O Come All Ye Faithful Christmas Song

O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles) Carol History with Angels

Nativity by Carle Vanloo
SuperStock / Getty Images

The Christmas song 'O Come All Ye Faithful' (which is also sometimes called by its original name 'Adeste Fideles') is a beloved Christmas carol that describes the important role angels played on the original Christmas. Here's the history of this holiday favorite:


John Francis Wade


John Reading

Sample Lyrics

"O come, all ye faithful,/Joyful and triumphant!/O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem/Come and behold him/Born the king of angels!"

Angel Connection

The song refers to Jesus Christ as the "king of angels" and later urges "choirs of angels" to sing "in exultation" as ​the Bible records that they did on the first Christmas when announcing Jesus' birth.

Fun Fact

'O Come All Ye Faithful' was originally known as 'Adeste Fideles' because it was first written and sung in Latin before being translated into English. The Latin version remains popular and is sometimes still recorded today.


Englishmen John Francis Wade and his friend John Reading decided to get together to write a song based on the Bible passage Luke 2:15-16, which says: "When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.' So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger."

After John Francis Wade composed the music and John Reading wrote the lyrics, 'Adeste Fideles' was published in 1751 as part of a collection of hymns called "Cantus Diversi."

Much later, in 1841, Frederick Oakeley translated the Latin words of 'Adeste Fideles' into the English version that people often sing today, changing the name of the song to 'O Come All Ye Faithful.'