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, where some version of the Kaddish serves to terminate each section of the service.
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 setting by Henry Wellington Greatorex|
|Solo organ recording|
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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, both now, and always, and 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.
- 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”, 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. This hymn was originally the final verse of two longer hymns entitled "Awake, My Soul, and With the Sun", and "Glory to thee, my God, this night", 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. 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.
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
- 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.
Another familiar doxology is the non-Trinitarian one often added at the end of the Lord's Prayer: "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever, Amen." This is found in manuscripts representative of the Byzantine text of , but not in the most ancient manuscripts. Most scholars do not consider it part of the original text of Matthew, and modern translations do not include it, mentioning it only in footnotes. The same doxology, in the form "For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever", is used in the Roman Rite of Mass, after the Embolism.
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.)
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.
- 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.
- Doxology - Catholic Encyclopedia article
- The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod—Liturgical Glossary
- "Thomas Ken". The CyberHymnal. http://www.hymntime.com/tch/bio/k/e/ken_t.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-19.
- "Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow". The CyberHymnal. http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/p/r/praisegf.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-19.
- "All praise to thee, my God, this night". The CyberHymnal. http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/a/l/allprais.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-19.
- Joseph Funk, Harmonia Sacra, 290. http://harmoniasacra.org/290.html; http://www.entish.org/hs/handbook.html. Harmonia Sacra attributes Stanley as composer, although Lowell Mason's The Boston Handel and Haydn Society Collection of Church Music http://books.google.com/books?id=hkcAAAAAYAAJ&dq=boston+handel+haydn+society&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=SXMx2jyBk8&sig=WqsxB0Lxs9oVGhxbx9r5lEV_0TA&hl=en&ei=EEy5ScekBYmmNZqXjK4I&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=7&ct=result#PPA338,M1 does not give a clear attribution.
- 19 March 1893, Chicago Daily Tribune, pg. 36
- Hymns of the Spirit Three Contains numerous "doxologies" to the tune OLD HUNDREDTH used in the Unitarian, Universalist and liberal Christian traditions, in English, Spanish and French.