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Te Deum

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Te Deum stained glass window by Christopher Whall at St Mary's church, Ware, Hertfordshire

The Te Deum (/t ˈdəm/ or /t ˈdəm/,[1][2] Latin: [te ˈde.um]; from its incipit, Te Deum laudamus (Latin for 'Thee, God, we praise')) is a Latin Christian hymn traditionally ascribed to AD 387 authorship, but with antecedents that place it much earlier.[3] It is central to the Ambrosian hymnal, which spread throughout the Latin Church with other parts of the Ambrosian Rite of Milan in the 6th to 8th centuries. It is sometimes known as the Ambrosian Hymn, although authorship by Saint Ambrose is unlikely. The term Te Deum can also refer to a short religious service (of blessing or thanks) based upon the hymn.[4]


Vatican Reg. Lat. 11, fol. 230v (Frankish Hymnal, mid-8th century)
Te Deum on a stained glass window in the Sorrowful Mother Shrine Chapel (Bellevue, Ohio)

Authorship of the hymn is traditionally ascribed to Saint Ambrose (died 397) or Saint Augustine (died 430). In 19th-century scholarship, Saint Hilary of Poitiers (died 367) and Saint Nicetas of Remesiana (died 414) were proposed as possible authors. In the 20th century, the association with Nicetas has been deprecated, so that the hymn, while almost certainly dating to the 4th century, is considered as being of uncertain authorship. Authorship of Nicetas of Remesiana was suggested by the association of the name "Nicetas" with the hymn in manuscripts from the 10th century onward, and was particularly defended in the 1890s by Germain Morin. Hymnologists of the 20th century, especially Ernst Kähler (1958), have shown the association with "Nicetas" to be spurious.[5] The Te Deum has structural similarities with a eucharistic prayer and it has been proposed that it was originally composed as part of one.[6]

The hymn was part of the Old Hymnal since it was introduced to the Benedictine order in the 6th century, and it was preserved in the Frankish Hymnal of the 8th century. It was, however, removed from the New Hymnal which became prevalent in the 10th century. It was restored in the 12th century in hymnals that attempted to restore the praiseful intent of the Rule of St. Benedict, Chap. 12: How the Morning Office Is to Be Said.[clarification needed]

In the traditional office, the Te Deum is sung at the end of Matins on all days when the Gloria is said at Mass; those days are all Sundays outside Advent, Septuagesima, Lent, and Passiontide; on all feasts (except the Triduum) and on all ferias during Eastertide.

Before the 1961 reforms of Pope John XXIII, neither the Gloria nor the Te Deum were said on the feast of the Holy Innocents, unless it fell on Sunday, as they were martyred before the death of Christ and therefore could not immediately attain the beatific vision.[7]

In the Liturgy of the Hours of Pope Paul VI, the Te Deum is sung at the end of the Office of Readings on all Sundays except those of Lent, on all solemnities, on the octaves of Easter and Christmas, and on all feasts.[8] The revised Handbook of Indulgences (fourth edition) grants a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions, to those who recite it in public on New Year's Eve.[9][10][clarification needed]

In the Daily Office of the Catholic Ordinariates the Te Deum is sung at Morning Prayer as the Canticle following the First Lesson. It is appointed for (1) Sundays except in Pre-Lent and Lent, (2) Feasts and Solemnities, and (3) all days during the Octaves of Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost.[11]

It is also used together with the standard canticles in Morning Prayer as prescribed in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, as an option in Morning Prayer or Matins for Lutherans, and is retained by many churches of the Reformed tradition.

The hymn is in regular use in the Catholic Church, Lutheran Church, Anglican Church and Methodist Church (mostly before the Homily) in the Office of Readings found in the Liturgy of the Hours, and in thanksgiving to God for a special blessing such as the election of a pope, the consecration of a bishop, the canonization of a saint, a religious profession, the publication of a treaty of peace, a royal coronation, etc. It is sung either after Mass or the Divine Office or as a separate religious ceremony.[12] The hymn also remains in use in the Anglican Communion and some Lutheran Churches in similar settings.

Music and text[edit]

Originally, the hymn Te Deum was written on a Gregorian[[1]] melody[[2]]. 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 and English text[edit]

Latin text Translation from the Book of Common Prayer Translation from ICEL (2020), as confirmed by the Holy See, May 14 2020 Prot. No. 6/20[13]

Te Deum laudámus: te Dominum confitémur.
Te ætérnum Patrem omnis terra venerátur.
Tibi omnes Angeli; tibi cæli et univérsae potestátes.
Tibi Chérubim et Séraphim incessábili voce proclámant:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dóminus Deus Sábaoth.
Pleni sunt cæli et terra majestátis glóriæ tuæ.
Te gloriósus Apostolórum chorus;
Te Prophetárum laudábilis númerus;
Te Mártyrum candidátus laudat exércitus.
Te per orbem terrárum sancta confitétur Ecclésia:
Patrem imménsæ majestátis;
Venerándum tuum verum et únicum Fílium;
Sanctum quoque Paráclitum Spíritum.
Tu Rex glóriæ, Christe.
Tu Patris sempitérnus es Fílius.
Tu ad liberándum susceptúrus hóminem, non horruísti Vírginis úterum.
Tu, devícto mortis acúleo,
  aperuísti credéntibus regna cælórum.
Tu ad déxteram Dei sedes, in glória Patris.
Judex créderis esse ventúrus.
Te ergo quǽsumus, tuis fámulis súbveni,
  quos pretióso sánguine redemísti.
Ætérna fac cum sanctis tuis in glória numerári.

[added later, mainly from Psalm verses:]
Salvum fac pópulum tuum, Dómine,
  et bénedic hæreditáti tuæ.
Et rege eos, et extólle illos usque in ætérnum.
Per síngulos dies benedícimus te.
Et laudámus nomen tuum in sǽculum, et in sǽculum sǽculi.
Dignáre, Dómine, die isto sine peccáto nos custodíre.
Miserére nostri, Dómine, miserére nostri.
Fiat misericórdia tua, Dómine, super nos,
  quemádmodum sperávimus in te.
In te, Dómine, sperávi: non confúndar in ætérnum.

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 Cherubin and Seraphin : 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 world without end.
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.

O God, we praise you; O Lord, we acclaim you.
Eternal Father, all the earth reveres you.
All the angels, the heavens and the Pow'rs of heaven,
Cherubim and Seraphim cry out to you in endless praise:
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts,
heaven and earth are filled with the majesty of your glory.
The glorious choir of Apostles sings to you,
the noble company of prophets praises you,
the white-robed army of martyrs glorifies you,
Holy Church throughout the earth proclaims you,
Father of boundless majesty,
with your true and only Son, worthy of adoration,
and the Holy Spirit, Paraclete.
You, O Christ, are the King of glory,
you are the Father's everlasting Son;
when you resolved to save the human race,
you did not spurn the Virgin's womb;
you overcame the sting of death
and opened wide the Kingdom of Heaven
to those who put their faith in you.
You are seated at the right hand of God
in the glory of the Father.
We believe you are the Judge who is to come.
And so we beg you, help your servants,
redeemed by your most precious blood.
Number them among your saints in eternal glory.

[added later, mainly from Psalm verses:]
Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance.
Shepherd them and raise them to eternal life.
Day by day, we bless you
and praise your name for endless ages evermore.
Be gracious, Lord, on this day,
and keep us from all sin.
Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy.
May your mercy be upon us, Lord,
as we place our trust in you.
In you, O Lord, I rest my hope:
let me never be put to shame.

12th-century murals in Vä Church, Sweden, depicting angels and saints holding scrolls with the text of Te Deum

In the Book of Common Prayer, verse is written in half-lines, at which reading pauses, indicated by colons in the text.


The Enchiridion Indulgentiarum of 2004 grants plenary or partial indulgence under certain circumstances.[14][15]


A Te Deum service is a short religious service, based upon the singing of the hymn, held to give thanks.[4] In Sweden, for example, it may be held in the Royal Chapel in connection with the birth of a prince or princess, christenings, milestone birthdays, jubilees and other important events within the royal family of Sweden.[16]

In Luxembourg, a service is held annually in the presence of the grand-ducal family to celebrate the Grand Duke's Official Birthday, which is also the nation's national day, on either 23 or 24 June.[17]

In the Autonomous Region of Madeira, the Bishop of Funchal holds a Te Deum service on December 31 of each year.[18][19][20]

It is also celebrated in some South American countries such as Argentina, Chile, and Peru on their national days.

Musical settings[edit]

The text has been set to music by many composers, with settings by Zelenka, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Berlioz, Verdi, Bruckner, Furtwängler, Dvořák, Britten, Kodály, and Pärt among the better known. Jean-Baptiste Lully wrote a setting of Te Deum for the court of Louis XIV of France, and received a fatal injury while conducting it. Michel Richard de Lalande wrote a setting of the Te Deum, S.32. The prelude to Marc-Antoine Charpentier's setting (H.146) is well known in Europe on account of its being used as the theme music for Eurovision network broadcasts of the European Broadcasting Union, most notably the Eurovision Song Contest and Jeux Sans Frontières. He wrote also three other settings of the Te Deum: H.145, H.147, H.148. Henry Desmarets, two settings of Te Deum (1687). Louis-Nicolas Clérambault wrote three settings of the Te Deum: C.137, C.138, C.155. Earlier it had been used as the theme music for Bud Greenspan's documentary series, The Olympiad. Sir William Walton's Coronation Te Deum was written for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Other English settings include those by Thomas Tallis, William Byrd, Henry Purcell, Edward Elgar, and Herbert Howells, as well as five settings by George Frideric Handel and three settings by Charles Villiers Stanford.

