Faithful Cross the Saints Rely On

This hymn from the revised Roman Missal is a translation of the Latin hymn, Crux Fidelis, and is suggested for Good Friday. 

The translation was made English Roman Catholic academic, teacher and hymnologist, Michael Hodgetts (1936-2022), and published, unattributed, by ICEL in The Roman Missal.   The original translation was made in 1994, and revised by Hodgetts in 2003.  

It may be set to a number of 87.87.87 meter tunes, and several composers have written new tunes for it.

The Missal presents the chorus in alternating patterns (6 lines then, the 4 lines, 2 lines etc). The attached PowerPoint slides do not follow this pattern, to allow for the hymn being set to more regular tunes - but excess lines can be removed if required.



Choir with organ, recorded live:

Singers with piano:

Contemporary arrangement, choir with chamber-orchestra style band:

Contemporary arrangement, choir with chamber-orchestra style band, professional recording:

Chant, unaccompanied:

Singer with piano, Spanish / English - professional recording:


Original first verse
Faithful Cross the Saints rely on,
Noble tree beyond compare!
Never was there such a scion,
Never leaf or flower so rare.
Sweet the timber, sweet the iron,
Sweet the burden that they bear!

Updated first verse:
Holy cross that saints rely on,
Noble tree beyond  compare!
Never was there such a scion,
Never leaf or flower so rare.
Lovely timber, lovely iron,
Lovely burden that they bear!

Sing, my tongue, in exaltation
Of our banner and device!
Make a solemn proclamation
Of a triumph and its price:
How the Saviour of creation
Conquered by his sacrifice!

For, when Adam first offended,
Eating that forbidden fruit,
Not all hopes of glory ended
With the serpent at the root:
Broken nature would be mended
By a second tree and shoot.

Thus the tempter was outwitted
By a wisdom deeper still:
Remedy and ailment fitted,
Means to cure and means to kill;
That the world might be acquitted,
Christ would do his Father’s will.

So the Father, out of pity
For our self-inflicted doom,
Sent him from the heavenly city
When the holy time had come:
He, the Son and the Almighty,
Took our flesh in Mary’s womb

Find a tiny baby crying—
Founder of the seas and strands:
Find his Virgin Mather tying
Rags around his feet and hands: 
Find him in a manger lying
Tightly wrapped in swaddling bands!

So he came, the long-expected,
Not in glory, not to reign;
Only born to be rejected,
Choosing hunger, toil and pain,
Till the gallows was erected
And the Paschal Lamb was slain.

No disgrace was too abhorrent:
Nailed and mocked and parched he died;
Blood and water, double warrant,
Issue from his wounded side,
Washing in a mighty torrent
Earth and stars and ocean-tide.

Lofty timber, smooth your roughness,
Flex your boughs for blossoming:
Let your fibres lose their toughness,
Gently let your tendrils cling;
Lay aside your native gruffness,
Clasp the body of your King!

Noblest tree of all created,
Richly jewelled and embossed:
Post which blood has consecrated;
Spar that saves the tempest-tossed;
Scaffold-beam which, elevated,
Carries what the world has cost!

Wisdom, power, and adoration
To the blessed Trinity
For redemption and salvation
Through the Paschal Mystery,
Now, in every generation,
And for all eternity. Amen.

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