“Tower of Ivory, House of Gold”: the Litaniae Lauretanae with Mozart, Zelenka, Heiligenkreuz Abbey and Benedict XVI

Contrary to the name, the “Litany of Loreto” is most likely to have originated in Paris between 1150 and 1200, according to this site. It is a litany of praises and invocations of Mary. The text is not static:

Over time a number of titles for our Lady were removed and added to the Litany. Originally the Litany had fifteen additional titles, such as Our Lady of Humility, Mother of Mercy, Temple of the Spirit, Gate of Redemption, and Queen of Disciples. Recent history has seen the addition of five titles. The last four titles of the Litany which refer to the the Immaculate Conception, the Assumption, the Rosary and Mary as the Queen of Peace are of recent origin. The latest addition, Mother of the Church, was added by John Paul II.

 

It has been set to music a number of times and where better to start with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s version:

 

A stately version by the Czech Baroque composer Zalenka:

Here is a Gregorian Chant version performed by the monks of Heiligenkreuz Abbey in Austria, whose plainchant setting of  :

 

 

Here is the text – in English and Latin. Latin text (with the Greek of Christe eleison reproduced below:\

Kyrie, eleison (Christe, eleison.)
Kyrie, eleison. Christe, audi nos.(Christe, exaudi nos.)
Pater de caelis, Deus, (miserere nobis.)
Fili, Redemptor mundi, Deus, (miserere nobis.)
Spiritus Sancte Deus, (miserere nobis.)
Sancta Trinitas, unus Deus, (miserere nobis.)
Sancta Maria, Ora Pro Nobis (follows each of the following)
Sancta Dei Genetrix,
Sancta Virgo virginum,
Mater Christi,
Mater Ecclesiae,
Mater Divinae gratiae,
Mater purissima,
Mater castissima,
Mater inviolata,
Mater intemerata,
Mater amabilis,
Mater admirabilis,
Mater boni Consilii,
Mater Creatoris,
Mater Salvatoris,
Virgo prudentissima,
Virgo veneranda,
Virgo praedicanda,
Virgo potens,
Virgo clemens,
Virgo fidelis,
Speculum iustitiae,
Sedes sapientiae,
Causa nostrae laetitiae,
Vas spirituale,
Vas honorabile,
Vas insigne devotionis,
Rosa mystica,
Turris Davidica,
Turris eburnea,
Domus aurea,
Foederis arca,
Ianua caeli,
Stella matutina,
Salus infirmorum,
Refugium peccatorum,
Consolatrix afflictorum,
Auxilium Christianorum,
Regina Angelorum,
Regina Patriarcharum,
Regina Prophetarum,
Regina Apostolorum,
Regina Martyrum,
Regina Confessorum,
Regina Virginum,
Regina Sanctorum omnium,
Regina sine labe originali concepta,
Regina in caelum assumpta,
Regina Sanctissimi Rosarii,
Regina familiae,
Regina pacis, ora pro nobis (cease “ora pro nobis)

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, (parce nobis, Domine.)
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, (exaudi nobis, Domine.)
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, (miserere nobis.)

Ora pro nobis, Sancta Dei Genetrix, (Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.)

Oremus. Concede nos famulos tuos, quaesumus, Domine Deus, perpetua mentis et corporis sanitate gaudere: et gloriosa beatae Mariae semper Virginis intercessione, a praesenti liberari tristitia, et aeterna perfrui laetitia. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. (Amen.)

Here’s Pope Benedict XVI reciting the litany (in Latin):

The English text is available here

 

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