September 30, 2015

The Mount of Olives Witnesseth / In Monte Olivis Consito

Painting by Andrea Mantegna, 1460 - Courtesy of Wikipedia

PROPER OF SAINTS - The Mount of Olives Witnesseth is a translation by Fr. Hugh T. Henry (1862-1946) of In Monte Olivis Consito by Fr. Augustine Thomas Ricchini, OP (1695-1779). In 1757, Fr. Ricchini composed this hymn along with 3 others for the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary. Originally included only in the Dominican Breviary, they were added to the Roman Breviary in 1888. The four hymns are essentially one work: the first 3 hymns are comprised of 5 stanzas each (plus doxology) which correspond to the 15 mysteries of the traditional Rosary. The final hymn: Te Gestientem Gaudiis (the only one in use today) is a recapitulation of the first three hymns. In the Roman Breviary, In Monte Olivis Consito (which has as it's theme: the Sorrowful Mysteries) was traditionally sung at Matins on the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary (Oct. 7). The Mount of Olives Witnesseth can be sung to any hymn tune with metre such as the 7th century Latin hymn: Creator Alme Siderum, as featured in the following video.

Tune: Creator Alme Siderum


1. The Mount of Olives witnesseth
The awful agony of God:
His soul is sorrowful to death,
His sweat of blood bedews the sod.

2. And now the traitor's work is done:
The clamorous crowds around Him surge;
Bound to pillar, God the Son
Quivers beneath the blood-red scourge.

3. Lo! clad in purple soiled and worn,
Meekly the Savior waiteth now
While wretches plait the cruel thorn
To crown with shame His royal brow.

4. Sweating and sighing, faint with loss
Of what hath flowed from life's red fount,
He bears the exceeding heavy Cross
Up the verge of Calvary's mount.

5. Nailed to the wood of ancient curse,
Between two thieves the Sinless One
Still praying for His murderers,
Breathes forth His soul, and all is done!

6. All honor, laud, and glory be,
O Jesu, Virgin-born to Thee;
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete.

IN MONTE OLIVIS CONSITO BY Augustine Thomas Ricchini

1. In monte olivis consito
Redemptor orans procidit,
Maeret, pavescit, deficit,
Sudore manans sanguinis.

2. A proditore traditus
Raptatur in poenas Deus,
Durisque vinctus nexibus,
Flagris cruentis caeditur. 

3. Intexta acutis sentibus,
Corona contumeliae,
Squalenti amictum purpura,
Regem coronat gloriae.

4. Molis crucem ter arduae,
Sudans, anhelans, concidens,
Ad montis usque verticem
Gestare vi compellitur.

5. Confixus atro stipite
Inter scelestos innocens,
Orando pro tortoribus,
Exsanguis efflat spiritum.

6. Iesu, tibi sit gloria,
Qui natus es de Virgine,
Cum Patre, et almo Spiritu,
In sempiterna saecula.

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