AN INTRODUCTION TO THE CREEDS AND TO THE TE DEUM - BY A. E. BURN, B.D. Trinity College, Cambridge - Rector of Kynnersley, Wellington, Salop - Examining Chaplain to the Lord Bishop of Lichfield. - First published Methuen & Co 1899. - This Edition prepared for katapi by Paul Ingram 2003.


HOME | Contents | << || I. MSS. and Quotations | II. Authorship | III. Sources | IV. Text | Appendices || >> |

THE history of the Te Deum touches the history of the Apostles' Creed at so many points, that it is scarcely necessary to apologise for the addition of the following Chapter. Since the publication of the Bishop of Salisbury's exhaustive article in the Dictionary of Hymnology, an entirely new turn has been given to the discussion of the subject by Dom. G. Morin's brilliant discovery of the probable author in Niceta of Remesiana, whose commentary on the creed has already interested us. His suggestion has been accepted as a probable solution of a very puzzling problem by leading critics at home and abroad. It may therefore be of interest to collect the principal arguments for the new theory in a concise form. The materials are not yet available for a critical edition of the text of the hymn in all the three versions known to us. 
But I have compiled a provisional list of the earliest MSS. [Appendix E.], and have attempted to reconstruct the original text in the light of the new theory. The result is only tentative, but may serve to illustrate the progress of modern criticism in this subject. At least, it is comforting to find that, with the exception of some Psalm verses, which for some time have been recognised as additions to the hymn, the whole of the text dear to us is original.

I. MSS. and Quotations

The hymn Te Deum, laudamus is found in a large number of MSS., most of them psalters and collections of hymns. The earliest known are a Vatican Psalter (Cod. Vatic. Alex. xi.) of the seventh century, or earlier, and the Bangor Antiphonary, which may be dated AD680-691. These contain the forms of text known as the Milan and Irish versions. A third form, the version of the Prayer Book, is probably the most ancient, but apart from the question of the antiphons, or psalm verses, added to the original hymn, the differences between the versions are of small importance.

The evidence of quotations carries us back to the fifth century. The Rule of Benedict of Nursia, which was written c. AD530, contains the following direction: c.xi.,

"Post quartum responsorium incipit Abbas Te Deum, laudamus, quo praedicto legat Abbas lectionem de Euangelio cum honore et tremore, stantis omnibus, qua perlecta respondeant omnes Amen, et subsequatur mox Abbas hymnum Te decet laus."

To this we may add the Rule of Aurelian:

"Omni Sabbato ad Matutinos Cantemus Domino et Te Deum laudamus."

The Rule of Caesarius, who was consecrated Bishop of Arles in 502, is said to have been written while he was still Abbot of Lerins. He directs:

c.xxi. "Perfectis missis dicite matutinos directaneo: Exaltabo te Deus meus et rex meus. Deinde Confitemini. Inde Cantemus Domino, Lauda anima mea Dominum, Benedictionem, Laudato Dominum de caelis.
Te Deum laudamus.

Gloria in excelsis Deo: et capitellum."

To this testimony of Caesarius may be added an important quotation in the letter of Cyprian, Bishop of Toulon, which has been quoted as a new authority for the Creed of Gaul.

He mentions Caesarius by name, and his use of the Te Deum seems to have been exactly parallel to the directions given in his friend's rule. 
He writes thus to Maximus, Bishop of Geneva:

"Sed in hymno quern omnes ecclesia toto orbe receptum canit, cottidie dicemus:
'Tu es rex gloriae, Christus, tu patri sempiternus es filius'; et consequenter subiungit: 'Tu ad liberandum subcepturus hominem non orruisti uirginea uterum; te ergo quaesumus tuis famulis subueni, quoa praetioso sanguine redimisti."
[Cod. Colon. 212 (Darmstad.2326) f.113 f., quoted by Morin, Rev. B?.]

Two quotations of a more doubtful kind may be added, which will appear worthy of consideration in the light of the new evidence as to the authorship. It has been suggested [M. C. Weymann in a letter to Dom. Morin.] that Prudentius in his Apotheosis, 1.1019, uses the three words, suscipere, liberare, tenere, just as they are used in verse 16 of the hymn. He may have become acquainted with it during his long stay in Rome, AD400-405. [Zahn, Neuere Beitrae, p.119, n.1.]

The other is a passage in the Commonitorium of Vincentius of Lerins :

c.xvi. ad fin. " Beata igitur ac ueneranda, benedicta et sacrosancta, et omnino supernae ille angelorum laudationi comparanda confessio, quae unum Dominum Deum trina sanctificatione glorificat."

I do not know if it has ever been suggested that Vincentius refers here to the Te Deum, but the words imply more than a mere reference to the Sanctus. They imply that it was set in a Confessio Trinitatis, which was worthy to be called Laus angelorum, and acknowledged one Lord God. The title Laus angelica is found in a MS. at Cambridge (S. John's C.15), and Laus angelorum in a MS. at Rouen, Cod.227 (A.367), saec..

II. The Authorship

In the ninth century there were two conflicting traditions held as to the authorship. Hincmar of Rheims believed the beautiful story, that it was composed by S. Ambrose and S. Augustine on the eventful day of S. Augustine's baptism. In his treatise on Predestination (AD 856) he writes :

"Ut a maioribus nostris audiuimus, tempore baptismatis sancti Augustini hunc hymnum beatus Ambrosius fecit, et idem Augustinus cum eo."

This tradition is confirmed by the title, which is given to the canticle in a S. Gall. Psalter of the beginning of the century (Cod. 23):

"Hymnus quem S. Ambrosius et S. Augustinus inuicem condiderunt."

It is also found in the titles of the Vienna Psalter, S. Gall.27, and B. M., Add. MSS.9046.

The Irish Book of Hymns of the tenth, B. M., Vitellius, E.xviii., and Bodleian Laud, 96, both of the eleventh century, show the tradition continued. 
In the eleventh century the whole story was reported in the Chronicle of Milan, erroneously called by the name of Dacius, who was bishop c. AD527.

On the other hand, Abbo of Fleury, in a letter to some English monks (AD 985), attributed the hymn to S. Hilary of Poitiers:

"Dei palinodia quam composuit Hilarius Pictauensis Episcopus."  

