Would you believe a medieval Latin Catholic hymn has inspired popular culture’s most famous musical scores?

Dies irae, Day of Wrath, is a liturgical sequence describing the Last Judgment, where souls are summoned before God and the unsaved are cast into eternal flames. It’s meant to conjure feelings of death and despair.

Dating back to the 13th century, some sources say it could be much older, attributing its authorship to St. Gregory the Great in the 7th century!

It’s best known use is in the Roman Rite Funeral Mass before the Second Vatical Council removed the sequence. The first melody of Dies irae is a Gregorian chant whose 4 note sequence is the one of most quoted of all time in musical literature and appears in the works of many famous composers.

Watch below a compilation of Dies irae found in movie, TV and even video game soundtracks!

Today, the Dies irae remains as hymn in the Liturgy of the Hours in the last week of Advent.

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