Aeterna Christi Munera

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An Ambrosian hymn written in iambic dimeter. The authorship of this hymn is generally attributed to St. ambrose. The author intended this composition of eight strophes to be used on the feast days of martyrs. In the course of time, however, the hymn was selected for use on the feast days of Apostles also, and this entailed certain changes in the sequence of lines and adaptations especially notable in the first strophe. The first (with adaptations), second, sixth, and seventh strophes, with an added doxology, was traditionally used as the breviary hymn for Matins in the Common of Apostles outside of Easter-tide. In the Common of Martyrs both in and out of Easter time the first (with adaptations), third, fourth, fifth, and eighth strophes was traditionally used for the hymn at Matins. In each case the hymn praises the victory of the Apostles or martyrs and expresses admiration for their constancy in specifically described trials and sufferings.

Bibliography: j. julian, A Dictionary of Hymnology (New York 1957) 2425. a. s. walpole, ed., Early Latin Hymns (Cam-bridge, Eng. 1922) 104108. m. britt, ed., The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal (new ed. New York 1948) 325326. w. bulst, ed., Hymni Latini antiquissimi LXXV (Heidelberg 1956) 52, 185. j. szÖvÉrffy, Die Annalen der latenische Hymnendichtung (Berlin 196465) 5052, 62, 66, 116, 174.

[h. dressler]