Panis Angelicus

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Panis angelicus (Latin for "Bread of Angels" or "Angelic Bread") is the penultimate strophe of the hymn "Sacris solemniis" written by Saint Thomas Aquinas for the Feast of Corpus Christi as part of a complete liturgy of the feast, including prayers for the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours.

The strophe of "Sacris solemniis" that begins with the words "Panis angelicus" (bread of angels) has often been set to music separately from the rest of the hymn. Most famously, in 1872 César Franck set this strophe for tenor voice, harp, cello, and organ, and incorporated it into his Messe à trois voix, Op. 12.

Other hymns for Corpus Christi by Saint Thomas where sections have been separately set to music are "Verbum supernum prodiens" (the last two strophes begin with "O salutaris Hostia") and "Pange lingua gloriosi" (the last two strophes begin with "Tantum ergo").

Renditions of the setting by Franck[edit]

The 1932 performance of Franck's work by John McCormack in Dublin's Phoenix Park was the highlight of his career. Noteworthy renditions have also been performed by tenors Luciano Pavarotti, José Carreras, Plácido Domingo, and Roberto Alagna, as well as by the sopranos Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Charlotte Church, Jessye Norman, Magda Olivero, and Renata Scotto, and the Italian operatic pop group Il Volo.

The piece was performed by Richard Tucker at the funeral Mass for United States Senator and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy on June 8, 1968, and by Plácido Domingo and Yo-Yo Ma at the funeral mass for Robert's brother, Senator Edward Kennedy on August 29, 2009 – an event televised nationally in the United States.

Text of "Panis angelicus", with doxology[edit]

Panis angelicus
fit panis hominum;
Dat panis cœlicus
figuris terminum:
O res mirabilis!
Manducat Dominum
Pauper, servus et humilis.

Te trina Deitas
unaque poscimus:
Sic nos tu visita,
sicut te colimus;
Per tuas semitas
duc nos quo tendimus,
Ad lucem quam inhabitas.

May the Bread of Angels
Become bread for mankind;
The Bread of Heaven puts
All foreshadowings to an end;
Oh, thing miraculous!
This body of God will nourish
the poor, the servile, and the humble.

Thee God, Three
And One, we beseech;
Do us Thou visit,
As Thee we worship.
By Thy ways,
lead us where we are heading,
to the light Thou inhabitest.

External links[edit]