Ave Verum Corpus (“Hail, True Body”) is a brief chant composed in the 13th century as a meditation on the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist (I’ve posted the words, In both Latin and English, under the clip below). It has traditionally been sung during the elevation of the Host at Mass.

Numerous composers have set it to music, including Liszt, Saint-Saëns, and a host of others. One of the most beautiful settings, and certainly the best known, was composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – who, as it happens is celebrating his 265th birthday today. Please take the time to open the clip below of Mozart’s reverent and moving Ave Verum Corpus.


Ave verum corpus, natum
de Maria Virgine,
vere passum, immolatum
in cruce pro homine
cuius latus perforatum
fluxit aqua et sanguine:
esto nobis praegustatum
in mortis examine.

Hail, true Body, born
of the Virgin Mary,
having truly suffered, sacrificed
on the cross for mankind,
from whose pierced side
water and blood flowed:
Be for us a foretaste [of the Heavenly banquet]
in the trial of death!

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