St. Seachnall of Dunshauglin, Bishop
Born c. 375; died 447. Sechnall was sent from Gaul in 439(?) to assist
his uncle, Saint Patrick, in Ireland, together with Auxilius and
Iserninus. He became the first bishop of Dunslaughlin in Meath, and
then auxiliary bishop of Armagh. He wrote several hymns, notably the
alphabetical hymn "Audites, omnes amantes Deum" (the oldest known Latin
hymn written in Ireland) in honour of Patrick and the earliest Latin
hymn in Ireland, and "Sancti, venite, Christi corpus sumite" (Attwater
2, Benedictines, Coulson, Delaney, Husenbeth).
Troparion of St Seachnall
Today we hymn thee, O Hierarch Seachnall,
for as thou in thy piety didst compose the praises of our Father Patrick,
pray to God for us that we may, with true piety, honour our saints.
And in praising this glorious company may we be worthy of
their prayers and the great mercy of Christ our God.
The Communion Hymn of Bangor
"Draw Nigh and Take the Body of the Lord"
Sancti, venite, Christi Corpus sumite
This is a 7th century Latin communion hymn found in the Bangor
Antiphoner, a rare Irish liturgical manuscript. From the Monastery of
Bangor where it was written between 680 and 691 it was carried to
Bobbio, the famous monastery founded on Italian soil by the Irish
missionary Columbanus after he and been driven out of Burgundy by the
reigning powers. It was first published by Muratori in his Anecdota
(1697-98), when he discovered it in the Ambrosian Library in Milan.
An old Irish legend tells of St. Patrick and his nephew Seachnall
hearing angels sing it first during the offertory before the communion,
and adds; "So from that time to the present that hymn is chanted in
Erinn when the body of Christ is received."
As the legend goes, St. Patrick and Sechnall had a terrible argument,
with Sechnall accusing Patrick of preaching charity too little and
Patrick threatening to run over Sechnall with his chariot. After being
reconciled to each other in the graveyard of their church, they suddenly
heard angels within the church singing this hymn.
John Mason Neale translated the Latin text in 1851 and published it in
his Medieval Hymns. Here is his text:
Draw nigh and take the Body of the Lord,
and drink the holy Blood for you outpoured.
Saved by that Body and that precious Blood,
with souls refreshed, we render thanks to God.
Salvation's Giver, Christ, the only Son,
by his dear Cross and Blood the victory won.
Offered was he for greatest and for least,
himself the Victim, and himself the Priest.
Victims were offered by the law of old,
which in a type this heavenly mystery foretold.
He, Ransomer, from death, and Light from shade,
now gives his holy grace his saints to aid;
approach ye then with faithful hearts sincere,
and take the safeguard of salvation here.
He that in this world rules his saints and shields,
to all believers life eternal yields.
With heavenly bread makes them that hunger whole,
gives living waters to the thirsting soul.
Alpha and Omega, to whom shall bow
all nations at the Doom, is with us now.
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Page last updated: 8 November 2008
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