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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Ter Sanctus

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is the triumphal hymn of the ancient liturgies, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts, heaven and earth are full of thy glory," etc., and is based on the three holies (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4, 8). In all ancient liturgies the Ter Sanctus comes near, but before, the prayer of consecration, and is sung by the choir and the people. "The pontiff who is to celebrate approaches the altar and praises the works of God, and, giving thanks for all, associates himself with the angels, and vociferates with them the triumphal hymn Holy, holy, holy; and the people also recite it, typifying the equality of peace which we shall hereafter enjoy with the angels, and our union with them" (Simeon of Thessalonica, Comm. on Lit. of St. Chrysos.). This hymn formerly concluded with the words "Hosanna in the highest, blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest." This is the case in the liturgies of St. James, St. Chrysostom, St. Basil, the Malabar, Mozarabic, and Sarum. In that of St. Clement the Sanctus and Hosanna are separate, and the Mozarabic has the further addition "Hagios, hagios, hagios, Kyrie ho Theos." The prefaces of Ter Sanctus are very various, being adapted to different festivals and seasons. But they invariably end with the doxological form represented by the "Therefore with. angels and archangels," etc., of the Prayer-book. In all liturgies the preface is sung or said by the celebrant alone, the choir and people joining in at the hymn itself. Hence in the Sarum Missal, followed by the Prayer-books of 1549 and 1552, the Sanctus is printed as a separate paragraph. The hymn is also called Trisagion (q.v.).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Ter Sanctus'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/t/ter-sanctus.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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