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Victimæ Paschali

Christ the Lord is risen to-day

The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal

  1. Victimæ Paschali
    Laudes immolent Christiani.
  2. Agnus redemit oves:
    Christus innocens Patri
  3. Mors et vita duello
    Conflixere mirando:
    Dux vitæ mortuus,
    Regnat vivus.
  4. Dic nobis, Maria,
    Quid vidisti in via?
    Sepulchrum Christi viventis,
    Et gloriam vidi resurgentis.
  5. Angelicos testes,
    Audarium et vestes.
    Surrexit Christus spes mea:
    Præcedet vos in Galilaeam.
  6. Scimus Christum surrexisse
    A mortuis vere:
    Tu nobis, victor
    Rex, miserere.
    Amen. Alleluja.
  1. Christ the Lord is risen to-day:
    Christians, haste your vows to pay;
    Offer ye your praises meet
    At the Paschal Victim’s feet;
    For the sheep the Lamb hath bled,
    Sinless in the sinner’s stead.
    Christ the Lord is risen on high;
    Now he lives, no more to die.
  2. Christ, the victim undefiled,
    Man to God hath reconciled;
    When in strange and awful strife
    Met together Death and Life;
    Christians, on this happy day
    Haste with joy your vows to pay.
    Christ the Lord is risen on high;
    Now He lives, no more to die.
  3. Say, O wond’ring Mary, say
    What thou sawest on thy way.
    “I beheld, where Christ had lain,
    Empty tomb and Angels twain;
    I beheld the glory bright
    Of the risen Lord of light:
    Christ my hope is risen again;
    Now He lives, and lives to reign.
  4. Christ, who once for sinners bled,
    Now the first-born from the dead,
    Throned in endless might and power,
    Lives and reigns forevermore.
    Hail, eternal hope on high!
    Hail, Thou King of victory!
    Hail, Thou Prince of Life adored!
    Help and save us, gracious Lord.
Author: Ascribed to Wipo, 11th cent. Translation by Jane E. Leeson. There are about twnenty-five translations, three of which are in the Annus Sanctus. Liturgical Use: Sequence in the Mass daily from Easter Sunday to the Saturday following. For the structure, the history, and the development of this species of hymn, read the article on Prose or Sequence, in the Cath. Encycl.. The same work contains a well written article on the Victimæ Paschali. Read also the article on Lamb, Paschal. No hymns occur in the Divine Office during the last three days of Holy Week nor during Easter week.

The beautiful Paschal sequence sings the praises of the risen Christ. For the purpose of treatment it may be divided into two parts. The first part consists of an exhortation to all Christians to offer sacrifices of praise to Christ, the true Paschal Lamb, the Sinless One, who by Him immolation on the Cross reconciles sinners to His Father. Death and Life engage in a most unusual combat; the Prince of Life dies, but by His very death He triumphs and now reigns in glory. The second part is in the form of a dialogue. Mary Magdalene is appealed to as a witness of the Resurrection, and she testifies:—“I saw the sepulcher of the living Christ, the glory of the risen Lord, the witness-angels at the tomb, the napkin and the winding-sheet.” Then in an ecstasy of joy she proclaims to the Apostles: “Christ my hope is risen and He shall go before you into Galilee.“ It concludes with a testimonial of our belief in the Resurrection and with a petition for mercy. The history of the Resurrection is told in John 20; read also the beginning of Matt. 28; Mark 16; Luke 24.

  1. “To the Paschal Victim, let Christians offer the sacrifice of praise.”
  2. “The Lamb hath redeemed the sheep; Christ the Sinless One hath reconciled sinners to His Father.”
  3. “Death and Life contended in a wondrous encounter: the Prince of Life died indeed, but now reigns living.”
  4. “Tell us, Mary, what sawest thou on the way? I saw the sepulcher of the living Christ, I saw the glory of Him that had risen.”
  5. “I saw the angelic witnesses, the napkin and the linen cloths. Christ, my hope, hath risen: He shall go before you into Galilee.”
  6. “We know in truth that Christ hath risen from the dead: Thou, O victorious King, have mercy on us.” Victimæ Paschali: cf. Exodus 12-13. Duello = bello. Conflixerunt, fought, contended. Maria: Mary Magdalene, to whom Our Lord first appeared after His resurrection.
The following is Robert Campbell’s translation of the Victimæ Paschali. Note the striking difference between this translation and Miss Leeson’s translation above. The difference is due to the meter. The two translations illustrate the hurried pace of the trochee and the stately tread of the iambus.