Radio Show

What Are O Antiphons?


A listener named Tom asks, “What are O antiphons, and are they only used during Advent?”

Father Dave explains that antiphons are short chants usually used in evening prayer. “They change each day and proceed a regular prayer. For example, during evening prayer, we always pray the Magnificat … but what changes each night is the line that precedes the Magnificat.” Father Dave points out that the antiphon usually fits the theme of the Scripture or prayer being prayed that night.

He continues to explain that the O Antiphons are used between December 17-24, and are particular to those days because there are seven O Antiphons — just enough of them to last that long. “They are different titles for the Messiah that we hear in the book of Isaiah … He uses different metaphors or images that explain what the Messiah would be like. For example, O Wisdom, O Lord, O Root of Jesse, and more.” Original Air 12-03-19