An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

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Title for two well known Latin chant hymns, Venantius Fortunatus's passiontide hymn, “Sing my tongue the glorious battle” (Hymns 165, 166), and the Corpus Christi (now eucharistic) hymn, “Now, my tongue, the mystery telling” (Hymns 329-331), attributed to Thomas Aquinas. Fortunatus's hymn was written in the sixth century. It is considered to be the most famous of the passiontide hymns, and it has been used in the Good Friday ceremony for veneration of the cross since the ninth century. The BCP calls for use of this hymn, or another hymn extolling the glory of the cross, near the end of the Good Friday service (p. 282). “Now, my tongue, the mystery telling” was derived from Fortunatus's hymn in the thirteenth century. It was used with the same melody as its model. It was traditionally sung on Maundy Thursday and the feast of Corpus Christi. The Hymnal 1982 includes it in the section of hymns for the Holy Eucharist. The fifth and sixth verses of this hymn, known as the Tantum Ergo, are traditionally sung at Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The Tantum Ergo, which begins “Therefore we, before him bending,” is printed separately in The Hymnal 1982 as Hymn 330.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.