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Sancti venite

(translated from the Latin by John Mason Neale, 1851)

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.

"Sancti venite" was composed at Bangor Abbey in the 7th century AD, making it the oldest known Eucharistic hymn. It was carried to Bobbio Abbey and was first published by Ludovico Antonio Muratori in his Anecdota Latina ex Ambrosianæ Bibliothecæ codicibus (1697–98), when he discovered it in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana. According to a legend recorded in An Leabhar Breac ("The Speckled Book," a medieval Irish vellum manuscript containing Middle Irish and Hiberno-Latin writings), the hymn was first sung by angels at St. Seachnall's Church, Dunshaughlin, after Secundinus had reconciled with his uncle Saint Patrick. --Adapted from Wikipedia

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