Vexílla Regis

This Passiontide alternatum is designed to accompany the adoration of the Cross for the Good Friday Liturgy.

Vexilla Regis, a hymn to the Holy Cross, which is believed to have been first sung as a processional chant on November 19, 569. It accompanied the translation of a relic of the True Cross from Byzantium to Poitiers, where the Frankish queen, St. Radegunda, had retired and founded the Abbey of the Holy Cross. Venantius Fortunatus, a 39 year-old cleric and Italian “poet in residence”, was inspired to write its eight verses to mark the occasion. In the 10th century the last two verses were replaced before being adopted into the Latin Church’s universal divine office for Passion-tide and the feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross (Sept 14). In the interest of Latin prosody, the hymn was heavily revised in the 17th century but restored to its ancient form at the turn of the 20th century.


Find the score here.

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