This tradition is the more interesting, because Fleury Abbey possessed one of the greatest monastic libraries, and Abbo, even if he seems pedantic, was a real student. Moreover, it is carried back probably to the preceding century by the title in one of Daniel's Munich MSS.,
[Thesaurus Hymnologicus, ii.288.] which belonged to the Abbey of S. Emmeran.

From the tenth century, however, there is evidence of a third tradition, which has been preserved in some ten MSS. It was first noticed by Archbishop Ussher, who wrote to Voss about a collection of Latin and Irish hymns in which he had found the Te. Deum, attributed to a Niceta. This MS. has at last been identified with the Irish Book of Hymns (saec.xi.), belonging to the Franciscan Convent at Dublin, by Prof. J. H. Bernard of Dublin, who has edited it with a most interesting introduction. There is a curious preface to the Te Deum written in Latin and Old Irish, which may be translated as follows [Bradshaw Society vol.i.59.]: "Neceta, coarb [i.e. successor] of Peter, made this canticle. In Rome, now, it was made.

Incertum autem quo tempore et ob quam causam factum, nisi Necetam Deum laudare uoluisse diceremus, dicens Laudate pueri Dominum, Laudato nomen Domini, Te Deum laudamus " etc.

Ussher found in the Cotton Library another MS., which ascribed the Te Deum to a Nicetius, i.e. a Gallican Psalter, which he supposed to have been written in the reign of Henry I. (1120-1134). This is missing, but with indefatigable labour Dom. Morin has collected references to nine others.

The earliest is -

  1. A Roman Psalter from the Abbey of S. Aubin, at Angers (Cod. xv.), of the tenth century. The others are
  2. B. M., Harleian, 863, saec.xi.;
  3. B. M., Arundel, 60, saec.xi., in which Vicetius is obviously a mistake for Nicetius;
  4. Bibl. Laurent. Florence, Plut.xvii. Cod. iii.saec.xi.;
  5. ib. Cod. ix., saec.xi.;
  6. ib. Cod. viii. saec.i.;
  7. Munich, Cod. lat. 13067, saec. xi., ., in a Scotch or Irish hand, from the Belgian monastery of Hastiere on the Meuse;
  8. Bibl. Vatican., Cod. Palat. lat. 35, saec.xiv., xv.;
  9. an early printed Psalter, ad usum ecclesiae Sarisburiensis, London, 1555, in which is "the rubric, Canticum beati Niceti," and a note stating that the traditional account respecting S. Augustine's baptism is untrue: "Quod non est uerum sed decantauerunt usum prius compositum per beatum Nicetum episcopum Vien(n)ensem quod innuit Cassiodorus de institutione sanctorum scripturarum."

In a few MSS. the names of Sisebut and Abundius are connected with the hymn. They are coupled together in the Breviary of the Collegium Anicianum at Rome, Bibl. Vatican. Cod. Basil. Vat. n.xi. Cod. Vat. 4928, saec.. Sisebut alone is mentioned in a Breviary at Monte Casino, which was written under Abbot Oderisius, Paris, Bibl. Mazarin, Cod. 364 (759), Bibl. Vatican. Cod. xi. They were probably monks, who either introduced it into some new district of Italy, or composed the musical setting. Sisebut, a Goth, is mentioned among early disciples of Benedict. S. Gregory, who narrates, Dial. ii.6, how a Goth was received by Benedict, mentions also a clerk, Abundius, who was mansionarius at S. Peter's in the sixth century.

The natural inclination to assign popular creeds or hymns to great men will account for the first and second of these traditions, neither of which can be traced back beyond the ninth century. And it may be worth while to point out that the MS. which ascribes the hymn to Hilary was not written in France, that the MS. which ascribes it to Ambrose and Augustine was not written in Italy, and that no MS. of the Milan version, where we should expect the latter tradition to survive, if anywhere, has any such title.

There remains the interesting series of MSS. that connect it with the name Niceta or Nicetius. Most of them belong to Great Britain, and there is some likelihood that such a tradition would be longer preserved in these isles, which were often cut off from much communication with the Continent.
[M. S. Berger, Hist. of Vulgate, Paris, 1893, pref. p.12.] 

There are strong reasons for identifying him with Niceta of Remesiana. Since Professor Bernard has found the missing MS., which alone preserved the Greek form of the name, the claims of Western writers like Nicetius of Treves, or Nicesius of Vienne, to be regarded as possible authors, become void. It is easy to understand how the Greek name was Latinised in the other MSS. Another point of interest in the MS. is the statement that Niceta was Bishop of Rome. Evidently the scribe had seen the inscription, Civitatis Romanae episcopus. Now Romanae is one of the forms in which Remesiana is found in the MSS. of Gennadius.

The internal evidence of the treatises On the Good of Psalmody and On Vigils points quite away from the times and circumstances of Nicetius of Treves, or of his namesake of Vienne. The writer defends the practice of keeping vigils with psalm singing and hymns as something new, to which older Church-folk object, and at which the heathen mock. He speaks of Saturday and Sunday as observed with these night watches. This fact points decisively to some Church influenced by Eastern usage, and to the latter part of the fourth century, a description which would suit Remesiana in the time of Niceta. A reference to the Song of Moses and Miriam shows that the congregation was divided into two choirs, by sex. The whole congregation sang, and did not merely respond "Amen" or "Hallelujah" to a singer or choir.

Antiphonal psalm-singing by the whole congregation began in Antioch about the year 350, when two Orthodox laymen, Flavianus and Diodorus, afterwards Bishops of Antioch and Tarsus, gathered a congregation and taught them to sing hymns, in opposition to the influence of an Arian bishop, Leontius. S. Basil introduced the practice into Caesarea (Cappadocia) in 375, and was heavily reproached for it [Ep. 207.]. It soon spread to Upper Egypt and Mesopotamia, but Basil does not mention one town of Europe where it was found. Opposition did not come so much from conservative congregations as from bishops. A synod held at Laodicea, 360, decreed:

"Besides the canonical psalm-singers, who climb into the gallery and sing from the book, shall none sing in the church."

