Medieval chant for Swedish saints

© Ann-Marie Nilsson(2011), Uppsala University, Sweden

The historia for the patron saints of Sweden, Iocundare mater ecclesia (1474),

is one of the latest medieval saints’ offices in Sweden. It was prescribed to be celebrated on the
Sunday after the octave of the visitatio BMV (10-16 July). It seems to have been celebrated in the
central Swedish dioceses, including Åbo (Turku), but not in the southern part of the country. The
chant texts are edited in several publications, e.g. AH 28:42 (p. 115).

Lit.: Sven Helander, Ansgarskulten i Norden. (1989), p. 181-191.

The historia tells a story about the role of the patron saints in the history of mission and
salvation in Sweden. Ansgar, Mary, St. John the Baptist and St. Laurentius are among the
prominent figures. In the sequence for mass are also mentioned Erik, Henrik, Eskil, Botvid,
David, Sigfrid, Helena and Birgitta (Carl-Allan Moberg, Die liturgischen Hymnen I,
1947:304:5). Later on, Birgitta’s daughter Katherina and bishop Brynolf were to be added in
the legend.

The compilator(s) of the historia for the feast of the patron saints of Sweden has
alluded to the saints not only by mentioning their names but also by means of quotations
(both verbal and melodical) from their own historie. Helander (1989) regards this historia as
an important proof of a nationalism established in the chapter of Uppsala (Helander

Poetic and modal structure, see below the chant incipits.

Remarks to variant tables contains general remarks on the notation in the sources and
the comparative tables as well as abbreviations.



The chants

VA1, Iocundare mater ecclesia

VA2, Dum festive causa recolitur

VA3, Gens sueorum quondam erratica

VA4, Hii sunt patres et duces gratie

VA5, Benedictus sit pastor inclitus

VR, Fundans Syon / Credunt alienigene

VH, Lux ecce surgit aurea / dies

VE, O quam mirifico deus

Minv, Festa dies agitur

MA1, Verbo dei dum obedit

MA2, Firmans fidem

MA3, Olim quidem tenebrarum

R1, Dum in fines/Miseratus

R2, Eternus pater voluit/Vidit

R3, Post doctrinam/Ecclesia

MA4, Rex celorum incarnatus

MA5, Dum de syon lex exivit

MA6, Ab extremis aquilonis

R4, Vasti orbis/Fremunt hostes

R5, Hora cene /Ad hoc negocium

R6, Provocatus inimicus/Demonia

MA7, Inter patronos suecie

MA8 Baptista christi previe

MA9, Quos direxit anglia

R7, Rex rogatus/Triumphat dei filius

R8, O preclari/Confessores precelsi

R9, Per tuorum/Beatorum preclara

LA1, Hii sancti quorum hodie

LA2, Ut hos ergo per patronos

LA3, Nos ad sanctorum gloriam

LA4, Excusent apud dominum

LA5, Hos patronos pariter

LH, Iam dies adest celebris / et lux

LE, Triumpho gaudent regio

WE, Qui vos patres venerantur

Poetic and modal structure

All texts are newly composed, rhymed and of similar strophic form within each hour (see
table). No texts are taken from other offices, but in the fifth responsory for the patron saints
there are some quotations from the first responsory for St. Dominic. Even the responsory for
first Vespers has a new text.

The responsories for the patron saints – unlike the antiphons, but similar to the historia for St.
Nicolaus Hermanni –do not follow a modal order of the kind considered regular in late
medieval offices. They are all in modes 1 or 2.

Some chant melodies are taken from earlier Swedish saints’ offices. Some examples are
given in the comparative tables on this website.

Table: modes and poetical structure in the office patronum regni suecie

Mode within square brackets [ ]; rhymes within dots (e.g. .aaaa.). GS = “Goliard strophe”.

VA1[m1](4 + 6 pp) x 4.aaaa.Ps. Laudate pueri
VA2[m2](4 + 6 pp) x 4.bbbb.Ps. Laud. do.
VA3[m3](4 + 6 pp) x 3.ccc.Ps. Lauda anima
VA4[m4](4 + 6 pp) x 3.ddd.Ps. Laud. do
VA5[m5](4 + 6 pp) x 3.eeePs. Lauda ierusalem
VR[m2](8p+8pp) x 4; 8p+8p+8pp.abababab;ccb. 
VE[m1]hexameter(.abcd.)[Cant. Magnificat]
MInv[m1]7pp + 7p x 2.abab.[Ps. Venite]
MA1[m1]8p + 8p + 8p + 7pp.aaab.Ps. Beatus vir
MA2[m2]8p + 8p + 8p + 7pp.aaab.Ps. Quare fremuerunt
MA3[m3]8p + 8p + 8p + 7pp.aaab.Ps. Cum inuocarem
MR1[m1](8p+8pp) x 2 + (8p+7pp) x 2; 8+8+7.ababcdcd;eef. 
MR2[m2]8pp x 6; 7pp + 8pp + 8pp.ababab;aab. 
MR3[m2]8p + 8pp x 3; 8pp x 3.ababab; b¹b¹b¹. 
MA4[m4](8p + 8p + 8pp) x 2.aabaab.Ps. Verba mea
MA5[m5](8p + 8pp) x 2.abab.Ps. Domine do.
MA6[m6T](8p + 8p + 8pp) x 2 .aabaab.Ps. Domine quis
MR4[m1](4p + 6pp) x 3; (4p + 6pp) x 2.aaaaaa; aa. 
MR5[m1](4p + 6pp) x 4; 6pp x 4.aaaa; bbbb. 
MR6[m1]8p+8p+8pp + 8p+8p+7pp; 8pp x 3.aaabba;cca;cca¹. 
MA7[m7](8pp+8pp+7p) x 2.aabccb.Ps. Conserva
MA8[m8]8pp x 4.abcc.Ps. Domini est terra
MA9[m1]7pp + (8pp x 6).aaaabba.Ps. Beati quorum
MR7m1](8p + 8p + 8pp) x 2; 8pp x 3.aabcca;ddb. 
MR8[m1](4p + 6pp) x 4, 6pp; (4p + 6pp) x 2.aaaaa.(b)a(b)a 
MR9s[m1](4p + 6pp) x 3, 12pp; (4p + 6pp) x 2.aaaa.aa. 
LA1[m1]8pp x 4.abab.Ps. Dns r'.
LA2[m2]8p x 4.aabb.Ps. Iubilate
LA3[m3]8pp x 4.aabb.Ps. Deus ds.
LA4[m4]8pp x 4.aabb.Ps. Bened'.
LA5[m5]7pp+6p+7pp+7p [GS].abab.Ps. Laud'.
LE[m6]8pp x 8.abababab.[Cant. Benedictus]
WE[m5](8p + 7pp) x 4.abababab.[Cant. Magnificat]