Posts tagged ‘Tantum ergo’

March 15, 2015

2015-03-15 Notes from the Bench

“Tantum ergo” by Alexander Gretchaninov

A commentary on this week’s music by Dr. James T. Gerber, Music Associate



Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui:
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Præstet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.
Genitori, Genitoque
Laus et jubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.



Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail,
Lo! o’er ancient forms departing
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith for all defects supplying,
Where the feeble senses fail.

To the Everlasting Father,
And the Son Who reigns on high
With the Holy Ghost proceeding
Forth from Each eternally,
Be salvation, honour, blessing,
Might, and endless majesty.


The text, “Tantum ergo” is the final two verses of the longer Eucharistic hymn, “Pange Lingua, Gloriosi,” a Medieval-era Latin hymn written by St. Thomas Aquinas (1125-1274) around 1264. “Pange Lingua, Gloriosi” is the sequence hymn for the Roman Catholic Feast of Corpus Christi (Latin for Body of Christ) that celebrates the belief of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ’s Body and Blood in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. This hymn is also sung during the Maundy Thursday liturgy when the Sacrament is brought in solemn procession to the Altar of Repose. An English translation of this text may be found in The Hymnal 1982, #329. “Tantum ergo” is frequently sung during Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

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