All Glory, Laud and Honour
Hymns we love singing
St Theodulph of Orleans
All glory, laud, and honour
to thee, Redeemer, King!
to whom the lips of children
made sweet hosannas ring.
Thou art the King of Israel,
thou David's royal Son,
who in the Lord's Name comest,
the King and Blessed One.
The company of angels
are praising thee on high;
and mortal men and all things
created make reply.
The people of the Hebrews
with palms before thee went;
our praise and prayer and anthems
before thee we present.
To thee before thy passion
they sang their hymns of praise;
to thee, now high exalted,
our melody we raise.
Thou didst accept their praises;
accept the prayers we bring,
who in all good delightest,
thou good and gracious King.
All glory, laud and honour has been sung as a processional hymn on Palm Sunday for well over a thousand years. It was written by St. Theodulph of Orleans in 820AD.
Theodulph is thought to have been born in Spain around 750-760AD. His forebears had been marauding Goths who had conquered and settled much of southern Europe. Though born into a noble family he chose instead the consecrated life of a monk. The young Theodulph soon rose within monastic circles and his first major position was as Abbot of Firenze, Florence.
It was while at Firenze that he came to the attention of Charlemagne, the Holy Roman Emperor. His skills as a theologian were put into use during the long running dispute between the eastern and western branches of Christendom over the inclusion of the statement ‘Folioque’ [and from the Son] to the words of the Nicene Creed. The western Church had added Filioque to what it affirmed about the Holy Spirit, ‘who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]’. Theodulph defended this in his treatise "De spiritu sancto". The controversy eventually led to the great east-west schism of 1054AD.
Icon of the Holy Trinity
Charlemagne was so impressed with Theodulph that he appointed him Bishop of Orleans [in north central France] where he ministered as a caring and reforming bishop, founding a number of schools. After Charlemagne’s death there was a power struggle within the royal household. His son and successor, Louis the Pious, suspected Theodulph of siding with his Italian rivals and had him imprisoned in the cloisters of Angers monastery in 818 AD. It was during
this time of Pauline-like captivity that he wrote his great hymn ‘Gloria, Laus et Honor’, ‘All glory, laud and honour’
A story is told by a scholar named Clichtovius, writing in
1518, of how, one Palm Sunday a king passed with his people in procession before the cloister at Angers, where the face of the incarcerated bishop at his cell window caused an involuntary halt. In the silence that followed Theodulph raised his voice and sang the hymn he had written. This delighted the king who ordered the release of the singer and restored him to his bishopric. This is one of a number of legends to have grown out of this great hymn. Sadly, the truth was
to be somewhat different. Theodulph was never to regain his freedom. He died a prisoner in 820AD, probably from poisoning.
The original Latin version of the hymn consisted of no less than thirty-nine verses. This was because it was intended to be sung in procession inside and outside the Church. It was translated into English by the priest-poet Revd. John Mason Neale [1818-1866], shown left. Neale translated a number of ancient hymns of the Church, including O come, O come, Emmanuel, Of the Father’s love begotten, Good King Wenceslas and many more. Neale’s version is now usually condensed to five verses and chorus. He noted, with some amusement, that one original verse had a ‘quaintness of which we can scarcely avoid a smile’,
‘Be Thou, O Lord, the Rider, and we the little ass,
that to God’s holy city together we may pass.’
Theodulph’s hymn joyfully reflects the imagery of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday. His words are his ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’ and call the worshipper to echo the cry of the Jerusalem crowds, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest!’
All glory, laud and honour is exclusively sung to the tune composed by Pastor Melchior Teschner [1838-1635] and named after St. Theodulph. J.S. Bach used the Chorale in his great work St. John Passion . The hymn is usually sung to an arrangement by William Monk [1823-1889] who was a well known Victorian organist and Musical Editor of the Ancient & Modern hymn book. His most popular composition being the tune for Abide with me.
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