Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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Some form of the hymn known as the Sanctus has been a near-universal feature of Christian eucharistic prayers, or anaphoras, since late antiquity. The hymn often consists of two elements. The first, the Sanctus proper, is based on Isa 6:3 (see Rev 4:8). The second, which is known as the Benedictus, is usually based on Matt 21:9. In the Roman Canon, for example, these two elements are found in the following form:


Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus

Holy, Holy, Holy

Dominus Deus Sabaoth.

Lord God of hosts.

Pleni sunt …

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Adams Petrin, Anna, “Sanctus”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 30 November 2023 <>
First published online: 2019

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