A doxology (from the Greek δόξα [doxa] "glory" + -λογία [-logia], "saying")[1] 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,[2] 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 stanza 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

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, Anglicans, and many Protestants including 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, it was 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.

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 be 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”,[3] 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, an Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Bath and Wells in the Church of England.[4] This hymn was originally the final verse of two longer hymns entitled "Awake, My Soul, and With the Sun",[5] and "Glory to thee, my God, this night",[6] 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.[7] This version more fully utilizes the a cappella harmonizing for which Mennonite services are known. (In Mennonite circles, the doxology is commonly known as "606" for its hymn number in The Mennonite Hymnal [1969], and colloquially known as the "Mennonite National Anthem." Students at Goshen College in Goshen, Ind., stand and sing the doxology when 6:06 remains in a soccer game -- as long as Goshen is winning the game.)

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.[8]

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, through all ages of ages. Amen.

Lord's prayer doxology

Another familiar doxology is the 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 Matthew 6:13, 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 the Mass, after the Embolism. The Catholic Encyclopedia (1914) states that this doxology "appears in the Greek textus receptus and has been adopted in the later editions of the Book of Common Prayer, [and] is undoubtedly an interpolation."

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, this doxology takes up "the first three petitions to our Father: the glorification of his name, the coming of his reign, and the power of his saving will. But these prayers are now proclaimed as adoration and thanksgiving, as in the liturgy of heaven. The ruler of this world has mendaciously attributed to himself the three titles of kingship, power, and glory. Christ, the Lord, restores them to his Father and our Father, until he hands over the kingdom to him when the mystery of salvation will be brought to its completion and God will be all in all."[9]

Other doxologies

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.

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; (Or, alternatively, : let faith and hope with love arise)
let peace, goodwill on earth be sung (Or let beauty, truth and good be sung)
through every land, by every tongue. (Or in every land, in 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.

In Pentecostal churches, the Doxology is "Praise Him, Praise Him". The song was written around the 1980s for the growing Pentecostal denominations in America:

Praise Him, praise Him, praise Him, Praise Him;
Bless His name, for He's worthy to be praised.
Jesus is worthy, o, Jesus is worthy to be praised;
Praise Him, praise Him, praise Him, Praise Him;
Bless His name, for He's worthy to be praised.


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.[10]

See also

  • Greater doxology


External links

  • 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.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Doxology — • The doxology in the form in which we know it has been used since about the seventh century all over Western Christendom, except in one corner Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Doxology     Doxology …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • doxology — [däks äl′ə jē] n. pl. doxologies [ML(Ec) doxologia < Gr(Ec), a praising < doxologos, giving praise < doxa, praise, opinion < dokein, to seem (see DECENT) + logia, LOGY] a hymn of praise to God; specif., a) the greater doxology, which… …   English World dictionary

  • Doxology — Dox*ol o*gy, n.; pl. {Doxologies}. [LL. doxologia, Gr. ?, fr. ? praising, giving glory; ? opinion, estimation, glory, praise (from ? to think, imagine) + ? to speak: cf. F. doxologie. See {Dogma}, and {Legend}.] In Christian worship: A hymn… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • doxology — I noun adulation, compliment, glorification, hero worship, idolatry, laudation, overpraise, paean, praise II index laudation Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • doxology — (n.) hymn of praise, 1640s, from M.L. doxologia, from Ecclesiastical Gk. doxologia praise, glory, from doxologos praising, glorifying, from doxa glory, praise (from dokein to seem good; see DECENT (Cf. decent)) + logos a speaking (see …   Etymology dictionary

  • doxology — ► NOUN (pl. doxologies) ▪ a liturgical formula of praise to God. ORIGIN Greek doxologia, from doxa appearance, glory …   English terms dictionary

  • Doxology —    Christian formula of divine praise. The are many examples in both the Old and New Testaments. The most familiar ones for musical contexts include the greater doxology, which is the Gloria of the Roman Catholic mass, and the lesser doxology… …   Historical dictionary of sacred music

  • doxology — doxological /dok seuh log i keuhl/, adj. doxologically, adv. /dok sol euh jee/, n., pl. doxologies. 1. a hymn or form of words containing an ascription of praise to God. 2. the Doxology, the metrical formula beginning Praise God from whom all… …   Universalium

  • doxology —    Literally, a short verse praising God; doxologies may be traced to the New Testament and became part of the Roman Catholic liturgy, from whence they passed to Protestantism. By the fourth century, two doxologies had achieved special status in… …   Encyclopedia of Protestantism

  • Doxology —    Any form or verse in which glory is ascribed to God or the Blessed Trinity, for example, the Gloria in Excelsis, which is called the greater Doxology, and the Gloria Patri, the lesser Doxology. The concluding words of the Lord s Prayer… …   American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia