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About this Piece

While not an official part of the liturgy, Adeste Fideles is a very popular 18th-century Christmas hymn. It has sometimes been erroneously attributed to St. Bonaventure (1221-1274). However, an Englishman, John Francis Wade (1711-1786), wrote both the words and the music. The musical score was first published in 1782 in Samuel Webbe's An Essay on the Church Plain Chant. The lyrics were first published in 1760. Though Wade was English, he never translated the song into his native language; that was left for Frederick Oakely a century later. The English version most commonly heard today has been contributed to by several translators.