February 24, 2013

The Eternal Gifts of Christ the King / Aeterna Christi Munera

Their Faith in Christ the Lord Prevailed

The Eternal Gifts of Christ the King is a 1851 John Mason Neale (1818-1866) translation of the Ambrosian hymn, Ae­ter­na Christi Mu­nera by St. Ambrose of Milan (340-397). Originally it was sung on Feast Days of Martyrs. In the Roman Breviary it was revised for use during Matins on Feast Days of the Apostles and Evangelists. The Eternal Gifts of Christ the King is set to the 15th century melody, Deo Gratias (Agincourt Carol) attributed to the English composer, John Dunstable (c.1390-1453). It is more commonly associated with the tune, Ae­ter­na Christi Mu­nera. In the Liturgy of the Hours, it is used in the Commons of the Apostles.

Tune: Deo Gratias (Agincourt Carol)

THE ETERNAL GIFTS OF CHRIST THE KING by John Mason Neale, 1851 (Public Domain)

1. The eternal gifts of Christ the King,
The Apostles’ glorious deeds, we sing;
And while due hymns of praise we pay,
Our thankful hearts cast grief away.

2. The Church in these her princes boasts,
These victor chiefs of warriors hosts;
The soldiers of the heavenly hall,
The lights that rose on earth for all.

3. ’Twas thus the yearning faith of saints,
The unconquered hope that never faints,
The love of Christ that knows not shame,
The prince of this world overcame.

4. In these the Father’s glory shone;
In these the will of God the Son;
In these exults the Holy Ghost;
Through these rejoice the heavenly host.

5. Redeemer, hear us of Thy love,
That, with this glorious band above,
Hereafter, of Thine endless grace,
Thy servants also may have place.

Chant: (Verses 1,2,_,_,3,_,_)*


 1. Aeterna Christi munera,
 Apostolorum gloriam,
 Palmas et hymnos debitos
 Laetis canamus mentibus.

2. Ecclesiarum Principes,
Belli triumphales duces
Ccelestis aulae milites,
Et vera mundi lumina.

3. Devota sanctorum fides,
Invicta spes credentium,
Perfecta Christi caritas
Mundi tyrannum content. 

4. In his Paterna gloria,
In his triumphat Filius,
In his voluntas Spiritus,
Coelum repletur gaudio.

5. Patri, simulque Filio,
Tibique sancte Spiritus,
Sicut fuit, sit jugiter
Sseclum per omne gloria.

*The above Latin text is from: ‘Hymns of the Breviary and Missal', Britt (1922). It is unfortunately not an exact match with the video, as sung by Giovanni Vianini.

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