Definitions

Sanctus

Sanctus

[sangk-tuhs]
Sanctus [Lat.,=holy], hymn of the Roman Catholic Mass, beginning, "Holy, holy, holy," from Isa. 6.3; Mat. 21.9. It is the solemn choral ending of the preface. In the old liturgy the second part of the hymn, called Benedictus, was sometimes sung after the elevation. The Sanctus (sometimes called Tersanctus) also includes the Hosanna.
Sanctus is the Latin word for holy or saint, and is the name of an important hymn of Christian liturgy.

In Western Christianity, the Sanctus is sung (or said) as the final words of the Preface of the Eucharistic Prayer, the prayer of consecration of the bread and wine. The preface, which alters according to the season, usually concludes with words describing the praise of the worshippers joining with the angels, who are pictured as praising God with the words of the Sanctus:

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus
Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua.
Hosanna in excelsis.
Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
Hosanna in excelsis.

The first part of the Sanctus is adapted from , which describes the prophet Isaiah's vision of the throne of God surrounded by six-winged, ministering seraphim. A similar representation may be found in . In Jewish liturgy, the verse from Isaiah is uttered by the congregation during Kedusha, a prayer said during the cantor's repetition of the Amidah (18 Benedictions):

Kadosh Kadosh Kadosh Adonai Tz'vaot
Melo Kol Haaretz Kevodo.

The text of the second part, beginning with the word Benedictus (Latin for "Blessed"), is taken from , describing Jesus' Palm Sunday entry into Jerusalem.

The Sanctus has been set to several plainchant melodies, of which one is given in the Roman Missal, and many composers have set it to more complex music. It constitutes a mandatory part of any mass setting.

In the Tridentine Mass the priest joins his hands while saying the word "Sanctus" and then, bowing, continues to recite the whole of the Sanctus in a lower voice, while a small bell is rung; then, on reaching the words "Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini", he stands erect again and makes the Sign of the Cross. He then continues immediately with the Canon of the Mass, while the choir, if there is one, sings the Sanctus, pausing for the Consecration and continuing with the Benedictus part afterwards.

As a result of this division, the Sanctus has sometimes been referred to as the Sanctus-Benedictus.

In the Mass as revised after the Second Vatican Council, the only ceremony prescribed for the priest is to join his hands. He and the people sing or recite together the whole of the Sanctus, before the priest begins the Eucharistic Prayer.

1973 International Commission on English in the Liturgy English version

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

English version often found in earlier hand missals

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts:
Heaven and earth are full of thy glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Note that the Sanctus should not be confused with the Trisagion.

References

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