The Royal Banner forward goes,
Vexilla Regis.jpgThe mystic Cross refulgent glows:
Where He, in Flesh, flesh who made,
Upon the Tree of pain is laid.

 

Behold! The nails with anguish fierce,
His outstretched arms and vitals pierce:
Here our redemption to obtain,
The Mighty Sacrifice is slain.

 

Here the fell spear his wounded side
With ruthless onset opened wide:
To wash us in that cleansing flood,
Thence mingled Water flowed, and Blood.

 

Fulfilled is all that David told
In true prophetic song, of old:
Unto the nations, lo! saith he,
Our God hath reignèd from the Tree.

 

O Tree! In radiant beauty bright!
With regal purple meetly dight!
Thou chosen stem! divinely graced,
Which hath those Holy Limbs embraced!

 

How blest thine arms, beyond compare,
Which Earth’s Eternal Ransom bare!
That Balance where His Body laid,
The spoil of vanquished Hell outweighed.

 

O Cross! all hail! sole hope, abide
With us now in this Passion-tide:
New grace in pious hearts implant,
And pardon to the guilty grant!

 

Hail wondrous Altar! Victim hail!
Thy Glorious Passion shall avail!
Where death Life’s very Self endured,
Yet life by that same Death secured.

 

Thee, mighty Trinity! One God!
Let every living creature laud;
Whom by the Cross Thou dost deliver,
O guide and govern now and ever! Amen.

 

Translation from “The Psalter of Sarum”: London 1852.

 

Tonight we sang this hymn, in translation of course. The hymn “Vexilla Regis” was composed by Saint Venantius Fortunatus (530-609) and considered by many to be one of the greatest of the sacred Liturgy. “Vexilla Regis” was composed for the reception of a Relic of the True Cross by Queen Radegunda for her monastery church at near Poitiers, France. A processional hymn “Vexilla Regis” is sung when the Blessed Sacrament is taken from the repository to the altar on Good Friday. It is the proper Vespers hymn sung from Passion Sunday to Holy Thursday and on the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. The Church sings it at Vespers from the First Vespers of the 5th Sunday of Lent until the Wednesday of Holy Week.