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E05431: Hymn in honour of *Eulalia (virgin and martyr of Barcelona, S02047) composed in Latin in Spain possibly in the 7th c. (possibly by Quiricius, abbot and bishop of Barcelona c. 650).

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posted on 2018-05-14, 00:00 authored by mszada
Hymnodia Hispanica, Hymn 116


'In honour of Eulalia. For the Vespers.'

The first three strophes exhort the inhabitants of Barcelona to come to the tomb of Eulalia, their fellow-citizen, who suffered martyrdom to proclaim the glory of the cross. Strophes 4 and 5 describe the tortures of Eulalia on the rack (cf. Martyrdom of Eulalia of Barcelona c. 6; Martyrdom of Eulalia of Mérida 11) and her crucifixion (cf. Martyrdom of Eulalia of Barcelona 9; Martyrdom of Eulalia of Mérida 17). In strophe 6 it is said that a dove flew from her mouth (cf. Martyrdom of Eulalia 8; Martyrdom of Eulalia of Mérida 17). Eulalia dies with joy and resides in heaven from where she can soothe the sorrow of the people (strophe 7).

(8) Lucida, felix per orbem, Barcinon adtolleris,
que sinu pignus retentas tam salubre, tam pium,
scilicet tanti habendo corporis consortium.

(9) 25 O beata sponsa Xristi, uirgo clementissima,
suscipe iam singulorum uota uel suspiria
postulans Xristum precatu, quo gementes audiat

(10) Non iniquis seruiamus mente factionibus,
non caro iugum rebellis suabe Xristi rennuat,
30 sed sacri caloris omnes sanctitate fulgeant

(11) Solbe, quod tedet, quod urguet mortis ad perniciem,
pestilens morbus recedat, mucro hostis subruat,
uita sit tranquilla cunctis, sint quieta tempora.

(12) Ciuibus occurre, ciues, et salutem porrige,
35 esto sic patrana nobis in relatu gratie,
sicut es uicina celis ad faborem glorie.

(13) Inter hec admixtus ipse conquirar et Quiricus,
qui tui locum sepulcri regulis monasticis
ad honorem consecrauit sempiterni numinis.

(14) 40 Vt mei post claustra carnis sis memor in etheris
et, minus quod hic peregi, tu ualenter suppleas,
hec tibi perlata uota uel camena consecrans.

'(8) O Barcelona, radiant and happy all over the world, you are distinguished by carrying in your bosom such a salubrious and pious pledge, that is, having such a body as a shared possession.

(9) O blessed virgin of Christ, the most clement virgin, hear prayers and sighs of everyone of us and ask Christ with your prayers to hear our moans.

(10) Let not our minds serve the wicked factions and our rebellious flesh refuse the sweet yoke of Christ. But let us all shine with the sanctity of the holy zeal.

(11) Remove what wearies us, what brings us to the danger of death, let the infectious disease leave us, let the sword of the enemy perish and let all have a quiet life and live in calm times.

(12) O citizen, come with help to your fellow-citizens and bring us salvation, be our patroness in thanksgiving just as you are close to heaven in respect of the favour of glory.

(13) Among these, might I myself, Quiricius, be found, who consecrated the place of your burial with the monastic rule for the honour of the everlasting God.

(14) Remember me in heavens after I will be freed from the carnal bonds, and may you sturdily make good failings in this life by sanctifying these prayers and verses offered to you.'

Text: Castro Sánchez 2010, 431-433. Translation and summary: M. Szada.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Eulalia, virgin and martyr of Barcelona (Spain) : S02047

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Liturgical texts - Hymns Literary - Poems


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Iberian Peninsula

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Barcelona Osset Osset Osen (castrum) Osser castrum

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Service for the Saint

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Ceremonies at burial of a saint

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - abbots Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits Crowds Women


