September 25, 2013

This is the Day Whereon the Lord's True Witness / Iste Confessor

All Through the Ages

This is the Day Whereon the Lord's True Witness is a 1902 translation by Fr. John O'Connor (1870-1952) of the Latin hymn, Iste Confessor (2 versions are shown below). In the Roman Breviary it is sung at Vespers and Matins in the Common of Confessors and Bishops. In 1905, Fr. O'Connor's translation was included in Arundel Hymns (#237, p. 448). I have not been able to identify the tune for This is the Day Whereon the Lord's True Witness that it was originally published with. An alternative tune that it can be sung to is Rouen (see 1st video). In 1903 O'Connor met G. K. Chesterton and the two became life-long friends. O'Connor was instrumental in Chesterton's conversion to the Catholic Church. Chesterton's fictional detective, Father Brown was based upon O'Connor. In 1937, after Chesterton's death, Fr. O'Connor recounted their over 30 years of friendship in his book: Father Brown on Chesterton. For an alternative translation see my post: This is the Feast Day of the Lord's True Witness / Iste Confessor.

Tune: Iste Confessor (Rouen)


1. This is the day whereon the Lord’s true witness,
Whom all the nations lovingly do honour,
Worthy at last was found to wear forever
Glory transcendent.

2. Loving, far–seeing, lowly, modest minded,
So kept he well an even course unstained,
Ever while in his frame of manhood lingered
Life’s fitful breathings.

3. Oft hath it been thro’ his sublime deserving
Poor human bodies, howsoever stricken,
Broke and cast off the bondage of their sickness,
Healed Divinely.

4. Wherefore to him we raise the solemn chorus,
Chanting his praise and his surpassing triumph;
So may his pleading help us in the battle
All through the ages.

5. Healing and power, grace and beauteous honour
Always be His, who shining in the highest,
Ruleth and keepeth all the world’s vast order,
One God three Persons.

 Gregorian Chant


1. Iste Confessor Domini colentes
Quem pie laudant populi per orbem:
Hac die laetus meruit beatas
Laudis honores.

2. Qui pius, prudens, humilis, pudicus,
Sobriam duxit sine labe vitam.
Donec humanos animavit aurae
Spiritus artus.

3. Cujus ob praestans meritum frequenter,
Ægra quae passim jacuere membra,
Viribus morbi domitis, saluti

4. Noster hinc illi chorus obsequentem
Concinit laudem, celebresque palmas;
Ut piis ejus precibus juvemur
Omne per ævum.

5. Sit salus illi, decus, atque virtus,
Qui super cæli solio coruscans,
Totius mundi seriem gubernat,
Trinus et unus. Amen


1. Iste confessor Domini sacratus
Festa plebs cuius celebrat per orbem,
Hodie letus meruit secreta,
Scandere Cœli.

2. Qui pius, prudens, humilis, pudicus,
Sobrius, castus fuit et quietus
Vita, dum presens vegetavit ejus
Corporis artus.

3. Ad sacrum cuius tumulum frequenter,
Membra languentem modo sanitati,
Quo libet morbo fuerint gravata,

4. Unde nunc noster chorus in honorem
Ipsius hymnum canit nunc libenter,
Ut piis ejus meritis juvemur
Omne per aevum.

 5. Sit salus illi decus atque virtus,
Qui supra cœli residens cacumen,
Totius mundi machinam gubernat,
Trinus et unus.


  1. In the September 25, 2013 ,post you meant to write, "...the two became lifelong FRIENDS".
    Thank you so much for this site! I wonder, though why so many hymns on the site Universalis are not represented here. I rarely know the hymns they give for the Divine Office and love when I can click over to your site to hear the tunes.

  2. - Thanks for spotting that. I have corrected the spelling mistake.

    - Universalis is based in the UK. Not sure, but they may be drawing upon the UK edition of the Divine Office which has different hymn selections from the version used in other countries such as the US and Canada. I am currently working my way through those hymns on the blog. They can be found here:

  3. The picture, appropriately placed in this song as a Bishop, is St. Willibrord (658-739). That statue stands outside of the Basilica that bears his name and contains his relics. It is located in Echternach, Luxembourg.


Your comments are welcome, but they won't be published immediately. I moderate them first, just to weed out spam etc.

- Thanks