Dom. Morin [Revue Bénédictine, 1897, p.385.] has found in the Vatican Library a new MS. of the tract, On the Good of Psalmody, Cod. Vat. 5729, containing several passages that are not found in the printed editions, but seem to belong to the original text. In one of these, the author answers the objection that S. Paul (Eph.v.9) intended congregations to sing silently, when he wrote,

"in gratia cantantes et psallentes Deo in cordibus uestris."

In another he quotes a treatise of Cyprian [Ep. ad Donat. c.16, ed. Hartel.]. This throws light on the extent of his reading, and is an interesting parallel to the quotation of Cyprian "On Mortality," in the Te Deum.

Though the writer distinguishes his people from Easterns, his list of the canticles sung at their services exactly corresponds with Eastern usage. Dom. Morin shows this by an interesting list:

Moses, Exodus Moses, Exodus Isaiah xxvi.9 Benedicite
Moses, Deut. Moses, Deut. Anna Moses, Exodus
Anna Anna Habbakuk Moses, Deut.
Isaiah xxvi.9 Habbakuk Jonah Isaiah lx.1-14
Habbakuk Isaiah xxvi.9 Moses, Deut. Isaiah lxi.10-l.7
Jonah Jonah Moses, Exodus Anna
Jeremiah, (?) Benedicite, i.   Mary
Benedicite Benedicite, ii.   Isaiah xxvi.9
Elizabeth, Luke i.46 Mary, Luke i.46   Judith
      Jeremiah, Lam.v.1-22
      4 Esdras viii.20-36
      Azarias, Dan.iii.26-44

It will be seen that the list of Niceta agrees with that of Constantinople with two exceptions, the inversion of the order Isaiah, Habbakuk, and the addition of Jeremiah, which is possibly a point of connection with the Gallican list.

In fact, the internal evidence of these tracts exactly fits in with the words which Paulinus of Nola used about his friend. He anticipated much pleasure from the enjoyment of Niceta's gifts as a hymn writer, beside whom he felt himself poor.
[Carm. xxvii.193-199.] He hoped to gain inspiration [Carm. xvii.109.], and that Niceta would visit the church of his patron-saint Felix, with psalm-singing and hymns. [ib. 243-272.] He imagined the sailors on the ship, which would carry Niceta over the Adriatic, taught to sing hymns in chorus, as in "the silent land"; the barbarians had already learnt to hymn Christ: -

"Navitai lasti solitum celeusma
Concinent uersis modulis in hymnos
Et piis ducent comites in sequor
Vocibus auras.
Praecinet cunctis, tuba ceu resultans,
Lingua Nicetae modulata Christum:
Psallet aeternus citharista toto
Aequore Dauid.
Audient Amen tremefacta cete,
Et sacerdotem Domino canentem
Laeta lasciuo procul admeabunt
Monstra natatu."
[ib. 500-510.]

Gennadius and Cassiodorus praise the writings of Niceta for their brevity, and the clearness and simplicity of their style. 
The same characteristics are certainly found in the Te Deum to a marked degree. 
The effect that the whole composition has on the mind is felt to be strong. 
But this is through the grandeur and rapidity of the thoughts that are expressed, rather than from mere brilliancy of expression. [Morin, Rev. B?. 1894, p.75.] 

The parallels to the Te Deum scattered in the writings of Niceta are not perhaps so striking as one could wish, but they show that his mind was working on similar lines.

Ver.7.In the Explanatio he writes:

In emus gloriam etiam angeli prospicere concupiscunt; qui et sedes et dominationes uniuersasque coelorum uirtutes sua maiestate sanctificat. 

Ver.8. In the same sermon he writes of patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, and the just, as united with angels in one church. And in what seems to be the best text [Epistula Nicetae Episcopi, in the MS. d'Epinal, saec.vii., viii.] of his letter, de lapsu Susannae, if that can be attributed to him, we find mention made of apostles, an army of prophets (exercitus), and the holy angels.

Vers.11-13. Gennadius gives one title, de fide unicae maiestatis, for the treatises on the faith, and on the Holy Spirit, in which maiestas is repeatedly used of the Godhead. The immensitas of God's works is spoken of in a way that implies that the writer would argue back to the immensitas of His Being. He speaks of Christ as uerus (dei) filius (Mai, p.315). He uses the title spiritum sanctum paraclitum (Mai, p.322). [Zahn, Art, cit.] 

Ver.16. Expl. symboli. - Carnem suscepit humanam (cf. Mai, p.314, corpus suscepisse). 

Ver.20. Cf. sanguinis sui pretio nos redemit (Mai, p.331). 

Ver.21. Cf. de remuneratione iustitiae, de coelestis gloriae expectatione (Mai, p.332). 

For the thoughts worked out in the whole of this section of the hymn, we may compare de Psalmodiae Bono.

"Et quod his est omnibus excelsius Christi sacramenta cantantur. Nam et generatio eius exprimitur, et rejectio plebis impiae et gentium credulitas nominatur. Uirtutes domini cantantur, passio ueneranda depingitur, resurrectio gloriosa monstratur, sedisse quoque ad dexteram non tacetur. Tune deinde igneus domina manifestatur aduentus, terribile de uiuis ac mortuis iudicium panditur. Quid plura? Etiam Spiritus [Cod. Vat, XPS.] creantis emissio et terrae renouatio reuelatur. Post quae erit in gloriam domini sempiternam iustorum regnum impiorum perenne supplicium." 

This theory of the authorship has also the merit that it offers an explanation of the fragment of an original Greek version, which has been preserved in four MSS.

Niceta must have been competent to translate it himself, and we may even hope some day to find the rest of the version.

