Intonent hodie

This song is from the 1100s and would have been sung on St. Nicholas Day, December 6. The song describes three of St. Nicholas' stories. Scholars have suggested that the more famous carol, Personent hodie from 1582, is based on the earlier Intonent hodie.

Recording by Anonymous 4, Legends of Nicholas: Medieval Chant and Polyphony, Harmonica Mundi, 2005.
Length: 1:57

Intonent hodie voces ecclesie.
Dies letitie
refulsit in mundo ergo letabundo
corde jubilemo et ore jucundo.
Let the voices of the church sing out today.
Thus this joyful day
shone forth in a rejoicing world
with a jubilant heart and merry mouth.
Sanctus hic inclitus domino subditus
in cunis positus;
ubera vitabat, corpus macerabat
et ter in sabbato puer jejunabat.
This famous saint, the lord's subject,
was placed in a cradle;
he avoided the breast, denied his flesh,
and thrice on Saturday the little boy fasted.
Parenti misero submerso puero
mari pestifero
dedit quod petivit, preces exaudivit,
submersum puerum patris custodivit.
To the wretched parent, his boy drowned
in the dangerous sea
he granted what was asked; he heard his prayers,
and gave the drowned boy back to his father.
Tribus virginibus victu carentibus
[auri egentibus]
reddidit honorem, subtraxit errorem
reddens virginibus virgineum florem.
To the three virgins lacking food
and needing money
he restored honor, saving them from error,
giving back to the maidens the flower of virginity.

From Harmonia Mundi, HMU 907232, 2005; text translation: S. Hellauer and M. Smith.

MP3 files and used CDs available from

Source: "This medieval carol is basically the first song ever written about Santa Claus," Classic FM, December 8, 2021

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