Locus iste

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Chapel in the Linz Cathedral

Locus iste is the Latin gradual for the anniversary of the dedication of a church (Missa in anniversario dedicationis ecclesiae), which in German is called Kirchweih.[1] The incipit Locus iste a Deo factus est translates to "This place was made by God".[2] One of the most famous settings is by the Austrian composer Anton Bruckner.


The text is based on the Biblical story of Jacob's Ladder,[3] Jacob's saying "Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not" (Genesis 28:16), and the story of the burning bush where Moses is told "put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground" (Exodus 3:5).[4]

Locus iste a Deo factus est,
inaestimabile sacramentum,
irreprehensibilis est.

This is the Lord's house, which He hath made.
Profoundly sacred,
it is beyond reproof.

A translation closer to the Latin is:

This place was made by God,
a priceless sacrament;
it is without reproach.[2]

Bruckner's setting[edit]

Bruckner completed the motet for unaccompanied SATB choir in 1869 for the dedication of a votive chapel at the New Cathedral in Linz.[5] The motet is often performed on anniversaries of church dedication.[3] The piece, which takes about three minutes to perform, is in the key of C major and in common time.


  1. ^ Cornelis van Zwol, Anton Bruckner 1824-1896 - Leven en werken, Thoth, 2012, p.706
  2. ^ a b "Motet Translations / Anton Bruckner: Locus Iste". Emmanuel Music. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  3. ^ a b Camartin, Iso (15 May 2005). "Dieser Ort / Anton Bruckner und Jakobs Traum von der Himmelsleiter". Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  4. ^ "Anton Bruckner: Locus iste". Carus-Verlag. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  5. ^ Williamson, John, ed. (2004). The Cambridge Companion to Bruckner. Cambridge Companions to Music. Cambridge University Press. p. 58. ISBN 9780521008785.