Christ is made the sure foundation, #518

# 518 Christ is made the sure foundation

church on rock.jpg

Words: Latin, ca 7th century, translated for Hymns Ancient and Modern by John Mason Neale

Music:  Westminster Abbey

Composer:  Henry Purcell

A favorite hymn since it was first entered the Hymnal in 1871, this text has gained an even greater measure of favor and us in the Episcopal Church since it was matched with the Purcell tune Westminster Abbey in Hymnal Supplement II, 1986.  This text/tune relationship was first introduced to Americans through the broadcast of the marriage ceremony of Princess Margaret of England and Lord Snowden in 1960.  It is now often used as a processional hymn at weddings in Episcopal churches.

One of the oldest Latin hymn texts, it was found in manuscript collection of hymns from the ninth century, but perhaps dates back as early at the sixth century.  The stanzas are actually part of a much longer hymn traditionally associated with the dedication of a church. 

The tune Westminster Abbey is derived from an anthem by the great English composer Henry Purcell. The tune name obviously reflect Purcell’s various associations with the great London church. From 1674-1678, Purcell tuned the organ in the Abbey and later succeeded John Blow as the organist.  On November 25, 1695, his funeral and burial were held there.

Here is a glorious YouTube of the hymn, from an Ecumenical Celebration at, yes, Westminster Abbey, 17 September 2010.   Be sure to watch as well as listen to the end.   Wow.  YOUTUBE