Ave Regina caelorum
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Virgo by Josef Moroder-Lusenberg
"Ave Regina caelorum" is one of the Marian antiphons said or sung in the Liturgy of the Hours at the close of compline. In the Roman Breviary as revised by Pope Pius V in 1569 it was assigned for this use from compline of 2 February until compline of Wednesday of Holy Week. Since the revision of the Liturgy of the Hours in 1969, the only Marian antiphon for whose use a fixed period is laid down is the Easter season antiphon Regina caeli.
Like the other Marian antiphons, Ave Regina caelorum has been set to polyphonic music by composers such as Leonel Power (d. 1445), Guillaume Du Fay (d. 1474), Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611), Marc-Antoine Charpentier, 3 settings, H 22, H 19, H 45 and Joseph Haydn (1732-1809).
The prayer, whose author is unknown, is found in manuscripts from the twelfth century onward.
The antiphon itself consists of two stanzas, each of four lines:
Ave, Regina caelorum,
Hail, O Queen of Heaven enthroned.
Hail, O Queen of Heaven.
Compline, as revised in 1969 after the Second Vatican Council, ends with the antiphon alone. In the earlier Roman Breviary the following versicle (℣) and response (℟) and the following prayer are added to the antiphon:
℣. Dignare me laudare te, Virgo sacrata.
℣. Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O sacred Virgin.
℣. Allow me to praise thee, O sacred Virgin.
- "Finally one of the antiphons of the Blessed Virgin Mary is said. In Eastertide this is always the Regina caeli" (General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, 92).
- Hugh Henry, "Ave Regina" in Catholic Encyclopedia (New York 1907)
- Ruth Steiner, "Ave Regina caelorum" in New Catholic Encyclopedia
- Gregory DiPippo, "Ave Regina Caelorum"
- M. Jean Frisk, "Antiphons" (University of Dayton)
- Cori Spezzati: Volume 2: An Anthology of Sacred Polychoral Music by Anthony F. Carver 2009 ISBN 0-521-10635-4 page 121
- Choral Repertoire by Dennis Shrock 2009 ISBN 0-19-532778-0 page 585
- Romain Kito, Prayers to the Virgin Mary (LunaBulle 2013)