O Antiphons: Advent Names of God

December 2017

Ansgar Holmberg, CSJ

Ansgar Holmberg: O DayspringSeven short verses are sung before the Magnificat during the Evening Prayer of the Church on the seven days before the vigil of Christmas. Each begins with the exclamation "O". Each ends with a plea for the Messiah to come.

These O Antiphons, as they are known, were composed in the seventh or eighth century when monks put together texts from the Old Testament which looked forward to the coming of our salvation. They form a rich mosaic of scriptural images, and became very popular in the Middle Ages.

Holmberg’s images invite a transformation from the traditional O Antiphons into the context of evolutionary cosmology.

Poetry by Joan Mitchell, CSJ, complements these images celebrating the incarnation of God as one of us in Jesus.


Photo Credit: Kabeya MediaAnsgar Holmberg, CSJ, studied with renowned liturgical artist Ade Bethune. Holmberg’s color-saturated works are more reminiscent of folk art than conventional religious images.  Her art arises from her own spiritual journey and life changes.  Her interpretations of themes are not fixed in the manner of icons, but ever changing through time.