Veni Creator Spiritus

Veni Creator Spiritus (Come, Creator Spirit) is a hymn believed to have been written by Rabanus Maurus in the 9th century. When the original Latin text is used, it is normally sung in Gregorian Chant. It has been translated into several languages, often as a hymn for Pentecost.

Veni Creator Spiritus
Veni Creator Spiritus-1.BMP.jpg
First verse
EnglishCome, Creator Spirit
WrittenNinth century
Textattributed to Rabanus Maurus
MelodyGregorian chant

Liturgical useEdit

As an invocation of the Holy Spirit, it is sung in the Catholic Church during liturgical celebrations on the feast of Pentecost (at both Terce and Vespers). It is also sung at occasions such as the entrance of Cardinals to the Sistine Chapel when they elect a new pope, as well as at the consecration of bishops, the ordination of priests, when celebrating the sacrament of Confirmation, the dedication of churches, the celebration of synods or councils, coronations, the profession of members of religious institutes, and other similar solemn events. There are also Catholic traditions of singing the hymn on New Year's Day for plenary indulgence.

The hymn is also widely used in the Anglican Communion and appears, for example, in the Ordering of Priests and in the Consecration of Bishops in the Book of Common Prayer, 1662. It has been translated into several languages; one English example is "Creator Spirit! by whose aid", written 1690 by John Dryden and published in The Church Hymn Book 1872 (n. 313); one of the earlier is the 1627 version "Come Holy Ghost, our souls inspire" by Bishop John Cosin. Martin Luther used it as the basis for his chorale for Pentecost "Komm, Gott Schöpfer, Heiliger Geist", first published in 1524.


Latin text[1]
English version[1]
Veni creator Spiritus,
mentes tuorum visita,
imple superna gratia,
quae tu creasti, pectora.
Come, Holy Ghost, Creator, come
from thy bright heav'nly throne;
come, take possession of our souls,
and make them all thine own.
Qui diceris Paraclitus,
donum Dei altissimi,
fons vivus, ignis, caritas,
et spiritalis unctio.
Thou who art called the Paraclete,
best gift of God above,
the living spring, the living fire,
sweet unction and true love.
Tu septiformis munere,
dextrae Dei tu digitus,
tu rite promissum Patris,
sermone ditans guttura.
Thou who art sevenfold in thy grace,
finger of God's right hand;
his promise, teaching little ones
to speak and understand.
Accende lumen sensibus,
infunde amorem cordibus,
infirma nostri corporis
virtute firmans perpeti.
O guide our minds with thy blest light,
with love our hearts inflame;
and with thy strength, which ne'er decays,
confirm our mortal frame.
Hostem repellas longius
pacemque dones protinus;
ductore sic te praevio
vitemus omne noxium.
Far from us drive our deadly foe;
true peace unto us bring;
and through all perils lead us safe
beneath thy sacred wing.
Per te sciamus da Patrem
noscamus atque Filium,
te utriusque Spiritum
credamus omni tempore.
Through thee may we the Father know,
through thee th'eternal Son,
and thee the Spirit of them both,
thrice-blessed three in One.
(In some instances, a doxology follows)[2]
Deo Patri sit gloria
et Filio, qui a mortuis
surrexit, ac Paraclito
in saeculorum saecula.
All glory to the Father be,
with his coequal Son;
the same to thee, great Paraclete,
while endless ages run.

Notable English translationsEdit

Since the English Reformation in the 16th century, there have been more than fifty English language translations and paraphrases of Veni Creator Spiritus.[3] The version attributed to Archbishop Cranmer, his sole venture into English verse, first appeared in the Prayer Book Ordinal of 1550. It was the only metrical hymn included in the Edwardian liturgy. In 1561 John Day included it after the psalms in his incomplete metrical psalter of that year. From 1562 onwards, in The Whole Booke of Psalmes, Day printed Cranmer’s version at the start of the metrical paraphrases.[4] In terms of concision and accuracy, Cranmer compares poorly with Luther. Cranmer’s sixth stanza, which mentions the Last Judgement and religious strife within Christendom, was a new addition, with no parallel in the Latin original or in Luther's version;

To us such plenty of thy grace, good Lord grant we thee pray,
That thou maist be our comforter at the last dreadful day.
Of all strife and dissension, O Lord dissolve the bands,
And make the knots of peace and love throughout all Christian lands.

The version included in the 1662 revision of the Book of Common Prayer compresses the content of the original seven verses to four (with a two-line doxology), but retained the Latin title. It was written by Bishop John Cosin for the coronation of King Charles I of Great Britain in 1625.[5] The same words have been used at every coronation since, and is sung by the choir after the singing of the Creed, while the sovereign is dressed in a white alb and seated in the Coronation Chair, prior to the Anointing.[6] The first verse is:

Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
and lighten with celestial fire.
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.[7]

This is also the version found in the Anglo-Catholic devotional manual Saint Augustine's Prayer Book as part of the Novena to The Holy Ghost.[8]

Another well-known version by the poet John Dryden was first published in his 1693 work, Examen Poeticum. It may be sung to the tune "Melita" by John Bacchus Dykes,[9] and excerpts of the Dryden text have been set to the German hymn tune "Lasst uns erfreuen".[10] Dryden's first verse is:

Creator Spirit, by whose aid
The world's foundations first were laid,
Come, visit every pious mind;
Come, pour thy joys on humankind;
From sin and sorrow set us free,
And make thy temples worthy thee.

German paraphrasesEdit

Martin Luther wrote a paraphrase in German, "Komm, Gott Schöpfer, Heiliger Geist" (literally: Come, God Creator, Holy Ghost) as a Lutheran hymn for Pentecost, first published in 1524, with a melody derived from the chant of the Latin hymn. It appears in the Protestant hymnal Evangelisches Gesangbuch as EG 126.

A rhymed German translation or paraphrase, "Komm, Heiliger Geist, der Leben schafft" (literally: Come, Holy Spirit who creates life), was written by Friedrich Dörr to a melody close to the Gregorian melody, published in 1972. It became part of the common German Catholic hymnal Gotteslob in 1975, and of its second edition in 2013, as GL 342 in the section "Pfingsten – Heiliger Geist" (Pentecost - Holy Spirit).

Musical settingsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Mass and Rite of Canonisation" (PDF). Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  2. ^ "Come, Holy Ghost, Creator, Come / Veni Creator Spiritus". January 7, 2013. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  3. ^ Charles S. Nutter & Wilbur F. Tillett, The Hymns and Hymn Writers of The Church, Smith & Lamar, 1911 (p.108)
  4. ^ Beth Quitslund, The Reformation in Rhyme : Sternhold, Hopkins and the English Metrical Psalter (Ashgate, 2008), pp. 204, 229.
  5. ^ Reverend Ivan D. Aquilina, The Eucharistic Understanding of John Cosin and his Contribution to the 1662 Book Of Common Prayer (p.6)
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Oremus Hymnal: Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire". Archived from the original on 2017-05-02.
  8. ^ Saint Augustine's Prayer Book: A Book of Devotion for members of the Episcopal Church (1967) [1947]. (Revised ed.) West Park, New York: Holy Cross Publications. p. 316.
  9. ^ "Creator Spirit, by whose aid".
  10. ^ "Creator Spirit, By Whose Aid" (PDF). Oregon Catholic Press. Retrieved 9 May 2017.

External linksEdit