The Nunc dimittis, known also as the Canticle of Simeon, is a Biblical song taken from the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke (verses 29-32). Its Latin name comes from its incipit, the opening words, of the Vulgate translation of the passage, meaning "Now let depart." Since the 4th century it has been used in the Church's night prayer, Compline.
Arvo Pärt (b. September 11, 1935) is an Estonian composer of classical and religious music. Since the late 1970s, Pärt has worked in a minimalist style that employs his self-invented compositional technique, tintinnabuli. Pärt's music is in part inspired by Gregorian chant.
The "Nunc dimittis" passage in the original Koiné Greek:
νῦν ἀπολύεις τὸν δοῦλόν σου, δέσποτα, κατὰ τὸ ῥῆμά σου ἐν εἰρήνῃ· ὅτι εἶδον οἱ ὀφθαλμοί μου τὸ σωτήριόν σου, ὃ ἡτοίμασας κατὰ πρόσωπον πάντων τῶν λαῶν, φῶς εἰς αποκάλυψιν ἐθνῶν καὶ δόξαν λαοῦ σου Ἰσραήλ.
Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace: Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum Quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum: Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.
English (Translation of the Vulgate):
Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace; Because my eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.