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Tantum ergo are the opening words of the last two verses of Pange Lingua, a Mediaeval Latin hymn written by St Thomas Aquinas. These last two verses are sung during veneration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in the Roman Catholic Church and other churches that practice this devotion. It is usually sung, though solemn recitation is sometimes done, and permitted.[1]


Latin text

Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui:
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.

Genitori, Genitoque
Laus et jubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.

V. Panem de caelis[2] praestitisti eis.(T.P. Alleluja)
R. Omne delectamentum in se habentem.(T.P. Alleluja)

Oremus: Deus, qui nobis sub sacramento mirabili, passionis tuae memoriam reliquisti: tribue, quaesumus, ita nos corporis et sanguinis tui sacra mysteria venerari, ut redemptionis tuae fructum in nobis iugiter sentiamus. Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum.

R. Amen.

English translation

A translation over a hundred years old[3] and still used in Catholic churches liturgically[4] renders the hymn thus, in a form which can be sung to the same music as the Latin:

Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail,
Lo! o'er ancient forms departing
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith for all defects supplying,
Where the feeble senses fail.
To the everlasting Father,
And the Son Who reigns on high
With the Holy Ghost proceeding
Forth from Each eternally,
Be salvation, honor, blessing,
Might and endless majesty.

V. Thou hast given them bread from heaven.
R. Having within it all sweetness.

V. Let us pray: O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament left us a memorial of Thy Passion: grant, we implore Thee, that we may so venerate the sacred mysteries of Thy Body and Blood, as always to be conscious of the fruit of Thy Redemption. Thou who livest and reignest forever and ever.

R. Amen.

Literal Translation

Let us, with heads bowed [cernui]
Venerate so great a Sacrament,
And let the old practice [documentum] yield
To the new rite;
Let faith provide a supplement
For the failure of the senses.

To the Begetter and the Begotten [both masculine gender],
Be praise and jubilation,
Hail, honour, virtue[5] also,
And blessing too,
And let equal praise be to Him,
Who proceeds from Both.

V. You have appointed for them [less literally, determined for them to have] bread from heaven.
R. Having in itself [in se] all delight [delectamentum].

V. Let us pray: O God, who to us in this wonderful Sacrament, bequeathed a memorial of your Passion: grant, we beseech, that we, in worshipping [venerari; in addition to simple worship, may also mean worshipping in order to receive favour] the Holy Mysteries of your body and blood, may within ourselves continually [iugiter], sensibly perceive [sentiamus] the fruit of your redemption. You who live and reign into ages of ages.

R. Amen.


  1. "Tantum Ergo". Catholic Encyclopedia. 
  2. The word "caelis", not "caelo", is used in Finnegan, Sean. The Book of Catholic Prayer. 2000: Loyola Press. p. 521.
  3. Source: p. 63-64, "Hymns and Poems, Original and Translated" by Edward Caswall, 1873. [1]
  4. See e.g.[2][3], accessed May 2, 2009
  5. For other examples of Latin use of the word "virtus" by St. Thomas Aquinas, here translated "virtue", see the Latin of the Summa Theologica, e.g. [4].

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