The hymn is written in an elegant trochaic tetrameter. Pérez de Urbel (1926, 135-136) proposed to identify the Quiricius mentioned in v. 37 with the abbot Quiricius who was one of the signatories of the Acts of the Eighth Council of Toledo in 653 and later, as a bishop, the Acts of the Tenth Council of Toledo in 656. Diaz y Diaz (1958, no. 352) doubts this identification and believes that the hymn is of a later date. Szöverffy (1998, 34) also hesitates over the authorship of Quiricius of Barcelona, and says that the meaning of strophe 13 "is open to further interpretations" (Szöverffy accepts those readings that give the verbs in the strophe in the third person instead of the first), but he accepts the dating to the 7th century. Fabrega Grau (1963, 1381-1382), however, not only believes that Quiricius was the author of the hymn, but also of the Martyrdom of Eulalia of Barcelona (E###) and the mass in her honour (E###). This literary and liturgical activity was supposedly linked with the restoration of the cult of Eulalia and the foundation of the monastery at her burial site. See also Castro Sánchez 2010, 830. The hymn is preserved in the following manuscripts: Psalmi Cantica et Hymni, Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, ms. 10001 (9th/11th c.), and Emilianensis, Madrid, Biblioteca de la Real Academia de la Historia 30 (10th c.). Pérez de Urbel's method of dating hymns: Josef Pérez de Urbel's method is based on two preliminary assumptions: a) that the bulk of the Hispanic liturgy was composed in the 7th century, the 'golden age' of the Hispanic Church, and that important intellectual figures of this period (Braulio of Saragossa, Isidore of Seville, Eugenius of Toledo, et al.) participated in its creation; b) that the liturgy was, nevertheless, still developing and changing in the period after the Arab invasion, and therefore, many texts which we find in 9th, 10th, and 11th century liturgical manuscripts might be of more recent date. Some hymns can be dated to the period after 711, for instance if they mention 'hagaric oppression' or if they are in honour of saints whose cult was imported later to Spain (they do not feature in earlier literary and epigraphic evidence, nor are attested in the oldest liturgical book from Hispania, the Orationale Visigothicum). It is more difficult to identify the hymns which are certainly from before 711. To this group Pérez de Urbell usually attributed hymns with a probable attribution to an author from the 7th century (like Braulio of Saragossa or Quiricius of Barcelona), and those which were stylistically close to the poetry of Eugenius of Toledo from the 7th century. Pérez de Urbell then compared two groups of the hymns and noticed the following: a) late hymns contain 'barbarisms' and solecisms, while early ones are written in correct classical Latin; b) late hymns are composed in rhythmic metres, early ones are frequently in the correct classical metres; that, up until the end of the 7th century, people still could compose in e.g. hexameters is confirmed by epigraphical evidence; these metric inscriptions disappear from the 8th century onwards; the 8th and 9th century authors who make attempts at writing in classical (quantitative) metres, always make mistakes; c) some rhythmical poetry could nevertheless be early; d) although both early and late hymns sometimes have rhymes, perfect rhymes occur only in late hymns. In the absence of any certain indications for dating, Pérez de Urbell assumed that a hymn is early if at least two requirements were met: the Latin is 'correct' and there are no perfect rhymes. He also considered early every hymn composed in a quantitative metre.


The present hymn, the Martyrdom, and the mass for the saint's feast, all linked with each other and all probably datable to the 7th century, are the earliest documents of the cult of the virgin martyr Eulalia of Barcelona. Her martyrdom story is very similar to that of her more famous namesake, Eulalia of Mérida (S00407). For this reason, scholars have long discussed whether we have here two cults for the same saint or two cults for two different, though homonymous, saints. The first case was argued by Henri Moretus in 1911. Spanish scholars have supported the latter case, see Garcia Villeda 1920, and later Fábrega Grau 1963 (for further references see Sánchez 2010, 830). For our purposes – the study of the cult of the saints – what is beyond dispute is that Barcelona, by the 7th century, claimed to have its own Eulalia, martyred and buried in the city, and wholly independent of the Eulalia of Mérida, but somehow sharing a name and many details of her martyrdom with her earlier and much more famous namesake.


Edition: 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: Blume C., Die Mozarabischen Hymnen des alt-spanischen Ritus (Leipzig, 1897). Diaz y Diaz, M.C., Códices visigóticos en la monarquía leonesa (León: Centro de Estudios e Investigación "San Isidoro", 1983). Fábrega Grau, Á., Pasionario hispánico (Madrid, Barcelona: Atenas A.G., 1953). Fábrega Grau, Á., "Eulalie de Barcelone," in Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastique, vol. 15 (Paris, 1963), col. 1380-1384. Férotin, M., Le Liber Mozarabicus sacramentorum et les manuscrits mozarabes (Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1912). Garcia Villeda, Z., "La persecución de los primeros cristia nos en España, IV, El problema de las dos Santas Eulalias," Rázon y fe 58 (1920), 166-186. Moretus, H., "Les saintes Eulalies," Revue des questions historiques 89 (1911), 85-119. Norberg, D., An Introduction to the Study of Medieval Latin Versification (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2004). Pérez de Urbel, J., "Origen de los himnos mozárabes," Bulletin Hispanique 28 (1926), 5-21, 113-139, 209-245, 305-320. Pinell, J. M., "Fragmentos de códices del antiguo Rito hispánico," Hispania Sacra 17 (1964), 195-229. Szövérffy, J., Iberian Latin Hymnody: Survey and Problems (Turnhout: Brepols, 1998).

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