Audio: Listen to A Hymn for the Holy Innocents chanted
Sweet flowerets of the martyr band,
Plucked by the tyrant’s ruthless hand
Upon the threshold of the morn,
Like rosebuds by a tempest torn;
First victims for the incarnate Lord,
A tender flock to feel the sword;
Beside the very altar, gay,
With palm and crown, ye seemed to play.
Ah, what availed King Herod’s wrath?
He could not stop the Savior’s path.
Alone, while others murdered lay,
In safety Christ is borne away.
O Lord, the Virgin-born, to Thee
Eternal praise and glory be,
Whom with the Father we adore
And Holy Ghost forevermore. Amen.
Salvete, flores martyrum by Aurelius C. Prudentius, d. 413, trans. by H.W. Baker, alt.
From The Brotherhood Prayer Book
Collect: O God, whose martyred innocents showed forth Thy praise not by speaking but by dying: mortify all vices within us, that our lives may in deed confess Thy faith which our tongue uttereth; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
The picture a 19th-century fresco from the Imperial Cathedral of Speyer, Germany. Find similiar pictures here. Many thanks to Pr. Sean Daenzer for chanting.