  1. Σὲ θεὸναἰν οῦμενσὲ κύριον ἐξομολογοῦμεν·
  2. Σὲ αἰώνιον πατέρα πᾶσά ἡ γῆ...
  3. Σὲ πάντες ἅγγελοὶ, σοὶ οὐρανοὶ καὶ πᾶσαι, ἐξονσίαι,
  4. Σοὶ χερουβὶμ καὶ σεραφὶμ ἀκαταπαύστῳ φωνῇ ἀνακράξονσιν·
  5. Ἅγιος ἍγιοιἍγιος κύριος ὁ θεὸς σαβαώθ·
  6. πλήρεις οὐρανοὶ καὶ ἡ γῆ τῆς μεγαλωσύνης τῆς δόξης σοῦ.
  7. Σὲ δεδοξασμένος ἀποστόλων χορός
  8. Σὲ προφητῶν αἰνετός ἀριθμός
  9. Σὲ μαρτύρων ἔκλαμπρος αἰνεῖ στρατός·
  10. Σὲ κατὰ πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην ἡ ἁγία έξομολογεῖ ἐκκλησία.

The absence of a verb in verse 2 should be noted. Either the MS. from which the scribe copied was mutilated, or, more probably, if the Greek version was written as an interlinear gloss, some word like σέβέται was forgotten [Wordsworth, Art. cit.]. These ten verses are all that remain at present of the original. The attempts made in some MSS. to continue the translation are very unsuccessful.

III. The Sources

The word "sources" is a convenient term, which we may use generally to include any parallel passages in Christian literature of the period to which we have traced the Te Deum. 
If they were not the actual source of the author's thoughts, they at all events represent the current teaching of his age.


First among them we may set the Gloria in excelsis, which in its earliest form can be traced back to the fourth century. The earliest Greek MS. is the famous Codex Alexandrinus of the fifth century. 
But it is also found in part in the treatise de Virginitate [Robertson, Athanasius, p.lxv.] wrongly ascribed to Athanasius, which must have been written in Syria in the fourth century. 
In the Apostolic Constitutions, vii.47, a somewhat different version of the hymn is found in a collection of hymns and prayers, which was made in or near Antioch in the latter half of the century. This version of the text offers an illustration of the way in which the writer, known as Ps. Ignatius, "has taken and simply manipulated it to square with his curious views and terminology." [Rev. F. E. Brightman, to whom I am indebted for a list of parallels in the work of this person, which I will quote after the version.]


   Codex Alexandrinus.

Bangor Antiphonary.

1. Δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις θεῷ Gloria in excelsis Deo,
2.  καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς εἰπήωη
ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκία.
et in terra pax hominibus bunae uuluntatis.
3. αἰνοῦμίν σε, Laudamus te,
4. εὐλονοῦμέν σε, benedicimus te,
5. προσκυνοῦμίν σε, adoramus te,
6. δοξολογοῦμέν σε, glorificamus te,
magnificarnus te,
7. εὐχαριαττοῦμεν σοι Gratias agimus tibi
8. διὰ τὴω μεγάλην σου δόξαν, propter magnam misericordiam tuam.
9. κύριε βασιλεῦ Domine rex
10. ἐπουράνιε, coelestis,
11 θεέ πατήρ παντοκράτωρ, Deus Pater omnipotens,
12. κύριε υἱὲ μονογενῆ Domine Fili unigenite
13. Ἰσοῦ χριστὲ Ihesu Christe,
14. καί ἅγιον πνεῦμα. Sancte Spiritua Dei,
et omnes dicimus, Amen.
15. κύριε ὁ θεοῦ, Domine
16. ὁ ἀμνὸς του θεοῦ, Fili Dei Patris,
17. ὁ υἱος τοῦ πατρὸς, agne Dei
18. ὁ αἴρων τὰς ἁμαρτίας τοῦ κόσμου qui tollis peccata mundi,
19. ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς, miserere nobis.
20. ὁ αἴρων τὰς ἀμαρτίας τοῦ κόσμου  
21. ελέσον ἡμᾶς.  
22. πρόσδεξαι τὴν δεησιν ἡμῶν ὁ καθήμενος ἡμᾶς.  Suscipe orationem nostram,
qui sedes ad dexteram Dei Patris,
23. ὅτισὺ εἶ μόνος ἅγοις . Quoniam tu solas sanctus.
24. σὺ εἶ μόνος ΚΥΡΙΟΣ.
tu solus Dominus.
tu solus gloriosus.

in gloria Dei Patris. Amen.

The following is the form found in the Apostolic Constitutions. 
As it really depends on one MS. (X), I will quote it separately from Lagarde's edition:-
X. Cod. Vindobonensis gr. 46, saec.xiv.
Y. Cod. Vindobonensis gr. 47, saec. xvi.
Z. Cod. Parisinus gr. 931, saec. xvi.

Προσευχὴ ἐωθινή X Y. [ἑ Ζ].

1. Δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις Θεῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς εἰρήνη, ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκία·
αἰνοῦμέν σε, ὑμνοῦμέν σε,2 εὐλογοῦμέν σε, εὐχαριστοῦμέν σοι, δοξολογοῦμέν σε, προσκυνοῦμέν σε, διὰ τοῦ μεγάλου ἀρχιερέως, σε τὸνὄντα Θεὸν ἀγέννητον
2[This seems to be a "conflate" of the ordinary text with that in de Uirginitate.]
3. om. 2υ σε, Y Z.
5. ἕνα ἀπρόσιτον μόνον διὰ τὴν μεγάλην σου δόξαν, κύριε βασιλεῦ ἐπουράνιε Θεὲ πατὴρ παντοκράτωρ, κύριε νἱέ μονογενῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστέ, καὶ ἅγιον πνεῦμα· κύριε ὁ Θεός ὁ ἀμνός τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ πατρός, ὁ αἴρων τὰς ἁμαρτίας τοῦ κόσμου ἐλέησαν ἡμᾶς, ὁ αἰρων τὰς ἁμαρτίας τοῦ 6. πάτερ παντοκράτορ, Y. υιἳ ... 
8. ἁμαρτιας, X. ὁ Θεὸς πατὴρ τοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ ἀμώμοῦ ὃς αἴρει τὴν ἁμαρτιαν, Y. 9. om. ἐλέησον κόσμου, Y.
10. κόσμου, πρόσδεξαι τὴν δέησιν ἡμῶν ὁ καθήμενος ἐν δεξιᾷ τοῦ πατρός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς· ὅτι σὺ εἶ μονός ἅγιος, σὺ εἶ μονός κύριοςΊησοῦς Χριστὸς εἰς δόξαν Θεοῦ πατρός. ἀμήν. 10. ἐν ... 11. ἡμᾶς, X. ἐπὶ τῶν Χερουβείμ, Y. om. εἰ bis, Y. 
12. Χριστὸς + τοῦ Θεοῦ πάσης γεννητῆς φύσεως τοῦ βασιλέως ἡμῶν εἰς ... ἀμήν, X. δἰ οὗ σοι δόξα τιμὴ καὶ σέβας, Y.

