Gloria Patri

A Latin chant setting of the Gloria Patri from the Liber Usualis, with two euouae alternatives.

Gloria Patri, also known as the Gloria, Glory Be to the Father or, colloquially, the Glory Be, is a doxology, a short hymn of praise to God in various Christian liturgies. It is also referred to as the Minor Doxology (Doxologia Minor) or Lesser Doxology, to distinguish it from the Greater Doxology, the Gloria in Excelsis Deo.

The earliest Christian doxologies are addressed to God the Father alone, or to Him "through" (διὰ) the Son,[1] or to the Father and the Holy Spirit with (μετά) the Son,[2] or to the Son with (σύν) the Father and the Holy Spirit.[3]

The Trinitarian doxology addressed in parallel fashion to all three Divine Persons of the Trinity, joined by and (καί), as in the form of baptism, Matthew 28:19, became universal in Nicaean Christianity, which became dominant with the Edict of Thessalonica of 380.[4]

Greek version

The Greek wording is as follows:

Δόξα Πατρὶ καὶ Υἱῷ καὶ Ἁγίῳ Πνεύματι,
καὶ νῦν καὶ ἀεὶ καὶ εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. Ἀμήν.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
Both now and always, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

The second part is occasionally slightly modified and other verses are sometimes introduced between the two halves.[4]

Syriac version

East Syriac (used by the Assyrian Church of the East and the Chaldean Catholic Church)
Shouha tababa, W-brona, W-ruha dqudsha,
min’alam w’adamma L-’alam, Amen.[5]
Malabar East Syriac (used by the Syro Malabar Church)
Shuw’ha L’Awa U’lawra wal’Ruha D’Qudsha
Min Alam wadamma L’alam, Amen Wamen.
West Syriac (used by the Syriac Catholic Church and the Syriac Orthodox Church)
Shubho Labo wu Labro wu l'rooHo qadisho
Min 'Olam w'adam l'Olam, Olmeen, Amin.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
from everlasting and for ever and ever (literal translation)[6]

According to Worship Music: A Concise Dictionary, the lesser doxology is of Syrian origin.[7]

There is an alternate version which the Syriac Catholic Church and the Syriac Orthodox Church use in their Liturgies

Shubho Labo wu Labro wu l'rooHo qadisho
wu 'Alain mHeli wu HaTowe raHme wa Hnono nishtef'aoon batrahoon 'Olmee l'Olam 'Olmeen Amin.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
And upon us, weak and sinful ones, let mercy and compassion be showered in both worlds, forever and ever. Amen.[8]


In Orthodoxy, Arabic is one of the official liturgical languages of the Church of Jerusalem[9] and the Church of Antioch,[10] both autocephalous Orthodox Churches and two of the four ancient Patriarchates of the Pentarchy.[11][12]

The Arabic wording of this doxology is as follows:

المجد للآب و الابن و الروح القدس
.الان و كل أوان و الى دهر الداهرين، أمين[13]

Roman Rite Latin version

Pronunciation of the Glory Be to the Father (Gloria patri) in church Latin with a strong American English accent.
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto,
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, and now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.[14]

This differs from the Greek version because of the insertion of ""Sicut erat in principio", which is now taken to mean "As it (glory) was in the beginning", but which seems originally to have meant "As he (the Son) was in the beginning", and echo of the opening words of the Gospel according to John: "In the beginning was the Word".[4]

In 529 the Second Synod of Vasio in Gaul (modern (Vaison) said in its fifth canon that the second part of the doxology, with the words Sicut erat in principio, was used in Rome, the East, and Africa, and ordered it to be said likewise in Gaul.[4] Writing in the 1909 Catholic Encyclopedia, Adrian Fortescue, while remarking that what the synod said of the East was false, took the synod's decree to mean that the form originally used in the West was the same as the Greek form.[4] From about the 7th century the present Roman Rite version became almost universal throughout the West.[4]

Mozarabic Rite Latin version

Gloria et honor Patri et Filio et Spiritui sancto
in saecula saeculorum.[4]
Glory and honour to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
for ages of ages.

The similarity between this version used in the then extreme west of the church and the Syrian version used in the extreme east is noteworthy.

English versions

The following traditional form is the most common in Anglican usage and in older Lutheran liturgical books:

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son:
and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be:
world without end. Amen.

The translations of semper as "ever shall be", and in sæcula sæculorum as "world without end" date at least from Cranmer's Book of Common Prayer.

