O Sanctissima

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O Sanctissima, ed. New York 1884

"O Sanctissima" is a Roman Catholic hymn in Latin to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is claimed that the tune of the hymn is Sicilian. The tune is sometimes called "Sicilian Mariners Hymn" or "Mariners Hymn".

O sanctissima, o piissima
dulcis Virgo Maria!
Mater amata, intemerata,
ora, ora pro nobis.

Tu solatium et refugium,
Virgo Mater Maria.
Quidquid optamus, per te speramus,
ora, ora pro nobis.

Ecce debiles, perquam flebiles,
salva nos, o Maria!
Tolle languores, sana dolores,
ora, ora pro nobis.

Virgo, respice, Mater, aspice,
audi nos, o Maria!
Tu medicinam portas divinam,
ora, ora pro nobis.

O most holy, o most loving,
sweet Virgin Mary!
Beloved Mother, undefiled,
pray, pray for us.

You are solace and refuge,
Virgin, Mother Mary.
Whatever we wish, we hope it through you.
Pray, pray for us.

Look, we are weak and deeply deplorable,
save us, o Mary.
Take away our lassitude, heal our pains,
pray, pray for us.

Virgin, look at us, Mother, care for us,
hear us, o Mary!
You bring divine medicine.
Pray, pray for us.

It has also been made into a Christmas carol with English words not relating to the Blessed Virgin Mary, but rather to Jesus himself and his day of birth:

O thou happy, O thou holy
Glorious peace bringing Christmas time
Angel throngs to meet thee
On Thy birth we greet Thee
Hail to Christ, the Son of God, our newborn king

Or, in another English-language rendition:

Oh, how joyfully; Oh, how merrily
Christmas comes with its grace divine
Grace again is beaming
Christ the world redeeming;
Hail, ye Christians,
Hail the joyous Christmas time

Ludwig van Beethoven arranged it as No. 4 in his "Verschiedene Volkslieder" (various folksongs), WoO 157. The German version ("O du fröhliche") is a well-known Christmas carol.

This tune is also used for the hymn "Lord, Dismiss Us With Thy Blessing".[1]

The Latin version is not typically heard at Christmas, but more often sung in Catholic churches on Marian feast days.


  1. ^ "Sicilian Mariners", hymnary.org

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