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Iam Christus Astra Ascenderat


Office hymn that was historically prescribed for Matins on the feast of Pentecost. It dates from the fourth or fifth century and some ascribe the hymn to St. am brose. Others disagree, however, basing their opinion in part on metrical variations that are unusual in Ambrosian hymns. The hymn, in eight strophes, is a somewhat pedestrian metrical setting of Acts 2.116, describing the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, the miracle of tongues, and St. Peter's response to the charge of drunkenness made by some of the mystified hearers. The meter is iambic dimeter.

Bibliography: Analecta hymnica 2:49; 51:98. j. julian, ed., A Dictionary of Hymnology (New York 1957) 1:576. m. britt, ed., The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal (new ed. New York 1948). j. connelly, Hymns of the Roman Liturgy (Westminster MD 1957) 108109.

[j. p. mccormick]

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