Catholic CornucopiadCheney

Cœlestis urbs Jerusalem

Thou heavenly, new Jerusalem

The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal

  1. Cœlestis urbs Jerusalem,
    Beata pacis visio,
    Quæ Celsa de viventibus
    Saxis ad astra tolleris,
    Sponsæque ritu cingeris
    Mille Angelorum millibus.
  2. O sorte nupta prospera,
    Dotata Patris gloria,
    Respersa sponsi gratia,
    Regina formosissima,
    Christo jugata Principi,
    Cœli corusca civitas.
  3. Hic margaritis emicant,
    Patentque cunctis ostia:
    Virtute namque prævia
    Mortalis illuc ducitur,
    Amore Christi percitus
    Tormenta quisquis sustinet
  4. Scalpri salubris ictibus,
    Et tunsione plurima,
    Fabri polita malleo
    Hanc saxa molem construunt,
    Aptisque juncta nexibus
    Locantur in fastigio.
  5. Decus Parenti debitum
    Sit usquequaque Altissimo,
    Natoque Patris unico,
    Et inclyto Paraclito,
    Cui laus, potestas, gloria
    Æterna sit per sæcula.
  1. Thou heavenly, new Jerusalem,
    Vision of peace in prophet’s dream!
    With living stones built up on high,
    And rising to yon starry sky;
    In bridal pomp thy form is crowned,
    With thousand thousand Angels round!
  2. O Bride, betrothed in happy hour,
    The Father’s glory is thy dower;
    The Bridegroom’s grace is shed on thee
    Thou Queen all fair eternally;
    To Christ allied, thy Prince adored,
    Bright shining city of the Lord!
  3. Behold with pearls they glittering stand
    Thy peaceful gates to all expand;
    By grace and strength divinely shed
    Each mortal thither may be led;
    Who, kindled by Christ’s love, will dare
    All earthly sufferings now to bear.
  4. By many a salutary stroke,
    By many a weary blow that broke,
    Or polished with a workman’s skill,
    The stones that form that glorious pile,
    They all are fitly framed to lie
    In their appointed place on high.
  5. Fair and well-pleasing in Thy sight,
    Parent most high, enthroned in light,
    And for Thine only Son most meet,
    And Thee, all-glorious Paraclete,
    To whom praise, power, and glory rise
    Forever through the eternal skies.
Author: Unknown, 6th or 7th cent. Meter: Iambic dimeter. Translation by W. J. Irons. There are about thirty translations. Liturgical Use: Hymn for Vespers and Matins. First line of Original Text: Urbs Jerusalem beata, or Urbs beata Jerusalem. The hymn was greatly altered by the revisers under Pope Urban VIII, in 1632. The Original Text, as found in the Benedictine and Dominican Breviaries, with J. M. Neale’s much admired translation of the same is given below. It is interesting to compare the two texts. It will be noticed that the rugged beauty of the Original Text, in trochaic tetrameter, is replaced in the Roman Breviary Text by smooth polished iambics. With reference to the revision, Neale thinks that the grand old hymn “lost half its beauty in the process” (Medieval Hymns, p. 18). This hymn is based on the following passages of the New Testament: I Peter 2, 5; Apoc. 21; Eph. 2, 19-22; Heb. 12, 22.
  1. “Jerusalem, heavenly city, blessed vision of peace, who, built of living stones, art raised aloft to the stars, and like a bride art encircled by countless thousands of Angels.” “The heavenly city, Jerusalem” is the Church Triumphant, the Blessed. In Hebrew, the word Jerusalem means “vision of peace.” The “living stones” are the souls of men.
  2. “O bride dowered with a fortunate dowry, with the glory of the Father, and with the grace of the bridegroom shed over thee; O queen all-beauteous united to Christ the King, O resplendent city of heaven!” Sorte, lot, marriage portion, dowry. The bride is the Church Triumphant, and the bridegroom is Christ, who is the glory of the Father (Heb. 1, 3).
  3. “Thy gates here glitter with pearls and stand open to all; each mortal who follows virtue is drawn thither; each one who, impelled by the love of Christ, endures torments.” Ostia patent, cf. Apoc. 21, 21-25. Tormenta is not restricted to Martyrs only, but refers to anyone who endures trials and tribulations (Acts 14, 21).
  4. “Polished by vigorous blows of the chisel and by countless strokes of the Master’s mallet, these stones raise up this mighty structure, and, bound together with appropriate joints, they are placed aloft in the highest summit.” Fastigium, gable, pediment, summit; here, by synec. the splendid edifice itself. Saxa is the subject of the whole stanza.
  5. “Let due glory be given everywhere to the most high Father, and to the only-begotten Son of the Father, and to the glorious Paraclete; to whom be praise, power, and glory, through everlasting ages.