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Traditor autem

Antiphon for Maundy Thursday

Traditor autem (But the traitor) is the sixth and last antiphon of Lauds on Maundy Thursday.

The antiphon comes from Mark 14:44, and is followed by the Canticle of Zachary (Luke 1).

Dom Guéranger explains:“The Church now intones the sweet canticle of Zachary, which she repeats every morning. Its joyous accents strangely contrast with the sadness caused in us by the Passion of our Jesus, the Sun of justice. It was during these very days, that the remission of sins was wrought through the bowels of the mercy of our God; but the divine Orient rises not upon us from on high and in His splendor; He is about to set on Calvary by the most cruel of deaths. Let us weep for ourselves, while we weep for Him; but let us look forward to His Resurrection, which is to be ours also” (1)

Traditor autem is here interpreted by The Brothers of the Little Oratory in San Diego, led by John Polhamus.

Listen to Traditor autem


Latin text

Ant. Traditor autem dedit eis signum, dicens:
Quem osculatus fuero,
Ipse est, tenete eum.

Canticle of Zachary (Luke 1)

1. Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel,
Quia visitativit,
Et fecit redemptionem plebis suae:

2. Et erexit cornu salutis nobis:
In domo David, pueri sui.

3. Sicut locutus est per os sanctorum,
Qui a saeculo sunt prophetarum ejus:

4. Salutem ex inimicis nostris,
Et de manu omnium qui oderunt nos:

5. Ad faciendam misericordiam
Cum patribus nostris:
Et memorari testamenti sui sancti.

6. Jusjurandum, quod juravit ad Abraham,
Patrem nostrum, daturum se nobis:

7. Ut sine timore,
De manu inimicorum nostrorum liberati,
Serviamus illi.

8. In sanctitate, et justitia coram ipso,
Omnibus diebus nostris.

9. Et tu, puer,
Propheta Altissimi vocaberis:
Praeibis enim ante faciem Domini
Parare vias ejus:

10. Ad dandam scientiam salutis plebi ejus:
In remissionem peccatorum eorum:

11. Per viscera misericordiae Dei nostri:
In quibus visitavit nos, oriens ex alto:

12. Illuminare his, qui in tenebris,
Et in umbra mortis sedent:
Ad dirigendos pedes nostros in viam pacis.


English translation:

Ant. But the traitor gave them a sign, saying:
He whom I shall kiss,
That is he; hold him fast.

Canticle of Zachary (Luke 1)

1. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
Because he hath visited
And wrought the redemption of his people:

2. And hath raised up a horn of salvation to us,
In the house of David his servant.

3. As he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets,
Who are from the beginning:

4. Salvation from our enemies,
And from the hand of all that hate us.

5. To perform mercy
To our fathers;
And to remember his holy covenant.

6. The oath which he swore to Abraham our father,
That he would grant to us.

7. That, without fear,
Being delivered from the hands of our enemies,
We may serve him.

8. In holiness, and justice before him,
All our days.

9. And thou, child,
Shalt be called the prophet of the Highest:
For thou shall go before the face of the Lord
To prepare his ways.

10. To give knowledge of salvation to his people,
Unto the remission of their sins.

11. Through the bowels of the mercy of our God:
In which the Orient from on high hath visited us.

12. To enlighten them that sit in darkness,
And in the shadow of death:
To direct our feet in the way of peace


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Traditor autem chant

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  1. Dom Guéranger, The Liturgical Year, St. Bonaventure Publications, 2000, vol. 6, p. 347.

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