January 17, 2015

Nunc Dimittis (Canticle of Simeon)

Aert de Gelder (1645-1727)
Painting by Aert de Gelder (1645-1727) - Courtesy of Wikipedia

Nunc Dimitttis is the Canticle of Simeon from Luke 2:29-32.  It takes it's title from the opening line of the Latin Vulgate translation by St. Jerome: "Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine" (Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord).  It has been traditionally sung at the conclusion of daily prayer since the 4th century. In the Roman Breviary it is sung at the end of Compline (Night Prayer). It is accompanied by an antiphon fitting for the liturgical season, such as the commonly sung: "Salva Nos Domine" featured in the following video:

Gregorian Chant

NUNC DIMITTIS (with Salva Nos Domine)

Salva nos domine vigilantes,
custodi nos dormientes;
ut vigilemus cum Christo,
et requiescamus in pace.

Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace:
Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum
Quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum:
Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper,
et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Contemporary English Version


Now dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, in peace, according to Thy word:
For mine own eyes hath seen Thy salvation,
Which Thou hast prepared in the sight of all the peoples,
A light to reveal Thee to the nations and the glory of Thy people Israel.

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