Regina caeli

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Registration of the musical antiphon
Chant notation of the Regina caeli antiphon in simple tone[1]

"Regina caeli" (Ecclesiastical Latin[reˈdʒina ˈtʃeli]; English: Queen of Heaven) is a musical antiphon addressed to the Blessed Virgin Mary that is used in the liturgy of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church during the Easter season, from Easter Sunday until Pentecost. During this season, it is the Marian antiphon that ends Compline (Night Prayer)[2] and it takes the place of the traditional thrice-daily Angelus prayer.

In the past, the spelling "Regina coeli" was sometimes used,[3] but this spelling is no longer found in official liturgical books.


The antiphon itself consists of four lines:

Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia;
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia,
Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia:
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
The Son you merited to bear, alleluia,
Has risen as he said, alleluia.
Pray to God for us, alleluia.[4]

Compline, as revised in 1969 after the Second Vatican Council, ends with the antiphon alone. In the earlier Roman Breviary and in recitation at Angelus time during Eastertide, the following versicle (℣) and response (℟) and the following prayer are added to the antiphon:

℣. Gaude et laetare, Virgo Maria, alleluia.
℟. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.
Deus, qui per resurrectionem Filii tui Domini nostri Iesu Christi, mundum laetificare dignatus es: praesta, quaesumus, ut, per eius Genetricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuae capiamus gaudia vitae. Per Christum, Dominum nostrum.
℟. Amen.

℣. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
℟. For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.
Let us pray.
O God, who have been pleased to gladden the world by the Resurrection of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ, grant, we pray, that through his Mother, the Virgin Mary, we may receive the joys of everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord.
℟. Amen.[5]

A verse translation in metre used in some Anglican churches is usually sung to the hymn tune known as Easter Hymn, "Christ the Lord is Risen Today" (Jesus Christ is risen today) or the hymn tune "Ave Virgo Virginum" (Hail Virgin of virgins):

℣. Joy to thee, O Queen of Heaven. Alleluia!
℟. He whom Thou wast meet to bear. Alleluia!
℣. As He promised hath arisen. Alleluia!
℟. Pour for us to God thy prayer. Alleluia!
℣. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
℟. For the Lord is risen indeed, alleluia.
Let us pray:
O God, who through the resurrection of Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ didst vouchsafe to give joy to the world: grant, we beseech thee, that through His Mother, the Virgin Mary, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord. ℟. Amen.


A 1359 manuscript with the text and plainchant melody

The authorship of the Regina caeli is unknown. It has been traced back to the 12th century and is found in an antiphonary of c. 1200 now in St Peter's Basilica, Rome.[6] In the first half of the 13th century it was in Franciscan use, after compline.[citation needed]

Jacobus de Voragine's thirteenth-century Golden Legend includes a story that, during a procession with an image of the Blessed Virgin that was held to pray for the ending of a pestilence in Rome, angels were heard singing the first three lines of the Regina caeli antiphon, to which Pope Gregory the Great (590−604) thereupon added the fourth, after which he saw atop what in consequence is called the Castel Sant'Angelo a vision of an angel sheathing his sword, thus signifying the cessation of the plague.[7]

Part of the setting by Charles de Courbe

Polyphonic settings[edit]

As well as the plainsong melodies (a simple and an ornate form) associated with it, the Regina caeli has, since the 16th century, often been provided with polyphonic settings.[8] Pierre de Manchicourt's setting was published in 1539.[9] Tomás Luis de Victoria composed a setting for five voices in 1572[10] and another for eight voices in 1576.[11] Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina also composed at least two settings of the antiphon. A setting for four voices by Charles de Courbe dates from 1622,[12] and Lully's motet "Regina coeli, laetare" dates from 1684. 7 Regina caeli, H 16, H 30, H 31, H 32, H.32 a, , H.32 b, H 46, (1670 – 1680) have been composed by Marc-Antoine Charpentier. There are three settings by the young Mozart (K.108, K.127, and K.276), and one by Brahms (Op. 37 #3).[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Regina caeli sung. Youtube. Re-accessed Oct 2021.
  2. ^ "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, p. 18, paragraph 92).
  3. ^ Cf. Rosenstock-Huessy, Eugen; Battles, Ford Lewis (1975). Magna Carta Latina. Argo Books. p. 149. ISBN 9780915138074. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  4. ^ Loyola Press: Regina Caeli. Re-accessed Oct 2021.
  5. ^ Roman Missal, Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary, IV. In Easter Time
  6. ^ Heinz, Andreas (1997). Walter Kasper (ed.). Marianische Antiphonen. Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche (in German). Vol. 6 (3 ed.). Freiburg im Breisgau: Verlag Herder. p. 1358. ISBN 9783451220012. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  7. ^ Jacobus de Voragine (1995). The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints. Vol. 1. Translated by William Granger Ryan. Princeton University Press. p. 174. ISBN 0691001537. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  8. ^ An unidentified polyphonic setting. Youtube. Re-accessed Oct 2021.
  9. ^ Manchicourt, Pierre de. "Regina coeli laetare". IMSLP. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  10. ^ Victoria, Tomás Luis de. "Regina caeli laetare for 5 voices (Victoria, Tomás Luis de) - IMSLP: Free Sheet Music PDF Download". IMSLP. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  11. ^ Victoria, Tomás Luis de. "Regina caeli laetare for 8 voices (Victoria, Tomás Luis de) - IMSLP: Free Sheet Music PDF Download". IMSLP. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  12. ^ Cantiques spirituels nouvellement mis en musique à IIII, V, VI, VIIet VIII parties par le Sr de Courbes, Paris, Pierre Ballard ed. 1622. (F-Pn Rés. Vm7. 273)

External links[edit]