Te Deum

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The Te Deum (also known as Ambrosian Hymn or A Song of the Church) is an early Christian hymn of praise. The title is taken from its opening Latin words, Te Deum laudamus, rendered as "Thee, O God, we praise".

In the Orthodox Church, it is sung as part of the moleben of thanksgiving.


Contents

Origin

Authorship is traditionally ascribed to Saints Ambrose of Milan and Augustine of Hippo, on the occasion of the latter's baptism by the former in AD 387.

The petitions at the end of the hymn (beginning Salvum fac populum tuum) are a selection of verses from the book of Psalms, appended subsequently to the original hymn.

The hymn follows the outline of the Apostles' Creed, mixing a poetic vision of the heavenly liturgy with its declaration of faith. Calling on the name of God immediately, the hymn proceeds to name all those who praise and venerate God, from the hierarchy of heavenly creatures to those Christian faithful already in heaven to the Church spread throughout the world. The hymn then returns to its credal formula, naming Christ and recalling his birth, suffering and death, his resurrection and glorification. At this point the hymn turns to the subjects declaiming the praise, both the universal Church and the singer in particular, asking for mercy on past sins, protection from future sin, and the hoped-for reunification with the elect.

Latin text

Te Deum laudamus: te Dominum confitemur. Te aeternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur. Tibi omnes Angeli; tibi caeli et universae Potestates; Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim incessabili voce proclamant: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth. Pleni sunt caeli et terra maiestatis gloriae tuae. Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus, Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus, Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus. Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur Ecclesia, Patrem immensae maiestatis: Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium; Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum. Tu Rex gloriae, Christe. Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius. Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem, non horruisti Virginis uterum. Tu, devicto mortis aculeo, aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum. Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris. Iudex crederis esse venturus. Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni: quos pretioso sanguine redemisti. Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.

[added later, mainly from Psalm verses:] Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae. Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum. Per singulos dies benedicimus te; Et laudamus Nomen tuum in saeculum, et in saeculum saeculi. Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire. Miserere nostri Domine, miserere nostri. Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te. In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in aeternum.

English text

We praise Thee, O God, we acknowledge thee to be the Lord. All the earth doth worship Thee, the Father everlasting. To Thee all Angels cry aloud, the Heavens, and all the Powers therein. To thee Cherubim and Seraphim, continually do cry, Holy, Holy, Holy,Lord God of Sabaoth; Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of thy glory. The glorious company of the Apostles praise thee. The goodly fellowship of the Prophets praise thee. The noble army of Martyrs praise thee. The holy Church throughout all the world doth acknowledge thee; the Father of an infinite Majesty; Thine honourable, true and only Son; also the Holy Ghost the Comforter. Thou art the King of Glory O Christ. Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father. When Thou tookest upon Thee to deliver man, Thou didst not abhor the Virgin's womb. When Thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, Thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers. Thou sittest at the right hand of God in the glory of the Father. We believe that thou shalt come to be our Judge. We therefore pray Thee, help thy servants whom thou hast redeemed with Thy precious blood. Make them to be numbered with Thy Saints in glory everlasting.

[added later, mainly from Psalm verses:] O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine heritage. Govern them and lift them up for ever. Day by day we magnify Thee; and we worship Thy Name ever, yea forever and ever. Vouchsafe, O Lord to keep us this day without sin. O Lord, have mercy upon us have mercy upon us. O Lord, let Thy mercy lighten upon us as our trust is in Thee. O Lord, in Thee have I trusted let me never be confounded.

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