Musicus Online Museum

In tua patientia (plainchant invitatory)

In tua patientia (plainchant invitatory)

A leaf from a fifteenth-century antiphonary shows fragments of two very old chants from distinct liturgies for the virgin-martyr Saint Lucy, who lived between the late third and early fourth century. The red handwriting in the middle of the facing folio indicates the beginning of the new service of Matins, a long liturgy celebrated in the middle of the night. The piece that follows is a musical setting of the text Regem virginum used for a number of virgin saints, including Agnes and Agatha. It is a chant called the invitatory, which always begins Matins and was followed by a recitation of Psalm 94 (“Come let us praise the Lord with joy”). This particular chant that does not concord with most versions of Regem virginum found in continental sources. The recording here, however, is of the chant In tua patientia, the antiphon from the service of Vespers that is shown midstream at the top of the folio and was to be paired with a recitation of Mary’s canticle, the Magnificat. The chant concisely summarizes the figure of Lucy, concerned for the poor, given to Christ, and willing to be martyred. What is missing at the top of the page can be easily reconstructed with reference to the dozens of sources that preserve this melody.

In tua patientia possedisti animam tuam,Lucia sponsa Christi;odisti que in mundo sunt

et coruscas cum angelis

sanguine proprio inimicum vicisti,

With your patience, you have taken hold of your soul,O Lucy, bride of Christ;You have hated the things of this world

and gleam with the angels;

with your very own blood, you have defeated the enemy.


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