The melody, Victimae Paschali Laudes, has been used for some of the oldest hymn texts.
Hailing from Bangor Abbey, in the North of Ireland, “Sancti venite” was composed in the 7th century and is the oldest known Eucharistic hymn. It was sung for a thousand years before it was first published by Ludovico Antonio Muratori in his Anecdota Latina ex Ambrosianæ Bibliothecæ codicibus.
This new translation of the ancient Latin text was completed by Fr. Adrian Fortescue, for the new Brebeuf Hymnal. Corpus Christi Watershed hails the new hymnal as a Catholic hymn book that “doesn’t mimic or ‘build upon’ Protestant hymnals.”
Jeff Ostrowski, from Corpus Christi Watershed, notes that, “Fortescue’s translation matches the meter of the original, a spectacular feat.”
The melody, VICTIMAE PASCHALI LAUDES, is attributed to 11th-century composer Wipo of Burgundy; however, the exact date when it was penned is unclear.
This tune was also used for “Christ ist erstanden,” quite possibly the oldest German hymn, which originated in the 12th century. Both “Christ ist erstanden” and “Sancti venite” are considered Easter hymns and are most often sung during the Easter season.
Here’s a look a the German “Christ is erstanden”: