Gloria in excelsis Deo

The word Gloria is (as gloria, " fame, reverence " ) is a common word in the Latin Bible and in the Western Church - that Roman or Old Catholic, Protestant or Anglican - liturgies, but also comes in the liturgies Eastern Christian and Oriental worship before ( mostly as a translation of Hebrew kavod and gr doxa, ru. slawa ). The glory is there one of the attributes of God (in the sense of " glory "), which owns them, of whom it proceeds, and whom it is due. People they deserve in this sense does not ( soli deo gloria - "God alone the glory ").

The word is also used as shorthand for the hymn Gloria in excelsis Deo ( "Glory be to God in the highest" ) needed. The hymn is West Church as part of worship liturgies. It is connected outside of Lent with the Kyrie Eleison. On the Sundays of Advent and Lent and on penitential days, the Gloria is omitted.

  • 2.1 wording


In the story of the birth of Jesus (Luke 2) is told that the angels after they have aligned the shepherds in the field, the news of the newborn Messiah child, God together glorify ( Lk 2,14 EU).

Biblical latin version

The words which the Vulgate reproduces in Latin are:

" Gloria Deo in altissimis et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis "

In other Latin versions of the verse reads:

" Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis "

In the latter version of Psalm 148.1 EU is overheard the prompts in the Latin version:

" Laudate Dominum de Caelis Laudate eum in excelsis. "

German translation of the Bible

In the German Zurich Bible translation is this verse:

"Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men, in which God is well pleased. "

Hymnus angelicus

Because this glorification of God emanating from angels and the heavenly choirs, called these lines of Luke's Gospel in the Church's tradition hymn Angelicus, ie "English Hymn of Praise " ( which here is "English" as adjective to angels and nothing to do with the language has, which is named after the fishing) or " angel anthem".

Text development

These biblical words of Luke's Gospel were preceded by a popular early Christian hymn, to save him from the verdict of the Council of Laodicea ( 341-380 ), which banned all homemade hymns ( Psalmi idiotici ). The Greek text is found in the Codex Alexandrinus of the New Testament dating from the 5th century and had its place in the morning prayer of Lauds, as today in the Byzantine liturgy. The oldest form of the Latin language is to be found handed down from the 7th century in the Antiphonary of Bangor. In the former version of the Gloria contains small deviations from the text used today; so the Holy Spirit was called immediately after the passage Domine Fili unigenite, Jesus Christe and not at the end. The present form was used not later than the 9th century. The version of Hilary of Poitiers, in the Middle Ages may have come occasionally reported.


It is in the German version to the official for the Roman Catholic dioceses translation into German ( cf. praise of God, No. 354), which is obligatory to employ in Catholic services. However, it differs in two respects from the Latin version. Actually, the first sentence should read: " ... the people of good will " (literally, " people of good will "). This translation, however, was already provided in the Protestant churches of the Reformation period in question, as the New Testament. Text, the Greek word used eudokia. Literally can still be transferred in the Latin bonae voluntatis. In this case, however, the crucial content is lost. Eudocia referred most likely the good intention or the benevolence of God with men. This pushes the post-conciliar translation by the word grace. In contrast, the Latin translation suggests the misconception that it is not God probably thinks with the man, but man must acquire peace through his good will. Instead of " sin of the world " would have the plural " sins of the world " are ( the Greek text has here once the singular, once the plural). This translation is also still in the German edition of the Roman Missal of 1962. In the German-speaking area of the text, however, was changed at the end of the 1960s in the context of the liturgical reform, although the Latin version had not changed. Especially by conservative theologians and clergy to the new translation is criticized as biased. Because, according to Catholic belief of the Magisterium of the bishops responsible owed ​​obedience, however, even most critics adhere to the new version. Exceptions exist for example in the Fraternity of St. Pius X and the Fraternity of St. Peter, both of which celebrate the Holy Mass in Latin.

In the Evangelical Church in Germany the text and melody version of the Strasbourg Gloria of 1524 is used predominantly. The biblical Anfangsvers is there, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth Fried, the goodwill towards men. " The translation of eudokia with pleasure is maintained, as it is also culturally embedded. The original genitive ( eudokias ) is represented for example in the rarely used alternate version of the Protestant hymnal, EC No. 180.3: "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests. " The full text version (EC 180.1 ) is rarely used.

The Gloria in the liturgy

In early Christianity, the Gloria was initially not an integral part of the Mass. The hymn was only part of certain liturgies, such as the papal mass. Then he was part of Bishop fairs. Bishops were considered similar due to their consecration as the angels and therefore could sing the songs of angels. The bishop turned to the people to, after the hymn again the altar. From priests, however, the Gloria was to be sung to the 12th century only on the day of their priestly ordination and Easter.

After the Liber Pontificalis, the Gloria was inserted by Pope Telesphorus as an integral part in the fair. This appears to be a very early date; yet one can conclude that it was built around 530, when the Liber Pontificalis at the latest, was already an integral part of the liturgy of Western Christians. After the Liber Pontificalis, the use of the Gloria had been approved for Sundays and Martyrerfeste of Pope Symmachus beginning of the 6th century. However, according to tradition the Abbot Berno of Reichenau asked priests in the 11th century, why they should sing the Gloria only to Christmas. However, by the end of the century seems to have been established as an integral part of the Order of the Mass in that form, the Gloria, which was later codified by Pope Pius V, in a clear dismissal of secular, especially imperial " fame " (see Investiture Controversy ).

The Gloria has since been to the Ordinary ( the always constant texts) the fair and has been set to music by composers of all eras. It is sung in the Catholic Church, as a rule only on Sundays outside the embossed times ( Advent and Lent) and at times, even to the votive Masses of Holy Orders, the passing of eternal vows and the virginal consecration part of the Gloria. On Maundy Thursday, it sounds very solemn, often altar bells and bells are rung to, and can be heard again until the Easter Vigil. During the Christmas and the Octave of Easter, the Gloria is sung on each day.

Gloria Patri

→ Main article: Gloria Patri

By the same word the so-called Small or Trinitarian doxology begins.

Settings of the Gloria

Most settings of the Gloria are part of a complete exhibition, consisting of Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei. Johann Sebastian Bach Gloria divided into the Lutheran fairs or Small Measure musically in five parts. These works consist of only the Kyrie and the Gloria, and are also known as Missa brevis. In some cases, the Gloria has been set to music but also as a separate piece, so by Antonio Vivaldi, Francis Poulenc, John Rutter, Colin Mawby and Henry Suter champion.

The Gloria in Protestant services

In the Lutheran liturgy regularly, occasionally sung a Nikolaus Decius 1525 authored Gloria Song in the German Catholic Mass, the melody of which dates back to the Gloria of the Easter Fair of the 10th century and its four stanzas, the Gloria of the Mass very originalnah in rhymes grasp. Liturgical only the first verse is usually used:

" Only God in the Hoh Kudos and thanks for His grace, about that now, nor ever can touch us no harm. A Wohlgefalln God has to us; now is great Fried ohn ceasing, all Fehd is now over. "

Regional is also only the second verse sung by the congregation - as a continuation of the arguments put forward by liturgist and choir opening lines of the Gloria. In Lent, it is omitted altogether or replaced by another song ( " Glory to you Christ, the you suffered distress ...").


  • Vulgate. Biblia Sacra iuxta vulgatam versionem; Stuttgart, 1969; ISBN 3-438-05303-9
  • Novum Testamentum Latine, TEXTUM Vatican; Stuttgart 1971