The quintessential chant of the Paschal Triduum is, without a doubt, the great hymn of exultant praise, the Exsultet or, more properly, the Praeconium Paschale , that is sung at the beginning of the Great Vigil of Easter. Liturgical scholars date this ancient hymn in praise of the Risen Lord to as early as the 5th century. The ancient Sacramentaries of the Church, or books containing the liturgical texts for the Mass, give witness to its universal presence in the Vigil liturgy by the 7th century. This melismatic elaborate chant is most properly sung by the deacon of the liturgy. If a deacon is not present, or his musical skill may not be up to the task of singing this challenging piece of music, it may be sung by a priest or even a layperson — so important is its sung form in the Vigil liturgy. It would be absolutely abhorrent for it to ever be recited!
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The Exsultet spelled in pre editions of the Roman Missal as Exultet or Easter Proclamation ,  in Latin Praeconium Paschale , is a lengthy sung proclamation delivered before the paschal candle , ideally by a deacon , during the Easter Vigil in the Roman Rite of Mass. In the absence of a deacon, it may be sung by a priest or by a cantor. It is sung after a procession with the paschal candle before the beginning of the Liturgy of the Word. It is also used in Anglican and various Lutheran churches, as well as other Western Christian denominations.
Since the revision of the Holy Week rites, the Roman Missal explicitly gives the title Praeconium to the Exsultet , as it already did implicitly in the formula it provided for blessing the deacon before the chant: ut digne et competenter annunties suum Paschale praeconium.
Outside Rome , use of the paschal candle appears to have been a very ancient tradition in Italy , Gaul , Spain and, perhaps, from the reference by St. Augustine De Civ. Dei, XV, xxii , in Africa. The formula used for the Praeconium was not always the Exsultet , though it is perhaps true to say that this formula has survived, where other contemporary formulae have disappeared.
In the Liber Ordinum , for instance, the formula is of the nature of a benediction, and the Gelasian Sacramentary has the prayer Deus mundi conditor , not found elsewhere, but containing the remarkable "praise of the bee"—possibly a Vergilian reminiscence—which is found with more or less modification in all the texts of the "Praeconium" down to the present.
The regularity of the metrical cursus of the Exsultet would lead us to place the date of its composition perhaps as early as the fifth century, and not later than the seventh. The earliest manuscript in which it appears are those of the three Gallican Sacramentaries: -- the Bobbio Missal 7th century , the Missale Gothicum and the Missale Gallicanum Vetus both of the 8th century.
The earliest manuscript of the Gregorian Sacramentary Vat. As it stands in the liturgy, it may be compared with two other forms, the blessing of palms on Palm Sunday , and the blessing of the baptismal font at the Easter Vigil.
The order is, briefly:. In pre forms of the Roman Rite the deacon or, if there is no deacon, the priest himself, puts off his violet vestments and wears a white or gold dalmatic for the entry into the church with the paschal candle and the singing or recitation of the Exsultet, resuming the violet vestments immediately afterwards.
In the later form, white vestments are worn throughout. The affixing, in the pre form of the Roman Rite, of five grains of incense at the words incensi hujus sacrificium was removed in Pope Pius XII 's revision. The chant is usually an elaborate form of the well-known recitative of the preface. In some uses a long bravura was introduced upon the word accendit , to fill in the pause, which must otherwise occur while, in the pre form of the rite, the deacon is lighting the candle.
In Italy the Praeconium was sung from long strips of parchment, gradually unrolled as the deacon proceeded. These "Exsultet Rolls" were decorated with illuminations and with the portraits of contemporary reigning sovereigns, whose names were mentioned in the course of the "Praeconium". The use of these rolls, as far as is known at present, was confined to Italy. The best examples date from the tenth and eleventh centuries. English text Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven, exult, let Angel ministers of God exult, let the trumpet of salvation sound aloud our mighty King's triumph!
Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her, ablaze with light from her eternal King, let all corners of the earth be glad, knowing an end to gloom and darkness. Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice, arrayed with the lightning of his glory, let this holy building shake with joy, filled with the mighty voices of the peoples. Therefore, dearest friends, standing in the awesome glory of this holy light, invoke with me, I ask you, the mercy of God almighty, that he, who has been pleased to number me, though unworthy, among the Levites, may pour into me his light unshadowed, that I may sing this candle's perfect praises.
Deacon: The Lord be with you. People: And with your spirit. Deacon: Lift up your hearts. People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Deacon: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. People: It is right and just. It is truly right and just, with ardent love of mind and heart and with devoted service of our voice, to acclaim our God invisible, the almighty Father, and Jesus Christ, our Lord, his Son, his Only Begotten. Who for our sake paid Adam's debt to the eternal Father, and, pouring out his own dear Blood, wiped clean the record of our ancient sinfulness. These, then, are the feasts of Passover, in which is slain the Lamb, the one true Lamb, whose Blood anoints the doorposts of believers.
This is the night, when once you led our forebears, Israel's children, from slavery in Egypt and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea. This is the night that with a pillar of fire banished the darkness of sin.
This is the night that even now throughout the world, sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices and from the gloom of sin, leading them to grace and joining them to his holy ones. This is the night when Christ broke the prison-bars of death and rose victorious from the underworld. Our birth would have been no gain, had we not been redeemed. O wonder of your humble care for us! O love, O charity beyond all telling, to ransom a slave you gave away your Son!
O truly necessary sin of Adam, destroyed completely by the Death of Christ! O happy fault that earned for us so great, so glorious a Redeemer! O truly blessed night, worthy alone to know the time and hour when Christ rose from the underworld! This is the night of which it is written: The night shall be as bright as day, dazzling is the night for me, and full of gladness.
The sanctifying power of this night dispels wickedness, washes faults away, restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners, drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty. On this, your night of grace, O holy Father, accept this candle, a solemn offering, the work of bees and of your servants' hands, an evening sacrifice of praise, this gift from your most holy Church.
But now we know the praises of this pillar, which glowing fire ignites for God's honour, a fire into many flames divided, yet never dimmed by sharing of its light, for it is fed by melting wax, drawn out by mother bees to build a torch so precious. O truly blessed night, when things of heaven are wed to those of earth, and divine to the human.
Therefore, O Lord, we pray you that this candle, hallowed to the honour of your name, may persevere undimmed, to overcome the darkness of this night. Receive it as a pleasing fragrance, and let it mingle with the lights of heaven. May this flame be found still burning by the Morning Star: the one Morning Star who never sets, Christ your Son, who, coming back from death's domain, has shed his peaceful light on humanity, and lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Only the head of the Holy Roman Empire could be prayed for with this formula, and the resignation in of the last emperor, Francis II of Austria , the prayer was in practice not used.
The prayer now ended with the immediately preceding petition, for the members of the Church:. In Pope Pius XII added a phrase to the prayer for the members of the Church and definitively removed the prayer for the Holy Roman Emperor, replacing it with a generic prayer for the civil authorities inspired by the prayer for the Emperor:.
This was removed in the revision, but remains in use in the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, ending with the formula:. The paschal candle is placed in its stand. Then the deacon, or other person appointed, standing near the candle, sings or says the Exsultet, as follows the sections in brackets may be omitted :. Rejoice now, heavenly hosts and choirs of angels, and let your trumpets shout Salvation for the victory of our mighty King. Rejoice and sing now, all the round earth, bright with a glorious splendor, for darkness has been vanquished by our eternal King.
Rejoice and be glad now, Mother Church, and let your holy courts, in radiant light, resound with the praises of your people.
All you who stand near this marvelous and holy flame, pray with me to God the Almighty for the grace to sing the worthy praise of this great light; through Jesus Christ his Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Deacon: It is truly right and good, always and everywhere, with our whole heart and mind and voice, to praise you, the invisible, almighty, and eternal God, and your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord; for he is the true Paschal Lamb, who at the feast of the Passover paid for us the debt of Adam's sin, and by his blood delivered your faithful people.
