Doxology: Wikis


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A doxology (from the Greek doxa, glory + logos, word or speaking) is a short hymn of praises to God in various Christian worship services, often added to the end of canticles, psalms, and hymns. The tradition derives from a similar practice in the Jewish synagogue,[1] where some version of the Kaddish serves to terminate each section of the service.


Trinitarian doxology

Among Christian traditions a doxology is typically a sung expression of praise to the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is common in high hymns for the final verse to take the form of a doxology. Doxologies occur in the Eucharistic prayers, the Liturgy of the Hours, hymns and various Catholic devotions such as novenas and the Rosary.


Gloria Patri

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The Gloria Patri, so named for its first two words in Latin, is commonly used as a doxology by Roman Catholics, Old Catholics, Independent Catholics, Orthodox and many Protestants including Anglicans, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists, and Reformed Baptists. It is called the "Lesser Doxology", thus distinguished from the "Great Doxology" Gloria in Excelsis Deo, and is often called simply "the doxology". As well as praising God, has been regarded as a short declaration of faith in the co-equality of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity.

The Latin text,

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

is literally translated

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, and now, and always, to the ages of ages. Amen.

"Saecula saeculorum", here rendered "ages of ages", is the translation of what was probably a Semitic idiom, via Koine Greek, meaning "forever." It is also rendered "world without end" in English, which has the same meaning. That phrase occurs in the King James Bible (cf. Eph. 3:21; Isa. 45:17). Similarly, "et semper" is often rendered "and ever shall be", giving the more metrical English version

... As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

The common Liturgy of the Hours doxology, as approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, uses a different translation of the same Latin:

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

The most commonly encountered Orthodox English version:

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now, and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen

The modern Anglican version (found in Common Worship) is slightly different:

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

"Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow"

Another doxology in widespread use in English, in some Protestant traditions commonly referred to simply as "The Doxology" and in others as “The Common Doxology”[2], is "Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow". The words are thus:

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye Heavenly Host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

This hymn was written in 1674 by Thomas Ken, a priest in the Church of England.[3] This hymn was originally the final verse of two longer hymns entitled "Awake, My Soul, and With the Sun",[4] and "Glory to thee, my God, this night",[5] written by Ken for morning and evening worship, respectively. It is usually sung to the tune "Old 100th", but also to "Duke Street" by John Hatton, "Lasst uns erfreuen", and "The Eighth Tune" by Thomas Tallis, among others. Many Mennonite churches, especially those composed primarily of ethnic Mennonites, sing a longer and more highly embellished version of this doxology to the tune "Dedication Anthem" by Samuel Stanley.[6] This version more fully utilizes the a cappella harmonizing for which Mennonite services are known.

Ken wrote this hymn at a time when the established church believed only Scripture should be sung as hymns, with an emphasis on the Psalms. Some considered it sinful and blasphemous to write new lyrics for church music, akin to adding to the Scriptures. In that atmosphere, Ken wrote this and several other hymns for the boys at Winchester College, with strict instructions that they use them only in their rooms, for private devotions. Ironically, the last stanza has come into widespread use as the Doxology, perhaps the most frequently used piece of music in public worship. At Ken’s request, the hymn was sung at his funeral, fittingly held at sunrise.

To be more gender-neutral in references to the Godhead, denominations such as the Disciples of Christ have altered the wording of The Doxology, replacing "Him" with "God" and "Father" with "Creator". Other versions, such as in the Canadian Anglican hymnal Common Praise, the United Church of Canada hymnal Voices United, and the United Church of Christ New Century Hymnal, make the aforementioned changes and others as well, such as replacing "heavenly host" with a reference to God's love. For example, the United Church of Christ version has been revised to:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise God, all creatures here below;
Praise God for all that love has done;
Creator, Christ, and Spirit, One.

Supporters and detractors of such changes mirror the more general controversies regarding gender-neutral language and liberal theology.

Eucharistic Doxology

In the Roman Catholic Eucharistic Prayers of the Mass of Paul VI the doxology concludes the Eucharistic Prayer itself and precedes the Our Father. It is typically sung by the presiding priest along with any concelebrating priests. The text of the Eucharistic Doxology:

Through Him, with Him, in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honour is yours Almighty Father, forever and ever. Amen.

-The Roman Missal, 2002

This doxology is derived from the one that concludes the Canon in the Tridentine Mass:

Latin: Per ipsum, et cum ipso, et in ipso, est tibi Deo Patri omnipotenti in unitate Spiritus Sancti, omnis honor et gloria. Per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.
English: Through Him, and with Him, and in Him, is unto Thee, God the Father almighty, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.

Other doxologies

Doxologies do not all refer to a co-equal Trinity, and some do not refer to the Trinity at all. An early variation on the Gloria Patri ("Glory be to the Father, with the Son, through the Holy Spirit") was originally used by the Eastern Orthodox along with the more familiar wording, but this came to be used exclusively by the Arians and others who denied the divinity of the Son and Holy Spirit.

While also not specifically Trinitarian, another doxology sung to the tune of Old 100th is the familiar table prayer:

Be present at our table, Lord
Be here and everywhere adored
These mercies bless and grant that we (Or, alternatively, :Thy people bless and grant that we
May strengthened for Thy service be (Or, alternatively, May feast in Paradise with Thee. Also, May feast in fellowship with Thee. Also, May live in fellowship with Thee.)

Yet another familiar doxology is the phrase at the end of the traditional Lord's Prayer as recorded in Matthew 6:13 (not found in some ancient manuscripts; a possible allusion to 1 Chronicles 29:11-12): "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever, Amen."

At Matins, Orthodox worship specifies a Great Doxology for feast days and a Small Doxology for ordinary days. (Both include the Gospel doxology Gloria in Excelsis of the angel's (Luke 2:14): Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill among men.) A substantial portion of this doxology comprises the prayer Gloria in excelsis of the Roman Catholic mass.

In Unitarian Universalism, "the Doxology" refers to Curtis W. Reese's adaptation of "From all that dwell below the skies", an 18th-century paraphrase of Psalm 117 by Isaac Watts:

From all that dwell below the skies
let songs of hope and faith arise;
let peace, goodwill on earth be sung
through every land, by every tongue.

Sung to the tune of Old 100th, it occupies a place in a Unitarian service that would be filled by a Christian doxology in a Christian service.


Because some Christian worship services include a doxology, and these hymns therefore were familiar and well-practiced among church choirs, the English word sockdolager arose, a deformation of doxology, which came to mean a "show-stopper", a production number. The Oxford English Dictionary considers it a "fanciful" coinage, but an 1893 speculation reported in the Chicago Tribune as to the origin of the word as one of its early attestations:

A writer in the March Atlantic gives this as the origin of the slang word "socdollager," which was current some time ago. "Socdollager" was the uneducated man's transposition of "doxologer, which was the familiar New England rendering of "doxology." This was the Puritan term for the verse ascription used at the conclusion of every hymn, like the "Gloria," at the end of a chanted psalm. On doctrinal grounds it was proper for the whole congregation to join in the singing, so that it became a triumphant winding up of the whole act of worship. Thus is happened that "socdollager" became the term for anything which left nothing else to follow; a decisive, overwhelming finish, to which no reply was possible.[7]


  1. ^ Doxology - Catholic Encyclopedia article
  2. ^ The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod—Liturgical Glossary
  3. ^ "Thomas Ken". The CyberHymnal. Retrieved 2008-02-19.  
  4. ^ "Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow". The CyberHymnal. Retrieved 2008-02-19.  
  5. ^ "All praise to thee, my God, this night". The CyberHymnal. Retrieved 2008-02-19.  
  6. ^ Joseph Funk, Harmonia Sacra, 290.; Harmonia Sacra attributes Stanley as composer, although Lowell Mason's The Boston Handel and Haydn Society Collection of Church Music,M1 does not give a clear attribution.
  7. ^ 19 March 1893, Chicago Daily Tribune, pg. 36


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DOXOLOGY, which is not a biblical word, is the name which has been applied to any formal ascription of praise or glory to God (doxologia glorification). Such are the closing sentences of several apostolic prayers, e.g. Rom 16:27, Jude 1:25, Eph 3:20. In particular, the name is given to the last sentence of the Lord's Prayer as it stands in TR and our AV of Matthew (cf. 1Chr 29:11). This verse, however, is omitted in the parallel passage of St. Luke, neither is it found in the earlier Uncials or the Vulgate, but first in the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles and Chrysostom. Hence it has been omitted from the text of WH and RV (text, not margin). See Chase, Lord's Prayer, 168ff.

The angels' hymn (Lk 2:14), Gloria in Excelsis, etc., has been made the foundation of another doxology by the addition of several non-biblical sentences. This, which is known liturgically as the 'greater doxology,' occurs in one of its forms in the Psalter of Codex A (LXX), while the 'lesser' (Gloria Patri, etc.) is wholly extra-biblical.

This entry includes text from Hastings Bible Dictionary.


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