Puccini's opera Tosca features a dramatic performance of the initial part of the Te Deum at the end of Act I.

The traditional chant melody was the basis for elaborate Te Deum compositions by notable French composer organists, Louis Marchand, Guillaume Lasceux, Charles Tournemire (1930), Jean Langlais (1934), and Jeanne Demessieux (1958), which are still widely performed today.

A version by Father Michael Keating is popular in some Charismatic circles. Mark Hayes wrote a setting of the text in 2005, with Latin phrases interpolated amid primarily English lyrics. In 1978, British hymnodist Christopher Idle[21] wrote God We Praise You,[22] a version of the text in meter, set to the tune Rustington. British composer John Rutter has composed two settings of this hymn, one entitled Te Deum and the other Winchester Te Deum. Igor Stravinsky set the first 12 lines of the text as part of The Flood in 1962. Antony Pitts was commissioned by the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music to write a setting for the 2011 10th Anniversary Festival.[23][24] The 18th-century German hymn Großer Gott, wir loben dich is a free translation of the Te Deum, which was translated into English in the 19th century as "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name."[25]


  1. ^ "Te Deum". Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary. Retrieved 26 January 2023.
  2. ^ "Te Deum". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). HarperCollins. Retrieved 26 January 2023.
  3. ^ Kooy, Brian K. (25 September 2007). "The Catholic Encyclopedia (New Advent)2007313Kevin Knight. The Catholic Encyclopedia (New Advent). Last visited May 2007. URL: www.newadvent.org/cathen/index.html Gratis". Reference Reviews. 21 (7): 14–16. doi:10.1108/09504120710821550. ISSN 0950-4125.
  4. ^ a b Pinnock, William Henry (1858). "Te Deum, a Separate Service". The laws and usages of the Church and clergy. Cambridge: J. Hall and Son. p. 1301.
  5. ^ Springer, C. P. E. (1976). "Te Deum". Theologische Realenzyklopädie. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 24–. ISBN 9783110171341.
  6. ^ Brown, Rosalind (19 July 2009). "On singing 'Te Deum'". www.durhamcathedral.co.uk. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  7. ^ Public Domain Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Holy Innocents". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 14 April 2010.
  8. ^ "General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, n. 228 and n. 231". Retrieved 2 December 2007.
  9. ^ "Te Deum". Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  10. ^ "Enchiridion Indulgentiarum quarto editur". www.vatican.va. Retrieved 25 July 2023.
  11. ^ Divine Worship Daily Office North American Edition. Newman House press. September 2020. p. 70. ISBN 978-1-7330293-2-2.
  12. ^ "The Te Deum (cont.)". Musical Musings: Prayers and Liturgical Texts – The Te Deum. CanticaNOVA Publications. Retrieved 7 July 2007.
  13. ^ The English translation and chants of Ordination of a Bishop, of Priests, and of Deacons © 2018, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation.
  14. ^ To those who have devoutly sung or recited the hymn in a solemn manner inside a church or oratory during the last day of the year to thank God for the benefits received during the past year. Partial indulgence is granted to those who recite it at sunrise or sunset; at the beginning or conclusion of their workday; before or after the spiritual nourishment
  15. ^ Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, Concessiones, No. 26, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 4th edition, 2004, p. 71. ISBN 88-209-2785-3.
  16. ^ "Te Deum". www.kungahuset.se. Swedish Royal Court. Archived from the original on 5 June 2016. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  17. ^ "National Day in Luxembourg". www.visitluxembourg.com. Archived from the original on 15 March 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  18. ^ ""Te Deum" amanhã às 17h na Sé do Funchal". Funchal Notícias (in Brazilian Portuguese). 30 December 2021. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  19. ^ Silva, Emanuel (31 December 2018). "Te Deum encerra o ano na Sé do Funchal". Funchal Notícias (in Brazilian Portuguese). Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  20. ^ ""Te Deum" na Sé da autoria de Pedro Macedo Camacho". www.visitmadeira.pt. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  21. ^ "Christopher Idle". Jubilate.co.uk. Archived from the original on 22 July 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  22. ^ "The Worshiping Church". Hymnary.org. p. 42. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  23. ^ "lfccm.com". lfccm.com. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  24. ^ "February 2011 from Jerusalem to Jericho". Archived from the original on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 5 March 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  25. ^ "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name". Cyberhymnal.org. Archived from the original on 21 November 2010. Retrieved 21 July 2014.

External links[edit]