O esca viatorum, o panis angelorum

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Author (attributed to): Thomas Aquinas

Thomas of Aquino, confessor and doctor, commonly called The Angelical Doctor, “on account of," says Dom Gueranger, "the extraordinary gift of understanding wherewith God had blessed him," was born of noble parents, his father being Landulph, Count of Aquino, and his mother a rich Neapolitan lady, named Theodora. The exact date of his birth is not known, but most trustworthy authorities give it as 1227. At the age of five he was sent to the Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino to receive his first training, which in the hands of a large-hearted and God-fearing man, resulted in so filling his mind with knowledge and his soul with God, that it is said the monks themselves would often approach by stealth to hear the words of piety and wisdo… Go to person page >


O esca viatorum. [Holy Communion.] This hymn was probably composed by some German Jesuit of the 17th century, though it has been by some ascribed to St. Thomas of Aquino. It has not been traced earlier than the Mainz Gesang-Buch, (R. C.) 1661, where it is given at p. 367 in 3 stanzas, entitled "Hymn on the true Bread of Heaven." It is also in the Hymnodia Sacra, Mainz, 1671, p. 86; in Daniel ii. p. 369, and others. [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]
Translations in common use:—
1. 0 Bread to pilgrims given. By R. Palmer, first published in the American Sabbath Hymn Book, 1858, No. 1051; again in his Hymns & Sacred Poems, 1865; and then in the Lyra Sacra Americana, 1868. In 1867 it was given with alterations in Alford's Year of Praise, and subsequently in other col¬lections.
2. 0 Food that weary pilgrims love. By the Compilers of Hymns Ancient & Modern, in the 2nd edition of Introits prefixed to Hymns Ancient & Modern, 1861, and then in the 1868 Appendix to the same, and in other hymnals.
3. 0 Food of men wayfaring. By R. F. Littledale, in the Altar Manual, 1863; the People's Hymnal, 1867; and the Altar Hymnal, 1884.
4. 0 Bread of Life from heaven. By Philip Schaff, in his Christ in Song, N. Y., 1869, Lond., 1870. This is repeated in the Scottish Presbyterian Hymnal, 1876, and altered as "0 Food, the pilgrim needeth," in the Hymnary, 1872.
Translations not in common use: —
1. 0 living Bread from Heaven. H. Trend, in Lyra Eucharistica. 1863.
2. 0 Meat the pilgrim needeth. J. D. Chambers. 1866.
3. Behold the traveller fed. D. T. Morgan. 1880.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)


O esca viatorum, p. 828, i. Additional translations are:—
1. O Food of wayworn exiles, by J. O'Connor, in the Arundel Hymns, 1902, No. 116.
2. O Food of men wayfaring. The Bread of Angels sharing, by Athelstan Riley, in The English Hymnal, 1906, No. 321. [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, New Supplement (1907)



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