The O Antiphons

During the years I spent in a Benedictine Monastery, I became acquainted with the singing of the O Antiphons during the evening service of Vespers. The O Antiphons are used during that last seven days of Advent during the evening service and begin with the vocative particle “O.” Each antiphon is a name of Christ along with one of his attributes from Scripture

  • 17 December: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
  • 18 December: O Adonai (O Lord)
  • 19 December: O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
  • 20 December: O Clavis David (O Keyof David)
  • 21 December: O Oriens (O Dayspring)
  • 22 December: O Rex Gentium (O Kingof the Nations)
  • 23 December: O Emmanuel (O With Us is God)

Used primarily in the Roman Catholic Church they are also used in many Lutheran churches as well as Anglican and Episcopal Churches. The Book of Common Worship of the Presbyterian Church, USA includes them as a praise litany that can be used during morning and evening prayer. The hymn O come, O come, Emmanuel is a paraphrase of these antiphons.

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