Ave Regina caelorum
The Ave Regina caelorum is sung as the concluding antiphon in each of the Hours of the Daily Office during the pre-Lent and Lenten seasons, i.e. from the Feast of the Presentation (2nd February) until Maundy Thursday.
It appears to be of monastic origin but the author is unknown (dating from around the 12th century). Herman Contractus (+1054) is often suggested as the author, for he wrote several popular Marian antiphons around then. This antiphon is one of the traditional concluding antiphons for Compline in use since the 13th century. It is traditionally recited from the Feast of the Purification (Feb. 2) until Wednesday in Holy Week. The traditional collect, which is not a part of the antiphon proper, is also given below. As noted by St. Jerome, the versicle and response originally appeared in the writings of St. Ephrem the Syrian (306-373).
Concede, misericors Deus, fragilitati nostrae praesidium; ut, qui sanctae Dei Genetricis memoriam agimus; intercessionis eius auxilio, a nostris iniquitatibus resurgamus. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Let us pray
Grant, O merciful God, to our weak natures Thy protection, that we who commemorate the holy Mother of God may, by the help of her intercession, arise from our iniquities. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
From the Roman Breviary.
Musical settings at CPDL
Other settings possibly not included in the manual list above
- Benedict Anton Aufschnaiter — Ave Regina
- Franz Bühler — 4 Antiphonae Mariae
- Oliver Hayes — Ave Regina
- Caroline Lesemann-Elliott — Ave Regina caelorum
- Caroline Lesemann-Elliott — Three Advent hymns
- Josef Rheinberger — Carmina sacra - 11 Motetten
Text and translations
The text of this antiphon appears to have remained fairly unchanged since the 12th century, small variants being noted below. Dufay's setting is unique in ending with an Alleluia, which probably stems from the earlier use of the antiphon at the Annunciation.
Ave Regina coelorum,
Hail, O Queen of Heav'n enthron'd,
Salve, reina de los cielos,