The following parallels show that "in all but two details the language of the version is thoroughly characteristic of Ps. Ignatius, and in those two details, since they are quotations from Holy Scripture, he is quite himself, since he quotes Holy Scripture on every possible occasion": -
[Brightmanλου ἀρχιερέως. 
Ap. Const. ii. 25, § 5, v.6, § 7: διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ μεγάλου ἀρνιερίως; vii.38: διὰ τοῦ μίγάλου ἀρχιερέως Ἰησοῦ Χρίστοῦ; viii.16: ἥτις μίμησιν περιέχει τοῦ μεμεγάλου ἀρνιερέως Ἰησοῦν Χριστοῦ. cf. viii.46: τῇ φύσει ἀρχιερεὺς ὁ μονογενὴς Χριστός.
. 9: τῇ φύσει τοῦ Πατρὸς ἀρχιερέα.
Ap. Const
. viii.46: τοῦ Πατρὸς ἀρχΐερέα Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦ τὸν κύριον ἡμῶν; 6: ἀρχιερέα σόν.
. 7: Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν τὸν ἀρχιερέα τοῦ ἀγεννήτου θεοῦ.

Σὲ τὸν ὄντα θεόν. 
Ap.Const. v.12, § 3: περὶ τοῦ ὄντος θεοῦ; viii.12: ἀνυμνεῖν σε τὸν ὄντως ὄντα θεόν.

Ἀγέννητον ἕνα ἀπρόσιτον μόνον.
Eph.7: ὁ μόνος ἀληθινὸς Θεὸς ὁ ἀγέννητος καὶ ἀπρόσιτος.
. viii.6: ὁ ἀγέννητος καὶ ἀπρός ὁ μόνος ἀληθινὸς Θεός.
, 14: ὁ ὢν μόνος ἀγέννητος. 2: τὸν ἕνα καὶ, μόνον Θεόν; 4: τὸν ἕνα πατέρα μόνον ἀληθινὸν Θεόν.

Ό Θεὸς ὁ πατήρ τοῦ Χρίστοῦ τοῦ ἀμώμον ἀμνοῦ.
.1, Ap.Const. viii.6 etc.: ὁ Θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ (a favourite quotation; Notice change from original of Smyrn. 1) 
viii.42: τὸν πατέρα τοῦ Χριστοῦ, and 41.

The rest does not seem to occur elsewhere (cf. 1 Per.i.19).

Ό καθήμενοςἐπὶ τῶν Χερουβείμ. Ps.lxxix.2, xcviii.1.  Τοῦ Θεοῦ πάσης γεννητῆς φύσεως τοῦ βασιλέως ἡμῶν.
Philip.5: ὁ πάλαι μὲν πᾶσαν αἰσθητὴν καὶ νοητὴν φύσιν κατασκενάσας.
. 8: διανομεῖ πάσης νοητῆς φύσεως.
Ap. Const
. viii.12: βασιλέα δὲ καὶ μύριον πάσης νοητῆς καὶ αἰσθητῆς φύσεως;
.: τοῦ Θεοῦ πάσης αἰσθητῆς καὶ νοητῆς φύσεως τοῦ βασιλέως ἡμῶν; viii.46: τὸν βασιλέα πάσης αἰσθητῆς καὶ νοητῆς φύσεως.  
Cf. viii.12: προσφέρομέν σοι τῷ βασιλεὶ καὶ Θεῷ; 46: Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ βασιλέως ἡμῶν.

Δι' οὗ σοὶ δόξα τιμὴ καὶ σέβας, ἀμήν.
Ap. Const
. vii.38: σοὶ ἡ δόξα καὶ τὸ σέβας μετὰ Χρίστοῦ καὶ πνεύματος ἁγίου νῦν καὶ ἐις τους αἰῶνας‧ ἀμήν; viii.5: μεθ' οι καὶ οι' ου σοι οοξα τιμή καὶ σέβας εν άγι'ω πνενματι νυν καὶ αεί καὶ ει'ϊ τονς αιώνας των αΙώνων αμήν.
Cf.6, 7, 8, 11.

After the Gloria in the Apostolic Constitutions follows another hymn, the latter part of which, σοὶπρέπει αἶνος,  still accompanies it in the offices of the Eastern Church: - [In ποδεῖπνον - Apodeipnon (ib. pp.108, 179). I owe this information also to Mr. Brightman.]

Αἰνεῖτε, παῖδες, κύριον, αἰνεῖτε τὸ ὄνομα Κυρίου, αἰνοῦμέν σε, ὑμνοῦμέν σε, εὐλογοῦμέν σε διὰ τῂν μεγάλην σου δόξαν, κύριε βασιλεῦ ὁ πατὺρ τοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ ἀμώμου ἀμνοῦ, ὃς αἴρει τὴν ἁμαρτίαν τοῦ κόσμον‧ σοὶ πρέπει αἶνος, σοὶ πρέπει ὕμνος, σοὶ δόξα πρέπει τῷ πατρὶ καὶ τῷ υἱῷ καὶ τῷ ἁγίῳ πνεύματι εἰς αἰῶνάς τῶν αἰώνων‧ ἀμύν .

