Sursum corda

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For other uses, see Sursum Corda (disambiguation).

The Sursum Corda (Latin: "Lift up your hearts" or literally, "Hearts lifted") is the opening dialogue to the Preface of the Eucharistic Prayer or Anaphora in the liturgies of the Christian Church, dating back at least to the third century and the Anaphora of the Apostolic Tradition. The dialogue is recorded in the earliest liturgies of the Christian Church, and is found in all ancient rites.[1]

The phrase Sursum Corda is generally translated as "lift up your hearts", but the Latin literally just says "Upwards [the] hearts" (Latin does not distinguish between definite and indefinite). Being a translation of the Greek, Sursum Corda idiomatically should imply "our hearts" rather than "your hearts", as per the modern Spanish translation, Levantemos el corazón ("let us lift up the heart"). The Greek version Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας means "Let us lift up the hearts," idiomatically implying "our hearts."

Though the detail varies slightly from rite to rite, the structure of the dialogue is generally threefold, comprising an exchange of formal greeting between priest and people; an invitation to lift the heart to God, the people responding in agreement; and an invitation to give thanks, with the people answering that it is proper to do so. This third exchange indicates the people's assent to the priest continuing to offer the remainder of the Eucharistic Prayer on their behalf, and it is the necessity of such assent which accounts for the universality of the dialogue.[2]

Latin Rite[edit]

The full text in Latin is:

  • Priest: Dominus vobiscum.
  • People: Et cum spiritu tuo.
  • Priest: Sursum corda.
  • People: Habemus ad Dominum.
  • Priest: Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.
  • People: Dignum et iustum est.

The English translation, as contained in the Third Edition of the Roman Missal, reads as follows:

  • Priest: The Lord be with you.
  • People: And with your spirit.
  • Priest: Lift up your hearts.
  • People: We lift them up to the Lord.
  • Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
  • People: It is right and just.

In other traditional English translations, such as the Book of Common Prayer, the dialogue is often translated as:

  • Priest: The LORD be with you.
  • People: And with thy spirit.
  • Priest: Lift up your hearts.
  • People: We lift them up unto the LORD.
  • Priest: Let us give thanks unto the LORD our God. (or Let us give thanks unto our LORD God.)
  • People: It is meet and right so to do. (or It is meet and just.)

Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, United Methodist, Presbyterian, and other denominations use the Sursum Corda in their Eucharistic celebrations. The Sursum Corda is also found in the Exultet during the Easter Vigil, where the dialogue is led not by the chief celebrant, but by the deacon.

The Mozarabic Rite has its own text, which is slightly different from other Latin Rites:

  • Priest: Introibo ad altare Dei mei. (Psalm 42:4a; 'I will enter into the altar of mine God')
  • People: Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam. ('To God, the joy of my youth.')
  • Priest: Aures ad Dominum.
  • People: Habemus ad Dominum. ('We have unto the LORD.')
  • Priest: Sursum corda.
  • People: Levemus ad Dominum.
  • Priest: Deo ac Domino nostro Jesu Christo filio Dei qui est in celis dignas gratias dignasque laudes referamus.
  • People: Dignum et justum est.

Eastern rites[edit]



  • Deacon: Στῶμεν καλῶς· στῶμεν μετὰ φόβου· πρόσχωμεν τὴν ἁγίαν Ἀναφορὰν ἐν εἰρήνῃ προσφέρειν.
  • People: Ἔλεον εἰρήνης, θυσίαν αἰνέσεως.
  • Priest: Ἡ χάρις τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ Πατρὸς καὶ ἡ κοινωνία τοῦ Ἁγίου Πνεύματος εἴη μετὰ πάντων ὑμῶν.
  • People: Καὶ μετὰ τοῦ πνεύματός σου.
  • Priest: Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας.
  • People: Ἔχομεν πρὸς τὸν Κύριον.
  • Priest: Εὐχαριστήσωμεν τῷ Κυρίῳ.
  • People: Ἄξιον καὶ δίκαιον.[3]

English translation:

After the kiss of peace and the Creed:

  • Deacon: Let us stand well. Let us stand in awe. Let us be attentive, that we may present the holy offering in peace.
  • People: A Mercy of Peace, a sacrifice of praise.
  • Priest (blessing the people with his hand): The grace of our LORD Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.
  • People: And with thy spirit.
  • Priest (raising his hands upward): Let us lift up our hearts.
  • People: We lift them up unto the LORD.
  • Priest (turning towards the Holy Table): Let us give thanks to the LORD.
  • People: It is proper and right.

This is the format used in the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic Churches, for both the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great.

Oriental Orthodox[edit]

Syriac Orthodox (Anaphora of Saint James)[edit]

  • (The celebrant, placing his left hand on the altar, turns toward the people and blesses them, saying:) The love of God the Father +, the grace of the Only-begotten Son + and the fellowship and descent of the Holy Spirit + be with you all, my brethren, forever.
  • People: Amen. And with your spirit.
  • (The celebrant, extending and elevating his hands, says aloud:) Upward, where Christ sits on the right hand of God the Father, let our thoughts, minds and hearts be at this hour.
  • People: They are with the LORD God.
  • Celebrant: Let us give thanks to the LORD in awe.
  • People: It is meet and right.

The various Anaphoras will have slight differences.

Coptic (Liturgy of Saint Basil)[edit]

  • Priest (he places a napkin on his left hand, in his right hand he takes the napkin which was over the Lamb; he makes the sign of the cross three times — the first time, the priest turns to the west, blessing the congregation, making the sign of the cross): The LORD be with you all.
  • Congregation: And with your spirit.
  • Priest (the second time, he turns toward east, blesses the deacons to his right, making the sign of the cross): Lift up your hearts.
  • Congregation: They are with the LORD.
  • Priest (the third time, he turns toward east, he blesses himself, making the sign of the cross): Let us give thanks to the LORD.
  • Congregation: Worthy and right.

Like the Syriac, the Coptic, especially the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, will have variations on the Sursum Corda, depending upon the particular Anaphora used.

Armenian Rite[edit]

  • Priest: The grace, the love and the divine sanctifying power of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
  • Choir: Amen, and with Thy spirit.
  • Deacon: The doors, the doors. With all wisdom and good heed. Lift up your minds in reverence of God.
  • Choir: We lift them up unto Thee, O LORD Almighty.
  • Deacon: And give thanks unto God, the LORD, with the whole heart.
  • Choir: It is meet and right.

Church of the East (Quddasha of Saints Addai and Mari)[edit]

  • Priest: The grace of our LORD Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now, at all times and for ever and ever. (And he makes the sign of the cross over the Mysteries.)
  • People: Amen.
  • Priest: Lift up your minds.
  • People: Towards you, O God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, O glorious King!
  • Priest: The oblation is offered to God, the LORD of all.
  • People: It is fit and right.

NB: The Chaldean Catholic Church has changed "Israel" to "Jacob" in their English translation, but not in their Chaldean Missal.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 3rd edition (ed. F. L. Cross & E. A. Livingstone), p.1561. Oxford University Press, 1997.
  2. ^ A New Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship (ed. J. G. Davies), p.16. SCM Press, 1986.
  3. ^
  4. ^, see "The Quddasha of the Blessed Apostles"