De Morales' setting of O Crux, ave, spes unica which you can hear below performed below by Stile Antico consists of two verses from Vexilla Regis the hymn written by Venantius Fortunatus (530-609) in honour of the True Cross. The hymn's strong connection to the Cross made it eminently suitable to be at feasts and occasions dedicated to The Crucifixion such as Vespers between Passion Sunday and the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross (September 14th). The hymn can be sung in its entirety but very often particular verses will be sung – particularly as motets as here. It's also been altered and added to over the centuries amongst these not least being the addition of the verse:
O Crux, ave, spes unica,
O Redemptoris gloria,
auge piis iustitiam
reisque dona veniam.
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