Adeste Fideles

"O Come, All Ye Faithful" is one of the most popular English Christmas carols, and this English carol is, in turn, a translation of an 18th century Latin hymn. The Latin carol "Adeste Fideles" circulates widely on the Internet attributed to "J. Reading, 1692", but the Hymns and Carols of Christmas website attributes the hymn to John Francis Wade, circa 1743 (you will also find a MIDI file and sheet music at this site). There is also a Wikipedia article about this carol.

According to this website, John Reading was only one of many authors to whom the hymn was attributed (ranging from St. Bonaventura to Handel!). Recent manuscript studies have established that the hymn was composed inititally composed by John Wade, and that verses were then added subsequently, as noted below. There are many different English translations.

Here are the words of the carol:

Adeste, fideles, laeti triumphantes;
Venite, venite in Bethlehem;
Natum videte Regem angelorum.

Venite adoremus.
Venite adoremus.
Venite adoremus Dominum.

Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine,
gestant puellae viscera.
Deum verum, Genitum non factum.


Cantet nunc "io" Chorus angelorum,
cantet nunc aula caelestium:
"Gloria, gloria in excelsis Deo!"


Ergo qui natus die hodierna,
Iesu, tibi sit gloria,
Patris aeterni Verbum caro factum.


Additional verses composed by Abbé Étienne Jean François Borderies and added in 1822:

En grege relicto, humiles ad cunas
vocati pastores approperant:
et nos ovanti gradu festinemus.


Aeterni Parentis splendorem aeternum
velatum sub carne videbimus:
Deum infantem, pannis involutum.


Pro nobis egenum et faeno cubantem
piis foveamus amplexibus:
sic nos amantem quis non redamaret?


Last verse added in the mid-19th century to celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany:

Stella duce, Magi Christum adorantes
aurum, tus et myrrham dant munera.
Iesu infanti corda praebeamus.


Alternate version. I also happened to have found this alternate version, unattributed, online at this Kealing.org website.

Omnes venite,
Bethlehem adite,
Homines pii, beatissimi,
Regem spectate
Natum angelorum.
Venite et spectate,
Venite et spectate,
Venite et spectate, Dominum
Qui est deorum
Deus, lux astrorum.
Qui autem ortus est a virgine.
Deus est verus,
Genitus, non factus.
Venite …
O iubilate,
Angeli, cantate,
Omnes cantate, caeli incolae.
Et in excelsis
Gloria sit Deo.
Venite …
Te salutamus
Natum et laudamus
lesum hoc mane beatissimo.
Quod dixit Pater
Caro nunc est facta.
Venite …

You can sing along with Luciano Pavarotti:


Anonymous said...

blessed you are among all human.

It´s one of the most marabelous christmas songs

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I have such fond high school memories of singing Christmas carols in Latin. I miss it and often will sing the Latin lyrics in church. For me, it makes a more intimate worship experience. God bless you!

Laura Gibbs said...

Thanks, everybody, for your comments! I am glad you are enjoying the carols and I will make the list even better for next year, thanks to the nice contributions people have sent me this month! :-)

Vanessa Vaile said...

I've been waiting for this one. It's my favorite too - probably because it's the one I already know - once by heart - and brings back memories of nuns, Sisters of the Sacred Heart, in old fashioned black habits teaching it to us in (obligatory) parochial school choir. The upside was getting out of class during Advent to sing at Mass.

Laura Gibbs said...

Adeste Fideles is one of those tunes that so many people know well enough that they can sing along... I rarely miss teaching in the classroom, but this is a time of year when I do miss it - we used to have so much fun singing carols in Latin together! Singing together is definitely better than singing alone! :-)