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O magnum mysterium

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Nativity Scene by Geertgen tot Sint Jans, c. 1485

General Information

Fourth of the nine responsories for Matins of Christmas Day.

The versicle of the responsory (Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum) is missing from most of the polyphonic settings.

Settings by composers

 

Other settings possibly not included in the manual list above

Text and translations

Full text of the responsory

Latin.png Latin text

O magnum mysterium
et admirabile sacramentum,
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum
jacentem in praesepio.
O beata Virgo, cujus viscera meruerunt
portare Dominum Jesum Christum.
Ave Maria, gratia plena: Dominus tecum.
O beata Virgo, cujus viscera meruerunt
portare Dominum Jesum Christum.
Alleluia!

English.png English translation

O great mystery
and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the new-born Lord
lying in a manger!
O blessed is the Virgin, whose womb
was worthy to bear Christ the Lord.
Hail Mary, full of grace: the Lord is with you.
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb
was worthy to bear Christ the Lord.
Alleluia!

Abbreviated text without the versicle & response

Latin.png Latin text

O magnum mysterium
et admirabile sacramentum,
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum
jacentem in praesepio.
O beata Virgo, cujus viscera meruerunt
portare Dominum Jesum Christum.
Alleluia!

English.png English translation

O great mystery
and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the new-born Lord
lying in a manger!
O blessed is the Virgin, whose womb
was worthy to bear Christ the Lord.
Alleluia!

Different text in the Prima pars of the Palestrina setting

(includes part of the responsory to the third lesson)

Latin.png Latin text

O magnum mysterium
et admirabile sacramentum,
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum
jacentem in praesepio.
Natum vidimus et choros Angelorum
collaudantes Dominum.
Alleluia!

Text of the Morales setting

Latin.png Latin text

O magnum mysterium
et admirabile sacramentum,
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum
jacentem in praesepio.
Beata Virgo, cujus viscera meruerunt
portare Dominum Jesum Christum.
Domine, audivi auditum tuum et timui:
consideravi opera tua, et expavi:
in medio duorum animalium.

English.png English translation

O great mystery
and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the new-born Lord
lying in a manger.
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb
was worthy to bear Jesus Christ the Lord.
Lord, I heard your voice and was afraid;
I considered your works and I trembled:
between two animals.

Other translations

English.png English translation

Translation by Allen H. Simon
O most awesome mystery
and sacrament divine and most wondrous:
that animals should look and see the Lord a babe newborn
beside them in a manger laid.
O how truly blessed is the Virgin whose womb was worthy
to bear and bring forth the Lord Christ Jesus.
Alleluia!

English.png English translation

Translation by Mick Swithinbank
O great mystery
and wonderful sacrament
that animals could see the birth of the Lord
lying in a manger.

Whom did you see, shepherds, say, tell us
who has appeared?
We saw the child new-born and choirs of angels
praising the Lord, alleluia.

Another English translation:
O great mystery, and strange sacrament
As an animal might see the arisen Lord
Cast into a manger
O sacred Virgin, whose womb was worth to carry
the Lord Jesus Christ
Alleluia.

French.png French translation

Ô grand mystère et merveilleux sacrement
Que les animaux voient le Seigneur nouveau-né
reposant dans la crèche.
Ô heureuse Vierge dont les entrailles méritèrent
de porter le Seigneur, Jésus Christ.
Alléluia.

Italian.png Italian translation

Translation by Daniele Ventre
O grande mistero,
E mirabile sacramento,
Che gli animali vedessero il Signore
appena nato giacere nel presepio,
O beata Vergine, il cui grembo meritò
di portare Gesù cristo nostro Signore,
Alleluia!

Spanish.png Spanish translation

Translation by Manuel Espejo (Colombia)
O gran misterio,
y maravilloso sacramento,
Que los animales hayan visto
Al Señor recién nacido
yacer en un pesebre.
Alabada seas, o Virgen,
pues tu vientre mereció llevar
a Jesús Cristo, nuestro Señor,
¡Aleluya!

Korean.png Korean translation

아아 크나큰 신비와
경이로운 성사여
구유에 누워계신 신생의 주를
뭇 짐승이 바라볼지니
아아 복된 처녀여
그 품은 주 예수 그리스도를
수태하기에 합당하였도다
할렐루야

German.png German translation

by luisen-vocalensemble.de
O großes Geheimnis
und wunderbares Heiligtum,
daß Tiere den geborenen Herrn sehen,
in der Krippe liegend.
Selig die Jungfrau,
deren Leib würdig war,
Christus den Herrn zu tragen.

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