The Antiphons

An antiphon (Greek ἀντίφωνον, ἀντί “opposite” + φωνή “voice”) in Christian music is a “responsory” by a congregation. Within Anglican custom, the O Antiphons were traditionally used with the Magnificat at Evening Prayer between 17-23 December. Through these songs Christians down the centuries have prayed for Christ to return. They are complemented by the song O Come All Ye Faithful, traditionally sung at the close of a Christmas Eve church service, which invites all people to adore the Lord.

Each antiphon is one of Christ’s attributes mentioned in Scripture. They are:

The hymn ‘O come, O come, Emmanuel’ (in Latin, Veni Emmanuel) is a lyrical paraphrase of these antiphons. The first letters of the titles taken backwards form a Latin acrostic of “Ero Cras” which translates to “Tomorrow, I will be there”, mirroring the theme of the antiphons.

7 thoughts on “The Antiphons

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