Holy, Holy, Holy

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"Holy, Holy, Holy!"
Occasion Trinity
Text by Reginald Heber
Based on
Melody "Nicaea" by John Bacchus Dykes
Composed 1861 (1861)

"Holy, Holy, Holy!" is a Christian hymn written by Reginald Heber (1783–1826).[1][2][3] Its lyrics speak specifically of the Holy Trinity,[2][3] having been written for use on Trinity Sunday.[3] It quotes the Sanctus of the Latin Mass, which translated into English begins "Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God of Hosts". The text also paraphrases Revelation 4:1–11. John Bacchus Dykes composed the tune Nicaea for this hymn in 1861.[1][2][3] The tune name is a tribute to the First Council of Nicaea which formalized the doctrine of the Trinity in 325.[2][3]


Holy, Holy Holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty!
God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, Holy, Holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Which wert, and art,and evermore shalt be.

Holy, Holy, Holy! though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man, Thy glory may not see:
Only Thou art holy, there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power in love,and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All thy works shall praise Thy name in earth, and sky, and sea;
holy, holy, holy! merciful and mighty,
God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!

from Hymn #22 Sankey's Sacred Songs & Solos: A Classic collection of Hymns & Choruses

Modern recordings[edit]

The hymn is sung in the 1953 film Titanic.[4]

The hymn is sung in the 1956 movie The Fastest Gun Alive starring Glenn Ford, Broderick Crawford and Jeanne Crain. Keith Green recorded a version of this hymn for his 1982 album Songs for the Shepherd.

Marcos Witt covered the Spanish version in his 1994 album !Alabadle!.

Amy Grant recorded a version for her 2002 studio album Legacy... Hymns and Faith. This version later appeared on her 2015 compilation album Be Still and Know... Hymns & Faith.

Nicaea is also used in ITV's adaptation of 'Wuthering Heights' (2009), although in a scene which takes place pre-1830.

Sufjan Stevens recorded a version of this hymn for his 2006 album Peace: Songs for Christmas - Vol. V.

The Hillsong United band has recorded a version of this hymn, consisting of the first and last verses.

In 2009, the song was covered by country music singer Ronnie Milsap on his gospel album Then Sings My Soul.

Jimmy Needham recorded a version of this hymn for his 2012 limited release album The Gospel. The duo of Shane & Shane also feature in this version of the song. This album will be re-released in September 2013 but under the album name The Hymns Sessions, Vol. 1.

Sung by the church congregation in Episode 3 of the Lord Peter Wimsey miniseries. "The Nine Tailors" produced by the BBC in 1974 from the Dorothy Sayers novel.


  1. ^ a b Brown, Theron; Hezekiah Butterworth (2008) [1906]. "Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!". The Story of the Hymns and Tunes. BiblioBazaar. p. 66. ISBN 0-554-25576-6. 
  2. ^ a b c d Sankey, Ira David (2008) [1907]. "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty". My Life and the Story of the Gospel Hymns and of Sacred Songs and Solos. BiblioBazaar. pp. 364–365. ISBN 0-559-33724-8. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Osbeck, Kenneth W. (1982). "Holy, Holy, Holy". 101 hymn stories. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications. pp. 94–95. ISBN 0-8254-3416-5. OCLC 7875830. 
  4. ^ Richards, Jeffrey (2003). A Night to Remember: the definitive Titanic film. London: I.B. Tauris. p. 26. ISBN 1-86064-849-5. OCLC 55898225. 

External links[edit]