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Panis angelicus (Latin for "Bread of Angels" or "Angelic Bread") is the penultimate strophe of the hymn "Sacris solemniis" written by Saint Thomas Aquinas for theFeast of Corpus Christi as part of a complete liturgy of the feast, including prayers for the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours.
The strophe of "Sacris solemniis" that begins with the words "Panis angelicus" (bread of angels) has often been set to music separately from the rest of the hymn. Most famously, in 1872 César Franck set this strophe for tenor voice, harp, cello, and organ, and incorporated it into his Messe à trois voix, Op. 12.
Other hymns for Corpus Christi by Saint Thomas where sections have been separately set to music are "Verbum supernum prodiens" (the last two strophes begin with "O salutaris Hostia") and "Pange lingua gloriosi" (the last two strophes begin with "Tantum ergo").
The 1932 performance of Franck's work by John McCormack in Dublin's Phoenix Park was the highlight of his career. Noteworthy renditions have also been performed by tenors Luciano Pavarotti, José Carreras, Plácido Domingo, Francisco Araiza, Richard Crooks, Andrea Bocelli, and Roberto Alagna, as well as by the sopranosMagda Olivero, Jessye Norman, and Renata Scotto.
The piece was performed by Richard Tucker at the funeral Mass for United States Senator and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy on June 8, 1968, and by Plácido Domingo and Yo-Yo Ma at the funeral mass for Robert's brother, Senator Edward Kennedy on August 29, 2009–an event televised nationally in the United States.
fit panis hominum; Dat panis cœlicus figuris terminum: O res mirabilis! Manducat Dominum Pauper, servus et humilis.
Te trina Deitas unaque poscimus: Sic nos tu visita, sicut te colimus; Per tuas semitas duc nos quo tendimus, Ad lucem quam inhabitas. Amen.
Bread of the Angels
Is made bread for mankind; Gifted bread of Heaven Of all imaginings the end; Oh, thing miraculous! This body of God will nourish the poor, the servile, and the humble.
Thee Triune God, We beseech; Do us Thou visit, Just as Thee we worship. By Thy ways, lead us where we are heading, to the light Thou dwellest in. Amen.