Te Deum laudamus

Te Deum laudamus

Te Deum laudamus. (as translated from the Latin in the Book of Common Prayer).

Te Deum is a traditional Latin hymn of the early church, and is “usually sung on occasions of public rejoicing.” The exuberant words are more of a poetic prose, high praise and adoration in honor of the holy Trinity. One tradition claims that it was originally composed as a part of an early eucharistic prayer. Its authorship is uncertain. One legend has it composed spontaneously in the Spirit by St. Ambrose at the baptism of St. Augustine around 387 AD, a feat of spiritual improvisation. Some historians claim it was written earlier than that, perhaps as early as 250, because there are probable references to this hymn in the writings of St. Cyprian and St. Perpetua. Others point to early 5th century with the composer being Bishop Nicetus of Serbia. It has been put to music by a wide variety of composers, capturing the imaginations of musicians world-wide. The Te Deum can be found in the prayer books and hymnals of most Protestant denominati0ns and is sung regularly at Roman Catholic, AME and Anglican churches.

You are God: we praise you;

You are the Lord: we acclaim you;

You are the eternal Father: All creation worships you.

To you all angels, all the powers of heaven,

Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:

     Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,

     heaven and earth are full of your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you.

The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.

The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.

Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you;

     Father, of majesty unbounded,

     your true and only Son, worthy of all worship,

     and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the king of glory,

the eternal Son of the Father.

when you became man to set us free

you did not shun the Virgin’s womb.

You overcame the sting of death

and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

You are seated at God’s right hand in glory.

We believe that you will come and be our judge.

     Come then, Lord, and help your people,

     bought with the price of your own blood,

     and bring us with your saints

     to glory everlasting.

As I discuss the Te Deum in sections, I will attach various musical interpretations of this classic prayer. This first post you’ll find a mesmerizing composition by European composer Arno Part. Enjoy.

Te Deum – YouTube