The Twelve Apostles

A hymn to sing along with…

(part of a set of hymns about the Twelve Apostles)

In this collection we have some hymns written in praise of some of the Apostles, either individually or paired with another. A number of suitable modern hymns have been excluded because the relevant words are copyrighted. The list below shows hymns that have been selected for the Apostles. Not all have been published yet on our Blog.

Peter: Thou art the Christ, O Lord
Andrew: Jesus calls us; o’er the tumult
James the Great: Lord who shall sit beside thee
John: Word supreme, before creation
Philip and James the Less: There is one way, and only one
Bartholomew: King of saints, to whom the number
Matthew: He sat to watch o’er customs paid
Thomas: We have not seen, we cannot see
Simon and Jude Thaddeus: Thou Who sentest Thine apostles
Matthias (replaced Judas Iscariot): The highest and the holiest place

So here is a hymn to commemorate all twelve. It was written in Latin as Cælestis Aulæ Principes by Fr. Jean-Baptiste de Santeul in the 17th century, and translated by Revd John Chandler (1806-1876). He missed out one of the verses (which I too had some difficulty with, but I haven’t done much Latin-English translation since taking O-level Latin in 1964). The really tricky part is making the translation fit the metre of the tune.

Revd John Chandler was born at Witley, near Godalming in Surrey, where his father was the Vicar. After ordination in 1831 (deacon), 1832 (priest), he became the next Vicar of Witley in 1839. He translated a number of hymns including Christ is our Cornerstone and On Jordan’s bank the Baptists cry.

The tune St Sepulchre was written by George Cooper (1820-1876). It seems to be the only hymn tune he published. It is sometimes used as the tune for Jesus, where’er thy people meet. He was the third successive George Cooper to be the organist at the church of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate, London. His grandfather was organist 1784-1799, his father 1799-1843 and himself 1843-1876.

St Sepulchre

Hail! Princes of the host of heaven,
To whom by Christ, your chief, ’tis given.
On twelve bright thrones to sit on high,
And judge the world with equity.

‘Tis yours to cheer with sacred light
Those who lie sunk in sin’s dark night:
To guide them in the upward path,
And rescue them from endless wrath.

With no vain arts, no earthly sword,
Ye quell the rebels of the Lord:
The cross, the cross which men despise,
‘Tis that achieves your victories.

Through you the wondrous works of God
Are spread through every land abroad;
Thus every clime records your fame,
And distant ages praise your name.

And now to God, the Three in One,
Be highest praise and glory done,
Who calleth us from sin’s dark night,
To walk in His eternal light.

The original fourth verse is:

Quibus gemebat subditus,
Rumpuntur orbis vincula:
Iam gaudet, excusso iugo,
Liber Dei sub legibus.

  • Veronica on The Twelve ApostlesWell done with this translation (I'm sure it's great - though I don't know much Latin!?!) Perhaps you should start...

One thought on “The Twelve Apostles”

  1. Well done with this translation (I’m sure it’s great – though I don’t know much Latin!?!)
    Perhaps you should start writing your own hymns as well? 🙂 xxx

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