This is the night, when you brought our fathers, the children of Israel, out of bondage in Egypt, and led them through the Red Sea on dry land. This is the night, when all who believe in Christ are delivered from the gloom of sin, and are restored to grace and holiness of life.
This is the night, when Christ broke the bonds of death and hell, and rose victorious from the grave. How wonderful and beyond our knowing, O God, is your mercy and loving-kindness to us, that to redeem a slave, you gave a Son. How holy is this night, when wickedness is put to flight, and sin is washed away.
It restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to those who mourn. It casts out pride and hatred, and brings peace and concord. Holy Father, accept our evening sacrifice, the offering of this candle in your honor. May it shine continually to drive away all darkness. May Christ, the Morning Star who knows no setting, find it ever burning—he who gives his light to all creation, and who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
This version, or a similar translation, may be used in various Lutheran denominations. The version authorized by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and published in Evangelical Lutheran Worship retains the wording about the candle and the bees:. The text of the Easter Proclamation contained in The United Methodist Book of Worship is chanted by a deacon after the procession into the church with the Paschal Candle: . From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Hymn of praise sung in the Christian liturgies of Easter.
The Exultet in Southern Italy. Archived from the original on Retrieved United Methodist Publishing House. Categories : Christian liturgical music Latin-language Christian hymns Latin religious words and phrases Catholic liturgy Lutheran liturgy and worship. Hidden categories: Webarchive template wayback links CS1 maint: archived copy as title Articles with short description. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history.
The Exsultet: The Proclamation of Easter
The Exsultet spelled in pre editions of the Roman Missal as Exultet or Easter Proclamation ,  in Latin Praeconium Paschale , is a lengthy sung proclamation delivered before the paschal candle , ideally by a deacon , during the Easter Vigil in the Roman Rite of Mass. In the absence of a deacon, it may be sung by a priest or by a cantor. It is sung after a procession with the paschal candle before the beginning of the Liturgy of the Word. It is also used in Anglican and various Lutheran churches, as well as other Western Christian denominations. Since the revision of the Holy Week rites, the Roman Missal explicitly gives the title Praeconium to the Exsultet , as it already did implicitly in the formula it provided for blessing the deacon before the chant: ut digne et competenter annunties suum Paschale praeconium. Outside Rome , use of the paschal candle appears to have been a very ancient tradition in Italy , Gaul , Spain and, perhaps, from the reference by St.
Exsultet (Latin Chant)
Read a commentary on the Exsultet by Father Michael J. E xult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven, exult, let Angel ministers of God exult, let the trumpet of salvation sound aloud our mighty King's triumph! Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her, ablaze with light from her eternal King, let all corners of the earth be glad, knowing an end to gloom and darkness. Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice, arrayed with the lightning of his glory, let this holy building shake with joy, filled with the mighty voices of the peoples. Therefore, dearest friends, standing in the awesome glory of this holy light, invoke with me, I ask you, the mercy of God almighty, that he, who has been pleased to number me, though unworthy, among the Levites, may pour into me his light unshadowed, that I may sing this candle's perfect praises. The Lord be with you. And with your spirit.
msgr. Arthur a. holquin, s.t.L.
The final verses from both the Missal and the Missal are given below. Exsultet iam angelica turba caelorum exsultent divina mysteria et pro tanti Regis victoria, tuba insonet salutaris. Let now the heavenly hosts of angels rejoice let the living mysteries be joyfully celebrated: and let a sacred trumpet proclaim the victory of so great a King. Gaudeat et tellus tantis irradiata fulgoribus et, aeterni regis splendore illustrata, totius orbis se sentiat amisisse caliginem. Let the earth also be filled with joy, illuminated with such resplendent rays; and let men know that the darkness which overspread the whole world is chased away by the splendor of our eternal King.