita,
sicut te colimus;
per tuas semitas
duc nos quo tendimus,
ad lucem quam inhabitas.


English Translation.

At this our Solemn Feast
let Holy Joys abound,
and from the inmost breast
let songs of praise resound;
let ancient rites depart,
and all be new around,
in every act, and voice, and heart.

Remember we that eve,
when, the Last Supper spread,
Christ, as we all believe,
The Lamb, with leavenless bread,
among His brethren shared,
and thus The Law obeyed,
of all unto their sire declared.

The typic Lamb consumed,
the legal Feast complete,
The Lord unto The Twelve
His Body gave to eat;
the whole to all, no less
the whole to each did mete
with His own hands, as we confess.

He gave them, weak and frail,
His Flesh, their Food to be;
on them, downcast and sad,
His Blood bestowed He:
and thus to them He spake,
"Receive this Cup from Me,
and all of you of this partake.

"So He this Sacrifice
to institute did will,
and charged His priests alone
that office to fulfill:
to them He did confide:
to whom it pertains still
to take, and the rest divide.

Thus, Angels' Bread is made
The Bread of Man, today:
The Living Bread from Heaven
with figures dost away:
O wondrous gift indeed !
the poor and lowly may
upon their Lord and Master feed.

Thee, therefore, we implore,
O Godhead, One in Three,
so may Thou visit us
as we now worship Thee;
and lead us on Thy way,
That we at last may see
the light wherein Thou dwellest aye.


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