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E04596: Hymn in honour of *Caecilia (virgin and martyr of Rome, S00146) composed in Latin in Spain, possibly in the 7th c.

online resource
posted on 2018-01-12, 00:00 authored by mszada
Hymnodia Hispanica, Hymn 98


The hymn for the feast of the virgin Caecilia in the first nine strophes. The following nine strophes tell of her sanctity and piety, her ascetic and devotional practices, and her vow of chastity. Despite the vow, she is forced to marry. The marriage, however, is not consummated because Caecilia's husband has a vision of an angel crowning Caecilia with roses and lilies. The husband is won for the faith, he also converts his brother and they are both martyred. Caecilia later is tortured by fire, and dies after being struck three times by the sword. She is taken to Heaven.

(10) Inde nobis, sacra uirgo, mitte celi munera,
liliorum uel rosarum munus inde proroga,
30 unde ausisti superna ueritatis gaudia.

(11) Liliis corusca in nos castitas prefulgeat,
Punicis rosis uoluntas passionis ferbeat,
criminum mole subacto innobemur gratia.

(12) Ecce aduentum futuri prestolamur iudicis,
35 sustinemus et beata illa lucis gaudia;
non rei tunc puniamur, non crememur ignibus,

(13) Martyrum sed sacrosanctis adgregati cetibus
euadamus, quod timemus, contuentes gloriam
regis almi, ad coronam euocati dexteram,

(14) 40 Vt tuam, Xriste, uidentes seruuli presentiam
gratulemur, gaudeamus, personemus gloriam,
curie celestis arce confobendi in secula.

'(10) From there [i.e. Heaven], o holy virgin, send us Heaven's gifts. From this place in which you have drunk in the superior joys of truth, offer us the gift of roses and lilies.

(11) Let us be brightly chaste just as lilies are, let our will to suffer be of the radiant red of roses. Having overcome the burden of our sins we are renewed by grace.

(12) We expect the coming of the future judge, and we wait for the blessed joys of the light. Let us not be then punished as the guilty ones, and let us not be burned in fires,

(13) But let us, joined with most the holy crowd of martyrs, flee from what we are afraid of looking at the glory of the mild King, called at his right side for a crown,

(14) So that we, Your servants O Christ, who are to be nourished for ever in the fortress of the heavenly court, seeing Your presence may rejoice, exult, and sing Your glory.'

Text: Castro Sánchez 2010, 365-368. Translation and summary: M. Szada.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Caecilia, virgin and martyr of Rome : S00146

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Poems Liturgical texts - Hymns


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Iberian Peninsula

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Osset Osset Osen (castrum) Osser castrum

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Chant and religious singing

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts


The hymn in honour of Caecilia is written in trochaic tetrameter. It is closely related to the mass in honour to saint Caecilia from the Mozarabic Sacramentary (Férotin 1912, 25-29), datable to the 7th c. (EXXXXX). The feast of saint Caecilia was present in the Old Hispanic liturgical calendar already in the 7th c., as a prayer for the feast can be found in the Orationale Visigothicum (the manuscript is from the end of the 7th or the beginning of the 8th c., E05086). On these grounds, Pérez de Urbel (1926: 115) dated this hymn to the 7th c. He also opted for the early date of composition on stylistic grounds. See also Castro Sánchez 2010: 824. Three manuscripts preserve the whole text of the hymn: Psalmi Cantica et Hymni, Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, ms. 10001 from the 9th/11th c.; Emilianensis, Madrid, Biblioteca de la Real Academia de la Historia 30 from the 10th c.; and Psalmi Cantica et Hymni, London, British Library 30851 from the 11th c.


The hymn, along with the mass in honour of Caecilia, is the earliest evidence of the cult of this Roman martyr in the Iberian Peninsula. The authors of these texts were almost certainly acquainted with the Martyrdom of Caecilia (see E02519) which is included in the Spanish Passionary (the manuscript is from the 9th century, Fábrega Grau 1953, 174-175), as they know the story of the angelic vision and the crowns of roses and lilies, and they also say that Caecilia died after being struck three times by the sword. Nevertheless, because the Spanish liturgical texts fail to mention the fourth companion of Caecilia, Maximus (who features in the Martyrdom), some scholars have argued that the Martyrdom was not known in the Iberian Peninsula before the 8th or even 9th century (Fábrega Grau 1953, 174-175; Castro Sánchez 2010, 824). According to the Old Hispanic liturgical books and calendars, the feast was celebrated during Advent. The mention of 'the coming of the future Judge' (in v. 34) is an allusion to this liturgical season.


Editions: Blume, C., Hymnodia Gothica. Die Mozarabischen Hymnen des alt-spanischen Ritus (Analecta Hymnica Medii Aevii 27; Leipzig: O.R. Reisland, 1897). Castro Sánchez, J., Hymnodia hispanica (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 167; Turnhout: Brepols, 2010). Castro Sánchez, J., Hymnodia hispánica (Corpus Christianorum in Translation 19; Turnhout: Brepols, 2014). Spanish translation. Further reading: Fábrega Grau, Á., Pasionario hispánico (Madrid, Barcelona: Atenas A.G., 1953). Férotin, M., Le Liber Mozarabicus sacramentorum et les manuscrits mozarabes (Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1912). Pérez de Urbel, J., "Origen de los himnos mozárabes," Bulletin Hispanique 28 (1926), 5-21, 113-139, 209-245, 305-320.

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