It is beside my purpose to enter into a full discussion of the earlier history of the Gloria. Having shown that there is reason to believe that it was used in Antioch in 378, when Niceta probably visited that city, there seems to be no incongruity in the suggestion that he may have taken it as the model of his hymn. The Angels' Hymn of the New Testament, which led the author of the Gloria to his triumphant "We praise Thee," may have led Niceta to the thought of the Angels' Hymn of the Old Testament, the Sanctus of the Liturgy. Then follows in the Gloria, as in the Te Deum, the enumeration of worshippers, leading up to a short creed. It is important to note that in the earliest text of the Gloria, in both versions, mention of the Holy Spirit is inserted here instead of the last sentence. It is possible that the double insertion found in the Bangor Antiphonary implies that the original text had neither, that mention of the Holy Spirit was only thought of after the Macedonian controversy. But in that case it is difficult to believe that the interpolator would have been content with the simple words, "and the Holy Spirit," without adding the epithets familiar in the teaching of the fourth century, such as "Paraclete," which was indeed used by Niceta in his hymn. 
I regard the first mention, therefore, as primitive, and the second as an interpolation, which is the more marked because it obscures the fact that the last words are a quotation from Phil.ii.11. 
It is by a mere accident that the first mention has dropped out of our text. 
Then follows an address to Christ, ending with a threefold prayer for mercy. This finds a parallel in the modern text of the Te Deum, but in the present uncertainty about the original text, to which these antiphons may not have belonged, this point cannot be pressed.

If this theory, that the structure of the Te Deum was moulded on the lines of the Gloria, be accepted, some con?firmation is given to the opinion that the first words are addressed to God the Father. And it fits in with a suggestion made by Zahn [Art. cit, p.119.], that the setting of the hymn following the Gloria in the Apostolic Constitutions was used by Niceta for his hymn. This hymn begins with the Psalm verse, Laudate pueri dominum, familiar to us in the so-called Irish text of the Te Deum. And it ends with some words of praise, Te decet laus. In MSS. of the modern text of the Te Deum, [e.g. Oxford Bodl. Lib. Canon 88.] in which the Gospel is appointed to be read after it, these words follow. 
But, unfortunately, no MS. has both the psalm verse and the Te decet laus.

2. Gothic & Gallican "Contestationes"

Another source of the Te Deum may be sought in the Sanctus and Contestationes, or Prefaces of the so-called Gallican and Gothic Missals, and the Gallican Sacramentary. The parallels are indeed so close that Dr. Gibson was able to argue with much force that, "whoever he was, the compiler of the hymn moved naturally and easily in the circle of phrases and expressions found in the fragments that remain to us of the Gallican Liturgy, but not found in that of the Church of Borne; and that the source on which he drew must have been the Eucharistic service of his Church, and more especially the variable Contestatio or Preface." [C. Q. R., April 1884, p.19.] Our knowledge of these ancient liturgies is still very imperfect. We can only say that it is probable that these prayers are as old or older than the Te Deum, and with reference to the new theory of authorship it may be pointed out that there are more parallels to the Gothic Missal than to either of the Gallican books. 
Does that represent the Liturgy used in Dacia?

1. Dignum et iustum est ... ut Te Dominum ac Deum totis uisceribus humana conditio ueneretur, Miss. Goth., p.604; Miss. Gall., p.753.
2,3,4. Omnis terra adorat te, et confitetur tibi: sed et coeli coelorum et angelicae potestates non cessant laudare dicentes, Sanctus, Miss. Goth., p.518.
  Quem angeli et archangeli, quem throni et dominationes, quem Cherubin et Seraphin incessabili uoce proclamant dicentes,1 Sanctus, Mone ii.
  [The Irish and Milan versions in most MSS. add dicentes, probably a reminiscence of some such liturgical form.]  
  Cui omnes angeli atque archangeli incessabili uoce proclamant dicentes, Sanctus, Miss. Gall., p.751.
  Totus in orbe terrarum mundus exultat; sed et supernae concinnunt potestates hymnum glorias sine fine dicentes, ib., pp.473, 750.
  Cui merito omnes angeli atque archangeli sine cessatione proclamant dicentes, Sanctus, Miss. Goth., p.525.
  Omnes angeli atque archangeli,
quoque et Seraphin sine intermissione proclamant dicentes,
Sanctus, ib., p.557.
  Cuius regnum ...
incessabili uoce
proclamabant dicentes,
Sacr. Gall., p.925.
7. Apostolorum chorus, Miss. Goth; p.528.
8. Tam copioso prophetarum numero, Mone v.
13. Spiritus Sanctus Tuus Paraclitus, Sacr. Gall., p.873.
14. Tu rex glories Christus, ib., p.919.
15. Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius, Mone ix.
16. Secundum humanam conditionem liberauit hominem, Mone v.
17. Aculeo mortis extincto, Miss. Goth; p.532;
  mortis uicit aculeum, ib., p.623;
  aculeus mortis obtritus, Sacr. Gall., p.858;
  coelorum regna. Miss. Goth; p.543;
  ianuam regni coelestis aperiat, ib., p.540.
19. Quem credimus et fatemur ad iudicandos uiuos et mortuos in gloria esse uenturum, Sacr. Gall., p.857;
  quem omnes gentes expectant uenturum iudicem ad iudicandum, Miss. Goth., p.752.
20. Quos sanguinis tui effusione redemisti, Miss. Goth., pp.601, 607; Sacr. Gall., p.858;
  oues, quas pretioso sanguine Filii tui redemisti,1 Miss. Gall., p.706. 1[The prayer in which these words occur is also found in Sacr. Leon, c. 304; Sacr. Gelas. cc. 631, 554, 699 (Invocation).]

Another parallel to the Te Deum may be found in the Preface of the Liturgy of S. James, where mention is made of "the heavens," "prophets," "martyrs and apostles," with "angels," "Cherubim and Seraphim."


IV. The Text



Antiphon, Ps.cxii.1.  

Laudate pueri Dominum laudate nomen Domini

To God the Father, a hymn of praise from things visible and invisible. 1.

Te Deum laudamus, te Dóminum cónfitémur.v


Te aeternum Patrem omnis térra ueneránur.5


Tibi omnes angeli, tibi caeli et uniuérsae potestátes.5


Tibi cherubim et seraphim incessabili uóce proclámant: pl





Founded on Apostles, Prophets, Martyrs, the Church; 7. Te gloriosus ápostolórum chórus.v

Te prophetarum laudábilis númerus.t


Te martyrum candidatus laúdat exércitus. t

confesses the Trinity, 10.

Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitétur ecclésia:







the glory and mystery of the Incarnation, 14.

