The carol was originally written in Latin as ' Adeste Fideles' and has been attributed to various authors, including John Francis Wade (1711–1786), John Reading (1645–1692) and King John IV of Portugal (1604–1656), with the earliest manuscript of the hymn bearing his name, located in the library of the Ducal Palace of Vila Viçosa.
The original four verses of the hymn were extended to a total of eight, and these have been translated into many languages. The English translation of "O Come, All Ye Faithful" by the English Catholic priest Frederick Oakeley, written in 1841, is widespread in most English-speaking countries. The present harmonisation is from the English Hymnal (1906). An original manuscript of the oldest known version, dating from 1751, is held by Stonyhurst College in Lancashire.
I have always considered the singing of this carol at our Christmas Mass, along with 'Silent Night' as being as much a part of the Christmas Service as the goose, chicken or turkey is to the Christmas dinner.
Love and peace. Bill xxx