The Catholic Church uses the same English form, but today replaces "Holy Ghost" with "Holy Spirit",[15][16][17] as in The Divine Office[18] the edition of the Liturgy of the Hours used in most English-speaking countries outside the United States. Divine Worship: The Missal, published by the Holy See in 2015 for use under the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus allows "Holy Spirit" and "Holy Ghost" to be used interchangeably.[19]

In 1971, the International Consultation on English Texts (ICET) used since 1971:

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

This was adopted in the publication, Liturgy of the Hours (Catholic Book Publishing Company), but has not come into popular use by lay Catholics. It is found also in some Anglican and Lutheran publications.

A variant found in Common Worship has "will" instead of "shall":

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be for ever. Amen.

Especially in Anglican circles, there are various alternative forms of the Gloria designed to avoid masculine language. The form included in Celebrating Common Prayer is:

Glory to God, Source of all being,
Eternal Word and Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

The doxology in the use of the English-speaking Orthodox and Greek-Catholic Churches, follows the Greek form, of which one English translation is:

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

The translation of the Greek form used by the Melkite Greek Catholic Church in the United States is:

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
now and always and forever and ever. Amen.[20]


In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Church of the East, and the Eastern Catholic Churches, the Lesser Doxology is frequently used at diverse points in services and private prayers. Among other instances, it is said three times by the reader during the usual beginning of every service, and as part of the dismissal at the end. When it is used in a series of hymns it is chanted either before the last hymn or before the penultimate hymn. In the latter case, it is divided in half, the "Glory..." being chanted before the penultimate hymn, and "Both now..." being chanted before the final hymn (which is usually a Theotokion).

In the Roman Rite, the Gloria Patri is frequently chanted or recited in the Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office principally at the end of psalms and canticles and in the responsories. It also figures in the Introit of the pre-1970 form of Mass in the Roman Rite. It is restored to the Introit in the form of the Roman Rite published in Divine Worship: The Missal. The prayer figures prominently in non-liturgical devotions, notably the rosary, where "Glory be" is recited before the large beads (on which an "Our Father" is prayed) which separate the five sets of ten smaller beads, called decades, upon each of which a Hail Mary is prayed.

Amongst Anglicans, the Gloria Patri is mainly used at the Daily Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer, to introduce and conclude the singing or recitation of psalms, and to conclude the canticles that lack their own concluding doxologies.

Lutherans have historically added the Gloria Patri both after the chanting of the Responsorial Psalm and following the Nunc Dimittis during their Divine Service, as well as during Matins and Vespers in the Canonical hours. The Gloria Patri is also frequently used in evangelical Presbyterian churches. In Methodism, the Gloria Patri (usually in the traditional English form above) is frequently sung to conclude the "responsive reading" that takes the place of the Office Psalmody.


Gloria Patri
Gloria Patri setting by Henry Wellington Greatorex

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See also


  1. (Romans 16:27; Jude 25; Letter of Clement to the Corinthians, 4; Martyrdom of Polycarp, 20; etc.)
  2. Martyrdom of Polycarp, 14
  3. Martyrdom of Polycarp, 22
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Adrian Fortescue, "Doxology" in Catholic Encyclopedia (New York 1909)
  5. Chaldean Neo-Aramaic
  6. The Hallowing of Addai and Mari
  7. Edward Foley, Mark Paul Bangert, Worship Music: A Concise Dictionary (Liturgical Press 2000 ISBN 0-8146-5889-X), p. 126
  9. Ronald G. Roberson, C.S.P. (28 May 2009). "The Patriarchate of Jerusalem". Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA). Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  10. Ronald G. Roberson, C.S.P. (3 Jan 2013). "The Patriarchate of Antioch". Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA). Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  11. Ronald G. Roberson, C.S.P. (2 Jan 2007). "The Autocephalous Churches". Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA). Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  12. Elias D. Mallon, S.A., Ph.D. (11 January 2013). "Pentarchy". Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA). Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  13. Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem
  14. "Gloria Patri", Catholic Dictionary
  15. EWTN: "The Glory Be"
  16. Catholic Online
  17. CatholiCity: "Common Catholic Prayers"
  18. Collins (London, Glasgow), Dwyer (Sydney), Talbot (Dublin)
  19. Divine Worship: The Missal, Commission Anglicanae Traditiones, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Congregation for Divine Worship, 2015, p. 122

External links

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