Tu rex glóriæ


Tu Patris sempitérnus es Fílius. t


Tu ad liberandum suscépturus hóminem, horruisti uírginis úterum. t

echoing the creed 17.

Tu deuicto mórtis acúleo, t aperuisti credentibus régna caelórum. pl

as the ground of her petition to be granted 18. Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes in glória Pá
19. Iudex crederis ésse uentúrus. pl
grace now and glory hereafter. 20.

Te ergo, quaesumus, tuia fámulis súbueni,t quos praetioso sánguine rédemisti.v

21. Æterna fac cum sanctis glória múnerári.v
Capitellum, Ps.xxviii.9. 22, 23.

Saluum fac populum tuum Domine et benedic hsereditati tua, et rege eos et extolle illos usque in aeternum.

Capitellum of the Gloria in Excelsis.

Ps.cxlv.2. 24, 25.  

Per singulos dies benedicimus te, et laudamus nomen tuum in saeculum et in saeculum saeculi.


Prayers after the Te Deum -


From antiphons of the Gloria in excelsis or Preces in the Daily Office.


Dignare Domine die isto sine peccato nos custodire.

Ps.cxi.3. 27.  

Miserere nobis, Domine, miserere nobis.


In the Irish version, suggested by its use twice during the Fraction in the Celtic Liturgy?

Ps.xxi.22. 28.   Fiat misericordia tua Domine super nos, quemadmodum sperauimus in te.

Found in the Bangor Antiphonary as the opening clause of a prayer after Gloria in excelsis.

Ps.xxxi.1. 29.  

In te, Domine, speraui non confundar in aeternum.

A prayer of the Celtic Church after the Te Deum from the Bangor Antiphonary -

"Te Patrem adoramus aeternum: te sempiternum Filium inuocamus: teque Spiritum Sanctum in una diuinitatis substantia manentem confitemur. 
Tibi um Deo in Trinitate debitas laudes et gratias referamus ut te incessabili uoce laudare mereamur per aeterna saecula."

A few words may be said about the analysis which I have printed in the margin.

Verses 1-7. - "To God the Father a hymn of praise from things visible and invisible." This interpretation alone gives a plain meaning to the words aeternum patrem in verse 2. 
It is rendered necessary by the tuum of verse 12. 
And it is confirmed by the analogy of the train of thought in the Gloria in excelsis, the first part of which is addressed to the Father. Since both canticles may be said to have been composed in the same age, this argument from analogy is quite independent of the theory that a closer relationship existed between them. Dr. Gibson has indeed pointed attention to a remarkable parallel in the first quotation from the Missale Gothicum given above (p.271), in a special preface, which is the only one addressed to God the Son, and contains accusatives instead of the usual vocatives:-

Dignum et iustum est ... ut Te Dominum ac Deum totis uisceribus humana conditio ueneretur.

If, on other grounds, it were possible to believe that the whole is a hymn to Christ, this would be a remarkable confirmation of it. But no reasonable explanation has ever been given of aeternum Patrem as addressed to Christ. It was never adopted by Latin writers as an equivalent of πατὴρ τοῦ μέλλοντος αἰῶνος in Isaiah ix.6, the closest parallel to it. Another argument has been sought in the wording of an ancient hymn to Christ, which is undeniably moulded by the thought of the Te Deum throughout [Daniel, Thesaurus, i. p.46.]. It begins: "Christe Rex coeli." But this argument carries its own refutation with it in the line, "Thou Word of the Eternal Father."

On the other hand, a curious rendering of the hymn into Latin hexameters by Candidus, a monk of Fulda under Ratgar, 802-817, leaves no doubt as to the opinion held in the ninth century [Mon. Hist. Poet. Lat, aeui Carolini, ed. Duemmler, ii. I owe this reference to Dr. Gibson.]:

"Te ergo Deum laudamus te dominumque fatemur
Te geuitorem perpetuum terra ueneratur."

Verses 7-13.?Founded on apostles, prophets, martyrs, the Church confesses the Trinity.

Verses 14-21.?(The Church confesses) the glory and mystery of the incarnation, echoing the creed as the ground of her petition to be granted grace now and glory hereafter. The outline of the Apostles' Creed is followed closely in the references to the nativity, passion, resurrection, session, and return to Judgment. 
Here the original hymn ends, a fact which is brought out very clearly by an interesting Irish text printed by Rev. F. E. Warren from a MS. in the British Museum (Harl. 7653, s. viii., ix.) [Bradshaw Society, vol.x. pp.83 ff.]. It was the work probably of an Irish nun, and contains a Litany and other prayers. Among them without title are introduced verses 1-21 of the Te Deum.

In this attempt to reconstruct the original text of the hymn in the light of the new theory, we assume that Niceta sent or brought it to Italy, possibly in time to be sung by S. Ambrose and S. Augustine in 386, or in the last decade of the century. Paulinus may have passed it on to his friends at Lerins. From Lerins it came into the possession of the Celtic Church in Ireland, possibly through S. Patrick. 
Our debt to the Irish version, which has preserved the author's name and the opening antiphon and the tradition respecting the limits of the original hymn, must not tempt us to regard it as necessarily the purest text. Its corruptions, however, are easily explained.

The first important variant is found in verse 6, where the Irish text has:

"Pleni sunt caeli et uniuersa terra honore gloriae tuae."

The other texts omit uniuersa, and for honore read maiestatis gloriae tuae,pl or in the Milan version " gloriae maiestatis tuae." The reading honore may be explained by the presence of the word honor in the Spanish [Conc. Tolet, iv.c.15.] form of the Gloria Patri, which is found in the Bangor Aniiphonary, and was therefore known to the Irish Church. 
To a scribe it might seem to introduce a familiar thought, and it was a less unwieldy phrase than maiestatis. 
To fill up the line, he or someone else would introduce universa. 
The order of the Milan version glorias maiestatis is found in the Mozarabic text of the Te Deum. 
But the familiar idea in Christian worship is to give glory, and it seems more natural to predicate majesty of glory than the contrary. 
There is an interesting parallel sentence in the sermon of Hilary of Aries, which he preached after the death of Honoratus, the founder of Lerins;

"Nec facile tam exerte tam lucide quisquam de diuinitatis trinitate disseruit cum eam personis distingueres et gloriae aeternitate ac maiestate sociares."  

