Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sequence and Preface for St. Augustine

One of our readers wrote to me this morning from the Iberian peninsula, where St. Augustine has a lasting presence owing to the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross. In Portugal local sanctoral kalendars feast of St. Augustine has a unique sequence after the alleluia and a preface, which are reproduced below in Latin and English. Happy feast!

Sequence (by Adam of St. Victor):

De profundis tenebrarum 
Mundo lumen exit clarum 
Et scintillat hodie: 
Olim quidem vas erroris, 
Augustinus vas honoris
Datus est Ecclesiae.

Verbo Dei dum obedit, 
Credit errans et accedit 
Ad baptismi gratiam; 
Quam in primis tuebatur, 
Verbis, scriptis exsecratur 
Erroris fallaciam.

Firmans fidem, formans mores, 
Legis sacre perversores 
Verbi necat gladio; 
Obmutescit Fortunatus; 
Cedunt Manes et Donatus 
Tante lucis radio.

Mundus marcens et inanis, 
Et doctrinis doctus vanis 
Per pestem hereticam, 
Multum cepit fructum ferre, 
Dum in fines orbis terre 
Fidem sparsit unicam.

Clericalis vite formam 
Conquadravit juxta normam 
Cetus apostolici: 
Sui quippe nil habebant; 
Tanquam suum dividebant 
In commune clerici.

Sic multorum pro salute 
Diu vivens in virtute 
Bona tandem senectute 
Dormivit cum patribus. 
In extremis nil legavit 
Qui suum nil estimavit, 
Immo totum reputavit 
Commune cum fratribus.

Salve, gemma confessorum, 
Lingua Christi, vox celorum, 
Tuba vite, lux doctorum, 
Presul beatissime;
Qui te patrem venerantur, 
Te doctorem, consequantur 
Vitam in qua gloriantur 
Beatorum anime. Amen. 

English (Digby S. Wrangham):

From the depths of dark obscurest 
Comes forth light, which shines, the purest, 
On the earth to-day from heaven: 
Once a vessel, truth mistrusting, 
Now for honour made, Augustine  
To the Church of God was given.

He, the Word of God obeying, 
Now believes, once from it straying, 
And for grace to baptism comes: 
He those errors, once commended, 
And in youth with words defended, 
Reprobates in written tomes.

Faith confirming, precepts framing, 
Those, against Christ's law declaiming, 
Slays he with the Word's sharp sword: 
Fortunatus' utterance faileth. 
Manes with Donatus quaileth, 
'Neath such radiant light outpoured.

Earth, made void and fast expiring, 
But vain doctrines' lore acquiring, 
Through the pest of heresy, 
To produce much fruit commences, 
As the one Faith he dispenses 
To its furthest boundary.

Rules he made for priestly living; 
As their pattern, to them giving 
The Apostles' company: 
Nought their own these priests computed, 
But whate'er seemed theirs devoted 
To the whole community.

Thus, for many's welfare striving, 
Many years in virtue living. 
At a good old age arriving, 
With his sires he slept at last. 
No bequests he left, when dying, 
Who, its ownership denying, 
Thought his wealth should be supplying 
All with whom his lot was cast.

Hail, Confessors' gem bright burning! 
Tongue of Christ! heaven's voice of warning!  
Trump of life and light of learning! 
Prelate high amongst the blest! 
May those, Father! who revere thee, 
'Neath thy guidance that life near thee 
Gain, where joys the truest cheer thee 
In the Saints' all-glorious rest! Amen.


Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere, Domine, sancte Pater, omnipotens æterne Deus. Quia vas electionis tuæ, et lux doctorum, mellifluus Augustinus, toto terrarum orbe radio miræ claritatis infulsit; et Ecclesiam sanctam Fidei orthodoxæ, vere Augustinus illustravit: destruxit hæreses, errores repulit: hæreticosque prostravit: ac status fidelium universæ christianæ vitæ Augustinus moribus decoravit: clericos docuit: laicos monuit, devios in viam veritatis reduxit: cunctorumque conditionibus salubriter providendo, tuam in hoc mari naviculam Augustinus provide gubernavit. Et ideo cum angelis et archangelis, cum thronis et dominationibus, cumque omni militia cœlestis exercitus, hymnum gloriæ tuæ canimus, sine fine dicentes:


It is truly meet and just, right and wholesome, for us at all times and in all places to give thanks unto thee, Lord, holy Father, almighty everlasting God. For the vessel of thy election, and the light of doctors, the honey-tongued Augustine, shone upon the whole world by reason of the ray of his wonderful glory: and truly did Augustine enlighten the holy Church of the orthodox Faith: destroy heresies, drive away errors: put heretics to flight: and the manner of the whole Christian life of the faithful did Augustine adorn by his example: he taught clerks: he admonished laymen: he brought back wanderers to the way of truth: and by providing in wholesome wise for the necessities of all men, did Augustine carefully pilot thy ship in this [life's] sea. And therefore with angels and archangels, with thrones and dominations, and with every company of the heavenly host, we sing the hymn of thy glory, saying without ceasing:


  1. That I'm aware of, it is no longer used.

  2. Beautiful! Thank you for posting this.

    I wish there were a complete collection of he Pre-Tridentine Sequences. They are wonderful devotional readings.

    1. You can find some here:

  3. The sequence for St. Augustine is still in use within the Augustinian Order (Order of St. Augustine).