Tag Archives: scripture

O Dawn of the East

The Great Antiphon for December 21



Oriens.jpgO Dawn of the East, brightness of the light eternal, and Sun of Justice: Come, and enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.



O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:  veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.



Zac 6:12; Habakkuk 3:4; Malachi 3:20; Psalm 19:6-7; 107:10; Luke 1:78.


Symbol: rising sun.

O Key of David

The Great Antiphon for December 20


Clavis David.jpgO Key of David, and Scepter of the House of Israel, who opens and no man shuts, who shuts and no man opens: Come, and bring forth the captive from his prison, he who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death.


O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel; qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit:  veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.


Revelation 3:7; Isaiah 22:22; Psalm 107:10. Symbols: key; broken chains.

O Root of Jesse

The Great Antiphon for December 19

Root of Jesse.jpgO Root of Jesse, who stands for an ensign of the people, before whom kings shall keep silence and unto whom the Gentiles shall make supplication: Come to deliver us, and tarry not.



O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem Gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.



Isaiah 11:1-3; 10; 52:15; Habakkuk 2:3.


Symbol: vine or plant in flower, especially a rose.

O Adonai

The Great Antiphon for December 18


Adonai.jpgO Lord and Ruler of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: Come, and redeem us with outstretched arm.


O Adonai, et dux domus Israël, qui Moyse in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.


Isaiah 11:4-5; Exodus 6:13; 3:2, 20:1; Jeremiah 32:21.


Symbols: burning bush, stone tablets.

O Wisdom

The Great Antiphon for December 17


Oil Lamp.jpg

O Wisdom, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: Come, and teach us the way of prudence.


O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.


Ecclesiastes 24:5; Isaiah 11: 2-3; 40:14; Sirach 24:2, 30; Wisdom 8:1.


Symbols: oil lamp, open book.



The importance of the “Great O Antiphons” is twofold:  each one is a title for the Messiah and each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah and other Old Testament Scripture passages foretelling the coming of the Messiah. These ancient texts from sacred Scripture sung as verses before and after the Magnificat at Vespers in the Divine Office. The Great O Antiphons are characteristically “Benedictine” in nature because they flourished in the monastic liturgy with great élan. One can’t think of the Advent observance without thinking of the Great O Antiphons.




About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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