We have therefore early authority for the phrase in this order "majesty of glory" apart from the question of the text of the hymn, and apart also from the fact that "maiestatis gloriae tusae " pl makes a better rhythmical ending.

In verse 12 the Irish version in all MSS. and the oldest MS. of the Milan version (Cod. Vat. 82) have unigenitum filium t though all other MSS. have unicum.
This is a case in which the copyists would be misled by remembrance of the Apostles' Creed, in which unigenitum is rare, though found in the Creed of Cyprian of Toulon, an early witness to the Te Deum. Unicum, on the other hand, is common in the creed. The rhythm is decisive in favour of unigenitum.

"We now come to the much-disputed reading of verse 16. New light has been thrown upon it by the publication of the letter of Cyprian of Toulon, to which reference has been made [P. 257 supra.], and from which we learn that the reading used in the south-east of Gaul at the beginning of the sixth century was,

"Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem non horruisti uirginis uterum."

Thus it was not a mere pedantic correction made by Abbo of Fleury in the tenth century. The Irish text adds mundum after liberandum, with suscepisti for suscepturus. It has been suggested that mundum may have dropped out through homoeoteleuton. This is quite possible, but it is more probably 'an interpolation by an Irish copyist who was familiar with the idea of the phrase Saluator mundi. The word mundus recurs frequently in the collects of the Bangor Antiphonary. Since none of the MSS. of the other versions insert the word, it seems inadvisable to adopt it.

In verse 20 in one MS. of the Milan version (Cod. Monac. lat. 343), and in some six or seven MSS. of the ordinary version, sancte has been added after ergo. In the Milan Breviary it is added after quaesemus. This was at one time a widely spread reading, and has been traced by Dr. Gibson to the influence of the last stanza of an old Sunday morning hymn, O rex aeterne, which begins, Te ergo sancte quaesumus.

In the Munich MS. I found that hymn immediately after the Te Deum.

In verse 21 the true reading of all M.SS., gloria numerari, has been changed into gloria numerari in printed editions of the Breviary from 1491 onwards.

Our Prayer Book translation suffers in consequence. Dr. Gibson thinks that it originated in an attempt at textual criticism, and was suggested by the well-known words added by Gregory the Great to the Canon of the Mass, "in electorum tuorum iubeas grege numerari."

"We come now to the problem of the antiphons or Psalm verses with which the hymn is concluded. A simple diagram will serve to show at a glance the relations of the different combinations, the full text being as follows:-

Ps.xxviii.9. Vv.22, 28.

Saluum fac populum tuum Domine et benedic haereditati tuse, et rege eos et extolle illos usque in aeternum.

Ps.cxlv.2. 24. 25.

per singulos dies benedicimus te, et laudamus nomen tuum in saeculum et in saeculum saeculi.


Dignare Domine die isto sine peccato nos custodire.

Ps.cxi.3. 27.

Miserere nobis, Domine, miserere nobis.

Ps.xxi.22. 28.

Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos quemadmodum sperauimus in te.

Ps.xxxi.1. 29.

In te, Domine, speraui non confundar in aeternum.

Dan.iii.26. *

Benedictus et Domine Deus patrum nostrorum et laudabile et gloriosum nomen tuum in saecula.

O Ordinary Version in our Prayer Book.
I Irish Version in the Bangor Antiphonary.
G The Gloria in excelsis (Cod. Alexandrinus and Bangor Antiphonary).
A Cod. Vat. Alex. xi.
M Milan Version in Cod. Vat. 82.

22, 23 O I   A 24,25 M
24, 25 O I G   22, 23 M
26, 27 O   G A    
28 O I        
29 O          

Dr. Gibson's most interesting suggestion, that some of these antiphons were transferred from the Gloria in excelsis, has been commonly misunderstood. It will be remembered that the Rule of Caesarius directed the use of Te Deum laudamus, Gloria in excelsis, Deo et capitellum.

The Council of Agde in 506 directed in their canon that the capitula from the Psalms should always be read after the lessons. 
These capitula = capitella, or antiphons, seem to have been in common use in the whole Church, for we find them in a fifth-century MS. of the Gloria in excelsis (Cod. Alexandrinus). It seems therefore natural to suppose that such were added to the Te Deum from the fifth century.

The simplest explanation of the enlargement is as follows:
that Ps.xxviii.9,10, Saluumfac populzim = verses 22, 23 of the Ordinary Version, was the capitellum appointed for the Te Deum in the Gallican Church. 
On the other hand, Ps.cxlv.2, Per singulos dies = verses, 24, 25, was the capitellum for the Gloria in excelsis. When the Gloria in excelsis was transferred to the Liturgy, its capitellum, specially mentioned by Caesarius, was attached to the Te Deum. It is an interesting fact that Saluum fac is not found among the capitella appended to the Gloria in any of the three Irish texts printed by Mr. Warren [Bangor Antiphonary, ii.p.78.], whereas Ps.cxlv.2, Per singulos dies, with variant readings, Cotidie or In omni tempore, heads each list.

We have yet to explain the appearance of the additional verse, Ps.xxi.22, Fiat misericordia = verse 26 in the Irish text of the Te Deum. 
That it did not originally belong to it is hinted by the Amen which precedes it in the Bangor Antiphonary. 
It was prescribed for use twice during the Fraction in the Celtic Liturgy.

The text of the antiphons in A is plainly formed by adding to the capitellum of the Te Deum two capitella from the Gloria.

The text in M represents the ordinary Milan version preserved down to the eleventh century. 
There is a curious inversion of verses 22, 23 following 24, 25, and followed by the verse from Daniel. It is not likely that this was the original text.

The ordinary version simply consists in the addition of 26, 2 7, which were familiar as preces, apart from the use after the Gloria, together with 28 found in the Irish version, and 29, Ps.xxxi.4, which is found in the Bangor Antiphonary as the opening clause of a prayer after the Gloria. 
This offers an additional proof that our version is founded on the Irish rather than the Milan version.

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